About Impact

Monday, December 29, 2014

Impact Stories: A Letter From An Alumna…

This post is part of a series of stories from our Impact students. These posts are all written by students. I hope you'll enjoy a closer look at what God is doing on our local college campuses.  


Kristin graduated last spring from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising with a degree in Interior Design.

I remember the first time Sarah was brought up at our college meetings at Marty's house. I remember Marty pulling me aside, specifically, and sharing with me that someone new was coming to "help out." I had a lot of questions because Marty was and is one of my favorites as he's been my youth pastor since I was in middle school. Instinctively, I was a little nervous about what that meant and wondered if he was no longer going to lead the college ministry. He knows me very well and left things very basic.

And then I met Sarah. Her laugh boomed through the room and, though she very well may have been very nervous, you'd have never known it. She made an earnest effort to meet everyone, learn their names, and know what everyone was doing in their daily lives. I was in the tail end of my program at FIDM and I remember her having so many intriguing questions for me. I also remember, vividly, her eagerness in wishing me luck in my last week of school.

Since Sarah has come into the college ministry at CCTO and the Impact ministry at CLU, I have gained not only a trustworthy teacher, but a loving friend. It's hard to believe that it's only been one year since she's arrived because I feel I have such a deep connection with her. I feel as if she's known me for much, much longer. Sarah is a constant reminder of God's grace and love. She's the type of friend Jesus encourages us all to be and sometimes I'm amazed at how merciful she can be. She is so involved in the college community and I know her heart for bringing others to know Jesus is so filled with Him. When Marty told me "Sarah is coming." I didn't think I'd gain a friend and confidante who I can grab breakfast with, or share a late night meal on PCH with, or meet for coffee and catch up with each other (we bond over food, if the pattern hasn't become apparent!) Nor did I think I would gain someone I could bare all to; to really open up and share the things that excite me, upset me, scare me. I am so grateful that God led Sarah to California and, more specifically, us here in Thousand Oaks. I am so happy to call her a close friend who holds a dear place in my heart.

I think she is a wonderful role model in how she leads our Sunday night gatherings in which we share dinner and will have discussion. Lately, we've been going through the Transformed series and it really is one of my highlights of the week. Not only do we get to bond over food again, but I love how God uses her to orchestrate conversation within an intimate group. She creates a safe environment and brings together a group of people who wouldn't otherwise know each other to talk about God and share scripture. I feel so blessed for getting to do something so special and progressive every Sunday.

So thank you, God, for sending Sarah here against her will.

With so much love,

Kristin Ketring  
Kristin came to support our students who were baptized at the beach last spring.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Impact Stories: Christian Community

This post is part of a series of stories from our Impact students. These posts are all written by students. I hope you'll enjoy a closer look at what God is doing on our local college campuses.  


Sean is a junior at California Lutheran University majoring in Theology and Christian Leadership.

In my freshman year of college, I wrestled with my identity in Christ.  I could not figure out how a Christian was supposed to act or how to go about living a life centered on God.  I met Sarah in the beginning of my sophomore year at college and at the time I was beginning to give more of my life to God.  I grew up as a Christian but when I got to college, the temptations were endless and I did not know where to turn to for help.  Sarah introduced me to the church she worked with and as I went to it more and more, I began to really enjoy it. 

After a couple months of knowing Sarah and going to Young Life on campus, I decided I wanted to be baptized. Baptism to me was the sign that I was giving my life to Christ. I was tired of the regular college life of drinking every weekend and repeating it the next.  The ocean was the perfect place to be baptized because I was deathly afraid of the ocean.  On the ride over to the beach, we listened to Oceans by Hillsong and it was very ironic but very spiritual at the same time.

As I went on to my junior year, I was excited to see what the Lord had in store for me after I gave my life to Him last year.  In my life, friends are really important because I come from a small family. I was excited to join Impact’s College group because they shared the same interests as me and it felt like family. The Impact community has kept me focused on God and helped me to challenge my faith, which is a good thing.  I look forward to Sundays, when I am in fellowship with people my age and they are growing in their faith as well.  The Impact community has given me the tools to understand and read the Bible better which is important for any person who is trying to follow Christ.
Sean was one of the two students we baptized last spring at the beach.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Impact Stories: Finding God

This post is part of a series of stories from our Impact students. These posts are all written by students. I hope you'll enjoy a closer look at what God is doing on our local college campuses.  


Nisha, a junior at California Lutheran University, is working towards a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Film Studies. 

Nine months ago, I signed up for a mission trip to Mexico with Young Life College, focusing more on the fact that I didn't want to be alone on Valentine's Day than the mission itself. Though I was still learning to let go of a past relationship, I had found the greatest relationship and the strongest love during the midst of my heartbreak. It wasn't until sitting down to write this testimony that I realized this: Don't search for it and it'll find you, but if you allow for it, then you'll find it. You see, I wasn't looking for God in Mexico, I was looking for a way out and yet He found me ready for Him when all my focus was on a different relationship entirely. I then allowed for God to come into my life, after watching the sunrise over the valley in Mexico, which in return allowed me to find Him and then shortly after Mexico, accept Him.

After that trip, I got involved with Impact CLU. Impact has served as my guiding light on this intrepid journey. Being part of this group has not only allowed me to familiarize myself with the Text, but evaluate what the Text means to me in my personal life. For me, it's important to go beyond what's being said and discover what's being meant. Impact allows us to interpret the content and then grow from our findings into more knowledgeable Christians. I've come to learn that it's one thing to know the stories in the Bible and another to understand the significance, recognize the deeper meanings, and connect recurring messages. For me, Impact created an environment where it was okay to be new in the faith and in disagreement with certain ideas extracted with that day's message.

Being surrounded by Christian believers instead of my typical friends who had a very stereotypical college mindset was like surrounding yourself with butterflies instead of bees. This environment was new, trusting, calm and exactly what I needed as a new believer. My faith wouldn't be nearly as strong if it hadn't been for lessons taught at Impact and the butterflies who were there to help clarify my doubts.

Nisha brings lots of joy and laughter to our Dinner and Discussion nights.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Impact Stories: Transitioning to College Life

This post is part of a series of stories from our Impact students. These posts are all written by students. I hope you'll enjoy a closer look at what God is doing on our local college campuses. 


Jacob, a freshman at Moorpark College, is taking general studies classes to prepare to transfer to a Christian school to study youth ministry. 

When I entered my senior year of high school, I was mildly concerned that this would be my last year of a ministry group at Christian Church of Thousand Oaks. Up to that point, there had been a college group, but they met very inconsistently and only a couple people would come each time. Then, Sarah Koutz came with Impact and the change that happened was very clear, the college group had life in it and I couldn't wait to join the group.

Once I actually left high school and the youth group that went along with it, I was able to join Impact, but I didn't know how much it was going to change my life and help me transition into college. I was able to be surrounded by other college believers that could help me by telling me what they have done as well as haven't done throughout their college life. I'm also blessed to have Sarah who has been very open to talking whenever you want. She has counseled me in my schooling, in my church life, as well as just my day-to-day life. These two different aspects, being able to talk to other college students, as well as the Impact Leader, Sarah, really helped my transition into the wide range of the college world.
Jacob, the current Impact Pencil Game record holder, teaches one of the CCTO elders how to play the pencil game.