Sunday, May 31, 2009


Cheers! We are missionaries! With our official name tags and all. You can read about our appointment service on the IMB website.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

She is little bitty!

Her foot is not even an inch!
She loves to move around and looked like she was dancing. Probably because her first hip hop class was when she was a few days old! She was also rubbing her face! Too cute! Steven's heart is already beginning to melt!
Posted by Picasa

Sucking her thumb already!

Posted by Picasa

She loved having her picture taken!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why Para-Local Church Ministries are better than Para-Church Ministries

The title should not surprise many as this is the likely case between many churches and campus ministries/other para-ministry groups.
As Emily and I have left Collegiate Ministry for the International Mission Field, we find ourselves serving in another Para-Church Ministry which has caused me to reflect on why I believe Para-local church ministries are better than Para-church ministries. So here we go.

a. Disconnect between local churches and Para-church ministries.

There is huge disconnect between local churches and Para-church ministries built on what I would call “territorialism”. This would best typify what hinders the work of local churches to being active on the collegiate campus. This also hinders the work of Para-church ministries as more and more are finding it harder to minister within their context in “not being the church”, but doing the functions of a local church without the proper resources. The only way to reconcile the differences is for both to know their biblical role in reaching college students with the Gospel. The role of the local church is to be the church and the role of the campus ministry is to be the extension of the local church as defined in the Scriptures. I’ve seen through my experiences on both sides that both have trouble giving ground where ground needs to given and to work in the complimentary role God has graced each with. Scholar Dr. J.P. Moreland said the three most influential pieces defining our culture are the Media, Hollywood, and the Universities. If we can reach the students of the Universities we can reach the other facets of our culture. Partnership between the local church and Para-church ministries on campuses can be done and so there is hope for this, but it takes humility and work on both sides.

b. A lack of understanding of what college students actually face.

We can all say with honesty that college life fifteen years ago was totally different from thirty years ago as well as even fifty years ago. Today college life is changing as our culture progresses and for the church to be deficient in understanding the collegiate culture is dangerous. For it will result in a lack of understanding of what college students actually face in their academic and social lives, but also ineffectiveness in reaching them with the Gospel. In order to truly pursue people in general we must understand them and ask questions as to what makes them emboldens them today and not twenty years ago. At each campus today almost 30% of all college students are on anti-depressant drugs; up from 6% twenty years ago and almost 35% are attempting or are addicted to illegal substances. These are recent stats that should alarm any such person, but is the church up to date on these cultural trends that are affecting college students or is the church just finally discovering them? The church must take a more proactive role in clearly knowing how to reason through the Scriptures with Atheists, Agnostics, and other major World Religions in hopes of pointing as many college students to Jesus as possible, but also digging deep into their lives for relevance. This has been a challenge for churches in the past, but is clearly one in which the church can repent of being passive and start following Christ in obedience in knowing the collegiate culture students live in.

c. Failure to properly give college students a Global Vision for reaching unreached peoples.

One thing churches in general fail to do is give college students and singles before they graduate a Global perspective of reaching peoples who have never heard the message of the Gospel. It is the role of the local church to equip all its members of the Body of Christ to go and tell the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation the saving message of Jesus Christ. Most college students when they graduate are single, ambitious, passionate, and looking to make a difference in the world. What a more perfect opportunity and season in a college student’s life, but to go and spend two or three years in a place where the Gospel has never been! Mobilizing college students to go and live a short season of their life in a hard place is a difficult thing for churches to do as they are competing with the world’s offerings of high paying salaries, lucrative careers in research, and the goals of living a life of ease and comfort. Granted, these things are all nice in the context of knowing they come from God and He is the one who richly supplies. But, they should never become the end goal in life, as they should always be the means by which to fulfill the Great Commission through the local church. It is the mandate of the church to equip primarily for this task however challenging it may be, but it can be done by the grace of God.

Now, for a few other thoughts. Please forgive me if I have overstated or oversimplified anything and I mean only to comment on what I currently am seeing in relation to this subject.

Question: "What is the biblical role of the church in reaching collegiate students?"

Answer: The definition of what a church is has been hazed over by ministries all over the world seeking to be relevant, but not really answer with the God-given response found in the Scriptures. Acts 2:42-47 is a good starting place and has much to say about what the multi-generational body of Christ looks like in coming together, listening to the Word of God taught/preached, the two ordinances observed (Communion and Believer's Baptism), sharing all things, and praising God for all things done through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Obviously, meeting in houses is not the rule in determining whether or not a body of believers is a church. In some cultures and contexts where persecution happens or when even a lack of resources occurs this becomes permissible and even encouraged in order to not neglect meeting together as Hebrews 10:25 states, "as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." This is where many will say, "Can't ten college students who meet together every Tuesday night for Bible study be considered a church? They share things, they pray for each other, they hold each other accountable, and they teach the word. What's the big deal?!" Every New Testament instance of a body of believers or a congregation meeting together provides no contextual proof for peoples of just the same age group or generation. The multi-generational church is to meet together continuously in hopes of maturing into the likeness of Christ and for the building up of the body. How can a group of 19-year olds mature in Christ when all that is influencing them is themselves and not older men and women? Titus ran into the same issues as Paul challenged him (Titus 2) that older women needed to pour into younger women in discipleship because Titus was not in a position to do so or ever will be.

