Monday, August 24, 2009

LinkedIn [To The Church]

When I came to college I didn’t think I’d be going to church every Sunday. But when all that changed, I found out one thing: It’s hard to stay put at church when you're a college kid.

You've got holiday breaks, weekend trips, and the potential semester abroad. Summers are spent at home, traveling or completing an internship. This makes connecting to a church kind of like visiting long-distance relatives. You know there’s a familial connection, but it can be spotty at best.

I’ve made it a point to stay in a bible study at school, stay plugged in with campus ministries, and keep a group of friends who are supportive. But what about the local body of Christ? There's something to be said for mixing with people of all ages - hearing their stories - and working side-by-side on service projects.

Sunday's message at Harvest Bible Chapel hit just that topic. The current series is "United We Stand."

One song from Casting Crowns (and 1 Cor. 12:12-26) echoes my desire for a fuller church experience.

If we are the Body

Why aren't His arms reaching?

Why aren't His hands healing?

Why aren't His words teaching?

Within the context of a church, people have the power to do things. To build strong relationships. And church is not just about bricks and mortar, either.

My friends at the United Methodist Church launched the "What If" campaign this year that demonstrates how church is a verb - not just a noun.

So even if you are socially networked in cyberspace, are you physically "LinkedIn" at church?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Risky Friendship

Watch CBS Videos Online

This is what happens when you take a chance on another human being. And not only that, it's beautiful storytelling.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Disciple Spotlight: Ashley

Ashley leaves for New Zealand in September. She's a friend from ResLife and Campus Crusade, but our friendship has developed far beyond those activities.

This summer she invited me to be part of a bible study. A mixed age group of college women gathered every Friday on campus to study from Beth Moore's "Stepping Up" study.

Her next adventures takes her to New Zealand to be part of a long-term mission project with Campus Crusade. I was going to tell her story, but she tells it her own way quite well!

When I was a freshman in college I became a Christian in college. The Lord used many people and circumstances to show me His abundant love for me. It was through Campus Crusade for Christ that I was able to get involved in Bible Studies, be mentored by older women, and to share my faith with others. It was in this environment that the Lord truly drew me closer to Him and opened my eyes to the rest of the world's need for Him.

New Zealand is the 3rd most politically liberal country in the world, one where truth is relative and because of that hope is scarce and apathy is the norm. This is evident in the high suicide and domestic abuse rate. These are only just a few of the reasons that I feel called to share the gospel on college campuses in New Zealand's capital city.

Because Campus Crusade for Christ has no central funds for paying salaries and missionary expenses I must find a team of 15 people who can give $100 a month or some other amount to support the ministry.

If you are interested in hearing more about my heart for the Kiwi's (New Zealand-ers) or if you have questions about the ministry and how we specifically impact students in New Zealand please email me at If you are interested in giving, you can visit my ministry website.

In Him,
Ashley Kohl

Please be praying for Ashley as she embarks on this year-and-a-half journey...halfway around the world. I am so proud of her courage and know she will change lives.

Disciple Spotlight: Michelle

Here's another great disciple in my life; she even formally discipled me!

Michelle will join the Campus Crusade staff at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) this fall. Michelle was an integral part of my faith at Butler. 

As my discipler (mentor) and bible study leader, she has a gift for leadership and being a patient teacher. That's not surprising, though; she majored in education at Butler University, and has a ballet background (that's where all her patience comes from!).

She'll be leading the freshmen and sophomore women's bible studies on campus and developing a branch of CCC geared specifically towards Greek students. She joins Elizabeth McKinney, a former CCC staff person at Butler.

In her prayer letter to me, she explained the challenges students face at college:

"In the midst of academic achievement there is a competition for students' hearts - a battle of the flesh against the will of God...there is a great need for light to be shed in the middle of this darkness."

Michelle has been an awesome impact in my life. She is direct and honest, and keeps me accountable in my actions. I know she will do the same with students at University of Missouri.

You can contact Michelle at and also give online.

Friday, August 14, 2009

SOS: The Internet is "Down"!

On Wednesday morning I woke up to discover the Internet was down. The service provider wouldn't be able to come out to the house for at least 24 hours. My mom snickered and said, "Are you going to be okay?"

Regaining my composure, I said yes, of course I'd be fine. It was only 24 hours. Surely I wouldn't miss anything vital. But while waiting in the doctor's office that afternoon, I realized: I didn't need the Internet -- I could text my Twitter update. (Thank goodness the 'rents caved into an unlimited texting plan). So I did just that.

Throughout the day, though, I felt disconnected. I couldn't see my home page (NPR), nor could I read up on what my peers in the Twitterverse were doing. And when I wanted to find out who that actor was on that particular TV-show....I could not search the Internet Movie Database. While this all seems very trivial, I had to wonder: what would life be like without the Internet?

What are your thoughts? How could you handle 24 hours without the Internet? What would you do with your "free time"? Serious, trivial, ironic - I'd love to hear it all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Disciple Spotlight: Helena

This week features a series of disciplers in my life - those who are actively pursuing the Great Commission. They are dear friends, mentors and sisters in Christ.

