Here I am again in my office at home, a fan blowing on me, photos of Laina and Kysa on the wall and I am contemplating this last semester of ministry with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and my chapter plant at Washtenaw Community College.
Ministry at a community college is full of opportunities, failures, discouragements and shining moments that seem to pass so quickly. I've learned more about patient endurance this last year as I was seeking to develop more students to be disciple makers who love Jesus and love others. It takes time working with people. They are not projects and often do not fit our prescribed expectations or agenda's when working through the sanctification process. I long to see students embrace Christ with all of their hearts, all of their thinking and all their time and resources.
So many students have good intensions, yet they are easily distracted from actually following through. We had several hundred students (there are 13,000 students at wcc) express interest about getting to know Jesus better through bible study, prayer or serving on campus - yet only 35 students followed through with varying commitments. We ended the previous semester with 26 active students. When this semester began it was difficult to have 4-5 students show up. I was eager to see the group grow, but I know patience in disciple making is key. The 4-5 students who were passionate about serving Jesus on campus faithfully came together; 4 of them were teachable and put into practice what I was teaching them about bible study, prayer, building community, using their natural networks and spiritual gifts. By the end of the semester 3 of the small group communities which had started from nothing, grew to 8-15 students in each group - each of the students being challenged in their understanding of Jesus's Identity and their own identity.
A couple of bright and shining moments for our chapter was attending Ignite - Intervarsity's Black Student Leadership Conference - in Cleveland, OH. Several of our Black students that attended came back and were excited to lead. Several of those students are now either transferring or serving in missions this next year. I am so thankful for them.
The other shining moment was at Cedar Campus for Chapter Focus Week. We were one of the only community colleges in attendance, yet our students felt right at home. It is often a struggle to convince students of the impact that a camp like this can have on their entire life. The cost is a bit intimidating $358, but we offer scholarships to cover some of the cost. However, the students who attended this year "got it." Each met Jesus in very special ways that caused them to confess addictions and struggles. The distractions were cut off. God had their attention and they were seeking Him fully. And it was amazing to see the body of Christ (Intervarsity staff) working together in whatever role and gift they were given to serve students. The exposition was phenomenal, the worship & praise led us into God's presence, people were praying, others were mentoring, teaching etc... And God moved among us setting captives free and leading students to repentance and tears.
I love my students. My heart broke with compassion for them as they shared their wounds and scars that sin had left them with; but there is healing in Christ. And that is why I love serving students with Intervarsity.
Just this week we began yet another year of ministry on campus at Washtenaw Community College. There are a lot of new things on campus. There is a newly renovated Student Center. There are new faces, along with some old ones. There is a new hope of what this semester may bring. I’m even taking a new class, Cultural Anthropology.
www.intervarsitywcc.orgis our new website! Check it out and encourage anyone that you know who attends WCC to get involved!
Also check out my website www.toddjerdon.weebly.com for my blog and to ask how you can support our ministry in various ways.
As we begin a new semester, I am asking you to pray for us. There is no greater power than seeking the Almighty God in prayer! Will you ask, seek and knock earnestly with me on behalf of these student and faculty at WCC?
At a community college there are a lot of re-starting things, readjusting plans and expectations and especially continued trust in the Lord even in the midst of discouragements or challenges. This semester seems to be no different. We had about 9 active student either transfer from last spring or take time off to work before they come back next semester. We have a remnant of some young students, who are committed, but who are uncertain of their ability to grow into leadership.
Pray that the Lord will
gather more student leaders who sincerely love Jesus to join us this
Pray for our outreaches – especially Welcome Day on 9/11/12.
Pray for unbelievers and seekers – Steve, Mazy, Tom, Dalia, Hannan, Kenneth, Martin, Luiz,
Pray for our student
core – Amy, Melissa, Jacob, Suzel, Cameron…
Pray for Christian
Faculty. We have about 4 faculty who have committed to pray for each other, the students and me. May the Lord add to the number.
Pray that I would have wisdom and the Spirit’s leading as we seek to share Christ this semester.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to unify believers on campus, through InterVarsity’s ministry.
