Something Old, Something New

It's remarkable how quickly things turn over in campus ministry. I've been reminded of this repeatedly over the last few weeks, but in two particular ways I would like to share.

Over the Christmas holidays we held our first Pitt RUF alumni get together. It was wonderful to have these old friends back in our home, gathered around our table, eating good food, and sharing together. When we first began this work at Pitt, many of these very people were the first to come to us, and we spent many wonderful hours together in our home. Although our time together over the holidays reminded us of the good old times, in reality things have changed. This time they didn't enter our door as adolescent freshmen, but as young adults. Quite a few came through the door with spouses. It's a real joy to see our students grow up. We only catch glimpses of it once they leave campus, but the glimpses are remarkable reminders of the old, and encouraging looks at the new.

Another instance in which the old and new collided was our first RUF Large Group meeting of this spring semester. Due to some unfortunately typical administrative nuttiness on the part of the university, our Large Group room reservation was cancelled at the eleventh hour, and we were reassigned another room in another building. That room was where we held our very first Large Group meeting four years ago. Gathering outside the room last night before our meeting brought back some of the somewhat painful memories from four years ago. That first Large Group meeting in Cathedral 232 had 13 people. Three of them were I, my wife, and our toddler son. Thirteen people does not a Large Group make. It was an awkward start to a year of awkward Large Group meetings. And now, four years later, outside Cathedral 232, over 50 people gathered for our first meeting of the semester, including half a dozen brand new people whom we have never met.

It was a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness in growing our fellowship. It was a reminder of His faithfulness to us when we were just getting started, awkwardly, a few years ago. It was a reminder that He is still at work, right now, bringing people to Himself.

Derek Bates, Campus Minister at Pitt
January 12, 2013 • 610-691-0988 • 631 Fourth Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018