this past weekend, i had a chance to preach at the bay area intervarsity fall conference. 365 students from 7 campuses convened out at alliance redwoods -- a regular haunt from our years in intervarsity at sonoma state and santa rosa junior college. the conference grounds were a parable of my experience during the entire weekend; everything was very familiar, yet so much has changed. at the camp, that meant the main buildings were where i remembered them, but they had been renovated and were all different inside. what used to be the game area, where i spent many a night getting schooled in foosball, is now a lounge with wireless internet access! so everything was very familiar, but i kept getting surprised!
with respect to the students, it was a reminder to me that university is a high impact time to reach people, a time when many of them are searching and making up their minds about what they believe/value and how they're going to live. but they also seemed very young to me. for instance, i noticed during the worship that some students were literally dancing up and down the aisles (worshipfully, i should clarify), and that reinforced for me how much has changed since i last worked with american undergraduates. the fact that my own daughters are peers to this group reinforced that i had changed as well.
all of that said, it was a great weekend -- worshipful, thoughtful, intense, passionate, diverse, transforming -- everything i love about intervarsity. and i was grateful to be able to be a part of it. in addition to the messages, i had some wonderful conversations with students. one was trying to be open to Jesus (coming from a buddhist background); another was trying to find the way back to Jesus, after getting off track and getting snared in some addictions along the way; a third was sorting out issues of calling and looking for guidance/discernment. one of the special joys from the weekend was that the director was a former student of ours (from sonoma state intervarsity, back in the day), and her key administrative person was a student of hers. so i got to see all four generations of 2 timothy 2:2 all together!
the question i asked students in my first message was: is it worth it? my reply: absolutely.
the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses,
entrust these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.
(2 timothy 2:2)