Oread Center at KU: Kelly Clark

Kelly Clark is the Director of Administration at the Oread Center at KU (TOC) in Lawrence, KS where she has served for 6 years. She was involved with Vertas as a Mizzou student before joining women’s ministry staff at Oread Center, a university ministry that is partnered with Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church. She receives ongoing support from The Crossing. Oread Center has partnered with Veritas for a couple of winter conferences.

DONATE to: Kelly Clark or contact her at: [email protected]

TOC’s target population is the university community — both undergraduates, as well as graduate students, professors and faculty. They already offer programming aimed at undergraduates (Bible & book studies, a large group gathering, socials, a course for KU credit), and will soon be adding more resources for other populations within the university community (book discussions with campus ministry leaders, a podcast & blog aimed at graduates & faculty, forums for the larger university community, etc.)

The Oread Center (TOC) meets the needs of KU students by one-on-one conversations centered on spiritual formation and discipleship, connecting them with mentors in the local church, providing a safe place for them to be able to “ask honest questions and receive honest answers” about the big questions of life (as the Schaeffers used to say), and providing them with spaces to dialogue with practitioners and professors in their fields who share a similar vocation and walk with Christ. Programmatically, this takes the form of one-on-one meetings, small group book and bible studies, meals and discussions, as well as, retreats and conferences.

Pray for the Gospel to reach KU students, faculty & staff:

  • That God would strengthen KU students to walk with Him for a lifetime. That He would open their eyes to Him and once they do know Him, that He would continually fill them with His Holy Spirit, that the eyes of their hearts might be enlightened, knowing His hope and the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:18)
  • That He would equip these students to think well about their fields of study and future vocations and that He would provide for them mentors in their fields who can encourage them both in their discipline and in how to walk with the Lord in that discipline.
  • That He would purify their hearts, give them a passion for following after Him and not the things of this world, and that He would give them a sensitivity to their sin, and with that, and great delight in His gospel and a renewed fervor to walk by the Spirit.
  • Pray for Oread Staff Team – that God would protect them from sin, continue to give them clarity and unity in their vision for ministering at the university, and that He would strengthen them to care for their families and their students well.

Kelly’s Role in Women’s Ministry:

As women’s ministry staff, Kelly mentors college girls, leads Bible and book studies, and serves as a liaison between college women who attend Grace Evangelical Presbyterian and the larger church body. Kelly’s desire is to encourage college women to follow the Lord all the days of their lives (faithfulness not just in their 18-22 years, but in their 22-82 years.) Because of this, one of her biggest passions is encouraging multi-generational friendships among women who learn to follow Jesus together. She says, “I love getting the chance to walk with women through God’s Word, have honest conversations about the joys and struggles they are facing, and explore the character of God together.”

Kelly further explains, “Our college women’s biggest struggle is idolatry – worshipping that which isn’t meant to be worshipped, worshipping things other than God their Father. As they come to know the Lord in college or as the faith of their parents’ becomes their own, they inevitably come across sin patterns that have a hold on their hearts. It is such a joy to see the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives as their eyes are opened and their hearts made tender to the ways that they pursue their glory instead of God’s. Watching college students grow in faithfulness throughout their years here (faithfulness in friendships, faithfulness in their vocations, faithfulness in relationships, faithfulness in their walk with their Heavenly Father) is the greatest joy in my ministry.”

My biggest struggle in ministry and a place where God continues to meet me sweetly and gently – is in my pride. It is so tempting for me as a college ministry staffer to strive to meet all the needs of our students, to want my name or my glory or my reputation to be greatest instead of God’s, and to be territorial in the work that I do. My Father has designed this job and my life circumstances to work a great measure of humility in me. First, He has ordained me to work on a team and in a team setting – where all of us contribute to sharing God’s truths with students and helping to apply it to their lives. It’s often the case that a college student will have a strong mentoring relationship with 2 or 3 of the OC staff, interns, or church families and we are each able to speak into that students’ life in a unique and needed way. This not only curbs my pride and protects each of us from burn-out, but it also prepares students’ hearts for life in the local church after college – where they may not have just one mentor but multiple people God has raised up to show them how to walk in His ways in different areas of life. This design has been an illustration for me of the power of the body of Christ working together – and the truth that I am indeed needed and important, but only a single member of that body.

Also, as a stay-at-home new mom working 20 hours a week, I have been humbled in the more limited capacity I now have to reach students. I am able to meet with less students than in previous years, and God has used this new season to teach me much about relying on Him and His word instead of my own pride or knowledge as I pour into girls’ lives. Sweetly enough, it has been through this limitation that deeper relationships have grown and our college students have even had the chance to bless my daughter – as she will be able to grow up seeing college women walking with the Lord, knowing that He is able and willing to help her thrive in her walk with Him all the days of her life. What an encouragement this is to me!!!”

More about Kelly’s family:

“My husband and I met at Grace church in August of 2012 (3 days after I moved here actually!). We’ve been married for 4 years and have one daughter (Ada) who is 1 ½ years old. The neat thing vocationally about our family is that both my husband and I work with college students – but in different ways! He works for the university, with international students, helping to coordinate their short-term studies at KU. He’s also currently pursuing his masters in Global & International Studies at KU.”

Other members of the Oread Center staff include, Chad Donohoe (Executive Director), Kevin Lee (Director of Vocational Formation), Ryan Mayo (Director of Programming), and two interns who sadly are leaving soon (Hannah Johnson & Liz Hixon). A new staffer is joining in August – Carly Klynsma. TOC staff wives often come alongside in ministry too – especially in ministry to college women! They are Tiffany Donohoe, Lori Lee, and Kristi Mayo. Kelly says, “They are some of my dearest friends.”

Source: Kelly Clark email interview

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