Dan with Peter Schwanda, our Director of Training
“To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…”
When I reflect on all that we have faced during 2020 — political division, civil unrest, racial reckoning, and a global pandemic — I feel simultaneously overwhelmed and deeply grateful. God has sustained our work, through the unity and faithfulness of our extended FOCUS family: students, parents, alumni, volunteers, faculty advisors, our National Board, and our generous donors. And I can’t say enough about our staff! Navigating the limitations of virtual meetings and the necessary protocols of in-person gatherings, our gifted and devoted team has rallied beyond my highest expectations. I hope you’ll find this magazine’s montage of local area photos and quotations as encouraging as I do.
It was also a year in which we deepened our commitment to equipping our staff, by building upon our existing mentoring efforts, hosting three annual all-staff gatherings, and providing extensive resources for ministry. Training topics have included effective management practices, fundraising that honors and edifies our donors, and the preparation and presentation of relevant scriptural teaching. Additionally, new staff now receive biblical training through two seminary courses, to deepen our scriptural foundations.
In recent years, equipping has also included an emphasis on becoming more faithful ambassadors of Christ to students of every racial, ethnic, and cultural background. Since 2017, this ongoing process has included reflection and learning, so that we might become better informed about ethnic differences and racial bias, further conformed to the image of Christ (in his love for all people), and increasingly transformed by the Holy Spirit. We’ve received wisdom and instruction from speakers and authors; we have sought to listen to the voices of people of color within our FOCUS community; and we have lamented racial injustice, as during our online prayer vigil last summer. Much work remains, and ministry consultant David Bailey and his team at Arrabon are providing essential insight and assistance along the way. (You can read more about Arrabon here.) I humbly ask for your prayers, as we consider particular implications for FOCUS during the months and years ahead.