I am currently in Fort Collins, Colorado on the campus of Colorado State University (CSU) at the 2009 U.S. Staff Conference for Campus Crusade for Christ. The conference, which is held every two years, is a refreshing time for nearly 5,000 staff from throughout the U.S. to come together for worship, prayer, equipping, training and solid Bible teaching.
Today is a day off for us with no scheduled sessions or seminars and I'm enjoying the opportunity to catch my breath (both literally and figuratively in this high altitude) before the last few days of the conference. Here are some highlights so far:
* The opportunity to get some quality, uninterrupted time with Lori since our parents graciously agreed to watch our children while we're out here.
* Witnessing the progress that Campus Crusade is making in effectively reaching out to ethnic minority communities within the U.S. The make-up of our new staff, the stories we hear from up-front and the seminars offered indicate a greater intentionality in this area. There's still a lot of work to do but the growth is encouraging.
* Hearing from Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, on the gospel. His understanding of the "good news" is a challenge to us all.
* Seeing that Mrs. Vonette Bright, co-founder of CCC and the wife of the late Bill Bright, still has a lot of spunk even after almost sixty years of ministry.
* Listening to Mark Charles, a Native American from the Navajo tribe, explain how culture affects our understanding of God and each other and the need for contextualized ministry.
* The chance to have dinner with Jim Lundgren, a Senior Vice President with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a partner ministry also seeking to reach the next generation of leaders for Jesus.
* Having lunch with Campus Crusade leaders from across the U.S. that lead partnerships throughout the continent of Africa.
* Helping to lead a session for CCC Campus Ministry staff hoping to become better equipped to reach the students of African descent on their campuses.
* Getting to interact with missionaries that have been in God's service for decades. For example, Lori and I were able to talk with Tom Fritz at breakfast this morning. Tom is a Vietnam Veteran who has been on our staff for close to four decades and was the founder of The Impact Movement. We talked about how to use modern technology in order to engage in evangelism more effectively.
* Chatting with David and Lourdes Merriman, friends of ours from our days in Ohio, who we challenged to join our staff. The Merrimans now lead CCC's Military Ministry in San Antonio and reach thousands of soldiers for Christ every month.
* Seeing six new Impact staff members join our ministry this summer.
Overall, our time at CSU always involves fun times with old friends, the chance to make new friends, be reminded of our calling in ministry and to learn about some of the things that God is doing throughout the world. You can learn more about Campus Crusade for Christ here.