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SB FCA Spotlight: UCSB Volunteers, Lucas and Hannah Rowely

SB FCA Spotlight: UCSB Volunteers, Lucas and Hannah Rowely

 

New to Santa Barbara and newly married, Lucas and Hannah initially reached out to the FCA staff to see how they could get more involved. After we heard their heart for college students, we plugged them in at UCSB and they have come to every meeting since. We sit down with this awesome couple to hear their heart for Jesus and why they spend their time investing through FCA. (From Hannah's point of view)

How have you been changed as a result of a campus ministry presence in college?

My story in college could have been very different if I hadn’t been pulled into a really amazing campus fellowship that taught me what it looks like to follow Jesus. Growing up, I had what I would call a very, “legalistic” Christianity. I followed rules very well, but I often failed to understand that grace was something that I actually needed on a day-to-day basis. I was pursuing perfection. When I got to college, I had a newly discovered freedom to make my own decisions. I went to several parties on campus within my first week of college, and if it hadn’t been for a few friends who started pulling me to a Monday night fellowship, it would’ve been very easy for me to fall into the party scene that so easily captivates freshman. Soon, the amazing couple that lead the ministry was investing in me and consistently reminding me that Christ died for MY sins. I was walking through life with friends whose number one desire was to pursue Jesus, I was learning that ultimately the “success” that Stanford was telling me was so pivotal, was actually meaningless compared to the urgency with which I should be pursuing after my friends who did not know Jesus. And I was learning what it looked like to follow Jesus as I lived life with others around me who considered pursuing him important above all else. I truly learned to live life with Jesus at the center, instead of with Jesus to the side as someone who I claimed when it was convenient or beneficial. God, through my campus fellowship (the leaders and the students in it), completely transformed how I lived my life then and how I live my life today.

Why have you decided to faithfully serve with FCA UCSB?

Because I was so changed by my campus fellowship and have seen firsthand how campus ministry transforms lives. Students, regardless of whether they grew up in a Christian or atheist home, have uniquely soft hearts toward hearing the gospel, and that is such a cool place to invest. They are searching for meaning, community, hope, and if they choose to follow Jesus in college, it completely transforms their future. College is such an integral time, and if a student comes to know Jesus in college, it changes how they choose their spouse, their vocation, and how they make life decisions that impact them for the rest of their lives.

In what way have you seen firsthand the difference FCA is making in the lives of college students?

I think many of the FCA students have a similar story to me. Especially at UCSB, there is such a party culture, that it is a hard place to live a life following Jesus. FCA has provided a place for students who know Jesus to pursue after him together. Students live together and support each other, they push each other in their faith, and they help each other to run the race that matters most, together. Some of the students who come to FCA are not yet actively pursuing Jesus, but were invited to FCA by a teammate. They come because they have found a family at FCA that they have been unable to find anywhere else. And though they may not believe in Jesus (yetJ), they are coming every single week and hearing the words of Jesus. That’s amazing!

One story: a few weeks ago, there was a girl that had never come to FCA. As she listened, I could tell she was very engaged with what was being said. At the end, she told me she had recently ended a three-year relationship, she had felt very empty for several years, she hadn’t gone to church in a long time, and she hadn’t felt more free and light-spirited than she did during that evening’s gathering. Praise God for tangibly demonstrating the freedom for which Christ has set as free during that hour and clearly lifting her burdens. Not only that, but she also said that she had never felt so welcome in a Christian setting. God is working not only through Kristin and Austin (which He definitely is!), but also through the students who immediately pulled her into their group and demonstrated Christ’s love to her simply by engaging with her.

Explain a bit about how you got involved?

When we first moved to Santa Barbara, my husband and I were praying about where God wanted us to invest. We both have a heart for ministry but we wanted to make sure that we weren’t jumping into something simply to keep us entertained. As we prayed, we realized that we both have a heart specifically for college ministry, and my husband (who did track at Stanford), really had a heart for student athletes. With that in mind, we reached out to several ministries in the area and asked that God would reveal which one He wanted us to invest in. It was pretty clear. Nobody else answered our emails and Austin and Kristin almost immediately responded (later they told us we were a direct answer to their prayers). Within just a few weeks of investing, we felt such peace about where God had placed us…and it was a huge gift to have doors open up that enabled us to do the exact ministry for which we are so passionate.

What are you excited about regarding FCA in the future (at UCSB or otherwise)?

Oh man! So many things! It is clear that God has big things in store for FCA at UCSB. So many students are uniquely hungry to learn about God and who He is and I believe that hunger is only going to grow and spread. I am so excited for the students who are younger in their faith to grow drastically in their understanding of the freedom that Christ has offered. There is such ample opportunity for fruit and I am confident that as these students’ faith grows, more and more student athletes are going to grow to know the Lord because of the way their teammates live and act. I think that God is beginning a stirring among the student athletes and I am excited to see students grow in theirdepthof understanding.

 

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