There are many who are making excuses (too busy) and others just doing their own thing.
has been on my heart for over a year now. It speaks of the great banquet of a certain man and how he sent his servants out to tell those who had been invited that the feast was now prepared. Many people had excuses and refused the invitation. Then the master has the servant invite “the poor, the crippled and the blind and the lame.” The servant did so but there was still room! Then the servant was told to “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”
O that the students and faculty and all of us, had ears to hear and eyes that see and minds that understand! Jesus shared some true but harsh words. But who will listen? The cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is giving away your life! Some will scoff at that thought, but the rewards are great to follow Jesus. Matthew 25 also has parables of the Kingdom that speak directly to us and the entrustment of the gospel.
When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?
I pray he will and that the students at WCC will respond to Jesus even this year!
Prayerfully enduring in Christ!
I can hardly believe how quickly the summer is passing by! So please allow me a few minutes of your time to fill you in on some of the happenings both with ministry and personally.
Fiscal Year - Ending & Beginning...
Thank you for the prayers and generous gifts for the ending of the fiscal year in June. The Lord provided through you and covered my expenses so that I can start the new fiscal year out with no deficit! The last two years of serving with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship I have pretty much broken even. Each and every gift made that possible! So thank you!
For this next year, I am starting out behind again. I receive about $1800 in monthly gifts and I need around $4000 per month. The last two years special gifts at Christmas and end of fiscal year gifts have supplied my needs. I praise God for this, but I also would love to have a consistent support team that would ensure my budget is balanced. If you would be interested in supporting my ministry visit http://toddjerdon.weebly.com/support--donations.html and fill out an interest form. I would love to meet with you and explain more about what it is God is doing through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Washtenaw Community College. I have been making phone calls to set up appointments. So hopefully I can talk with you soon!
Preparations for the Fall:
Have you ever considered "what makes up your identity?" This is a question that I see in students but I have been seeking myself as well. How often we build our identity on what the crowd says about us or how we interpret what others say about us. What makes us who we are? Is it our job? A talent or skill? To better define this for students this year we will ask this question along with "what is God's identity?"
Everyone has beliefs about themselves and beliefs about God that just are not true. So through scripture we are going to ask these questions and I pray that as students and faculty seek God's identity they will find their identity in Christ!
As I have been planning for the fall I get excited about all of the ideas that run through my head, the possibilities, the opportunities, the students and faculty who will grow and who will believe in Jesus because of our witness! But I also understand that my imaginations and dreams are not always God's plan. At community colleges students are uncertain of many things: their finances, their career, their relationships, their living situations, their faith... For two years, I've seen students come and go and often I have no certainty that any students will indeed be back the following semester. This case holds true even for this fall. A student who I had anticipated being one of our main leaders has postponed her return until winter so that she can work and earn money for school. Many community college students do not want to hold any debt and so they pay as they go. Other students surprise me and though I had thought they had transfered end up showing up once school begins. At times it is discouraging for me to continue to build community with this context of fluidity. However, I still see God at work!
Over the past two years I have been getting to know several faculty members at WCC. Particularly the Christian faculty members have expressed a fear or lonesomeness as an instructor. So last semester we gathered a couple faculty together to pray for each other and offer encouragement. InterVarsity desires to RENEW the campus and faculty are a major part of that renewal. Faculty need community just as much as students. And it may surprise you but faculty have doubts and fears about their faith too. It is an integral part of my ministry to support, encourage and develop faculty at WCC as well. This is often quite challenging as they are very intellegent and ask deep penetrating questions. This does not even begin to penetrate building community with unbelieving faculty, of which I have been pursuing as well. Faculty are integral to renewing the campus! Please pray to this end!
Other doors of opportunity have been creeping open due to the seeds that have been sown over the last two years. International students, WTMC (high school charter) students, nursing students, trades and art students are also natural networks within WCC's campus community where we are building relationships and establishing small group communities.
Where will God show up on campus this fall? I watch and pray! Will you join me?
