The Mission Leaves the Nest
Don’t get me wrong; I still LOVE campus ministry – where else can you find arguably the most influential 1% of the world’s population, clumped within a few square miles, pulling all-nighters, seeking truth and discovering themselves? It’s a four-year worldview generator, super-charged by stress, transition and close community.
But there comes a time for every student when the Qualified Expert no longer blocks out life for you in 12‑week increments, and the Midnight Pancake Breakfast is no longer a viable way to reach your friends. You have the Holy Spirit, you have His mission, and you have to create your own adventure.
This fall, I had the privilege of meeting with a group of UCF Cru’s senior women to start exploring what their legacy will look like as life starts to change. Lord willing, next week, I will get to start a similar conversation with some on the other side of the cap and gown.
I wish I could tell you I am a confident expert at sharing Jesus and making disciples in the context of twenty-first century adult life. I am certainly NOT. However, I am a “professional” in that I have made it my job in this season to live in the ambiguity of what most of our Cru alumni will face sooner or later.
This said, I think the best way to invite you to pray for us is to show you some of the actual, very non-hypothetical questions I have personally asked this month within the context of friendship:
- Under what conditions do you hand your car keys to a neighbor in need, and do you tell your husband before or after?
- How much meat do you buy for a cookout when anywhere between 4 and 30 may come?
- Is there something inherently wrong with a guinea pig in a worship service?
- How do disability checks actually work?
- Is it ok to ask a serious question about their anxiety and/or depression via text message?
- How do you explain to a friend that you are willing help them with groceries, but not pet food or cigarettes?
- How many times do you continue to hire the sweet neighbor girl to babysit during small group even though she’s forgotten or been late ¾ of the time?
- What kinds of social outings will even work for a family with an autistic child?
- How much baby snot is socially acceptable? How often must you disinfect toys?
- How do you host summer holiday parties in Florida when every afternoon is either sweltering or storming?
- Do you tell the neighbor lady that her son smokes pot every day?
- How many hours, dollars, holidays can you give to your family and friends back home and still have enough left to be good friends where you live?
- How normal does your dinner have to be to offer to feed someone?
- How unusual do someone’s dietary needs have to be for you not to offer to feed them?
How do you get meaningful conversation with a friend who has totally opposite hours as you and a toddler whose bedtime is 3 am?
- How many weeks in a row do you cancel other plans to make time for the friends who keep flaking on you anyway?
- How many weeks in a row do you entertain the friends who stop by on your family’s only free night?
- How do you recognize the signs of heroin use?
- What is the threshold of birthday parties/showers can you attend without hating life?
- Is there a socially acceptable way to tell your friend you are pretty sure they are lying to you?
- Is it ok to reference your friends in your prayer letter, even though they might find it on the internet?
We don’t bring you into this because our life is special or edgy, but because chaos and questions seem to be the norm as we press out of our bubble into the lives of others. And apart from our Lord who speaks to the waves, we only panic like the disciples in the boat. Please pray that we will be a Spirit-led blessing to our friends and neighbors, a practical help to recent Cru alumni, and humble enough to know our limits!