Two weeks ago, 300 disciples gathered in Lawrence, Kansas for STAND 2018 – a fall retreat for the Midwest and Heartland campus ministries. Students from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa road-tripped from the Midwest to be together with the brothers and sisters from the Heartland. The opening session was filled with inspirational singing, dancing, fellowship, prayer, and preaching. Tanner Versage (Chicago, IL) preached a lesson entitled “Stand Up” calling us all to get out of the seat of comfort and make a stand for the Kingdom of God. Later that night, a young woman from Kansas City declared Jesus as Lord and was baptized into Christ!
Saturday morning started with Willie and Katie O’Quinn (Lawrence, KS) leading a split session for the men and women. They called the men and women to pursue integrity and self-control in the internal and every day aspects of life. Managing and overcoming moods, making the bed in the morning, unloading the dishwasher, and similar decisions will build character and have implications about how we will deal with larger things in life. Janus Abello (Columbia, MO) & Jaren Singh (Milwaukee, WI) taught breakout classes on “Standing on the Word” & “Standing on Prayer.” The students left inspired to engage God through deep, meaningful, and continual conversation. Maurice Charles (Chicago, IL) preached a lesson entitled “Stand Firm” calling us to consider what it is going to require from us to stand firm until the end. Jesus warned, “the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” The retreat concluded on Sunday morning with a joint worship service with the Free State Church and the Kansas City Church. Kevin Høecke preached an inspiring message about “Standing Out.” When we are willing to stand alone and take stands time and again, we stand out for God in the world. It had been a decade since these two regions had a joint campus retreat. We are grateful to have a partnership with the brothers and sisters in the Heartland and we look forward to how God will continue to knit us together to build unity in the church and spread the message of the kingdom.
The week before the semester started over 100 student leaders from around the Midwest gathered in Milwaukee, WI to prepare their minds for the work that lay ahead. Coming off of the ICMC the zeal was tangible, dreams were alive, and the fellowship was deep. Lessons were taught about entitlement, living a life of worship, taking ownership, having crucial discipling conversations, and dreaming big for the impact God can have through us. Since then, there have been campaigns, special events, outreach, campus midweeks, women’s Bible talks, Friday devotionals, retreats, and camping trips. And from these kinds of events hundreds of people have studied the Bible! The Midwest started the semester with 352 disciples on campus and since the ICMC there have been 21 disciples added to our number. Pray for us as we continue to pull in the harvest in the remaining months of the year. We are striving to build a culture in which every disciple is actively involved in winning souls. Pray for us as we work toward the goal of helping 100+ people come to salvation this school year.