Author: Maddie Phenix

Making the Most of Your Christmas Break // College Edition

College students, you made it through finals and are finally rewarded with a much deserved break! Believe it or not, Christmas break is a critical time for you personally in your walk with God. The holiday season is more than a reprieve from school, finals and dorm life. It is more than a time to catch up on sleep, spend extended time with family and get a bunch of gifts.


God has done a lot in you, through you and around you this past semester, and He desires for the seeds of faith, hope, life, freedom, breakthrough and revelation to continue to bear fruit and send you into the year of 2018 with strength and power.

However, there is one who stands in direct opposition to God’s desire and design, and that enemy is the accuser himself, the Devil. Satan seeks to shift your gear from a drive and direction toward God into neutral so you reverse to old patterns, behaviors and temptations. This break, you have the choice to take ground in Jesus or to lose ground to the enemy. “Greater is He who is in you than any power that is in this world” (1 John 4:4). I am confident that this Christmas break, you will be those that do not shrink back but those that press in and take ground.


  • Lean into Jesus and community // Jesus said it best when He reminded His disciples in John 15:5, “for apart from me you can do nothing.” You and I both need consistent and powerful personal connections with Jesus to stay strong in faith, full of hope and capable to fight temptations and serve others. We cannot take ground if we are not grounded in truth every morning. Make it a priority to start each day with set aside time to dive into the Word, set your gaze on Jesus in worship and dialogue with God through prayer. Not only is it essential for us to lean into Jesus, but we also need to lean into community while we are home for the holidays. When you feel weak, isolated, discouraged or tempted, reach out to your community by text or phone calls to strengthen you through prayer and encouragement. As you have learned this semester, light exposes darkness. We will lose ground if we keep sin in the dark from people. This Christmas, be sure to lean in and take ground.
  • Be intentional to serve // “Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord (Romans 12:11)”. Taking initiative to serve your parents, siblings, neighbors, and others around you will accelerate your hunger for God and allow the revelations you have gained to take root in your heart. Don’t expect revival and restoration in your family if you are not willing to roll up your sleeves and serve your mom and dad, brother and sister. Make a list of two to three ways you could show kindness to your family by serving. Beat your mom to the dishes, do not allow your dad to have to take out the trash, volunteer to be the taxi driver to your younger siblings. Your family will listen to your words as you display your heart with your actions. This Christmas, roll up your sleeves and take some ground.
  • Tackle temptations // “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).” I am sure the sins of your past and schemes of the devil are already crouching at your door (Genesis 4:7-8). Since the beginning, the devil has sought to tempt, distract and disillusion God-lovers from the truth. Decide today that you will not give way to his schemes. Our College Pastor Carl Gulley called these temptations, CORNERS, in his sermon on the, “young man lacking sense” from Proverbs. I encourage you to daily put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6), identify your corners (apathy, ex-boyfriend, binge-TV, pornography, masturbation, slanderous speech, jealousy, etc…) and distance yourself from them. This Christmas, choose to take ground and not return to past corners.

You can do it! This is going to be a transformative Christmas break for you as you seek to lean into Jesus and others, be intentional to serve and tackle temptations. Three to four weeks at home can be daunting for some of you. However, if you try and WIN your first three days by taking these steps, I have faith you will return to school refreshed, refueled and strengthened for all that 2018 has for you! Stay LIT this Christmas:  lean into Jesus, be intentional to serve and tackle temptation. We believe in you!

By Maddie Phenix – Associate College Pastor

New Normals and New Chapter: Embracing the Transition as a Graduating Senior

YOU DID IT! Four (maybe five ) years of essays, all-nighters, functions, dining halls, loud neighbors, messy roommates, tailgates, intramural games, finals week, and moments, memories and friendships that will last you a life time. There is truly nothing like college – a window of your life that shaped you, formed, you and prepared you for a new chapter and next season that God is thrilled to meet you in!

Believe it or not, but the best is yet to come for you college grads!

