As I’m sure you’ve already reached “notification fatigue” from every other website, organization, company, and friend regarding this current pandemic, I’ll try to keep this note as brief as possible. (Knowing me, “brief” might not be an appropriate word!)
This is a wild time to work for a campus ministry. I know most missionaries, pastors, and other ministry leaders are all scrambling right now along side me. Here at CNU, life went from totally normal to mandatory evacuation in less than four days. My boss, co-intern, and I are now faced with the challenge of continuing a ministry work so deeply reliant on face-to-face communication and in-person interaction when our students are now dispersed across the country. A part of me is thrilled with this new challenge; we’re forced to think creatively with serious restraints. Few things in life charge me up like problem-solving. At the same time, I’m heartbroken for everything that’s been lost and anxious to see what else will be lost in the coming months.
What does this mean for my work with RUF and Take Note Of This? Right now, it means I get to combine the two. RUF at CNU refuses to let COVID-19 kill all of the momentum we’ve built this past year. One of the founding presuppositions of Reformed University Fellowship is that God is at work, at all times and in all places. If He is, we are too. Therefore, we are making every effort to shift to an entirely virtual ministry model. All of our avenues of ministry—large group meetings, small group meetings, and 1-1’s—will continue through various online services. One-on-one meetings are easy enough with FaceTime and phone calls. Small groups and large group have posed a greater challenge, but I feel we’ve come up with an effective solution.
For the rest of this semester, RUF at CNU will be live-streaming our weekly worship service every Wednesday night at 7:30pm EST. Additionally, our weekly Bible study on the life of King David will also be live-streamed every Monday night at 8pm EST. Streams will be hosted on YouTube through our “RUF at CNU” YouTube page. I’ll be sharing recordings of those streams to takenoteofthis.org so that my readers can participate with us. I also hope to share some of my content from TNOT with my RUF students—both old posts, and new content I’m currently working on.
It’s far from ideal, but here’s why I’m excited about this option.
First, it powerfully reaches a few different audiences. Our core students get to tune into a live worship service while they chat with us and each other. It’s at least one thing that’s remained a constant in their weekly schedule, and though it’s no replacement for seeing people in person, they’re still able to come together, see familiar names, and worship our great God with their friends. For students who aren’t in the core of our group, a livestream is a painless, anonymous way to get to know us and see what we’re about. It can be intimidating to walk through the doors and meet a crowd of strangers on a usual Wednesday night. Now, it’s as easy as clicking a URL we post on social media. For other Christians on campus whose campus ministries aren’t continuing their events, we want to open up RUF as a common ground where communal faith can continue. And finally, live-streaming our events opens them up to literally anyone who’d be interested to watch them. All of my friends and family who have faithfully supported me these last two years can finally get an inside glimpse at my work. Anyone who’s sorely missing their own small group or Bible study can find us on YouTube and follow along in our series. In an ironic twist, our work now has a further potential reach than ever before.
Second, it gives me a chance to learn and grow in areas I’m passionate about. My internship with RUF is quickly nearing its end. I’ve put a great deal of thought and prayer into what comes next for me. I know that I want to continue my work in ministry. I am passionate about multimedia content creation. I would love to help bridge the gap between Christian content creation and the world’s best online platforms for delivering such content. I’ve long been interested in expanding Take Note Of This into the world of podcasting and live-streaming. Now I’m forced to explore that area of interest.
Take Note Of This is more so a passion project than a potential source of income. Up until COVID-19’s global outbreak, TNOT was only tangentially related to my work with RUF. I’d occasionally convert a Bible study lesson or sermon into an article I could post on my website, but other than that, there was little to no overlap. Now, I’m using all of the tools, services, and skills I’ve gained from TNOT to run all of RUF at CNU’s virtual production. I feel God has uniquely prepared me for the work I’m doing now, and feel both humbled and grateful.
Virtual ministry is in no way a replacement for RUF’s normal ministry model. I’m grieving the loss of in-person fellowship. I want my students back, I long for the world to be healed, and I weep for those who will lose livelihoods and loved ones. Yet, I can rest in the knowledge that God is still at work. His will is still being done, His kingdom is still coming. As we follow the directions of our governments and doctors, I’m thankful for the ways we can continue to do ministry. My work is far from done for the year. I’ll help maintain RUF Virtual at CNU through the end of my employment on May 31. After that, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I was in the middle of touring seminaries and exploring potential job ideas when everything hit. This is a rather poor time to not know where I’ll live and work and potentially study in three months. Please keep me in your prayers and feel free to reach out with words of encouragement, suggestions, or potential employment opportunities.
Whatever happens, I’ll continue to write and pray and think and occasionally publish something to this website. Thank you for your continued support and engagement!
“May God bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you
And give you peace.”
Stay safe and wash your hands!