This week at the blog, just over six months since close to 16,000 of us gathered in St. Louis, we’re telling stories from Urbana 12. How did God speak there? What has he done in these past six months? What have you learned? How are you different?
The stories we’re sharing offer a range of experiences—both hard struggles and deep joy. We hope they encourage you to reflect on your own Urbana experience, and to continue to tell others the story of God’s work in you.
“God’s doin’ it!” is what a good friend of mine would say.
A little over six months ago, I was sitting in a track at Urbana listening to amazing stories of how “God’s doin’ it” on campuses across the U.S. Person after person got up and shared how they had taken a risk and started something new for God’s kingdom.
One story in particular, shared by a campus staff member from Texas, really influenced me. The staff worker spoke about starting a new Bible study for Southeast Asian students. Thanks to God’s work in answering their “crazy” prayers (radical prayers for God’s kingdom to come that can only be fulfilled by God’s power) and to perseverance, the study had over 50 members at the end of the year after starting with just a few friends.
What impressed me the most about these trailblazing stories were the ways God had worked in each instance—by answering “crazy” prayers, for example, or developing spiritual relationships between people and groups that would seemingly want nothing to do with each other. I remember being in awe as I listened but also feeling a little bit envious, since I wasn’t seeing these kinds of things happen in my life.
At the end of the week, the leaders of my track challenged each of us to start something new for God back on our own campuses. Instantly, I knew what God was calling me to do.
The Missing Men
Ever since I’d come to college and joined Lehigh’s InterVarsity chapter, I’d noticed that men were missing in the fellowship. Having grown up in a house with four boys, male bonding was something that I greatly valued in my life. I felt a strong need for a men’s group to help build the male presence in the fellowship and create a place for guys to develop into the men God has created them to be.
Fear of inadequacy and of the unknowns in starting something new, however, kept me from taking action. Even when I joined our fellowship’s leadership team, I continued to ignore God’s calling for me. But after hearing all the encouraging stories at Urbana and being reminded that it’s not me but God who makes things happen, I was inspired to start something new.
A Brunch Is Born
Coming back to campus from winter break, I was anxious to see what God was going to do with this new idea. After a few meetings with my staff worker and a lot of “crazy” prayer, encouragement, and support from friends, a men’s brunch was born on campus.
Each week, a group of about 10 to 12 guys gathered over brunch to listen to an older male Christian role model share his wisdom on what the Bible calls Christian men to be. During the meetings, we wrestled individually and as a group with tough topics such as not conforming to the world, living our lives unashamed for Jesus, and stepping up and taking responsibility in our fellowship.
What God Did
Once the craziness of the semester was over and I had a chance to reflect on what God did through the group, I was overwhelmed. I saw men in the fellowship grow in their faith and challenge themselves to make their relationship with Christ more than just words—to actually reflect their faith in how they live their lives.
God answered our “crazy” prayers for our fellowship too. We knew that at the end of this past semester we would only have two male leaders, so one of our prayers was that God would raise up new male leaders from this group. Because of God’s work, we now have three new men joining our leadership team this fall!
What was most overwhelming was that God did much more than we ever prayed for. Our entire fellowship was strengthened as we gathered around a common vision. We were all asking God to bring more men to the fellowship. And people sacrificed and served to supply food each week to help the men’s brunch be a success. This excitement and vision even led to men stepping up and joining all the small groups on campus. In just one semester, we went from a fellowship that was 30 percent male and 70 percent female to 45 percent male and 55 percent female while still growing as a whole!
God is definitely “doin’ it” on our Lehigh campus. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us next semster!
Tyler Trephan is a senior studying computer science and engineering at Lehigh University. He is always learning to drop his pride and act unashamed for Christ! Later this summer, Tyler will be part of an InterVarsity Global Project, which he also discovered at Urbana 12.
What did God call you to start at Urbana 12? Tell us your story by commenting below!