Ministry Announcement About InterVarsity & University Abbey
Friends and family,
Greetings from Waco, TX. This past year I served in a volunteer capacity with Unite InterVarsity at Baylor University. It was a healthy and restorative experience. Unite has truly been the Lord’s means of grace in my life, and I’m thankful to count many of those students (and now some alumni) among my closest friends. This spring I accepted a provisional appointment to become their campus staff member while simultaneously developing a multi-traditional and interdisciplinary liturgical, discussion community under Unite’s ministry umbrella. It focuses on, but certainly isn’t limited to, grad students. The hope was that it’d one day spin off as its own distinct IV chapter.
Long story short, there was been a change of plans this summer. My understanding of the job description changed to focus pretty singularly on undergrad students, so I’ve now declined the provisional appointment. Yet I remain committed to Unite. I’ll continue serving as a volunteer this upcoming year, setting aside one night a week from 5:30 – 11:30 for whatever they need–board games, discipleship, prayer, Bible studies, leadership meetings, public speaking, etc. My love for Unite, its vision, and my friends remains strong. Put another way, I don’t think they could get rid of me if they wanted to
A mentor of mine observed that a lot of people like to say that when God closes a door he opens a window, but every once in a while He closes the front door, opens the garage door, and says, “Pull it on in.” Such is my present situation. The ministry vision of University Abbey is going forward largely unchanged but is now in the process of becoming its own 501(c)(3) in partnership with the chaplain’s office at Baylor. Honestly, I can think of no better place to start the first UA chapter than the world’s sole (implicitly) evangelical research university. I’m so incredibly hopeful and thankful. It’s one-half of my dream job suddenly snapping into place. (Being a professional writer is the other.)
Lastly, I want to be excruciatingly clear about three points of logistics:
- University Abbey is not a church. It’s a parachurch ministry; literally, for the church. UA seeks to encourage the integration of devout faith and rigorous learning in a way that most churches and pastors simply don’t have the time or resources to do. We want to assist local churches, not replace them. For example, each person on the board of directors is required to be committed to a local church. Ours is a Kingdom mentality, not a fortress mentality.
- University Abbey isn’t formally affiliated with any particular denominational or ecclesiastical body. We’re multi-traditional, by which I mean intentionally bringing a number of thoughtful perspectives into our discussion community: Anabaptist, Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, non-denominational, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc. We don’t fight over our differences nor we we ignore them. Instead we intentionally engage our differences with convicted civility.
- I, personally, remain under the episcopal oversight of Bishop Clark Lowenfield of the Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast. This discussion community is proceeding with his full knowledge and blessing, as is my continued volunteer ministry with Unite InterVarsity. In some sense, I think this ministry reflects my view that the Anglican tradition to which I’m committed is at its very best when it’s minimally self-aware and serving as a bridge to help unite the fragmented Body of Christ.
As University Abbey’s campus pastor, I welcome your prayers.
Grace & Peace,