Staying Engaged on Campus

Engaging on Campus Series

By Katie Hubbard

If anyone is least qualified to write a column on staying engaged on campus, it might be me.  Because of my health, I have hardly set foot on campus in three years.  But I think that is exactly why I should write this column.  The kingdom of God is a mystery, and its’ growth is a mystery.  God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts.  Jesus assures us in Mark 4 that His kingdom grows even while we are sleeping!

And Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.” Mark 4: 26-27

Norman and I love these verses!  They are our favorite “ministry verses.”  Oftentimes when we climb in bed at night, we laugh and say, “The kingdom of God is growing over there on campus while we sleep!”  What a fantastic thought.  What a relief!

As I look back on some of the women who have influenced me greatly, I can hear their voices in my head passing on great ministry advice.  Lindy Black always said to me, “No matter what, you can have at least one girl!” (The arrival of a newborn excepted! I agree!).  Ronni Bernardy had three great pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t volunteer for VBS. 
  2. Acknowledge you are a working mom.
  3. Don’t underestimate the impact your family is having on students.

I must confess I just didn’t really see #3 happening much.  I would take the kids to Nav Nite or take them chalking on campus, we would have people in our home, we would camp in Florida for a week with the students, and mostly I felt like I was doing…nothing.  I was usually just corralling kids and cooking meals and leaving early because I was exhausted.  But Ronni was right.  As the years started to trickle by, I started hearing former students say things like, “I learned so much from watching your family…” Just this past week we had two former students (who now have five kids of their own and he is a pastor) say to us, “We try to do what you did.”  And I am sitting there scratching my head thinking, “What did we do?!” The seed should sprout and grow, and he himself does not know how.

I remember when my three kids were five and under I met with just one girl…usually with spit up and breast milk all over my shirt.  She went to Vietnam on a summer mission trip and brought me back a white silk bathrobe.  I cherished that gift.  She communicated to me that she saw me as a person, not just a mom covered in spit up and changing diapers and watching lots of preschool shows.

Because of my current life circumstances I go very few places and can make no regular commitments.  So guess what?  Somehow God continues to bring people to me. It seems like the home of someone living with terminal cancer should be a like a tomb; instead it more resembles a circus or a zoo.  Some days I literally laugh out loud at the variety of folks who come through our door.  The advancement of God’s kingdom has not diminished through my circumstances, it just looks a lot different than what I would choose or plan. I often feel like the kid with five loaves and two fishes, except I am down to maybe one loaf and one fish.  Somehow God takes that loaf and that fish and He continues to do the work.

Maybe you feel like you too only have a loaf and a fish.  Maybe you can’t see how God could possibly be working through the chaos and challenges of your life.  If so, I have one sentence for you:

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.” Mark 4: 26-27

Katie and Norm have been on staff since 1998 in WI and now minister in IL. This past year was her first year of parenting to not have a kiddo at home full time! They have been married for 20 years and have 4 children ages 7-182 boys and 2 girls.  Katie brings wonderful and focused perspective on what truly matters as she is battling breast cancer for the third time in 6 years. 

Do you ever feel like most of what you are doing is…nothing? What encourages you the most from reading Katie’s post? Share a story of when God used you but you didn’t even realize it at the time!

10 thoughts on “Staying Engaged on Campus

  1. Katie, thank you so much for sharing. What an encouragement to me to use my \”one loaf\” well and trust that Jesus is working even where I can't see.


  2. What a blessing to consider as I long to \”do\” recruiting on campus each fall but am called, in this season, to pray for all the launches. With each of you in prayer as the Lord scatters the seed and brings the growth. May we rest in amazement of the loving kindness of the Lord in these tender years of being missionaries to our children!


  3. Thank you Katie for your simple and encouragingly deep words. May God continue to use you to scatter that good seed!I wish Ronni had told me her words of wisdom. Especially the one about acknowledging that I am a working mom. That would have saved me a lot of insecure moments over the years. YES, I am a working mom and now a working gramma. 🙂


  4. SOOOO well written. And SOOO true. You are impacting and investing in people in ways far beyond what you even know. Such helpful words in this season of raising littles/health issues/preparing for new baby/and no staff team 🙂 HA! 🙂 Much love


  5. This article brought tears to my eyes and a sigh of relief as I read your story and the passage. Oh how it made me not feel so alone in my craziness. 🙂 I have recently been thinking about the loaves and fish passage along with the acts 3 passage where Peter told the beggar he does not have silver or gold but will give him what he does have. To give out of what we are given from our faithful and generous father who can even multiply the little we have to give. Oh that I might give thanks for what he has given rather than complain of needing more. Thanks


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