The Lifelong Impact of Campus Ministry
What is the impact of campus ministry? Today’s guest blogger shares her experience, both as a leader and as a student – and how many have benefitted from serving and sharing the Gospel on campuses.
More than ever, Christian college students who come to secular universities face ridicule for any comments they express concerning their faith. As a result, they often feel alone and isolated. For this reason, campus ministry is as crucial for the Christian students as for students who have never heard the Gospel.
Chama, from Sri Lanka, is a Christian who benefited from campus ministry. She never forgot the friendship and encouragement All Saints gave her. The March issue of The Pittsburgh Lutheran published letters from the Rev. Dr. Edward Naumann and from his wife, Monica. They describe how they accidentally met Chama in Sri Lanka and Chama praised the campus ministry outreach at All Saints in Slippery Rock, PA. She still feels emotional about the love given to her. She even tried to establish her own outreach on campus when she studied in Japan. She remains an active Christian now that she’s back home in Sri Lanka, where she is a school teacher. She and the Naumann family will continue their time together; time to get to know each other and to remember the help given in Slippery Rock.
Two students who are Christians have come to many of the student meals. It would be amazing if one decided to be involved with helping as volunteers in South Korea, but two Christians are doing just that! Both appreciate campus ministry’s encouragement. Joe is an American who became a Christian while attending a Korean Christian church. Joe has fallen in love with everything Korean. He is learning the Korean language, enjoys hanging out with the many Korean students who come to the meals and is determined to spend another summer in Korea teaching English.
Adam is an American who will graduate soon. He comes in to talk about the sense he has that he should consider going to South Korea to do some Christian volunteer work before he starts a full-time job. Adam’s father had been a missionary in South Korea. Adam wants to follow God’s path for him. We pray with him for God’s leading for his life. He is glad for all the information we help him to obtain.
Slippery Rock University trusts All Saints Campus Ministry’s work with students. When a student needs a friend, they feel comfortable in introducing the student to us. The university recently suggested that a very serious, hard-working student from Haiti come talk to us. She is wracked with the question: should she continue her studies or go home to be with her mother, who has cancer? Her mother’s dream is to have her daughter graduate from Slippery Rock University, but her daughter wants to be with her mother. We prayed together asking God to give her comfort and direction.
Christian students are no more immune from suffering than students who are agnostic or atheist. So when a student who has pain in her family relationships needs help, she needs a place to ask for Christian answers. Because of this, one of the students has made the campus ministry office her second home. Campus ministry’s door is open to help her with forgiving those who have really hurt her. It also provides her rides to the doctor's office and even helped with the car that decided not to work. The student is a Christian who is grateful to have Bible study, prayer and Christian advice.
Campus ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Iowa City, Iowa, changed my life and my husband’s fifty-five years ago. It was there that my husband’s best friend, Ralph Heinze, worshiped. It was there that Ralph brought Jim to be confirmed after the Holy Spirit reopened Jim’s heart to faith. It was at that campus ministry that Ralph and his wife Mildred introduced us to each other. It was there that Rev. John Constable patiently answered so many faith questions. We will always be thankful for God’s gift of campus ministry. Our prayer is that there will always be a campus ministry on every American campus.
Augusta R. Mennell is the Campus Ministry Director at All Saints Lutheran Church and Student Center in Slippery Rock, PA. If you have a mission or ministry story you’d like to share, please submit for consideration via email to Lynne at email@example.com.