Every Corner. Every Campus.

milikin corner

“Longing for revival, we catalyze movements that call every corner of every campus to follow Jesus.”

So, I’ve worked the InterVarsity Staff Booth more than once during the course of the 8 Urbanas I’ve attended.  Every other ministry you can imagine comes to the convention, carves out a location, constructs a booth of some sort, packs it with branded merch, printed pieces and mans it with their best staff.  Working a shift at a booth is non-stop conversation with students eager to explore options in missions.

miguel every corner

This year was different for the InterVarsity booth.  Instead of trying to find staff candidates, we decided to build our display around the theme of InterVarsity’s 2030 Calling (please hit the link and give it a glance if you haven’t yet).  As students approach the display, a staff member engages them in conversation about their campus.  “What part of your campus would you like to see God visit in a new way?”  Rather than trolling for people interested in joining IV staff, we were looking for students with a heart for an unreached corner of their campus.

miguel 2

After a few minutes of buzzing about the vision, the staff member hands them a pen and directs them to the “Corner Board” where they can write the name of their corner and their campus.  Next they’re invited to a 10 minute coaching session where a staff member helps them move from vision to a plan of action once they’re back on campus.  They get a worksheet that helps them lay out a network map of the people God is moving them to reach.  They work on a set of action steps and receive some discussion group materials.  We can even do a crash-course on manuscript study with them.  The idea is to start with vision and build toward equipping them for a bold but doable plan.


After three full afternoons of conversations our team has spoken with over 500 students!  500 students with a fledgling vision and a concrete ministry plan to reach out once they return to campus.  It shouldn’t surprise me when I find a personal connection in the midst of all the seemingly random interaction.  So far this week I’ve met up with several students from Illinois where I was formerly on staff with IV.  I had a delightful encounter with a student named Hannah and the staff member who wound up coaching her.

“So what school to attend, Hannah?”

“Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois”

“No way, I was born in that town and grew up there.  I supervised the IV work there for quite a number of years too.”

Hannah caught me up on the IV chapter as we were waiting in line to get an appointment with a coach.  We talked about Millikin.  We talked about Decatur.  Yes, she knew the name of the professional sports team that originated as the Decatur Staleys. She told me about some renovations happening to the campus.  We scanned Hannah’s nametag and took her to the coaching zone.  To her surprize and mine, the coach next in line was her own staff member, Derekah Kingery.


Thanks for your prayers for students this week!  Urbana wraps up tonight at midnight.  I’ll try to get another post out to you before the day is over.

Since this is the last day of the calendar year, thought I’d also put the link here to my donations page.  Many thanks to those who’ve been getting their year-end giving sent in!

Click here to be taken to Tim’s account on the InterVarsity Donations website.

Faithful Witness

rev mss

Each of the 25 triennial Urbana Missions Conferences has been developed around a theme.  My first Urbana? – Urbana ’84: Faithful in Christ Jesus.  I was junior in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois, where the convention at the time was being held.  Thirty Four years later… here I am again!

Scripture has always been a core element of the Urbana experience.  My first Urbana as a brand new IV staff member was all about the book of Jonah – “Should I not be Concerned?”  This time we’re developing the theme Faithful Witness through the book of Revelation.  Not a book you’d immediately turn to for missions themes, Revelation is proving itself rich and relevant.  Jesus is THE FAITHFUL WITNESS followed by all who shrink-not in the face of persecution from a world of broken empires.  Students considering mission today are fueled by the passion of overcomers who give their lives to the full in obedience to the Lamb of God.

plenary session

Students have studied generous portions of the book of Revelation in their quiet times and small groups.  Platform speakers have drawn out themes of sacrifice, the persecuted church, justice for a world bruised and broken by misguided empires.  The evangelism task force I’ve gotten to be a part of developed a series of proxe station tools for engaging seekers and non-believers using the book of Revelation.  The process is creative and artfully compelling.  If you’re unfamiliar with a proxe station, think visual and conversational engagement between a Christian and a thoughtful seeker.

reveal cards

More to come on this event.  As I’m writing this, we’re heading into the second half of the 4.5 day-long experience.  I’ll get more images and stories out to you between my work-shifts!  My job this time at Urbana is working the InterVarsity booth in the exhibitor’s hall.

