July 2020

Hello support team! 

It's that time again for a brief ministry update. It may seem surprising that campus ministry has been poppin' this summer, what with the schools being closed and COVID. But, God's still been at work in some big ways. 

When the pandemic hit this past semester, we were in maintenance mode. As pastors, we thought to ourselves: "how can we make things feel as normal as possible for these students in this time of uncertainty? How can we provide stability and keep them rooted in Jesus-community?" Our quick answer to that was to move everything online. Our weekly fellowship meetings and small groups moved to zoom, we live-streamed, we Face-timed, we called, we used technology in every conceivable way throughout the summer. God really has been present in all that! We even started a Bible Bootcamp for students this summer to take Bible classes online / in-person optional with our staff. I got to teach a series on the writings of John with about 12 eager students who loved spending their time in the word. 

That's not to say it's all been a cake-walk. The lack of real-people interactions has definitely taken a tole on the spiritual health of our students. The ones who are consistent to show up online are hanging in there. But the ones who are zoomed out are floundering a bit. 

So starting this week, we're changing things up a lot. I've been a part of FOCUS since 2017, and this year will be drastically different from what I'm used to. I couldn't be more excited to see what all God's going to do in this next school year. For starters, we're starting optional, in-person, socially distanced, masks required, very small groups! Each staff member will meet with a group of students (no more than 10 total) to fellowship together weekly, outside, 6 feet apart. For students who are sick, out of town, or who don't feel comfortable meeting in person, we're offering online-small groups for them still. 

Community will look very different this year. But I think that the Lord is going to do some sweet things. Our vision right now, is that these small groups will meet throughout the year and grow closely together as they seek Jesus. Some real, solid friendships could come out of this - especially since these groups will likely be the only real-time interactions they get outside of their families. Even outreach will look different, but students more than ever are longing for friendship. So we'll be there to offer it. 

There's a lot to pray for! Please ask God to give our pastoral team wisdom in this season, and guidance for how he wants us to continue feeding his sheep. Ask God to move powerfully in these students lives as this summer comes to a close, and to fill them with hope for what he has in store for this fall semester. 

Thank you so much for your partnership in campus missions! Please let me know if there's anything specific I can be praying for for you or your family. 

Yours on the campus, 
Kristen Paz 


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