Life on a university campus can be challenging in many ways. For Christian students, the values and beliefs they have held for their entire lives not only can be in the minority, but those beliefs also can often be the object of ridicule and even attack. Add to that all of the other aspects of campus life that can be potentially harmful to their faith, and it’s easy to see that we want to do all we can to provide the support and spiritual resources that our young people will need when they head off to college.
Our synod has recognized that need for a long time. In 1920, the first WELS campus ministry program began at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. For 100 years, thousands of young adults have found spiritual comfort, community, and encouragement through WELS campus ministries that have been carried out throughout North America. WELS Campus Ministry, a ministry of WELS Home Missions, continues to support congregations that serve college students during a critical transition time in their lives. The WELS Campus Ministry Committee currently provides about 30 campus ministries with financial support and assists hundreds of other congregations in their campus ministry outreach.
Due to COVID-19, WELS Campus Ministry held its conference virtually this year. Last week, campus pastors and others involved in campus ministries tuned in for a live video conference. The archived conference can be viewed online. Presentations included looking at effective ways to recruit and engage college students using technology and highlighting the various resources available to use in promoting campus ministry in congregations.
One of those resources is a Campus Ministry 100 toolkit, which provides tools for any congregation to be involved in campus ministry by either starting a campus ministry program or supporting their church’s college students while they’re away.
WELS Campus Ministry is encouraging all congregations to hold a special Sunday in 2020–21, giving thanks to the Lord for the 100 years it’s been able to serve college students. Worship helps, a sermon, and promotional resources have been provided to host a campus ministry-themed Reformation service, mission festival, or Ascension service. Campus ministry speakers are also available to guest preach by request at wels.net/speaker-request.
Our WELS university and college students are a precious treasure. Keep encouraging them to hold on to the “one thing needful” and remember them in your prayers.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder
For more information about WELS Campus Ministry, visit wels.net/cm100. If you are a college student or know a college student, don’t forget to sign up with WELS Campus Ministry to get in contact with the nearest local campus pastor and receive free copies of Meditations devotions and Forward in Christ magazine.