Network Updates: University of Idaho

MAKING AN IMPACT: Discipleship

For a summary of what I’m hoping to accomplish in this blog series (in the third week of every month of 2018), I recommend reviewing my explanation here.For Impact Campus Ministries, we are trying to grow in the concept of “starting with the … More

A DAY IN THE LIFE: Administration

For a summary of what I’m hoping to accomplish in this blog series (in the second week of every month of 2018), I recommend reviewing my explanation here.Administration. It’s probably not the most inspiring part of my job, and maybe it’s an o… More

Top 12 of CiHD: #12

For a summary of what I’m hoping to accomplish in this blog series (the first week of every month of 2018), I recommend reviewing my explanation here.As we begin our look at the Top 12 Blog Posts of Covered in His Dust, we’re going to begin a… More

MY BLOG IN 2018: Week Four

And finally we wrap up my introduction to what is coming, starting in January. It’s only a few weeks away.
We’ve chatted about how we’ll be using the first week to review the top blog posts from the last five years. We’ve talked about how the second week will be a time to invite you into my life as a campus minister and as the President of Impact Campus Ministries. Last month, I introduced you to a little bit of the history behind ICM and our mission, vision, and values; we talked about the third week being dedicated to casting some vision around our common language and culture at ICM. So what is going to be the topic in week four?
Stories.
We all love good stories. Stories enable us to see a great idea in action. There is something unbelievably powerful about taking a concept and wrapping it in the flesh of human experience. And so, whatever idea we talked about that month (from the previous week), I’ll be finding a story to write about or share with you so we can see the idea with feet on it.
When we take time to talk about the process of discipleship, I want to find a story about someone who engaged in that process. What did discipleship look like to them? How did our definition find life in their experience? What pieces of advice would they give?
When we talk about our commitment to pursue (intimacy with God), what example can I find of someone who created space to pursue God passionately? What fruit was borne of that pursuit? What can we learn from those stories of success (and even failure)?
When we pull apart our value of excellence, who embodies our idea of excellence? How do they (and we) balance the tension between letting God bear the fruit and putting in an effort of excellence at all times? What does it mean to do our part and trust God to do His?
The fact of the matter is that we are surrounded by these stories every day. As campus ministers, we ought to be sharing the stories with others. The truest testimony to whether or not something works is just that: testimony. An idea is just an idea unless it becomes real in the life of another human being. A product is just a product unless it really proves itself useful to others. Nobody cares about whether a culture or belief system is right or wrong unless it becomes compelling to others through the lens of experience.
Stories.
Stories are the most powerful teaching tools we’ll ever have. God believed in the power of story; He worked through Elisha to tell Naaman to “go in peace,” armed only with his experience to change the world of Aram. Jesus believed in the power of story; he turned down an eager applicant for discipleship, telling him instead to go home and tell others his story. These are instances where people lacked any training in theology or management. They were not equipped with what the world might have called “conventional wisdom.” But they had their story.
Stories have changed the course of history more than once. Maybe we should put more stock in stories; maybe we should put more stock in our own stories.
Now, storytelling is something most of us have to get better at. It’s definitely something ICM is trying to get better at. Please don’t let me overhype what’s coming. We’re not expert storytellers, but we’d like to be better storytellers, so we’re going to try. Maybe we’ll struggle through and maybe it will be incredible. There’s only one way to find out.
So for week four, I’ll invite you to a new series: Pull Up a Chair.


