Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

Out of the Wilderness

What an amazing trip!  What a fantastic spring break!

We had perfect weather, mostly sunny in the 70’s. There were a few nights of rain and towards the end it was cold, but great weather over all. Some students even cliff jumped into the cold river. That’s how sunny and warm it was.

The trip was framed around Henri Nowen’s book “In the Name of Jesus“. We walked through the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness, the temptation to be relevant, powerful, and spectacular. Each day a group of students assumed leadership by taking the map, watch, and being in charge of getting us from point a to point b. At the end of their day we would sit around and debrief their leadership and day. It was great to see how students spoke to one another, encouraged each other, and learned from others experiences. Truly there was a difference from the way the group interacted at the start of the trip to the way they bonded at the end. It is such a blessing to see that night and day difference. We were truly honored to have these students be on this trip, they were so much fun and taught us a lot in the process.

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and support. We would not have been able to do this without you. Here are some pictures taken from various students:


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It All Began…

So the year has started and so much has happened. The first weekend after classes we inviting students and four other ministries to join us at Yellow Creek State Park for a picnic. Local churches provided the food and we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers! It was yummy. James started off the day by introducing all the ministries represented and playing a quick fun game of rock, paper, scissors…cheer-leading style.

James' Introductions

Here are our grillers:


The food was great and what a wonderful day…

Yellow Creek

Al and Becca

Another major event this first week of school was James’ first day of class. I was nervous for him and he was excited. Joci wanted to go with him to class, and tried.  These are the last photos I wanted to show you, James’ first day of graduate school…..



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Ministry Focus

During my time here at IUP, I have prayed specifically for three things. One, that I could work with a team of campus ministers. Two, that one of the those team members would be a male campus minister. And three, that I could use my passion for the outdoors through this ministry.

I am so excited to share that each one of these prayers were answered over the summer. I am now a part of a team of CCO staff and community members who will work closely with students in a ministry called DLX! (Discipleship and Leadership Experience–pictured below). Secondly, we recently hired a new CCO staff worker, Patrick, who has moved from Kentucky with his wife to work with the coffeehouse and DLX!. Lastly, with James’ background in wilderness ministry, I am able to feed my passion for the outdoors and offer new experiences to the students on this campus.

I look forward to explaining DLX! in detail as the semester unfolds. Thank you so much for your encouragement your support and especially your prayers. You are also important to this community, these students, and an asset to the work being done at IUP.

Coffee and College Students

Over the past three years I have truly learned a lot about coffee and college students. To those who may not know, I currently work with the CCO and am partnered with The Commonplace Coffeehouse in Indiana, PA. My partnership is unique because it is tied in directly with a local business. I work 20 hours behind the coffeehouse counter and the rest of my time is spent meeting with students and now being involved in DLX! (Discipleship and Leadership Experience).

Working at a coffeehouse lends itself to a lot of interesting experiences. The coffeehouse is like a watering hole, a place where people gather and share information. This is a great place to meet students who come in daily to study and simply hang out. I am looking forward to this year as I meet new students and reunite with the ones who were gone all summer.

James’ Update

Continuing Ministry at IUP…and Grad School

As you may know, I am no longer working full-time for the CCO. Instead, I will attend graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Even though this is a huge change, I am not leaving campus ministry with the CCO! On top of school, I will be working as CCO Associate Staff alongside Allyson.

As an associate staff member, I commit to volunteering about 10 hours each week. I will not get paid, but I am still able to raise funds through the CCO for ministry expenses, such as Jubilee conference costs, travel expenses for helping staff with outdoor excursions, or buying meals for students with whom I meet. So your financial support for such expenses will help tremendously for Allyson and me.

My responsibilities for the CCO will primarily be with the Outdoor Leadership Team. I will be helping staff plan for the training they need and connect them to other OLT members who can train and mentor them. I also will be available to help CCO staff run outdoor backpacking and rock climbing trips as I am able. I plan to help Allyson with her ministry as well (read all about that on the other side!).

As for graduate school, I will be studying toward a Master of Science degree in Geography, concentrating on cartography and city planning. When I was at Ohio Wesleyan, I took a few geography courses and had an internship in cartography and city planning; therefore, I have some experience. I have wanted to pursue graduate school in the field of city planning for a while, so this is a very exciting opportunity.

What is even more exciting, I will also be working as a graduate assistant with the Geography and Regional Planning Department at IUP. It is a huge blessing to be offered this graduate assistantship. The assistantship requires me to work 20 hours a week, and in return I will receive free tuition plus a small stipend. I will not find out what my specific job will be until class starts, August 31. My assistantship and studying will essentially be my full-time job.

Although I will be spending less time ministering to students, I will still be very much involved with ministry. This all fits very well for our situation as we transition into the new adventure together.

Last Semester at Geneva

My last days at Geneva College have now come to an end. Working for the Pisgah Program was a great joy, and I will miss it greatly. But, everything must end sometime.

The biggest highlight for the semester was certainly the Backpacking Class, which took a spring break trip to Pisgah National Forest. Through climbing and hiking, the all male students learned what it takes to lead a trip for others in the wilderness. In the midst of learning the technical skills, we discussed the struggles men face as followers of Jesus. The men were able to speak truth to one another which brought encouragement to embrace our manhood for God’s glory. It was great to especially see one student, Clinton, come to realize that Christ centered leadership is about caring for everyone in the group. This is a stark contrast between the leadership he experiences when he was in the Marines.

It is a amazing to see how the students I interacted with changed, transformed, and come to know Christ more in my time at Geneva. For that, I am so thankful.

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Playful Leadership

So this is it. This is the day when James,  his co-worker Patrick  and  six students pack up their van and say bonvoyage to Geneva as they head to Pisgah National Forest.  I am so excited for what lies ahead and, of course, I’m sad to see James go.

Spring break trips are pivotal in the lives of students and the leaders as well. I went backpacking with Pisgah my sophomore year of college, at Geneva. I still hold on to that experience and reference it often.  I can honestly say my trip that year changed who I am and how I look at things now. I cannot think of a better opportunity than to go into the woods, live in community, and learn what it means to be out of the normalcy of life and learn how to lead. So with all this to say, I am so excited for James and these students.

I realize that God has already hand picked these students, gave them leaders, and already has a plan for each one of their lives; how exciting!  I pray that God will grant them guidance, wisdom, and discernment in decision making. May the Lord keep them safe, and may their hearts be open to hearing and seeing God in new ways. May their trip be filled with “a ha” moments, and may they be challenged–even if that means some growing pains. This is it, off they go!

In my last few minutes in talking with James I was able to receive a small itinerary and also was able to find out that it will be sunny and in the 70’s all week:

  • Friday: Depart from Geneva
  • Saturday: Arrive & relax
  • Sunday: Rock Climbing
  • Monday-Sunday: Backpacking from place to place
  • Sunday: Celebration meal with Patricks family in North Carolina
  • Monday: Departure for Geneva

The theme of their trip is Playful Leadership. May they have fun, may they play as they learn to lead and find restoration in God’s wonderful creation!

Thank you for stopping by and for your prayers!

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