|Campus ministers hear need for new ministry models|
Students at United Methodist-related Bethune-Cookman University in
Daytona Beach, Fla., walk on campus in this 2008 file photo. A UMNS
photo courtesy of Bethune-Cookman University.
By Vicki Brown*
Oct. 15, 2009
Campus ministers need to be more evangelistic and visible, and they
should work to empower students to tell the story of campus ministry,
church education officials said.
The old model of campus ministries fully funded by annual
conferences is no longer enough to address the needs, directors of
the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Division of Higher Education concluded.
In exploring different models at their fall meeting Oct. 8-10, directors lifted up projects such as the new Wesley House at the University of California-Berkeley that represent new and creative ways of ministry.
Rev. Bridgette Young, staff executive for Campus Ministry and College
Chaplaincy, said she plans to develop training opportunities for new
A UMNS photo by Vicki Brown.
The “hybrid” dorm apartments of Wesley House blend the personal
space of a dorm room with community living areas. Upon completion in
fall 2010, Wesley House will be home to 96 students.
The Rev. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, chairperson of the Division of Higher
Education, said the building will generate enough revenue to fund the
Berkeley campus ministry and to plant ministries at other colleges and
Showing value needs to be a priority for campus ministries, education leaders said.
People in the church want to see that they get something for their
money, said the Rev. Orlando Chafee, superintendent of the Mahoning
Valley District, East Ohio Conference.
“Campus ministry doesn’t do a good job of showing annual conferences how campus ministry makes a difference,” Chafee said.
There is good news to share.
The Rev. Jennifer Copeland, campus minister at Duke University, said
she had surveyed her ministry’s alumni and found that 75 percent of
them have gone into nonprofit social justice work full time, and 30
percent are in full-time service in The United Methodist Church.
Allow more students to tell the stories of campus ministry, said Bishop James Swanson of the Holston Annual Conference.
Swanson said it has been his experience that annual conference members
are more attentive when students – rather than the campus minister –
report on what their campus ministries are doing.
The directors also encouraged greater cooperation with local
churches on campus ministry. At the same time, officials said it is
clear campus ministry has a distinct role in the church.
Mike Sykuta, an associate professor of economics at the University
of Missouri-Columbia, said most local churches do not have the desire,
the wherewithal or the passion to do campus ministry.
“And I’m not sure the church can provide the kind of 24-7, very
present and personal ministry that a campus minister can do,” Sykuta
The Rev. Bridgette Young, staff executive for Campus Ministry and
College Chaplaincy, added “campus ministry is not an extended church
“We are committed to developing training opportunities to help those
cooperative models of campus ministry be effective in reaching
students, as we form stronger partnerships with local churches and
districts,” Young said. “Churches need to understand the campus
population and the specialized skills that are needed to serve
*Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of
Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
News media contact: David Briggs, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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