Helena is a pharmacy student at Butler. It's one of the most renowned programs in the nation, and requires six years of hard work and dedication. But luckily, Helena incorporates a healthy dose of comedy into her daily life. I rarely see her without a smile :)

While our college peers interned, worked and enjoyed vacations, Helena took part in 3 different mission trips. One involved working with Christian medical professionals. 

The program is called Whole Person Care Preceptorship, and includes 4 weeks of training medical students on the spiritual care of patients. It is joint program through Campus Crusade for Christ and the Medical Strategic Network

Helena said: "It was really cool to see how our career is our ministry and that patients not only need spiritual care, but many of them want it and were more than happy to talk to us."  

She learned to take the 'spiritual history' of a patient and to "identify the laments of the soul." The students learned how to pray with patients by shadowing Christian doctors. 

"Talking to patients was scary and cool all at the same time, but it was great to practice what we were learning."

Sure hope I can have a pharmacist or doctor in the future who cares about me that much!

Helena writes her own blog, The Adventures of Torpe. She loves Jesus, Diet Dr. Pepper, and kittens.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Images of Summer

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Summer on the Knoll

Knoll (noun): A small rounded hill, a hillock.

This was a summer of many firsts and lasts. My first summer living in Indianapolis, my first experience at a TV station, my last summer as a college kid.

I had the chance to live where many Butler students call "The Knoll." While it may sound like a ritzy golf course, it's simply the off-campus housing neighborhood that surrounds Butler University. In fact, while the street is called Berkley Road, the street is actually paved with grass (see photos in my next blog post)!

Why was this summer so fun? Maybe because it was summer, or because I got to work with journalists everyday or because - as my mom would say - I was just "enjoying my twenties." I guess it was a combination of all of that. Here are some of my favorites memories from Summer '09, in review:

1. Friends. I got to see old friends, go on bike rides along the canal, take picnics with my RA gal pals, build up friendships with roommates, and bond over home-cooked meals, many cups of tea and a midnight showing of Harry Potter No. 6. 

2. Life on Berkley Road (aka The Knoll). After three years of dorm-style living, I had the chance to stretch out a bit. Living in a house exposed me to the joys of a kitchen and the not-so-joyous calls to the landlord, clogged toilets and many "friendly" critters.

3. The Intern Experience. I worked in the 25th largest television market this summer. I met and worked with seasoned journalists. The experience opened my eyes to the wonders of television journalism. In the process I got to meet a few celebrities, interview fellow Butler colleagues and help the Web team with Twitter and Facebook endeavors. My work aired on the evening and daybreak newscasts and I developed a portfolio reel of 10 news packages. It was exhausting and always busy - but definitely rewarding. 

4. Creating an internal GPS. Whether scouting out a story for WISH or visiting friends around the state, I've come to develop a stronger sense of direction - although I still can't always tell N/W/S/E on my own. My many adventures took me to a wedding in Attica, a few outdoor concerts in Fishers, and various news stories in Edinburg, Columbus and Carmel.

5. Field trips. Living in Indianapolis this summer was like a series of mini field trips. I had an extended period of time to enjoy the beautiful campus, eat Yats (a local Cajun favorite) and venture to new places like the White River State Park. The creative spirit in me indulged in many trips to Mass. Ave - the theatre and arts district of Indianapolis. Another guilty pleasure was the library. I not only learned about borrowing entire TV series (I highly recommend "Veronica Mars"), but I got to enjoy the snazzy new downtown location that feels like a hip new museum more than a city library. 

My summer was jam-packed. It was flavorful. Freeing. And, if you couldn't tell, it was fun.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Indy In August

Apparently August is when the really cool events happen in Indianapolis. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer here, I have to leave next week to prepare for my semester in Washington, D.C.

Therein lies my task for you, dear readers.

The following are some extremely cool events, and I need you to enjoy them for me, since I can't. Okay? Here we go:
  • Indiana State Fair (August 7 - 23). I have always wanted to go to the state fair; I guess I have fond memories of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. This year they're serving up Kelly Clarkson, MercyMe, Keith Urban and Jason Mraz as just a few of the headliners. Plus there's the 4-H culture. Side note: growing up in the Chicago suburbs does not prepare you for any intelligent discussion of 4-H, so please don't judge.
  • Indy Fringe Festival (August 21-30). My amazing roommate Christina is knee-deep in her work as an intern for the festival. If you see her at this ten-day theatre fest, give her a high-five for the program she designed. She's even spearheading a "radical marching band" that will perform. Insane creativity is sure to be afoot. It's happening on Indy's eclectic Mass Ave - a haven for the spectrum of artists.
  • Society of Professional Journalists National Convention (August 27-30). This is my first year as a member of SPJ, and of course the 100th anniversary convention is being hosted right down the street, and headquarters are in Indy. Colleague Alyson Ahrns and myself just started up Butler's chapter this past fall. 
  • Blog INDIANA (August 13-15). This is something I stumbled upon while sifting through Twitter. But the conference sure sounds cool. And when social media guru Brad J. Ward is speaking, you know its going to be good. Blogging + social media + socializing = amazing.
I am wincing as I write this - I cannot believe what I'm missing out on! But there you have it. 

Now your schedule is packed with awesome things to do, see and hear. Go! Register! Buy your tickets! I'll expect a full report when it's all over.