Your latter years have the potential and intention to be better than your former years. However, the way in which you approach and embrace this next phase as a young adult will have massive implications on your future.

You were made to thrive, advance and enjoy the transition that beckons you as you receive your diploma and step into adulthood.

You are ready, and God is excited to build into you more of Himself and His mission. The learning continues, the classroom just looks a little different than your last bio-chemistry lab. As your college chapter closes and this next chapter opens, you will experience a series of new normals that can do one of two things for you: they can derail you from God and His direction or they can deepen you – causing you to carry God’s heart and mission at a level yet to be experienced in your college years.

My encouragement is for you to choose the path that leads to depth in God and his mission to others.

How do you embrace the transition? What are the “new normals” and can they be anticipated? I want to give you a couple insights that could set you up to succeed in writing a great introductory paragraph to this new chapter of your life.

Your New Normals:
  • New Normal #1: Rhythms change BUT relationships do not have to! During your college years, you had tremendous flexibility with your time and schedule, in this next phase, your day-to-day life will most likely be dictated by a 9 to 5 full-time job. This will be an adjustment but does not have to be destructive to your relationships. As schedules change, your time narrows, inviting you into more of a tight-knit network where intentionality is a necessity. DO NOT check out of community – you need it.
    Community is not a college-thing, it is a Kingdom thing.

    Decide today to knit into a mission-minded, life-giving community. Relationships narrow but are not eliminated. Prioritize your people, just make sure they are people you want to imitate and emulate.


  • New Normal #2: Change is coming, but you can remain stable. CHANGE: a word that is loved by some and hated by others. You do not have to fear the changes that are about to happen: you will not see all your best friends every day, you can’t skip work like you skipped class, responsibility will be weighty, budgeting is a real word, curfews could be helpful and FOMO (fear of missing out) takes on a new spin. YOU CAN REMAIN STABLE.
    Keep the main thing, the main thing.

    Just like in college, you need consistent time with God, you need to pattern your life after the Kingdom values you learned the past four years. You might not have all the same structures you had in college, but prayer and fasting are still important, sharing your faith is biblical, confessing sin is essential and investing into others is a non-negotiable. Keep the main thing the main thing as changes come in waves.

You were made to transition and to do it well. You are prepped and ready – the world needs to be shaped by disciples like you. Live offensively, not defensively – God is with you and is eager to meet at every new normal – go deeper and go get’em!

By Maddie Phenix – Associate College Pastor

maddie fenix


Three Ways to Make It After College

For some the transition from the college life to the young adult world might be anticipated and for others, it might be dreaded. Wherever you land on the spectrum of excitement or fear, we want to do all that we can to prepare and equip you to make the transition with ease! Below are three ways you can peacefully evolve from a college student into a young adult:

1. Stay Plugged In! The past four years, you have probably built amazing relationships through church, Lifegroup, and in discipleship. You were created for relationships.

Your web of friendships will look and feel different in this next phase of life, but that does not excuse you from checking out of a consistent commitment to a local church, a close-knit community and life-on-life discipleship.

If you are leaving Waco, start researching churches in the city that you are moving to now so you can get knit into to a local body immediately. If you are staying in Waco, then jump wholeheartedly into the Antioch Young Adult Ministry. Follow @AntiochYA on Twitter, email the Young Adult Pastor or search for a young adult lifegroup.

2. Anticipate The Change by Maintaining Disciplines! The pace of college life is different than young adult life. To adapt to the new rhythm and structure you’ll need to maintain spiritual disciplines. Your schedule will be different, your environment will change and your relational network will shrink, but you can still stay connected to God and flourish through the transition. Plan now to spend consistent, daily time with God. Look now for opportunities to invest and serve in your new setting. The same Kingdom values you learned in college remain true for the rest of your life. You simply have to be proactive to steward those values.

