Saturday, January 6, 2018

Ready for Spring

The spring semester is upon us! After a restful winter break, our students and staff are ready to hit the ground running. In this month’s blog post, I’d like to ask you to pray for three things in particular as we head back to our campuses in the next two weeks.

Winter Camp

Worship at Winter Camp gets lit!
I’m so excited for this! Next weekend, just a few days before we kick things off at UTA, is FOCUS’ annual Winter Camp. For the four-day duration of this camp, all FOCUS campuses will be gathering at Sky Ranch in Van, TX for varied styles and expressions of worship (lament, praise, dance, art), unifying fellowship between campuses, and in-depth teaching from guest speakers that we’ve invited to come from one of our partner ministries in Washington. So many of our students will tell you that Winter Camp is the FOCUS event that has the most prominent impact on them each year, and I would love to ask you guys to pray that God would use our time to stir the hearts of our students to be oriented toward Him more fully.

Staff Retreat

Our staff just returned from our four-day retreat in Burnet, TX, and I think it was exactly what a lot of us needed. Our theme for the retreat was grace, which guided our worship and discussion on the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. We explored just how deeply we fail to understand God’s grace for us as we strive to prove our worth with ministry success, fear failure, and experience shame that prevents us from approaching God with confidence. Reflecting God’s grace for me in the way I treat myself is a huge part of what He’s been teaching me this semester, and I think this retreat helped solidify that lesson. My prayer, which I would like to invite you to join me in praying, is that the discussions and lessons that took place at the retreat would become internalized in our staff so that we can work more freely, take more risks, and more fully reflect our gracious God as we minister to our students.

Keep FOCUS Growing

Thank you so so much to everyone who gave to our KFG fundraiser! We absolutely smashed our $50,000 goal because of God’s gracious provision through your generous gifts. I would like to ask you to please pray that every penny we raised would go straight to the building of God’s Kingdom on our campuses in ways that we haven’t even conceived yet.

Finally, before I leave you with our student testimony for the month, I would like to let you guys know that I’ve made a commitment to stay on staff for the next five years! I am so excited to continue to be a small part of carrying out God’s vision for our college campuses and I am SO thankful for you guys. I only get to do what I do because you guys believe in God’s ability to use knuckleheads like me to accomplish His purposes and have given so generously to see that happen. Thank you!

With love and gratitude,


  1. Hey Jalen!
    YAY CAMP! What a special thing it is that we get to gather together with so many people and worship God together. It's going to be amazing.
    I am super excited that you will be staying on the FOCUS staff. I think God is working in you to grow you into a skilled minister, and our students are blessed to know you.
    Love you bro!

    1. Agreed! Yay, indeed.
      Thanks, Kelly! That's so encouraging :)