1. God will send a core of students and faculty into authentic Christian community with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at WCC who are passionate about sharing the Good News about Jesus!
2. God will grant me wisdom as I seek to set vision and develop students and faculty.
3. Isaiah 58 & Luke 19:1-(10) & Luke 14 as prayer focus for students, faculty and me.
4. That the Lord would reveal his "identity" to us more and more every day!
5. That unbelievers would "listen, see and understand" the good news about Jesus!
6. Personally: for Laina, Kysa and me as Laina will begin working only part-time by September 4th.
7. Pray for Laina as she is doing a Spring Triathalon over Labor Day weekend!
8. Pray for Kysa that she would grow into a "girl after God's own heart."
9. I praise God for all of you and your committment to read this far and to pray! :)
Personal stories of the summer:
101 ways to travel...
Prior to our vacation Laina, Kysa and me ran the Plymouth Father's Day 5k. Laina and I ran, but Kysa was in a stoller. However, Kysa did toddle the 50ft toddler dash. She had a little assistance from dad, but had a blast - as you can see! :)
Then within a week later, Kysa was beginning to walk on her own. I guess she figured I was slowing her down and she will be much better prepared for next years race. We did kind of spring it on her this time. But I'm sure she will find ways to do some training.
For our vacation we flew out to Vancouver B.C. (That is in Canada). The purpose was to visit a seminary and then check out the city sights. We traveled by plane, taxi, bus and walking while in Vancouver. It is a very beautiful city and has ocean views, mountain views, forests, beaches, cityscapes, suburbs and many multi-million and billion dollar homes! One of our favorite adventures was walking through a park and noticing a domestic rabbit. Then another... then another x about 1000! Yes, Vancouver has a location where people drop off pet bunnies that they do not want to keep. So, well... you do the math. There were lots of pet bunnies and Laina and Kysa loved it!
The main objective for our trip was to visit family in Seattle. So next we hopped the train and headed to Seattle. Once in Seattle we took another sky tram to city center where Chilhully's glass exhibit is and where Frank Gary's (Architect) music hall of fame is located. We met with Laina's sister and her husband and had a wonderful visit with them. Then later that afternoon we caught up with Laina's parents and grandmother and took a ferry to visit her cousins.
After the visit with the cousins we headed out to stay on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state. My favorite was a walk down a trail to a water fall and looking through tidal pools. Laina found an 18+ legged sunfish! There were several starfish as well. Laina and I also went sea-kyaking and saw a seal. When we got back to land, I found that I had not brought my sea legs. So I needed some time to rest. The rest of the family enjoyed what they said was a "wonderful dinner."
The last leg of our trip was to be on a train for nearly three days! But alas, the train was delayed and they transported us by bus to Spokane, WA because of a freight train derailment. We had a sleeper car and so we slept well on the train. Kysa was also learning how to walk during this entire trip. That was entertaining and challenging as she can now escape quite rapidly! As we continued the train was delayed yet again. This time a piece of the track was warped and the inspector caught it just in time before we traversed over it. It was definitely God's hand of protection that we were not derailed!
Eventually we arrived in Chicago and then again were delayed. Train rides are comfortable but not timely. But we did make it to Ann Arbor and were greeted by our wonderful friend Melissa Kloostra who served us by taking us home.
It was such a blessing to see the northern part of the United States and see what wonderful things the Lord has created! But I am thinking next years vacation will be a bit more stationary. :)
What does it really look like to trust God with everything?
The scripture states, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30).
As God calls us into a deeper relationship with Him, it seems He allows us to be tested. "Do you really love me? Then give up _________." It's a test of faith. I've faced these multiple times when God called me to something new. I experienced this when I quit architecture to go into ministry. I experienced it when I was laid off and had to wait several months before God gave me my next step. And I am experiencing it now as Laina and I have made the decision to move her to part-time so that she can be home with Kysa. We really believe it is God's best to have Laina home with her more. Kysa is growing up so quickly! However, there is a sacrifice, a test of faith. Will God provide? History and experience proves that God does keep his promises. Then why do I (we) doubt? Why do we get anxious and fearful about the unknown? God knows and God hears our prayers.
