Rewind a few months back and more than a few degrees warmer.  I started a sabbatical – for a season of release from direct ministry, but also to concentrate on finishing my MBA at Kellogg.

I was given a book of memories from students, present and past, from eight years of ministry.  Each day, I’d read a new story, and then pause and thank God for how I had been transformed through the life of that student.

After finishing my summer coursework, I took a weekend of solitude and camped on a rustic beach in Northern Michigan.  I reflected on my call to ministry – to be a person who called students to the kind of life I experienced as an undergraduate and recent graduate.

David Hansen, in his book The Art of Pastoring, captures it brilliantly – what touches lives most is not systematic answers, but a life itself lived as “a parable of Jesus.”  He says, “As a parable of Jesus Christ, I deliver something to the parishioner that I am not, and in the process I deliver the parishioner into the hands of God.”  Reading all of the stories from my students, and reflecting the nearly 10,000 hours of direct face time I’d had with students, I realized I had lived that dream.

Tears streamed down my eyes.  The tears were out of gratitude, but also later I realized of mourning.  It was there I fully realized that my call had been fulfilled, and I opened my hands to give the Lord permission to open whatever doors were next.

When I returned back for the fall quarter, at a Kellogg networking event, I texted a former student to gain a little insight into his company so I had at least some understanding before I walked into the conversation.  The next day, he called me to ask, “Andy, are you on the market?”

“Well, I’m open to what God has next,” I replied.

“I think I have the perfect job for you.”

Thus began a discernment process, through conversations with friends, mentors, family, and ultimately the Lord, it was clear that this opportunity was something that brought many strands of my experiences.

It is a confluence of what I’ve learned through my prior career in the marketplace with IPM, ministry with InterVarsity, and learning at Kellogg.  It’s the melding of people management and project management in the context of a constantly changing environment – one that many people of faith often avoid.

As I’ve sat and reflected, the call of a pastor as a “parable of Jesus” on the campus among students is what I will truly miss most.  Engaging in the academy, serving students to find the fingerprints of God through every academic endeavor, tackling hard questions, and helping students become their true selves through encountering Jesus is why I loved my job.  I will truly miss helping students develop as holistic beings – to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

My philosophy of ministry has always been that the gospel has to be both proclaimed and embodied.  In the season when we celebrate the incarnation of God and sing “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” our world still longs for the gospel to be good news, not just a good idea.  While my context is changing, my calling to be a parable of Jesus remains in a world that aches for good news.  So it’s back to the front lines, to be what one colleague called me as “the Jack Bauer of ministry.”

When I began my call on campus nearly nine years ago, I entitled my newsletter, “Building the Kingdom” because it brought together my background in engineering and ministry.  Now, in it’s last issue, I think of Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth, where “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it.” (1 Cor. 3:10)

I was privileged to serve students by helping them to build their lives upon Christ as cornerstone, and to continue building into the legacy of ministry of InterVarsity at Northwestern University following those who went before me.  Thank-you for your support allowing me this opportunity – I’m eternally grateful.

Grace & Peace,


15 Responses to “Final InterVarsity Update”

  1. 1 Deborah Hemmer December 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    What a wonderful way to Honor God both with what He has already brought to your life through InterVarsity and for what He has in store for you in the future. I will be praying for you in this transition.

    Deborah Hemmer

  2. 3 Dennis Dudley December 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Andy, I had no idea that this was a possibility. I am very sorry to learn of your departure. At the same time I am extremely happy for you. The best “parables of Jesus” in the Bible were not “full-time Christian workers.” But you know that. They were people who lived for God in the context of the world. You get to do that most fully.
    Congratulations and best wishes. I will miss you muchly. I have appreciated your partnership when we’ve had that opportunity, and I look forward to seeing how God uses you in the new place of His service.
    Warmly in Jesus,

  3. 5 jdata1 December 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Andy, thanks for the update and the chance to virtually accompany you on this journey. Your new employer is getting an agent of kingdom change who will continue to be such a parable in your new contexts. Blessings on the transition! – John E.

  4. 7 Jon In Madison December 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm


    We never got to work together directly, but I have admired your work from afar. You will be missed by your staff colleagues like me.

    God bless you as you begin the next leg of the journey.

    Jon Dahl

  5. 9 Dave B December 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for your years of service, Andy! May this next period of your vocation by just as meaningful to you, those you impact, and the world you influence!

  6. 11 Kristen December 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Blessings on this new season of life!

  7. 13 Don Anderson December 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    The journey of life with the Lord by our side. Those that don’t know the Lord have no idea what an exciting adventure we are on.

  8. 15 Kevin Albright January 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks Andy for sharing your reflection. I appreciated your friendship and encouragement. God bless your continued influence in building the Kingdom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

May 2021

%d bloggers like this: