“Brian, God wants us to get married.” I can still hear the words echoing in my mind. I was shocked. Sure we were friends, but we weren’t even dating! I don’t even remember how I responded but I do remember struggling with those words for quite a while. I remember asking, is it true? Has God spoken to her but not me? Am I going to miss something? Is this God’s will for me? Today, she is no longer following God and I have no doubt it was not God’s will for us to marry. I have grown in my understanding of what God’s will is and how to discern it. I am married to a wonderful wife who is following Jesus.
What is God’s will? Read more
I am excited about what God could do during the course of this coming semester. There is anticipation in the air. Students are getting passionate about prayer. I met with a series of students today. Two separate students, with two separate visions. Both involve prayer. In Christianity it seems we talk more about prayer than we actually pray but in this case they both are serious.
The vision began at a leaders meeting last fall. The question, “What if,” was asked. What if we prayed every day? What if God showed up this year? What if we got serious about helping our friends with their problems. What if we started caring for others needs ahead of our own? What if we hosted a Friday night party every week as an alternative night? What if it was the happening place to be? Two different students. Two different visions. Both involve prayer. Read more
Does it ever seem like everyone you talk to is “busy?” Do you ever catch yourself answering the question, “how are you,” with “busy?” Why are we so busy? Is busy good? Are we trying to impress people by being busy? Does busyness indicate that we are important people? Are we trying to avoid people or commitment? What are we busy doing? Why do I struggle to get people to commit to an event? Why do I struggle to get people to commit to leadership? Why are volunteer organizations always looking for more volunteers? Why do 20% of the people do 80% of the work?
Yet I am no better in my own life. I have been thinking about my time commitments. I guard my time. I am slow to commit. I am so good at guarding it that I can justify my lack of commitment. My excuse: I have a family and I need to spend time with them. I have even had students tell me that they know I’m busy. Ugh. So what is the answer to all of this business? Read more
Somewhere between 60% and 80% of high school students will leave their faith in college. Depending on where you live and who is doing the research. That is a LOT of students leaving their faith. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed much over the past decade. I remember hearing the same statistic quoted to me when I was leaving high school in 1998. The question I want to tackle is why do so many students they leave?
I remember hearing that statistic over and over again as I finished my senior year in high school. I remember that I was determined not to be one of those people who left the faith as they went to college. So when I showed up at North Dakota State University as a Freshmen I went looking for the Christian fellowships on my campus. I got involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for two reasons. One was that they played Ultimate Frisbee on the field behind my dorm. The second was that the first three meetings I attended the dean of the college of engineering and architecture was speaking and he gave a phenomenal defense of the faith. I loved it!
As a campus pastor I help college students move into the dorms every fall. I meet hundreds of students and their parents. As I move students into the dorms I always do an informal survey. I ask the student if they have a religious or church background. Working in a rural MN setting I have found that roughly 60%-70% of the students say yes. While the number has declined over the years, it is still high. I used to get excited about how many said yes. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to translate to involvement in fellowship on campus. So what happens? Read more
Since I was a little boy I have always loved building. When I was real young, I would line rocks up in order using the size and shape. The rocks were the building blocks. As I got older I moved on to tinker toys, lincoln logs, legos, snow, and eventually computers. I built my first computer when I was 15 years old, but I had torn my family computer apart several times before. I remember one time I completely destroyed it. My parents didn’t get mad at me because they knew I would do whatever it took to get it back up and running. After a few visits with friends and the computer store. I got it up and running again.
As a campus pastor I’m called to build the Kingdom of God. I love it. I still get to build! Practically speaking, I build teams; teams of students to oversee a particular ministry, teams of students to oversee the campus and teams of staff to work alongside the students. I believe it is what God has called me to do. I also believe it is something we are all called to do. Read more
We never seem to have enough leaders. I work for an organization that is always graduating the best leaders. That’s right, I work for a campus ministry, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Every year our best leaders graduate and move on to living life. It is how it is supposed to work. But sometimes I wish I could keep them. Forever! In fact, that’s part of my job now. I recruit our best student leaders to work with InterVarsity long-term. We have a constant need for new leaders and it seems to be part of the reason we never seem to have enough leaders.
I recently received an e-mail from a friend who is a recruiter in another mission organization. In the e-mail my friend’s wrote that it seems as though we are recruiting the same students. They run summer short-term projects, we run short-term summer projects. We want long-term workers on the campus, they want long-term workers on the field. It would seem as though we are in competition! He asked the question, what can we do? Read more