Sunday, March 29, 2020

He Never Stops Working

Okay, I guess he rested on the seventh day... But God has nevertheless been hard at work in this season, regardless of the challenges. Going into these past couple weeks, I wasn't sure what God's work would look like in a season of 100% online ministry, and I wasn't sure that we'd be able to adapt our usual ministry structures (Thursday Night Fellowship, cores, etc.) to an online format effectively. But as usual, I have been pleasantly surprised :)


Challenges turned Opportunities


"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
- James 1:2-4 (as paraphrased in The Message )

As you can probably imagine, our students have had a lot more time on their hands. With this time come both the temptation to become spiritually complacent and isolate oneself from community as well as the opportunity to invest oneself in more extended times of learning and prayer than are otherwise feasible. With this time also comes the opportunity to grow in the initiative our students take to maintain friendship and love each other on Christ's behalf.

So far, we've seen both come to fruition. Attendance has admittedly been a bit lower in both of my cores as well as our Thursday Night Fellowship. But students have also responded positively this week to one-on-one conversations I've had with them about making the most of this season. In addition, one of our non-Christian students who hasn't been able to make it to a core this semester due to his class schedule not only has made it to our online core for two weeks straight; he also told our whole core that his goal in this time is to seriously investigate what Christianity is all about. So one of our other students who is finishing up his study with my co-leader Nathan is now going to initiate his own study with this eager seeker! Praise God for these unique opportunities he is currently affording us :)

Below are some pictures of our staff and students getting creative to meet together during this time of social distancing/shelter in place :)

Our first online leader meeting at UTA!

Our first online family group at Arlington Central Church!

My book club discussing Spiritual Leadership by Blackaby!

My Bible study with Sagar. This week we looked at what the Bible has to say about sin!

My Holy Spirit class discussion with Emily and Austin!

DBU leader meeting with Elliot and Joseph!

Our first online core at DBU!

Our first online core at UTA!

Both of my cores are going to meet in smaller groups to engage each other in these 5 disciplines each week so as to minister to each other and engage with God outside of our weekly meetings!

One challenge we've yet to tackle is what evangelism/outreach looks like in this time. Do we find an online forum in which to ask spiritual questions? How to we build new relationships while socially distancing? Would you all please be in prayer that God would lead us in this area as he has been in the other areas of our ministry?

Thank you so much for your continued financial support and prayers in this uncertain time! Please do not hesitate to reach out if you want someone to pray with or talk to. I promise not to screenshot our video chat and put it in my next ministry update. 😉

With love and gratitude,
Jalen

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