Man, this last week was a doozy.
As evidence of that: For the first time in a long time, I ended up skipping two whole days on this blog (without really planning to). In my defense, however, I’d like to note that I…
- spent seven days in another country
- endured two red-eye flights
- and posted thirty-three times on our official trip blog
So regardless of your stance, I think I can cut myself a little slack!
This trip was actually phenomenal, and I’m so thankful for all of it – from the out-of-the-blue blessing of being asked to tag along as the “blogger-in-residence,” to the amazing chances to learn, connect, minister, and grow. So here’s my humble attempt to recap the adventure that was the Brazil Missional Trek.
Besides the blogs I posted while there (which are linked above), you can also read the blogs that discuss the trip – or applications of what I learned – right here. (This includes a few blogs I’ve written since the trip!)
international college ministry: my first true exploration
As I’ve mentioned before (and even point out in my book), I know very little about non-U.S. college ministry. I have indeed met some / learned from some Canadian college ministers, but otherwise it would be incredibly arrogant to assume that a little word-of-mouth and a few experiences make me able to generalize.
Certainly, I am hardly more of an “expert” now. But it was still great to get to spend my very first in-depth exploration of college ministry in a foreign country. Most notable was the early recognition that at least in São Paulo (and, perhaps in much of Brazil), college students function far more like “young adults” than “collegians.” It was neat to see that several college ministers on the trip realized that important distinction, too, for our work here in the States.
“missional” primer (& immersion)
It’s harder to think of a better situation for learning the basics of “missional” theology and practice than to sit at the feet of the internationally acclaimed Michael Frost. Except perhaps to have the chance immediately to apply what you’re learning. Or perhaps to have those experiences on the heels of learning basics of “missional” from Frost’s former co-author, the also-internationally-acclaimed (and also-Australian) Alan Hirsch, at the Verge Conference in Austin.
It has indeed been quite the semester for me to learn about “missional” and its connection to college ministry. Frost was incredibly complementary throughout his talks to us, both implicitly and explicitly discussing the missional distinctives that college ministry already has – and how much we (as college ministers) have to offer the greater American church on this topic. So that was encouraging… but I also certainly had several chances to think about ways in which we can continue to learn from missional discussions to be all the more impactful on our campuses!
Look for me to write more (maybe much more) about this in the coming weeks… I’m intrigued! (Find any of those later posts here.)
One such post is my list of the 15 things Michael Frost said about college ministry.
seeing basic, effective practices
It was quite the joy to see Zoe Church, a student / young adult church, truly reaching the enormous city of São Paulo. It was also a joy to get to participate in that impact, and even to see God bring obvious, immediate fruit. You can read about all of that on the Planting Brazil blog I kept for our team, friends back home, and others interested in our experiences and learnings!
But I do want to add that it was simply a blessing to be forced to think in the particular. I hope I have many more opportunities to spend time simply “being with” college ministries, both in the United States and abroad. Certainly, some of these times may involve me helping that ministry to think and thrive. But other times I simply may have the chance to tag along. In either case, it’s good for me to think about one ministry rather than all ministries. (And fortunately, I do get to do that as I volunteer in my home church, too.)
I’m finding myself pondering what we did and the fruit we saw in São Paulo – even more, perhaps, than I would have expected to ponder. That’s good for me. You’ll probably see thoughts about that on the blog in days to come, too.
and the rest
By way of sharing my life a bit, I want to add that I was pretty excited with the way things went in keeping our Official Blog for the trip. I had prayed – and asked many others to pray – that I would do a good job for the International Mission Board (the sponsors of the trip). And while I know there are things I can do better in any future opportunities like that, it was neat to see yet another chance (like the one for Chi Alpha last semester) to use writing to support collegiate ministry.
I even enjoyed my time blogging in a new sort of way, even being energized by the effort involved in spending hours each day and often staying up ’til 2am or later. I think I kinda liked it. Which is kinda weird.
So that’s an answered prayer, for sure.
If you are interested in more, I encourage you to check out the Planting Brazil blog. You don’t need to read everything; in fact, if you’d like to jump directly to the categories, here you go:
- Observations for College Ministry
- Opportunities for involvement in collegiate missions
- Teaching notes (pretty detailed notes, mostly from Michael Frost’s four messages)
- Experiences & testimonies
- The ministry work and field in São Paulo (including my visits to four campuses)
- Other updates
I want to thank y’all for reading, thank you for praying, and thank you for your support. Y’all are the best, and it’s good to be home.