3. Be an Initiator, Cultivate Character, Work on Your Work-Ethic: We did a four-week series in Dwelling Place called #BackToTheFuture. In the series, we focused on the life of Joseph and from his journey learned the importance of character, servant-hood  and surrender. As you transition from being a student into the working world, seek to be the hardest worker with the best attitude and most Christ-like character.

You are leaders and initiators and we are confident you are ready to jump, with both feet, into this next stage of life!

As a college staff we could not be more proud of the young men and women you have allowed God to make you to be. You each will thrive and flourish as you continue to say “yes” to Jesus in this next season. You are ready!

By Maddie Phenix, Associate College Pastor

How to Thrive This Christmas Break

College students! It is our hope and deep desire for each of you to set yourself up to flourish over the holidays! Here are five simple things that you can do to thrive during your time away from Waco:

1. Spend consistent time with God. We all need to stay connected to our source of strength, encouragement, direction and truth. While home, your daily schedule will look different, but you will stay connected to Him as you  start your day worshiping Jesus, diving into His Word and remaining connected through prayer!

2. Serve the socks off of your family! When we go home, many of us tend to veg-out and expect to be served by our parents! But this break, you have the opportunity to reverse those old rhythms. Go home and serve your family, be intentional about honoring your parents and try not to spend an excess amount of time taking in media (although it might feel restful, you are not feeding your heart and mind with things that will truly refresh you).

3. Stay connected to your spiritual community. Hopefully you have been able to experience the power of a Biblical, spiritual community this year. With that community comes accountability, encouragement and a desire to pursue God. If that type of community does not exist where you will be over break, then be sure to stay connected to your Waco community through phone calls or texts messages. Being connected to other believers will enable you to thrive and not just survive during your break!

4. Know your weak spots, and AVOID them. We all have places and even people in our past that make us more vulnerable to the schemes of the enemy. If you know of certain temptations or old patterns in your life that you are more susceptible to when you are home, then be wise and avoid them. Let the people in your community know your weak spots so they can help hold you accountable to steer clear of them.

5. Laugh a LOT and have a blast! As Walt Disney says, “Laughter is America’s most important export!” So do it a lot! Enjoy every moment that you can with friends and family and be intentional about planning things that you love doing.

Ready to make a plan for winter break? Use this simple guide to get started!

By Maddie Phenix, Associate College Pastor

College in Capetown

Each summer, Antioch’s college ministry sends out teams of students on short term “Impact Trips,” giving them the chance to experience sharing the love of God in other countries, and even in other cities in the U.S.

This summer, the college ministry sent teams out to North Africa, Mongolia, India, Capetown, Brazil and Portland. We caught up with college staff member Maddie Phenix and asked her to share about her impact trip to Capetown, South Africa in July.

How do you think impact trips change the lives of the college students who go on them?

Our international college trips have the unique ability to have life-altering impact on each and every college student who chooses to go, voluntarily placing themselves in a new setting and environment where they are stretched out of their comfort zone and into a position where their dependence on God skyrockets. As a staff, we pray and converse with our long term teams (families and groups of individuals who have committed for a certain number of years to see a church network established) to find the best locations and destinations to send our college teams to for their trips. Students’ lives are transformed by the change in scenery, the relationships built with our long term teams and daily moments scattered throughout the three weeks. Almost every student returns with a testimony to share about their first time to share the full Gospel, their first time to see someone decide to follow Jesus, their first time to see God move in power or their first time to experience the power of the Church bringing hope, life, and joy to a broken nation. What God is able to do in the life of a student during a three week trip in a foreign nation cannot be replicated or duplicated in everyday life here in Waco.

What is something you learned about God specifically through meeting with Him in Capetown?

God is on the move in the African continent. It was exciting and inspiring to be a part of something that felt so much bigger than myself. Cape Town is a dynamic city because different parts and regions feel like our modernized America, while other areas have a European flavor and still other major parts definitely feel like underdeveloped Africa. Our team got to interact with believers and non-believers in both area!. It was powerful to see the gospel penetrate hearts and birth hope and life into every form of society in Cape Town. Also, the country is gorgeous! The best way to describe Cape Town is to say it is a collision of the Colorado Mountains and California beaches. Waking up to that environment every day awakened my eyes to the beauty of God’s creation.

