Monday, July 23, 2012

Stories from teaching (II)

"You have no idea how your class changed my life!" Linda Ference said as I passed her going into the dorms. Linda is a CCO campus staff ministering to students at Indiana University of PA. Linda, along with 15 CCO staff, had just completed the class called, “Design and Integration” which Sean (left), Paul (right) and I team taught at the CCO's annual Summer Institute.

The class was three intensive days geared towards helping campus ministers think about experiential design and ministry. We asked,

“ How does the way you plan ministry events reflect the richness of God's creation?”

If most of communication is non-verbal, did the design (the environment, the sequence of activities, etc...) of their bible studies, their leadership meetings, or their fall retreats match the words students would encounter during those events? Did the design of the events support their intended goals and testify without words to the redemptive story of God's work among us?
The class participants heard Sean Purcell share his doctoral work on the Christian imagination. Paul Harbison who is the director of the CCO' s experiential ministries taught on models of integration, the result of over 30 years of thinking about faith integration in experiential education.

Already the CCO staff who were part of the class are applying what they learned. On Monday I will have a meeting with a CCO staff at Youngstown University to talk with him about how to design a student panel on sexuality he is planning for this fall.

Thanks be to God for eager learners and a chance to equip staff that love college students and yearn for them to know Jesus.

Thanks for your prayers and continued support.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spring into summer (I)

How did it get to be mid-July already!? We hope you are enjoying the beginning of this summer despite the record-breaking temperatures. 
This transition of spring into summer has been filled with many good things in life and ministry for us. To spare you a newsletter of so many pages that few of us would have the time to actually read it (!), we decided to do a series of short blogs to give you a glimpse into the ministry and join us in thanking God for his faithfulness this season. For those interested in reading more details, in each of these posts, we will include links to longer writings. 

At Jubilee keynote speaker Bob Goff encouraged students to seek a God who is active and at work in this world. His recent book, Love Does, captures some of the inspiring stories he shared with students at the conference. Bob talked about seeking the "evidence of Jesus" not as a theological exercise but as an affirmation of God's redemptive work in this world. In that spirit, we hope the emails we will send over the next few weeks can serve for you as they have for us as "evidence of Jesus".

Here are the highlights of the next few posts:
- Going on a pilgrimage (I)
- CCO's Outdoor Leadership Institute (II)
- Submission of the Wilderness Education Association accreditation self study (II)
- The Alpine Pilgrimage (III)
- Transformative Summer Opportunities (Peru, Canada, Wyoming) (IV)
- Stories from teaching (Principals Leadership Institute, CCO's Summer Institute) (V)

Going on a Pilgrimage: a guest entry
Nancy Franson attended Penn State University in the early 80's. It was there that she met her husband, Mark. It was also there that her faith was shaped by God as she got involved in the CCO ministry on campus. The CCO staff at PSU at the time was Dan Dupee, who is now the president of the CCO. Several years ago Dan took a sabbatical to recover from his first seven years leading the CCO and to seek God for what would come next for him and the CCO. During this time he took his family on a hiking trip with the Fransons in Glacier National Park. The sabbatical was powerful and restorative for Dan- the kind of quadrant two experience that Covey claims is crucial for leaders.

So when Dan told Nancy and Mark that the CCO was offering a trip inspired by his sabbath experience, they were interested. The Alpine Pilgrimage was started a few years ago as an opportunity for friends of the CCO to engage in the reflective and restorative spiritual discipline of pilgrimage along one of the world's most beautiful trails, the Tour du Mont Blanc. Nancy is a very talented writer and when she and Mark decided to go on the Alpine Pilgrimage, she began to blog her journey. While not an exercise-fiend by any means, Nancy saw in this trip an opportunity to invest in their marriage and do the hard work of "staying in love". By clicking on this link you can read more about why she and Mark decided to go hiking in the Alps and how she prepared her self to see what God would have for her in the mountains. As Nancy points out, we daily have the opportunity to be transformed into the likeness of Christ by the laying down of our lives in service of others. Stay tuned to hear more about Nancy and the other 16 participants whom we had the privilege of walking alongside on this year's pilgrimage.
Today we head off to the CCO's Summer Institute, the annual week-long, organization-wide training event. For the next 5 days we will hear from speakers, gather with the whole experiential ministry team, plan the end of summer and fall ministry schedule with our staff, and co-teach a class for CCO staff on designing experiences that testify to God's redemptive story. It will be a very full week indeed.
Please keep us in your prayers and thank you for your continued support of our ministry. We could not do this work without your faithful prayers and contributions.
To God be the glory,