Tag: dwelling place

The Four Soils

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. It doesn’t get much better than summer nights with friends and snow cones; even if you’re not into snow cones, which I totally don’t understand. What is there not to love?! It’s ice & sugar. And here in the 100° days of Texas, ice and sugar is equivalent to the nectar of heaven.

But seriously, summer is a blast. Swimming. Vacation. Family. And for college students, more free time and opportunities than you probably get in the other nine months of the year combined. That is why summer isn’t just fun – it can be the most catalytic time of year or the most crushing. The funny thing about summer is that it’s a pivotal break – a time where we can rest and refuel. And yet the summer “break” can be deceptive. All those options you were excited about can actually be your undoing. The truth is, in order to maximize your summer break, you need a plan.

Now that might be one of the craziest things you have ever read. “In order to rest, I have to have a plan? I thought rest WAS the plan… Sleep till noon, eat bonbons all day and just chill.”

Living things don’t just chill; they are either progressing or regressing.

My heart for us this summer is that we would heed the words of Jesus in Mark 4 where He tells a story about soil. Now I’ve gotta be honest; I can’t say I know a ton about soil. The only jungle I’m about is the concrete one. I do the great indoors. But all that changed recently when our college staff spent some time with a farmer. And here’s what we learned:

Good soil doesn’t just happen. Good soil has to be cultivated.

Jesus gives us a clear picture in Mark 4 of a heart moving forward. A heart I believe we must have in order for these final weeks of summer to rock us and not crush us. It’s now July and it’s time for a re-up. Watch this video we made about “the parable of all parables,” and after it’s over, ask yourself what will make your summer a win. Let’s be good soil. I believe in you.

By Jady Griffin, Associate College Pastor

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 You Can Pray For Our Spring Break Mission Trips

We are a people on mission.

Each year, hundreds of students from our college ministry spend their spring break in Edinburg, TX for Awaken, sharing the love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him and growing in their own relationships with God. This year, we also have more than 200 adults, junior high students and kids of traveling to Baton Rouge, LA for a spring break mission trip of their own. We would love to have you pray for us and with us as we go out into the world to make disciples of Jesus!

How you can pray for Awaken

  • Pray God would provide any remaining financial needs for 500 college students to be able to go on the trip.
  • Pray for God to continue to prepare the hearts of individuals and families in Edinburg who will hear the Gospel. Our students will go out to public parks five of the six nights of the trip and we desire to see God bring salvation and transformation to all that we share during our trip.
  • God has a powerful plan and for each and every student going on this trip. Pray the students will encounter the heart and mission of God for their individual lives.
  • Pray every logistical detail runs smoothly, for our traveling to be safe, our accommodations to be ready and our meetings and sessions to be powerful.

How you can pray for the mission trip to Baton Rouge

  • Pray God would provide any remaining financial needs for individuals and families to go on the trip.
  • Pray for people we encounter to respond to the Gospel and be saved. Ask that God would add people to the Baton Rouge church plant!
  • Pray every member of our team would be able to make meaningful connections with the people of Baton Rouge.
  • Pray the people going on this mission trip would have a life-changing experience that would stir them to a great place of faith in God.
  • Pray God would provide great weather for our multiple outdoor outreaches.

If you can, set a reminder to pray for our mission trips each day of spring break! We are so excited to see what God has planned for the people of our church and the people they encounter in Edinburg and Baton Rouge.

An Invitation to Awaken

Did you know your spring break could change the world?


Yes, college students; we’re talking to you!  Come and join more than 500 students from our college ministry for a week-long trip to Edinburg, Texas to change the world! To go on the trip you must attend the March 1st training day (if you haven’t already attended a previous training day). The cost of the trip is $425 and will cover everything you need for the week.

Interested? Questions? Contact Meredith Gordon.

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

Making College a Win

Our awesome College Ministry staff has created a list of five things you can do to make your time in college a win. Use these to get your year off to a great start.

1. Be Present

As a college student, you have the ability to be involved in a thousand different things with a thousand different people. However there is only one place you can be at all times, and that place is the present! This year, be 100%  present with whoever is in front of you and with whatever you are doing. Place honor on people by giving them your attention, and practice faithfulness with what you are committed to by focusing your energy on what is set before you.

2. Be Intentional

Set some clear and measurable goals for your semester, focus time and energy on certain relationships, buy a calendar and plan out your day and week ahead of time. The more intentional you are with what and who God has placed in your life, the more peace and joy you will find yourself walking in each day.

3. Be You

God designed each of us uniquely, purposely giving you different passions and different giftings than others, so that we all have a specific contribution to the Church and the world. As you spend time with God each day, ask Him who He created you to be…then be that person! You don’t have to think, speak or act like anyone else – we need you to be you!

4. Be Excellent

Throughout college, you have several roles – from student to employee to friend. We challenge you to work hard to be excellent in each role. As a student, do your homework, take notes in class, honor your professors, don’t skip class, study for your exams. At your job, show up on time, take initiative, have a good attitude, don’t complain, encourage your co-workers.

5. Be Thankful

Choosing to be thankful in all you are doing will enable you to fight away the tendency to fall into stress and anxiety. Create a habit of starting and ending your day by thanking God for anything and everything He did or has done for you. Choosing thankfulness makes it easier for you to remain in a place of rest.

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!