What this means then in regards to reaching a college campus is that the local church needs to put Christ on display through the biblical framework laid out in the New Testament in being the biblical example of a church to the culture they are trying to reach. More often then not in most secular universities, getting on campus is very difficult and proves sometimes impossible for the private schools as well. The reason we have campus ministries today is because local churches abandoned ship and walked away from the culture and decided to start supporting agencies instead of their own people to go outside the camp and to do the work God has ordained them to do. Such is the case I believe the Southern Baptist Convention and State Conventions do now in replacing the role and responsibility of local churches to fulfill the Great Commission; rather than supporting them in that position.

In light of all of this then, local churches that work through campus ministries to reach college students seems to be the best way currently for accessible purposes alone. But, this should not be so ultimately. Local churches cannot sit back and let agencies or para-church ministries do the work they were called to do. All local churches are going to have different focuses, aims, and goals, but each one near a college campus must have a missional purpose in reaching students for Christ and maturing them in Christ. This is their biblical role and when a campus ministry proves antithetical towards those goals, continue to pray that God would open a door for your local church to declare the mystery of Christ through another means.

Question: "What is the biblical role of campus ministries in reaching collegiate students?

Answer: The role itself is defined simply as being an extension of the local church or gateway, but not a replacement. A replacement for what? A replacement for what was discussed above. It is not the role of the campus ministry to administer the Lord's Supper or Baptism. These are reserved for who? You got it! The local church. This has gotten me now thinking about the difference between a "para-church ministry" and a "para-local church ministry". The difference between the two lies I believe in whether or not a ministry truly treasures and values the local church the way it should be for Great Commission purposes or if it hinders the local church from accomplishing its evangelistic goals or even pushes the church aside as if it isn't equipped and competent as a campus ministry to do relevant ministerial work. I would define a para-local church ministry as the former and a para-church ministry as the latter.

At Baptist Campus Ministry where we served we had to think deeply about what our role was as a para-local church ministry and I think it is to make disciples of those who do and don't know about the Gospel and to mobilize them towards the Bride of Christ and to mobilize them towards reaching the unreached peoples of the world, all through the support of the local church. Many campus ministries would strongly agree with what I said in theory, but in practicality it doesn't work for them. There may be some viable reasons why it doesn't work for them practically from not having a biblical local church base to pull from all the way to not having churches who even care about collegiate ministry. But, there are also some who choose to not even care and to disregard what I've said in practicality because they view the biblical local church as an option to their ministry versus being a grid by which they filter their campus ministry through.

This is a paradigm shift. It doesn't happen overnight. It is an arduous process that takes dedication and patience in moving towards the eternal ends of reaching the world (college campuses) with the Gospel through the God-ordained means of the local church. If campus ministries don't take on this paradigm shift and move with it, they will continue to feed students with an apathetic attitude towards local church membership, involvement, and multi-generational discipleship. After college what is left? It won't be Baptist Campus Ministry, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade, Campus Outreach, etc. It will be the local church made up of the multi-generational body of Christ seeking to fulfill the Great Commission of reaching all peoples (panta ta ethne) with the Gospel in making disciples of all nations (panta ta ethne)

(I know it is the "family blog", but it would take too much space on facebook.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Golf Trip

Playing golf at 16 weeks pregnant... and I still beat the boys.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Boy or Girl?

We find out Thursday if we are having a boy or girl!
The boy name is decided, but we are undecided for a girl name... Any ideas?
Please post a comment with your ideas... you never know we may just like it too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom came to Denver to support us at our appointment service to officially become missionaries! So we were able to celebrate her birthday with her by a trip to Red Rocks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Baby Stuff

Baby clothes! Thanks Grandmother Gillum! We love it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Packages and Mother's Day

I am counting down the days of work that I have left before we leave... I don't completely hate my job, but I am ready for a change. So when I got of work late at night Friday I was thrilled to have received a package in the mail. I love to get mail! Aunt Molly (I figure she's the closest thing I have to a biological sister so our baby will call her aunt) had sent the baby his/her first onesy (is that what it is called?). It is pictured in the former post. Love it- it has stars! I tried to convince Steven that a perfect girl name was Star (at least middle name), but he doesn't agree.

Then, Saturday I received (I waited until after work to check the mail- on purpose) another package from Granny (my mom)! She sent me Nam's Bits- little chocolate chip cookies from B-ham that we both love. I also got the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and a huge gift card for maternity clothes.
I also got two mother's day cards! One from GG-Mom and one from Granny.

Yesterday, for Mom's day, Steven took me to lunch and shopping for maternity clothes. We shopped til we dropped and ended up with lots of great deals. Maternity pants are awesome!

Being a mom is great! It's like the easiest thing I've ever done. And I get to take naps and eat a lot.

Saturday, May 9, 2009