If you’re curious about GFM

Thought I would use the remaining days of 2017 to post some random interest connections from the GFM website. Many of my donors are not new to InterVarsity but are very new to ministry among graduates and faculty. As I’m getting more familiar with things GFM, I’m surprised to find all kinds of people, groups and events that reflect the vastly creative and thoughtful world of Christians in academia. InterVarsity’s most recent vision statement aims to bring God’s kingdom to every corner of every campus. These posts will reflect some of what that lofty endeavor entails.

In a conversation I had earlier this fall with a Christian Social Work professor at UNO, I encountered the strategic nature of academic societies. These are groups of Christians connected within a given discipline united by their commitment to being uniquely Christian in identity and influence. If you are a Christian professional working in engineering, medicine, or education for example, have you considered searching out other like-minded believers in your discipline? There are dozens of different groups located at the link immediately below. This is one of the networking functions of a group like GFM.

Here’s a link to InterVarsity’s resource page on Christian Professional and Academic Societies. Take a minute to scroll down through the page and see what you connect with. Or maybe you know a Christian faculty member, professional or grad student in one of these fields. Send them a copy of the link. If you’re aware of someone starting a graduate program help us get them connected to the GFM work at the school they’ll be attending.

Feels good to be here. Thank you!

83 percent dec 2017

Here’s my latest MPD update.  Click here for an easier to read version.

Now and then I pull out my journal from exactly a year ago and read the entries surrounding and including that date.  Dec 5th, 2016 was a very heavy entry (pic).  I was processing the final days of my employment at Christ Community Church while at the same time begging God for help in my job search.  In the interval between being served my severance from CCC (June 13th, 2016) till the day of my provisional appointment with InterVarsity (Feb 18th, 2017) I applied for a total of 39 jobs.  39 applications.  Dozens of interviews.  One offer.  The two rejection notices I journaled about on Dec 5th were somewhere around options #27 and #28.  The others I mention waiting on trickled back into my journal a couple of weeks later.  No.  And No.  It’s cringy reading to revisit what I wrote.

IMG_0346

I was actually offered my current job in late October, 2016.  My hiring supervisor was a model of prayer, patience and confidence in God.  Thank you Don Paul Gross!  I was wrestling with God and myself over being called back to InterVarstiy.  Back to the university.  Back to students and faculty.  And, yes, back to finding my own resources for employment.  “Could I really go back to support raising?”

As my posts have spelled out over the past months… Yes, I could return.  Not only to my former ministry, but to that precarious thing we call fundraising.  Turns out I needn’t have been so intimidated.  Finding $97.3K isn’t as impossible as I thought.

InterVarsity has always placed a high value on training and resources.  One piece I encountered in my MPD coaching is a little booklet I finally took the time to read last week.  Here are a couple of excellent quotes I want to harp about if you don’t mind.  This is from Henri Nouwen professor and spiritual formation champion – a transcription of a talk he gave on The Spirituality of Fundraising.  I love his perspective.

IMG_0333

It’s so true that money conversations can be awkward.  My recent experience has been a mixture of mostly positive and affirming interaction, sprinkled with a very small handful of awkward misfires.  As of today my tracking report from InterVarsity lists just over 40 names.  Those 40 names have come through months of conversations I’ve had with nearly twice that number.  As I’ve spoken with people I’ve been relieved to rediscover how freeing conversations actually are when people get excited about the vision and mission they’re being invited into.  Nouwen insists that asking for resources is a matter of asking people to invest in the Kingdom of God.

“God’s Kingdom is the place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world.”

The more a funding conversation revolves only around monetary need, the more it does feel like you’re trying to talk with people about sex!  But the more I’ve been able to rant and rave about what God is calling GFM to do in the university, the less awkward it is to talk dollars with people.

I have loved the time I’ve spent in conversations casting vision for Graduate Faculty Ministries.  It really is a unique target audience most haven’t considered.  What would it look like to reach every corner of every campus including the most exclusive places occupied by graduate programs, researchers and professors?

To all my stake holders and ministry partners who’ve spoken with me and decided to be generous with your resources – thank you.  Thank you for making the time talking about this a delight, not a burden.  Please continue to support me, resource me, encourage me and propel me on my way.  My prayer is that you are experiencing the joy of watching God’s kingdom advance.  May his kingdom overflow and his abundant grace bring life and light to some very unlit places in our world.

PS – If you’d like your own copy of Nouwen’s booklet, click here and email me your street address.  I’ll have one shipped to you!

Click here to be taken to my donations page at InterVarsity.