Over a month has passed since students returned to campus. So much energy goes into planning the first few weeks of the fall semester, and now, after months of anticipation, these weeks have come and gone.
This initial season, which I call “Fall Outreach,” kicked off on August 19th with Move-In Day, and concluded last Thursday with the Fall RSO (Registered Student Organization) Fair.
This year our Fall Outreach consisted of...
• Move-In Day (Aug. 19th)
• Hendrix Religious Life Fair (Aug. 21st)
• Conway Daze @ UCA (Aug. 22nd)
• Pulse Cookout (Aug. 24th)
• RSO Fair (Sept. 20th)
During this time we passed out hundreds of fliers, made dozens of new connections, and had lots of fun along the way – God has truly been good to us!
Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks:
Conway Daze & Pulse Cookout. Conway Daze is our first real chance to connect with students. We passed out over 200 fliers, and got contact information from two dozen students. A few days later we hosted a cookout on campus. Faces both new and old made for a fun night!
Pulse On Campus. We launched our on-campus gathering Thursday, Aug. 30th. Nearly 90% of UCA freshman live on campus. Students live, work, and study on campus. For many, going off-campus can be inconvenient or difficult. By moving our weekly meeting onto campus, we remove this barrier. We pray that this step will help us reach more students than ever before.
Back to School Blessing. Wednesday, Sept. 5th a few of our students attended the Back to School Blessing at University Church. Fellow Christians gathered around our students and prayed for God’s continued blessing in their lives. It’s a blessing to have such a loving and committed church family.
Fall RSO Fair. We had one more opportunity to meet students en masse this year. The event led to several good conversations. A few of our students stopped by between classes to help out.
Sundays at University Church (pictured: students praying together during a prayer service on Sunday, Sept. 23rd). Each Sunday we meet for Bible study and worship at UCC. This semester two of our sophomore students will be leading us in a study of Jefferson Bethke’s It’s Not What You Think. Pray for these students, that God will use this new leadership role to draw them closer to him.
As we look towards the rest of the semester, here are some things to pray for:
Freshmen Connections. This is crucial. One of the goals of Fall Outreach every year is to build a strong freshmen class. Cole Penick, a campus minister in Fayetteville, writes here about the importance of reaching freshmen each year. Though we’ve already formed friendships with some amazing first-year students, we can always meet more. Pray that God would lead us to more freshmen students whom we can bless.
Sophomores. A prayer of thanks: we entered this year with 6 sophomores. Almost overnight our sophomore class doubled in size. We want to thank God for these new students. We also want to pray for our returning sophomores, that God would continue to empower them as they grow and lead.
Service. This semester we want to challenge our students to dive deeper into service. Whether service to our church, on campus, or to the Conway community, service to others is a vital part of faith development. Pray that God will give our students hearts of service and provide them with numerous opportunities to reach out and serve.
Fall Retreat. Next month (Oct. 5-7) is our Fall Retreat! We’re partnering with Lions for Christ at UAFS for this event. Pray that the weekend is a powerful time of growth and deepening relationships.
Look for another update following the retreat. Until then, may God bless you, and thank you for your prayers!