Reaching students through campus ministry

“Campus ministry was very important to me over my years at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (UW-SP). With the stress, temptations, and busy schedule of college, it would have been very difficult to keep God as number one without the support of campus ministry. I am so thankful I attended campus ministry and would encourage everyone in college to attend,” says Tarah Smith, a 2014 graduate of UW-SP and member at St. Luke’s, Oakfield, Wis.

WELS Campus Ministry had an impact on Smith, and programs at UW-SP and many other colleges regularly reach not only WELS students but also others who want to learn about God’s Word.

Currently, Divine Word, a congregation in nearby Plover, Wis., serves the Stevens Point campus. Every Thursday, 20 to 25 students meet to study God’s Word and to share in a meal prepared by volunteers from the congregation.

“We try to let them know that they’re part of our congregation, that we’re their home away from home,” says Scott Wolfram, pastor at Divine Word. “As much as possible we want to make them a part of our congregation.”

Campus ministry has been an important ministry to Divine Word, as it offers nearby college students a church home and the opportunity to continue building their relationship with God, explains Scott Dimler, congregation president. He says, “In order to have any successful program that we do at Divine Word, the congregation has to be not only supportive with volunteering their time and talents, but also it is an important part of our ministry, so we do have budget money set aside each year to support it.”

Now the congregation has decided to take its efforts even further. With financial support from the WELS Campus Ministry Committee, Divine Word plans to call a second pastor to serve not only the campus but also eventually the Stevens Point community. The goal is that a second pastor will be able to offer more fellowship opportunities and spiritual guidance as well as build stronger relationships with the students.

Ken Brokmeier, chairman of the WELS Campus Ministry Committee, says, “If a congregation is interested, the Campus Ministry Committee is happy to try to partner with local congregations to get something going.” Brokmeier says the Campus Ministry Committee has funds available to help congregations get a campus ministry off the ground and will provide guidance on what a program should look like and how the congregation can get involved.

“Being able to meet with other students who share a faith with me and being able to study God’s Word with them is truly a blessing,” says Casey Urbanek, a student at UW-SP. “Campus ministry provides an opportunity for me to step away from all the stress and challenges of college life and focus on my relationship with God while growing in faith with other students.”

Do you know college students who need spiritual support and encouragement? Submit their contact information at www.wels.net/campus-ministry. Congregations interested in starting an organized campus ministry should contact Ken Brokmeier at kenbrok@brookings.net.

 

Author:
Volume 102, Number 1
Issue: January 2015

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