The Harvest is Plentiful
...and all workers are on deck
A hectic 3 weeks
Near the middle of the week is when the real action began! Our returning students came back to town, and stood at tables handing out freezer pops and inviting students to new friendships and our assorted Illini Life events. These forerunner booths led the way for our welcoming of new students.
That, along with promotion online, and a banner ad in the Daily Illini (the student paper), helped us to meet dozens, really hundreds, of new students.
Week 2 kicked off on Sunday with my favorite day of the year, Quad Day! Thousands of students got to meet Illini Life at one of our four tables around campus. Through our forerunner tables, and our Quad Day booths, we met more students than we have ever met this early in the Fall semester (over 500!). This made for a busy week for our student leaders as they used any means necessary to connect with these new folks.
On Tuesday night, we had our kickoff service, The Fall Preview. We saw 160+ people there, with over half of them being new. With the start of the year so hectic for a new student, this was amazing. This is an event I put a lot of work into, and I put a video in this letter that I made for it. I hope you like it!
On Saturday, we had our first all-church worship gathering of the semester. We kicked off a series called Great Expectations (what do we expect from college, God, and others?) and then tried something totally new called the Taste of Champaign-Urbana Pizza. Pizza is a staple of a college diet, and we brought 6 places to them, for free, as a social event. This candle lit lawn party was a huge success for, helping new students to connect deeper with our ministry.
The week continued on Tuesday with our first Home Fellowship. Ashley and I lead this group that meets in a house off campus. We had 6 new people at our Home Fellowship, and there were 26 new people total spread out over our 7 HFs. That is incredible(!) for this early in the year.
Then, on Thursday, we had our second Connect Group (dorm-based, student-led small group). Led by Mark (a jr.) and Drew (a soph.), this group has been so vibrant. Over the two weeks we've met, there have been 9 new people, at least 4 of which don't know Jesus as their Lord. In fact, Erin, a grad student, after our meeting, sat down with two girls from China to share the Gospel (and I managed to snag a picture). They were fascinated by the forgiveness Jesus gives.
Romans: In our combined Home Fellowship time, where we meet for teaching from our pastors and a discussion afterwards, we'll be studying Romans this semester.
LadiesNight! BINGO: Ashley is organizing an event for new and returning Illini Life gals to get to know one another while having some fun in the process.
Everyday Radical: On Sept 21, we'll be starting a new preaching series at our Saturday night worship time that we're calling Everyday Radical, which will address topics that students can immediately apply to their lives. Ashley and I both will be preaching in it.
With all that's going on, we wanted to pick out a few specific ways you can pray for us over the next few days and weeks.
- Connect Group. With as many folks coming around as we have, pray with us that new students would feel connected, and some would come to know Jesus as their Lord. As well, our leaders are running hard. Pray for their rest.
- Thanksgiving for new life! In another Home Fellowship, a new student recently accepted Jesus as his savior. Pray with us for deep spiritual roots.
- Our preachings. In our Everyday Radical series, Ashley will be speaking about emotions and I'll be speaking about money. Pray that we would preach God's truth and it'd be well received.
- For our financial support. We've been truly blessed by your partnership, and as I've mentioned in previous letters, we have a need to raise new regular support by the end of the year, so that we can have Ashley join me on my insurance. You can start, or change, or even stop your regular or special giving at mygcm.org. Pray with us that God would provide through His people.