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MY BLOG IN 2018: Week Three

We’ve now talked about my four-week rotation for every calendar month of 2018. We talked about how I’ll be using the first week of the rotations to talk about the Top 12 Blog Posts of Covered in His Dust. We’ve also spoken about how I’ll be using the second week to bring you a little series titled A Day in the Life. Now it’s time to talk about what we’ll be covering in the third week of our monthly rotations.
While I don’t think it’s a secret to my readers, my vocational calling is one where I serve as the President of Impact Campus Ministries. At ICM, we believe in the work of campus ministry because we believe that if we can impact the university campus, we can impact the world. We truly believe that tomorrow’s great leaders are studying on campuses all over this country; we believe there are students here that will be called to all kinds of international destinations and jobs to make an impact in their particular contexts. In fact, the largest growing demographic of students is the international student — what better chance to impact the world on the global scale than to shape tomorrow’s leaders on today’s campuses?
Here is a video we made that talks about all of that:
One of the reasons I love ICM so much is because of the culture and the vision of our organization. Some of that culture was built into Impact from its earliest years of ministry. Amazing people like Dean Trune planted a counter-intuitive belief in ICM that true success is developing intimacy with God. I love working for an organization that runs against the current of mainstream thought — thought that believes all we need is a little more hard work — and says that true success is a fruitfulness that comes from what God wants to do through us. And maybe it has to be “caught not taught,” but just listen to this definition of success that was written long before I ever worked for ICM:
Success is developing intimacy with God and community with each other through a living relationship with Jesus. We believe an individual, who is developing intimacy with God, in the context of Christian community, will make an impact for the Kingdom of God.

A team of individuals, who make an impact for the Kingdom of God, will have a fruitful ministry. Though we do not aim for “making an impact,” and we do not aim for “fruitful ministries,” we recognize that these two situations will supernaturally occur when individuals develop intimacy with God in Christian community.

Ministry is the product of our love for God, and an expression of a heart devoted to God. We must not allow “ministry for God” to crowd “intimacy with God” out of our lives. We cannot control “making an impact,” and we cannot control “fruitful ministries,” but we have absolute control over developing intimacy with God and being devoted to one another.
I love that!
Out of this core belief, those who came after Dean and before me created a mission that still excites me. We exist to pursue, model, and teach intimacy with God in Christian community on the American university campus. Out of this mission statement we built a “common language” that we believe, over time, helps foster a culture to make ICM great. ICM is indebted to the leadership of Bill Westfall for this guidance.
We created eight core terms we use to talk about the discipleship process; we also have a list of six values on which we build our organization. We wanted to have shared definitions of what these words mean to us as an organization because we believe words are powerful. We created short definitions for disciple and discipleship. We found it to be very beneficial to identify exactly what pursue, model, and teach mean as ideas. And we also decided it would be helpful to expound on the importance of message, mode, and milieu. All of this is built upon the foundation of our values: passion [for God], community, character, excellence, [the local] church, and compassion.
Now, it’s important for me to state that this is simply our culture at ICM. This is not some seminar on success or how you can follow our formula to greatness. We don’t travel around the country putting on conferences about these terms and why they’re so great — “and you can do it too!” In fact, the mentality of ICM runs against this big box, perform-and-impress idea about church.
No, this is simply a conversation that means a lot to us. To be honest, I’ll be using this third week to write about these ideas for my staff and those connected to our organization. If Dean Trune instilled a definition of success — the spirit and DNA of ICM — and if Bill Westfall helped create a vision and mission for the future, then my job is to help us take ground and continue becoming the organization these great leaders dreamed about. And that means we need to keep talking about these ideas and pushing into them. Every day, every year — moving forward.
But these conversations are not something we want to keep secret. We want to share them with you. I will be posting a monthly article on one of our core terms and casting a little vision of what it looks like to pursue these ideas. If they bless you and help you in some way, we are excited and thrilled to be a part of what God wants to do in your life. If they don’t, that’s fine too. We have no plans for world domination.
So for the third week of every month, I invite you into the conversation of Making an Impact.

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MY BLOG IN 2018: Week Two

I have been wanting to take some time each month this fall to share with you a little bit of what to expect on my blog in the coming year. Starting in January, I will begin a weekly rotation of blog themes that will drive the conversation in 2018. In the last post, I spoke of how I will be taking the first week of each month to share the Top 12 Blog Posts of Covered in His Dust. We’ll look back and see what posts have been used the most and I’ll enjoy speculating as to why they are the favorites.
The second week of my rotation will be dedicated to a series I’m going to call “A Day in the Life,” and it should be a collection of different things I do in my job each day. For many of my supporters, they have commented on how nice it’s been to see updates and the occasional video where they get to see what I do secondhand. It’s just one more way we can make our world a little smaller and I can invite you to see what it’s like to be a campus minister and/or President of Impact Campus Ministries.
Some examples of this might be the work I do with students or showing you some of the groups I teach here on the Palouse. I might do a post on discipleship and “take you on a walk” with one of my disciples. I might show you a meeting or two, such as those with the staff of ICM. I might introduce you to some of the staff at Real Life on the Palouse and talk about my partnership with the church there. And maybe I’ll even do a post on what I enjoy doing with my free time. There are so many things to invite you into!
None of these posts will be designed to be instructive or profound in any way — they’re just a fun trip into my day-to-day life where you get to see a little bit of things from my perspective. Of course, I’m sure there will be some cameo appearances from my family (they are who everyone really wants to see, I know) and we’ll have some fun.
So I look forward to inviting you into my life next year as we explore “A Day in the Life.”