So should we give "everything" to God?
"Henry Varley, a very intimate friend of Mr. Moody in the earlier days of his
work, loved to tell how he once said to him: "It remains to be seen what
God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly unto Him." When Mr.
Henry Varley said that Mr. Moody said to himself: "Well I will be that
This is my prayer too. That I, and those who believe in Christ will follow him wholly; devoted to His will each and every day.
Everything is God's anyway. We cannot even take our bodies out of this life with us: from dust to dust. How much more our homes, finances, family, ministry, jobs... There is more to live for! We need to seek eternal treasures! People are those that are most valueable to God. If they are important to God, then they are important to me! The gospel of Jesus Christ is a treasure that claims and transforms people. How precious! Here I am Lord, send me! Right now, it's Washtenaw Community College. O Lord hear our prayers! Amen.
Partners & Friends,
I am asking for prayer as we continue our mission to “seek and save the lost” here at Washtenaw Community College. The last couple weeks have been very busy and have made me weary to some extent. I’ve had various training events that have been beneficial helping me learn how to teach and preach scripture, yet have distracted me some from being on campus. Whereas some student still take initiative and share their faith while I am gone, others are still in need of guidance and leadership, encouraging them to take steps of faith. My mind is being pulled in all kinds of directions: evangelism and outreach, discipleship and training, preparing bible studies, setting up outreach opportunities, meeting with students individually and in groups, prayer and oh yes… my own personal time with the Lord. Those in ministry know that balance and boundaries are always a challenge. But I must admit I feel off balance and I need additional prayer for me, my wife, the students and faculty.
Another update will be coming in the next couple weeks. ThereThank you again for your continued support!
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship - WCC
P.S.> Over the next few months I will be seeking new ministry partners to help with the financial support with this ministry. Please take time to consider financially supporting me and WCC students.
http://www.intervarsity.org/donate/to/Todd_Jerdon for one-time payment card gifts
or http://www.intervarsity.org/donate/to/Todd_Jerdon/eft for recurring monthly gifts.
I also would love to set up meetings and presentations with your churches and others who may be interested in supporting our ministry. Please contact me at 248-756-1654 or Jerdon_t@hotmail.com.
INTERVARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
WASHTENAW COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Friends and Partners in ministry,
These last four weeks of ministry have been absolutely amazing! I am in awe of how God daily works and includes us ordinary people in such heavenly and supreme service as that which we serve. I feel affirmation more and more every day that I am exactly where God desires me to serve. I also know and trust that the students that are now gathering together, are serving and will serve the Lord in great and mighty ways not only at WCC but also at other colleges and universities and in the world. What a privilege it is to partner with you for such a calling as the proclamation of our precious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Welcome Day – was different than I expected. This is the all campus event where student organizations, community groups and colleges have booths to promote their club. We planned to pass out freezy pops but somehow they did not freeze in time. I was disappointed. I also was stuck in a traffic jam and was 30 minutes late for set up. Frustrating! A student called me and was almost in a very bad car accident. I called for some prayer back up while in traffic. As I sat in my car basking in my disappointment I remembered something that was said in church on Sunday. “Simply Jesus.” We didn’t need to have a bait to lure people to our Jesus. We just needed Jesus. Through this event we have gained nearly 50 contacts plus another 30 some after the event. Please pray for us as we continue to build relationships with all of these people.
On Campus – Christian Community is growing daily. Acts 2:42-47 is what is actively taking form on our campus. Several days during the week we meet in the food court as a common practice. The first believers met together daily in the temple courts. The daily meeting in the food court offers Christian Fellowship around the word, building relationships, praying for each other as we have need, discussions of the word and sharing the gospel with those outside of Christ.
