Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Next Two Years

As a result of the actions of the PC(U.S.A.)'s 219th General Assembly, Collegiate Ministries has some new opportunities:
(1) The Office of Collegiate Ministries will return as a stand-alone office.
(2) A higher education strategy will be developed to be presented to the 220th General Assembly in 2012.
(3) A Presbyterian Student Organization will be formed.
(4) The Presbyterian Student Leadership Team will be rejuvenated with funding.
(5) There was significant support across the Assembly for Collegiate Ministry.

These are encouraging opportunities, but

(1) While the approved overture had funds for a full associate position, currently  the associate is about half time in Collegiate Ministries. What will the new organization look like? A half-time Young Adult Ministries (or will admit that we have no Young Adult ministry)- combined with Youth? (please, no. Youth ministry is not the same as young adult ministry) Will operating funds increase for a full-time office programs?

(2) Will the GAMC release sufficient funds to conduct a comprehensive, useful higher education strategy? If the office has only its current funds available, there won't be much of a strategy. Will there be enough time to gather data, involve middle governing bodies and other denominations and still have the report  finished in time to report to the 2012 GA? There is only about 15 months in which to work.

(3) The student organization was funded by the Assembly's Sunday Worship offering.(The amount has not yet been released.) As a student told the committee hearing collegiate ministry issues, "What happens when that offering money runs out?"  What will be the sustainable source of funding?

(4) What exactly is the purpose of a Presbyterian Student Leadership Team? How will that be communicated to the denomination? What sustained funding will there be?

(5) How will significant support translate in practical terms?

We have a lot of work to do to capitalize on this movement!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

General Assembly

The General Assembly passed the resolution to re-establish a stand alone Office of Collegiate Ministries and to develop a higher education strategy to be presented at the 2012 GA. There was an outporing of support for Collegiate Ministries which was encouraging and affirming.

The committee discussed and debated the overture and its dilebration  turned out to be the the current state of collegiate ministry thought in microcosm. I wish it had been archived. It would have been a wonderful teaching tool.

The only really negative part was the attitude and action of some of the Louisville staff. They weren't interested in discussing the overture with the advocates, and made it clear that congregational ministries were important, and that they would sacrifice collegiate ministry in a heartbeat.

In 1998, the Lutherans conducted a big survey concerning Lutheran church-related schools. One of the big shockers of that study concerned the perceptions of different groups on the effectiveness of a church-related college experience. Guess which group undervalued church-related education the most? Church bureaucrats! More so than even non-churched adults. Perhaps by extension we might say that church officials would undervalue collegeiate ministry.

How can we change this? We have to find better ways to let the church know what collegiate ministry is doing. Perhaps a full-time staff member can help with that, but the collegiate ministry community has to be more PR proactive. How do we do that??