More

MY BLOG IN 2018: Week Two

I have been wanting to take some time each month this fall to share with you a little bit of what to expect on my blog in the coming year. Starting in January, I will begin a weekly rotation of blog themes that will drive the conversation in 2018. In the last post, I spoke of how I will be taking the first week of each month to share the Top 12 Blog Posts of Covered in His Dust. We’ll look back and see what posts have been used the most and I’ll enjoy speculating as to why they are the favorites.
The second week of my rotation will be dedicated to a series I’m going to call “A Day in the Life,” and it should be a collection of different things I do in my job each day. For many of my supporters, they have commented on how nice it’s been to see updates and the occasional video where they get to see what I do secondhand. It’s just one more way we can make our world a little smaller and I can invite you to see what it’s like to be a campus minister and/or President of Impact Campus Ministries.
Some examples of this might be the work I do with students or showing you some of the groups I teach here on the Palouse. I might do a post on discipleship and “take you on a walk” with one of my disciples. I might show you a meeting or two, such as those with the staff of ICM. I might introduce you to some of the staff at Real Life on the Palouse and talk about my partnership with the church there. And maybe I’ll even do a post on what I enjoy doing with my free time. There are so many things to invite you into!
None of these posts will be designed to be instructive or profound in any way — they’re just a fun trip into my day-to-day life where you get to see a little bit of things from my perspective. Of course, I’m sure there will be some cameo appearances from my family (they are who everyone really wants to see, I know) and we’ll have some fun.
So I look forward to inviting you into my life next year as we explore “A Day in the Life.”

More

MY BLOG IN 2018: Week One

So after four and a half years of blogging through the Text (and Church History), many people have asked me, “What’s next?” Luckily I work alongside some pretty great people here at Impact Campus Ministries. They helped me take my decent ideas and make them into great ones. If you are a reader of my blog, I want to introduce you to the ideas for what’s coming in 2018.
What about before 2018? A well-deserved break from my online voice. I will be posting once a month to give you a glimpse of what is on the way.
For every month of 2018, I will be working with a four-week rotation. There will be one post each week on the rotating topic that is up, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
For the first week of each month, I want to take a look at the top twelve posts from my blog. I will be linking to those posts and having a fun conversation around why I think that post has resonated more (or been Googled more) than the others. It should be an enjoyable time of looking back, enjoying some of the best conversations we have had since 2013, and keeping those posts alive for future conversations.
Some have asked if I’ll be taking down those old posts. The answer is no way! I worked hard on putting all of that content out there and I did it because I believe those things should be accessible to all people. Like I’ve said in the ‘my sources’ section of this blog, I am certainly not the authority on these issues for anyone needing a quote; but I have given my life to reading the sources that should be quoted and I love to repackage the things I learn and share them with other people. I did this so anybody can access my thoughts on “this book (of the Bible)” or “that passage” whenever they want.
The reason God put me here on this earth is to be a teacher — that is my gift set. Part of my job is to help the college students I work with begin to discern what their own gift sets are. As we spoke of in David and Goliath, we all have a stone to throw and it’s important that people know what it is. Once you do know what it is, you have a reason to get up every morning and be determined about what God has called you to do. It’s that determination that won’t let anything get in the way of that calling; and living according to that God-given design is where you find your identity and fulfillment.
Simply put, teaching is the thing I could do for all eternity — it’s my stone to throw. I have been unbelievably blessed to have found places where I get to do that every day. Whether it’s having the opportunity to lead others through history in Israel and Turkey, preaching on Sunday mornings with the community of faith I belong to, or creating my podcast with Brent Billings and the work of BEMA DiscipleshipI love, love, love to do what I do!
And as a teacher, over the years, I have created a body of work I am able to share in all those forms. Years ago, I sought to put a large part of that body of work online on my blog. Now it is all there in a form that can be (somewhat) easily navigated. My blog started in February 2013 and you can find the first post of that series here. You can then follow those posts chronologically or quickly navigate the series by using the archives in the right side bar to find the post you’re looking for.
I found that when I wrapped up the series this summer, it had been more of an emotional journey than I realized. This wasn’t in a taxing way, but I had poured so much of myself — my heart, my mind, and my body — into this project. I am lucky that I haven’t had to answer for all sorts of criticism and attacks about the things I’ve written (maybe that means I didn’t push hard enough?) and I love that I get to share it with all of you.
So I look forward to 2018. In the first week of every month, I will be counting down the twelve most-viewed blog posts on Covered in His Dust.

