Campus ministry brings young Christians together for worship and fellowship and sometimes more.
Glenn L. Schwanke
It’s Tsarist Russia. The year is 1905. In the little village of Anatevka, three of Tevye’s daughters are hanging out the laundry. Yente, the village matchmaker, has just stopped by to inform them that Lazar Wolf, the wealthy butcher and also a widower older than Tevye, wants to marry Tzeitel, the eldest daughter. What a match! Not exactly the man of a young girl’s dreams.
Who would be? The three daughters tell us. “Someone wonderful.” “Someone interesting.” “And well off.” “And important.” Then the three burst out in song. “Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a match, Find me a find, catch me a catch. Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Look through your book, And make me a perfect match.” (Fiddler on the Roof, 1964)
It’s the United States of America. The year is 2014. In the little town of Houghton, Mich., three Michigan Technological University (MTU) coeds are hanging out the laundry. . . .
Wait! That’s not right, not right at all! Let’s change it to, “In the little town of Houghton, Mich., on the MTU campus, there are almost 7,000 students enrolled. Over 5,600 of them are undergraduates. For a variety of reasons, the student body ratio of men to women stands at about three to one.”
That ratio has actually shifted somewhat in the last decade, because recruiting has raised the number of female students on campus. And among the Wisconsin Synod students who attend MTU? The ratio has shifted even more dramatically over the years. Our student group ratio is about 60 percent male and 40 percent female.
So what? Well, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m kind of like a 21st-century Yente. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say that our campus ministry functions as a matchmaker—at least on a secondary level. One of the reasons we carefully plan worship and all those Bible studies and weekly fellowship activities is to bring young Christians together. Our model is that of the early Christian church. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of
bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Our primary purpose is that of the apostle Paul: “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2,3 ). We want young Christians well equipped to live their faith in a society that is becoming increasingly challenging, and at times even hostile, to Christianity.
And if, while doing that, young Christian men and women meet? And start to date? And their relationship gets serious? And they get engaged? And Papa gets a scholar! And Mama gets someone as rich as a king! And a young woman gets a husband of whom it can be said, “He loves his wife ‘just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it’ ” (Ephesians 5:25)! And a young man gets a wife of whom it can be said, “[Her beauty comes from her] inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4)! Isn’t that a rich blessing from our gracious God?
Certainly! And anyway, somebody has to arrange the matches. Over the years, matches like Raj & Mahita, Dan and Kate, Matthew and Heather, Ken and Nicole. . . .
Glenn Schwanke, pastor at Peace, Houghton, Michigan, serves as campus pastor at Michigan Technological University.
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Author: Glenn L. Schwanke
Volume 101, Number 7
Issue: July 2014
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