Before heading to Urbana

The Urbana Missions conference is just around the corner.  I’ll be sending posts from there next week.  Before taking off I wanted to get a few last minute fall highlights out to you.

gift to tim's account

If you need a link to access my donations page click here.  Many donors like to give in December – this will make it easy to give online and ensure that it lands in my account.  If you desire any last minute communication with me about a donation or need to send a gift through the mail, please just email me!  Thanks!


RLT Meetings in Nashville

RLT meetings dec 2018

I got to spend four days with my Regional Leadership Team – the group of Area Directors who are my peers.  Each December we have an extended meeting to pray, plan, to sharpen our leadership and deepen our own working relationships.  South-Central Regional Director Don Paul Gross hosts us in his hometown, Nashville, TN.  These are pics of our strategic planning and training sessions.  One of my former team-mates, Marcia Wang was with us leading us in learning about building more effective multi-ethnic teams.

Nationally we’re in the process of affirming a new vision campaign called The 2030 Calling.  It’s an expansive document calling us to engage in mission on campus at a very sweeping revival-like scale.  Our Regional and National leadership in GFM is helping us take steps toward the 2030 Calling that fit our context.  Its one thing to put a huge vision out there with several strategic initiatives, but how do you actually start building toward it?  That’s where teamwork at the Regional and Area level need to wake up and start cultivating results.

marsh and dp RLT meetings

Collaboration with Undergrad InterVarsity

The day after I returned to Omaha from Nashville, I dove in my car to go spend a day with the undergrad side of the ministry in my geography.  The Central Region has an annual staff meeting of all their staff – same four states that I supervise, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas.  There are somewhere around 40 staff in these states.  Here’s a quick run-down of who I met and what I learned (hopefully it’s obvious why I love hanging out with these staff).

Central Region UG

  • Stacy Rafferty the undergrad AD who lives in my town, gave me a very warm introduction to the entire region.
  • I got to follow-up with Will Chu, AD in St. Louis I’ve met before.  He is over much of the state of Missouri and I’m curious about a possible GFM staff in Columbia.
  • Will introduces me to Charis Chan – undergrad team leader in Columbia who tells me about a faculty group she has recently affiliated at Mizzou!  I had no idea I have a GFM group in Columbia (but no staff there).
  • Touch base with Tim Lin, Area Director Kansas City.  Coming up this spring my GFM staff in Lawrence will be hosting a Veritas Forum event.  Wanted to see if Tim knew about it.
  • One of my staff members – George Stulac, GFM Faculty worker in St. Louis also serves the undergrad staff in a Spiritual Director role.  George introduces me to several staff I haven’t had the chance yet to meet.
  • Connected with Chad, undergrad staff in Ames.  GFM used to have a staff member at Iowa State – who has recently relocate.  Chad is interested in staff work among faculty.
  • I finally get to meet Any Schoepf, Area Director for undergraduate Iowa.  She and I will connect again in Des Moines next spring when I’m through town.  She’s eager to introduce me to faculty at Drake.  I’m excited to introduce one of my friends from Omaha who teaches Marketing and commutes weekly to Des Moines.

kathy peter tim christmas party

Local Faculty

Last pic.  Two of my favorite Omaha faculty members.  Kathy Padilla is a long-time InterVarsity alum and faculty sponsor for our work at Creighton.  Peter Szto is a faculty and director in the Master of Social Work program at University of Nebraska Omaha.  I’ve written about them in previous posts.  It was fun to see them connect at a local InterVarsity holiday party.  It was very exciting to discover that two local undergrad staff are now also graduate students at UNO.  Hmmmm.

Next stop, Urbana 18!  Maybe I’ll see some of you there!