One day as a few of us were meeting in the food court I saw a man that I had been playing basketball with from the fitness center. He was going to sit alone but I invited him to our table and he accepted. We made some small talk about the weekend plans and found some common interests. The conversation moved to the question of what are we doing with InterVarsity on campus? We shared the vision of building Christian community and sharing the good news (gospel). He nodded. I then asked him, do you know what the gospel is? He said no. I asked, would you mind if I shared it with you? He said, “sure, go ahead.” He kept eating and listened. After I finished sharing I asked, “Do you have any questions?” He said, “no.” I asked, “Is this what you believe?” He said, “ya, I believe that without Christ you go to hell. I believe that.”
Since that meeting, we’ve talked with Dan 3 or 4 other times. He has been joining in our community and building relationships with other students as well. Previously, he said he believed in God and prays, but he has been hurt by the church and has chosen to just talk to God by himself. I encouraged him that God has a purpose for the community of believers and that he has gifts that the rest of the community needs and that he will benefit from the gifts of others. Please continue to pray for Dan.
We have many other stories like Dan’s and I pray daily that we can continue to be devoted to the Lord, his word, each other, prayer and sharing the good news with those outside of Christ.
We have began one bible study on Tuesday’s and are considering starting another because of demand. In our first group study there are about 9 students who attend. I am greatly pleased that I see at least three who may be about ready to lead bible studies of their own. Pray as I prepare them and that I would know the timing to pass on some of this responsibility in sharing the word. As Paul said to Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 Discerning who is reliable is the challenge as only God knows a mans heart and mind. Trust is building between several of us and I pray will continue.
Prayer is another foundational pillar that we are establishing early on in our ministry. As many of you have been praying for months now, please continue to pray as to cover this campus with the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior – that all men will be saved.
† Praise God for his continued blessings on this ministry at WCC!
† Praise God for a gift of bibles that a friend gave to me. It overwhelms me with the love and grace of our Lord. (John 17:17)
† Pray for God to continue to build Christian Community at Washtenaw Community College.
† Pray for devoted followers to be passionate in sharing the gospel and to takes risks in faith.
† Pray for those outside of Christ to be open to hearing the message and to believe.
† Pray for purity in the heart of students, mind, body and spirit.
† Pray for humility for me and the students.
† Pray that I would be able to discern who the Lord desires to be student leaders.
A special request of prayer:
Pray for my financial support to maintain and grow. Some commitments have not come through and I am starting to lag behind a little. In 2011 I will need to obtain an additional $20,000 for budgetary needs. I will be communicating in more detail in November and December. Thank you again for your continued support in the many ways that God works through you.
To donate visit: www.intervarsity.org/donate
(Look for staff member "Todd Jerdon").
In Christ's love,
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Washtenaw Community College
INTERVARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Washtenaw Community College
A Community of Students and Faculty who are
Developing Ordinary People
For an Extra-Ordinary Purpose;
Joyfully advancing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Partners in Ministry,
We are now in the second week of school heading into the third week. Time sure flies by and we have been working hard for the Lord at the campus of Washtenaw Community College. I have so many stories to share I can't possibly share them all in an email, but I would like to share a couple stories along with some prayer requests as well.
As I headed in to begin ministry on campus God impressed on my heart to only "make myself available." Often this concept is a struggle for me as I am sure it is for others. We can get so busy or try to make ministry happen in a predetermined schedule or program that we squeeze God out from being involved in our ministries. Yes we teach the bible during those times, but what about a relationship that is "available." Being on campus and not having a set time table or events to attend actually has improved the receptivity to the gospel. I've mentioned previously about divine appointments - those meetings that God has you and another person meet at exactly the right moment and gives you the right words to share. As I meet student on campus it amazes me the number of divine appointments that the students and I continue to have on campus.