More

MY BLOG IN 2018: Week One

So after four and a half years of blogging through the Text (and Church History), many people have asked me, “What’s next?” Luckily I work alongside some pretty great people here at Impact Campus Ministries. They helped me take my decent ideas and make them into great ones. If you are a reader of my blog, I want to introduce you to the ideas for what’s coming in 2018.
What about before 2018? A well-deserved break from my online voice. I will be posting once a month to give you a glimpse of what is on the way.
For every month of 2018, I will be working with a four-week rotation. There will be one post each week on the rotating topic that is up, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
For the first week of each month, I want to take a look at the top twelve posts from my blog. I will be linking to those posts and having a fun conversation around why I think that post has resonated more (or been Googled more) than the others. It should be an enjoyable time of looking back, enjoying some of the best conversations we have had since 2013, and keeping those posts alive for future conversations.
Some have asked if I’ll be taking down those old posts. The answer is no way! I worked hard on putting all of that content out there and I did it because I believe those things should be accessible to all people. Like I’ve said in the ‘my sources’ section of this blog, I am certainly not the authority on these issues for anyone needing a quote; but I have given my life to reading the sources that should be quoted and I love to repackage the things I learn and share them with other people. I did this so anybody can access my thoughts on “this book (of the Bible)” or “that passage” whenever they want.
The reason God put me here on this earth is to be a teacher — that is my gift set. Part of my job is to help the college students I work with begin to discern what their own gift sets are. As we spoke of in David and Goliath, we all have a stone to throw and it’s important that people know what it is. Once you do know what it is, you have a reason to get up every morning and be determined about what God has called you to do. It’s that determination that won’t let anything get in the way of that calling; and living according to that God-given design is where you find your identity and fulfillment.
Simply put, teaching is the thing I could do for all eternity — it’s my stone to throw. I have been unbelievably blessed to have found places where I get to do that every day. Whether it’s having the opportunity to lead others through history in Israel and Turkey, preaching on Sunday mornings with the community of faith I belong to, or creating my podcast with Brent Billings and the work of BEMA DiscipleshipI love, love, love to do what I do!
And as a teacher, over the years, I have created a body of work I am able to share in all those forms. Years ago, I sought to put a large part of that body of work online on my blog. Now it is all there in a form that can be (somewhat) easily navigated. My blog started in February 2013 and you can find the first post of that series here. You can then follow those posts chronologically or quickly navigate the series by using the archives in the right side bar to find the post you’re looking for.
I found that when I wrapped up the series this summer, it had been more of an emotional journey than I realized. This wasn’t in a taxing way, but I had poured so much of myself — my heart, my mind, and my body — into this project. I am lucky that I haven’t had to answer for all sorts of criticism and attacks about the things I’ve written (maybe that means I didn’t push hard enough?) and I love that I get to share it with all of you.
So I look forward to 2018. In the first week of every month, I will be counting down the twelve most-viewed blog posts on Covered in His Dust.

More

Impact Fall Retreat at Camp Lutherhaven Sept. 15-17th

Join us for a great weekend in one of God’s most beautiful creations. Before school gets too crazy get away from it all with us at Camp Lutherhaven on Lake Couer d’Alene. We will be experiencing God through his creation and community. We will be enjoying the lake through swimming, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. […] More