I just received an email from Chad Hartnell, an alumnus of our ministry back in Springfield, who had some very kind words for us. With his permission, I share them here:
Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Melanie and I have enjoyed receiving newsletters detailing what the Lord is doing on the Stanford campus. How exciting! I had and have absolutely no doubt that the Lord is using you and Paula to accomplish great things for His kingdom! I also wanted to underscore how much your and Joe’s leadership is impacting my life right now.
We are blessed to be a part of a wonderful church in Tampa. Mel and I recently returned from leading a missions trip to South Africa for nearly three weeks. Melanie administrated people’s finances, organized the details, and was the point person for the team. She definitely has the spiritual gift of administration. She did an impeccable job! Our experience in Chi Alpha missions was the model we used in team preparation. We had 10 people on our team who ranged from the 20’s to the 60’s. We were all over the generational map, but we connected with each other and with the South Africans in a powerful way. Thanks to what we experienced in Chi Alpha, we were able to lead a missions trip that not only transformed people’s paradigm about missions, but also laid a strong foundation for the church’s mission vision for the future.
I still have the five-fold philosophy tattooed on my forehead. In fact, I am observing that many churches have a difficult time keeping a balance among all five areas. Leadership gets excited about one area and forgets about the other four until people start feeling a void. I know that seasons exist that change the balance, but I am still learning what that looks like. “Balance” is probably one of the most difficult issues in life because it constantly changes. I think it is easier to achieve, however, if you know what it is you need to balance. Thanks to you and Joe, I know that a church (as well as a campus ministry) must be founded on worship,discipleship, fellowship, prayer, and witness. I just realized yesterday why we had the structure in place for Spring Leadership Retreat. We were planning activities around our five-fold philosophy to balance our growth in each area. The light came on a little late, but it makes complete sense now. What a great structure!
I put this up not only for the sake of my vanity (although there’s probably a little of that), but also to reinforce the message I keep repeating: college ministry is strategic ministry. What we do in these few years with students shapes the rest of their lives.
To all of those who pray with us and support us financially, I say thank you. And I also say: your partnership bears fruit both now and for years to come.