Year-End Letter, 2017




Greetings Front Porch Donors!

I want to begin by offering a huge “Thank You” to all of you who have supported Front Porch this past year. What a year it has been! As has been the theme of the past few years, we continue to grow at an explosive pace! This fall at Front Porch, we have again seen Front Porch grow at a rate that has caused us to sit back in awe of what is happening.

This is the sixth academic year that I have been the director of Front Porch; and without question, this has been the hardest beginning to a new school year. Kennedy Love, a student who was an active member of our community, was tragically killed on August 29, 2017. He was a 22-year-old landscape architecture student whose life exemplified the welcoming and accepting spirit of Front Porch. Front Porch will not be the same without him, and we all miss him dearly. But in the midst of the grief, I have never been more aware of how important what we do at Front Porch is. Front Porch is truly something special, something to celebrate, something to tell people about, and something in which to invest.

In this world, sadly, something like Front Porch is so rare. It is a place where students are welcomed just as they are with no hidden agenda. I have come to realize that Front Porch is so much more than a campus ministry, which is how it is labeled. What I have discovered over the past few years is that Front Porch is the church. It is not merely a stopgap to get students through the tough years of college while their horizons unfold, but it offers them much more.

Eighteen to 24-year-old students are drawn to, falling in love with, and becoming active members of a faith community that is centered on the life and teachings of Jesus. Why? Because they experience something that causes them to understand that this is the way life is supposed to be. So, what is this thing they see or experience? I believe it is God—the love of God, flowing through a vibrant community of young people. This type of love draws in people, transforms them, changes their understanding of who God is and what God is like, and invites them to not only believe in something, but also to live for something.

Front Porch is the Church! Do we call it church? Or do we use language commonly found in the church? The answer is no. Those are merely words. But trust me, this is the church. And it is the most honest, authentic, vibrant, loving, open, Jesus-centered, Kingdom-focused church community of which I have ever been a part. This word “Church” that we throw around and means so many different things to so many different people, has always—from the beginning—been a way of naming a community of people who take the life and teachings of Jesus so seriously that it effects how they interact with the world around them. Front Porch is a community that believes there is a better way of being in this world than all the other ways presented by this world’s many structures and systems. Do you know what people used to say about the “Church?” “How can something like this exist? Look how they love each other and care for others, even those who don’t believe the same things as them, and are so different from them. Look how hospitable they are to all with whom they come in contact. Look how alive they are. I want to be a part of a community like that!” I do not think it is a coincidence that people say the same thing about this community every day!

So, when you support Front Porch, you aren’t just giving to something that will help young adults get through college. You are investing in the future of the church for generations to come! And, Front Porch does not exist without your financial generosity.

To make all of this happen, we need your help! Whether you are an individual or a church congregation, will you consider a year-end gift that will help us make up our current deficit, as well as enable us to embrace the wonderful challenges that lie ahead in 2018? Front Porch relies entirely on support and gifts from people like you—families, friends, congregations, parents, students and alumni—all of those who have a special place in their hearts for students and this place. Even though it seems crazy, next year we anticipate serving more students while we continue the individual attention and emphasis on community that defines Front Porch.

Won't you join us this year in supporting the future of the church? The students are grateful; we are grateful. God is faithful. As always, we humbly ask for your continued prayers for Front Porch, our leaders, the students, and those we serve. You can give a tax-deductible gift by including a check to Front Porch in the enclosed envelope. Donations can also be made online through our website: and click on the “give” menu.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or comments. Also, please come to visit anytime if you find yourself in San Luis Obispo! We’ll be here!

Grace & Peace,
Joel Drenckpohl
Director, Front Porch, SLO