How have you been changed by going on impact trips?

My first Impact Trip was to Haiti in 2010 after the enormous earthquake that devastated much of that country. That trip, in particular, demonstrated the power of the local church as our team of 16 college students shared the Gospel, baptized new believers and discipled Haitians.  In the face of poverty and utter destruction, we were able to shift the atmosphere of a nation by bringing the hope and life of Jesus.   Also having had the opportunity to go on trips to Uganda and India, my eyes have been opened to the beauty and glory of God that rests in different people from every nation, tribe and tongue.  My heart has been shaped by more than just what I grew up knowing as normal. Laying my hands on the sick in India, playing in the streets with orphans in Uganda, sharing the Gospel with college students in Cape Town and baptizing believers on the shore of Haiti have all dramatically altered my perspective of life, joy, purpose and my relationship with God and others. I am eternally grateful for my experiences on Impact Trips- they have forever changed me.

What was a trip highlight for you?

I was in a group with four other people from my team and we were eating lunch at a place called “Wimpy’s.” Our waitress’ name was Susan and we had engaged with casual conversation with her as she took our order and brought us our drinks. Whenever she brought out our burgers and asked if there was anything else we needed, I simply told her that we were a group of students from America who loved Jesus and wanted to bless her by praying for any need she had or by sharing the story of Jesus with her. She excitedly responded to us by telling us that she had never been told the story of Jesus and that she wanted some of her friends that were working to come and hear the story. We were able to share the entire gospel with Susan and her friends, everything from God creating the heavens and the earth to Jesus dying on the cross for each of our sins and then how his resurrection gives us all victory over sin and death. By the end of our story, three more of Susan’s friends had joined the circle. It was amazing! After we wrapped everything up, we asked Susan and her friends again if they had heard that story. Each of them discussed and came to the conclusion that they had heard bits and pieces, but never the full story.  Hoping that today would be their day of salvation, we asked them if they wanted to have a relationship with God and ask Jesus to come and take away their sins by putting their faith fully in Him. They were hesitant to put their faith fully in Jesus because of some questions they still had but were open and willing to dialogue more on different day when could take another break from work. Before we left them all, we asked if we could pray for them. One of the ladies sitting there had a burn on her hand giving her much pain. We were able to pray for her in Jesus’ name and the pain immediately stopped. Also, we prayed for girl who was struggling with some issues that had surfaced from a broken relationship she had been involved in. As we prayed for her and told her how much Jesus loved her and had a plan for her life, she began to weep. It was an incredibly powerful moment and a life-changing lunch for 7seven waitresses at Wimpy’s Diner.

What does the college ministry do to prep students to go on these trips?

Our preparation for these trips begins at the very beginning of the school year as we start to prayerfully consider where the trips will be sent the next summer. By the end of October, we have our trips finalized and begin to talk with our college leaders to pray and plan on who will lead each trip. As soon as the trip locations are announced, the numerous interest meetings begin for each individual team. By December, teams begin to form, conversations with parents continue to happen and dates begin to be penciled into the calendar. After teams are finalized, we encourage our team leaders to have 3-5 meetings with their teams to build chemistry, communicate details and equip them on the culture of their chosen country. At the end of the spring semester, we have a day and a half training called School for the Nations. It is an orientation type format for every college student that is going with Antioch on any of our Impact Trips. At this training, we equip, envision, and inspire our students to go and make disciples of all nations. As a staff, we look forward to this time to equip the students, as well as give vision and encouragement to each of our teams that will be heading out the door as soon as the end of May.

If you have any questions about Impact Trips or Antioch’s college ministry, contact Meredith Gordon. You can also follow Antioch College Ministry on twitter!