By Travis Hamm, Impact Ministries at UMKC and Kansas City Collegiate Strategist ([email protected]). Edited by Britney Hamm. 

I once heard a pastor describe the process of conversion and discipleship as a tick…tick…tick…BOOM! cycle that continues throughout someone’s life. The “ticks” represent all the small, seemingly insignificant steps, realizations, and awakenings that lead to the “BOOM” moments: those life-transforming moments more readily seen and experienced.

Right now we are in a season of little “ticks” in our ministry at UMKC in which God is working, quietly, slowly, in seemingly small ways. Yet we believe that a “BOOM!” is right around the corner, and that He is catalyzing a gospel movement across college campuses in the entire KC area. That is our hope: to create a network of churches, individuals, students and ministries who work together to bring the gospel to bear on every campus in Kansas City.

Here’s a sampling of some “ticks” that have been happening in our ministry this past year:

College Students Raising Awareness about Human Trafficking

G.R.A.T.I.S. is a human trafficking awareness group that we created two years ago at UMKC. It stands for Gathering Roos Against Trafficking to Inform and Support. During the 2016-2017 school year, the group screened human trafficking documentaries on campus and hosted information display tables. We also participated in Restoration

UMKC students raise money for trafficking victims in Kansas CityHouse’s CEO Tricycle Race in May. We raised $700 and had a blast!

This year, G.R.A.T.I.S. has more than doubled in size of committed participants. They continue to host awareness tables on campus. They volunteer monthly at Rehope Market and are planning an event in January to inform students about the prevalence, dangers, and prevention of human trafficking. These students are passionate about saying “NO!” to human trafficking, they are pursuing some amazing opportunities to make a real difference at a state and national level.

G.R.A.T.I.S. provides us with an opportunity to connect with students who may not otherwise be interested in a Christian ministry. We desire to show them the light of Jesus Christ as they participate in this group. Pray that this happens!

Raising Up Gospel Laborers to Reach More College Students in Kansas City

Impact UMKC college students eat lunch in STudent Union Impact UMKC

Intern Kyle Yehle (far left) eats lunch with three Impact students

In the report I wrote for last year’s meeting, I concluded by asking for prayers for God to raise up ministry laborers to work alongside me at UMKC and on other KC area campuses. Thank you to those who prayed, because God answered and is continuing to answer!

  • This summer God brought Kyle Yehle, a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University and a leader with the Baptist Student Union ministry there, to serve as my ministry intern for this school year.
  • God has also brought student leaders and UMKC alum to form a team of 12 individuals to join our ministry efforts to make disciples of college students.
  • Chad Brockmeyer, an Impact alum, has returned to Kansas City and will be working alongside me. We are excited for Chad’s passion for Jesus and discipleship to influence college students.
  • I am also in the process of bringing an MBTS student on the team with the hopes of him launching ministries on two campuses North of the river.

I continue to receive emails from churches and individuals who desire to reach college students with the gospel. Pray that I can equip and empower them to do so, and that together we see a massive BOOM among college students in KC!

Welcoming New Students and Building Community

Impact UMKC Spoken Word Fredric Sims

Spoken Word & Worship with Fredric Sims at UMKC Student Union

At the start of this fall semester, our leadership team created wonderful events for students during the first week of class. The events included:

  • Java Night where we served 214 free coffee drinks
  • BBQ on campus where we fed over 150 students
  • Puppies & Popsicles where we served popsicles and brought dogs for students to pet
  • Spoken Word & Worship event where we praised God with through the poetry and testimony of our friend Fredric Sims and worship music by The Church in Waldo band.

Coming up this Sunday (November 12), we are hosting a free dinner and worship night in one of the residence halls. In early December, the ladies are putting together a Spa Night complete with make-your-own pizza, dessert, spa activities, and correlating devotionals.

A UMKC Senior Takes Steps Toward Jesus

My wife, Britney, met with a senior UMKC student during the first week of class. They had a great conversation in which Britney shared the gospel with her. By God’s grace, this student responded favorably and chose to put her trust in Jesus. Her schedule has made it difficult for her to consistently participate in discipleship group, but Britney and others continue to reach out and encourage her in her new faith.

Investing in Students through Discipleship Groups

Impact UMKC men's discipleship group

College Algebra Problem Takes over Discipleship Group

With the addition of student leaders, we launched 5 discipleship groups this fall! The groups are small which allows for deeper investment in students’ lives, especially as many of them are not-yet or young believers. Our greatest challenge is always consistent attendance due to their busy schedules. Pray that students consistently come and that their lives are transformed as they live in community and study the Word!

These “ticks” are happening largely due to the support of BR-KC. Thank you! We need your continued support and prayers. Keep praying for God to raise up laborers for the harvest field here at UMKC, and for the other colleges and universities in the Kansas City area. Pray that God grants our leadership wisdom to know how best to connect with students. Pray for many more students to put their trust in the Gospel of Jesus. Pray that the BOOM happens…and not just one BOOM, but a landslide of BOOMs that resound across a generation of college students in our city.

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Abbreviated versions of this article were originally published in the Fall Semi-Annual Book of Reports and the Missions & Ministry November 2017 Newsletter.