In InterVarsity lingo, NSO stands for “New Student Outreach,” the first few weeks of the school year in which InterVarsity staff and student leaders meet incoming freshmen and other new friends and invite them to become part of our communities on campuses all over the country. These posts are a few snapshots of the beginning of the school year on a few of the campuses where I either staff or oversee other IV staff. This story happened on Thursday.
Yesterday I went scouting at Flo Valley with my supervisor, Will. I’ve been wrestling a lot with questioning my own authority/giftings in the midst of planting a new ministry for the first time and I was feeling a lot of fear/confusion as we were walking on campus. We took some time to pray at the very beginning and felt like the Lord was confirming that this fear/confusion is part of the spiritual darkness of the campus – it was a powerful time of affirmation for me and of understanding of the spiritual climate on campus.
As we began prayer-walking, I saw a woman sitting at the soccer fields where I normally go to pray (Lydia in Acts 16 came to mind instantly). I went up and asked her if I could pray for her and she told me that she was a Christian professor in the Psych department on campus – amazing! We had a really rich time of prayer together and she was super encouraging about the need for IV on campus and even confirmed for me that the fear/confusion I was feeling was definitely a reality on campus.
We walked a little further and came upon a campus security officer. Will approached him and struck up a similar conversation. Turns out he is also a Christian and an artist who uses painting to share the Gospel with people. He prayed for us and let us pray over him as well – again, just a powerful feeling of welcome from the campus.
As I was walking through the student center and about to grab some lunch, I randomly heard two students talking and one of them used the word “ministry.” I decided to just insert myself into their conversation so I stopped and asked what they were talking about. Turns out one of them is a music minister at his local church and both are believers. We talked for a little bit before they had to get to class but I have a good feeling about their potential as partners in mission as our relationship develops and I continue to see them each week on campus.
Those few hours on campus were a powerful affirmation of God’s call for me and such a great way to start the year with the new plant.