Easter season is decidedly underway, and summer is just around the corner… it’s a perfect time to discuss college ministry. Despite pending vacations, now is actually a great time to start making connections and planning with students for fall semesters.
This is particularly true for high school seniors. Congregations, church workers, and families can help seniors make the transition to keep faith in the forefront of life when they become college freshman. Rev. Kent Pierce, pastor at Campus Lutheran in Columbia, also serves as the Director of Campus Ministry Network. He says that often seniors “can disperse and go their own way.” But students or family members can use the referral tool at https://www.molcms.college/ for quick access to 16 ministries. Simply fill out a short form and your information will automatically connect to the selected ministry.
The Campus Ministry Network serves to connect Missouri LCMS-U college ministries and provide leadership training. Once a year, the GO! Leadership Retreat invites student ministry leaders to gather for learning and fellowship. This past February was the most successful with 37 students gathered, representing 8 schools and Darcy Paape presented “Growing Together, Fostering Fruitful Conversations.”
Lutheran Student Fellowship (LSF) of College of the Ozarks is a newer member to the College Ministry Network. Established in 2019, they attended the GO! Leadership Retreat this year. Dr. Joe Western, Assistant Professor of History at College of the Ozarks (a Christian school), helps lead the ministry.
“Because each Christian denomination talks about Christian truth in a unique way and uses language differently, several other LCMS faculty and I wanted to create a confessional home for our Lutheran students on campus to help them to place their experience at the College in a Lutheran framework,” says Dr. Western. “We also wanted to equip them to have better conversations with their non-Lutheran friends on campus, build community with each other, and to connect them with a local LCMS congregation.”
Dr. Western knows the value of keeping college kids connected to faith: “As college students navigate increasing independence, they need Christian community and a connection to a congregation where they can continue to receive Christ and His gifts in Word and Sacrament.”
Make plans this spring to discuss campus ministry plans with a high school or college student in your life.