As I was leaving my African American History class, I headed down the elevator and started talking with a young man named Spensor. He transferred in to WCC though he had previously attended a college for Architecture. Architecture wasn't for him he said, but it was a common bond we could talk about since I have a degree in Architecture. We chatted about the teaching philosophy of his school and compared it to the one I went too. I then moved the conversation into my youth ministry interest and service. He said he had a friend who was studying youth ministry too. As we continued to talk we eventually came to the topic of Jesus. You can tell what a person believes when you mention that name... Jesus. The warm and inviting conversation about trivial things now seemed to freeze and stand still. I could sense some uncomfortability once I mentioned Jesus' name. He said, "well each person can believe what they want and I believe that there are many ways to heaven." I've heard this statement many times and it is common in postmodern pluralism. At that point I shared the gospel: God created us, we fell into sin, God promised to reconcile us to Himself, he sent Jesus, Jesus lived a perfect life, he died on the cross to pay our penalty of sin, he rose again and all who repent (turn from sin) and believe in Jesus will be saved. He said he knows the gospel because he attends church a couple times a year, Christmas and Easter. Yet he still believes that there are several ways to heaven. I said, friend, do you remember when Jesus was in the garden before he was taken to the cross? He said yes. Well Jesus prayed this prayer, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done." Then he continued to pray earnestly and sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:39-45). Jesus sought God's will and God answered that going to the cross is the only way that the world may be saved. We cannot take Jesus as a only a prophet or a nice guy. He was God's Son who is the Lamb who was given as a sacrifice for the world's sins once for all. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6).
Spensor and I were interrupted at that point by another woman who overheard our conversation. Spensor left at that point and I began talking with this young black woman. While we were talking about Jesus and creation, another young man piped in and started sharing his views on evolution. I talked with the young man for a few minutes and shared that I don't really understand the science of evolution but have heard some inconsistencies with carbon dating. I shared with him what InterVarsity is doing on campus and asked if he would like to do lunch one day. Well yesterday we had lunch. He pursued me to set up the meeting and he was very excited. Honestly I can't debate all the aspects of evolution. I simply share the gospel because God loves us so much.
Yesterday I had another encounter with a couple of guys. I overheard them talking about sharing their faith and so I inquired about what they believe. They started talking about Jesus and the true gospel. I asked what they believed was the gospel. The shared about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again. Sounds correct to me, I though. But as we continued to talk they kept coming back to always obeying the law and the ten commandments. I inquired more about what they were sharing and asked how is a person saved? They continued to say by believing in Jesus and by obeying the law and doing good. They had many words and it was difficult for me to interject because they wouldn't stop talking. Eventually I asked for them to hang on and let me explain something to them. I said you are correct in saying that we are saved by repenting and having faith in Jesus. But as far as entering heaven and being justified by good works is not true. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by works so that no man can boast. We obey the law and do good works not to be saved, but because of the work that God is doing in us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We know we are saved because of the transforming work of Jesus in our lives. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23). We earn death (as God stated in Genesis 2-3) for our sin. But God's gift to us is eternal life in Christ Jesus. We cannot earn a gift! It is given to us freely and so we only need to receive the gift. The men I was talking with could not understand or were blind to the simple truth of the gospel. The gospel they are preaching is not good news at all as the Apostle Paul often says in his writings, because it demands that we need to do good works to be saved.
Friends, this battle on campus is over the LIES that people are believing instead of the simple TRUTH about Jesus. The gospel is the power of God, in Jesus, and that is simply what our InterVarsity Christian Fellowship - WCC community is purposefully sharing. Of the 15,000 students and faculty on this campus how many people do you think are believing these lies of evolution and false gospels like the liberty gospel, prosperity gospel, social gospel etc...? As Paul states in Ephesians 6 please pray for me and the students and faculty who are in faith standing on the rock of Jesus Christ and holding out the good news for all people.
That God would give us encouragement as we engage people with the gospel.
That God would thwart the plans of Satan to spread his lies on campus - that instead people would be open to the good news about Jesus.
That God would protect the students, me and our families from discouragement, temptations and pride - that we would be built up in love.
That we all would grow in our knowledge of scripture and in loving each other and others.
That the students would be committed to working together and meeting together on campus - that Christ is the priority!
For the African Americans on campus and the African American history class and instructor Thorton Perkins.
Welcome Day is September 15- that God would draw missional believers into our core and that many who do not know the good news would hear it and build relationships with us.
Praise to God for the work he is doing through the students and me.
I praise God for all of you too! Thank you for sharing in this ministry. We can feel and see your prayers daily!
Serving in Christ,
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...