Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March: A New Way of Ministry

I hope this update finds you well. I've been praying for y'all, that you would be resting in God's peace and security in these more uncertain times and that He would make His constant presence known to you. Obviously, a lot has changed over the last month and campus ministry has had to change with it - but God has been so good and is still doing His kingdom work. So, here's what we've been up to!

Pre-coronavirus quarantine

Having a dog is great for ministry! My peer team loves having our time constantly interrupted with Blue Belle begging for cuddles and pets!

Crystal tends to fidget a lot so playing with blue Belle's ear kept her hands busy while we talked.

Blue Belle wanted in on our peer team discussion. We're starting to read a book together called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. This season is a great to to read a book!

On one of our last days before switching to virtual everything, Coral and I wen to the dog park for some strong tugs with Blue Belle.
We also had a fundraiser for SICM students. A few students and I made our community pancakes with all the toppings! It was so sweet to see everyone come out and support these students. Obviously, SICM is a little uncertain right now. No decision has been made to cancel as of right now as everyone waits to see how things continue to unfold. 

Claire had never made pancakes before - but she killed it!

How my ministry has changed

At UNT and TWU, schools basically didn't come back after Spring Break. The week after Spring Break was an extended week of no classes as the schools figured out what steps to take. We tried to do as many of our normal things as possible that week. That Friday our staff made the call to go completely virtual. So, our one on ones, peer team meeting, cores, and Thursday Night Fellowships needed to flex a lot. Last week, as the schools switched to online, we had our first run at that ourselves and it actually went way better than I expected! Students have been so patient and understanding as we make those adjustments and those video call platforms has been an incredible resource! For TNF, we did a live-streamed mini sermon over Twitch before breaking up into smaller Google Hangout groups for discussion. Y'all, we were totally expecting that to be a hot mess, with so much confusion and technical difficulties. But it really wasn't! People seemed to know what was happening and technical issues were really minimal. The smaller groups seemed to really facilitate connection among people who don't regularly talk, because everyone was mixed up. It'll get smoother as we go, but so far so good! 

Our core over facing uncertainty and looking to Jesus.

Our small group at TNF talking about Philippians 3 and what it means to count everything as nothing compared to knowing Jesus intimately.

Overall, God has enabled our ministry to be flexible and make changes necessary to continue ministering to these students. While I don't want to discount the fear and sickness in the world, I have seen God's sovereignty more and more the last couple of weeks. It seems like he's slowing us down, prompting us to reflect on so many things. I've been thinking through what is necessary to do ministry - and it's not a lot. Community can happen in isolation, especially with the technology we have access to. I've already seen God providing for the students who will struggle financially. My peer team is also going through this spiritual disciplines article, and we have time to start practicing some of those disciplines, to build tools for seeking intimacy with God. This extra time has been such a blessing, although difficult. 

I'd love to know, how has God used this time to minister to you? Is there any specific way I can be praying for you? 

Love y'all lots!
Reagann Smith

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