Sunday, January 22, 2012

Worshiping Communities By the Numbers

The cover story for the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Presbyterians Today is about the challenge” from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders: …  1,001 new Presbyterian worshiping communities in 10 years.”

The distinction is made between “worshiping communities” and churches. The goal is to grow 1,001 worshiping communities (not necessarily churches) in the next 10 years. That’s good.

I wonder when campus ministries will be seen as worshiping communities? They are now communities which gather for worship, study, service, prayer, and fellowship.  A number of campus ministry fellowship participants do not attend a church on Sunday, and will say that the weekly campus ministry fellowship meeting is their weekly “church.” When will the denomination see them as “worshiping communities” and value and celebrate them?

Some Presbyterian groups have responded to the “1001 in 10” challenge by pledging to start (in the case of Korean Presbyterian leaders) 100 new worshiping communities.

How about starting some of those 1001 new communities on college and university campuses?

As of 2009 – 2010 there are roughly:
17, 600 undergraduate colleges and universities
10, 560 PC(USA) congregations
18.5% of PC(USA) congregations are within one mile of a college or university.
Only 27% of congregations nearby a college or university reports that their congregations offer programs to students at such schools

1954 PCUSA congregations are within one mile of a college or university.
528 PCUSA congregations currently report having a college program.

Generously assuming that each congregation with a current campus ministry draws from two different institutions, the number of undergraduate institutions without a PC(USA) presence is  about ( 17,600 – [528 X 2]) = 16, 544

Which means:
There’s an opportunity to develop some new “worshiping communities” on the 16,000 campuses where there is no identifiable PC(USA) presence!! 

There are over 1,400 PC(USA) congregations who worship within a mile of a campus and have NO campus ministry!!

Who can challenge / encourage / nurture these congregations to act?
Who will? The same leaders who challenge / nurture / encourage us all to grow “1,001 in 10”??????

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Emerging Adults and Worship

Emily Morgan, a third year student at Princeton Theological Seminary, an articulate blogger, and a Millennial, has has written a thoughtful article about Emerging Adults and Worship.

Forward it to the Pastor and Clerk of Session of the church closest to your campus, and follow up with a meeting with them.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Hungering Students

After a few days of rich conversations with college ministry folks (over 53 at the Montreat College Conference) the image of hunger kept surfacing in two areas, one expected and one not.

Most Presbyterian campus ministries have at least one regularly scheduled meal as a part of their programming.This "ministry of meals" is almost a hallmark of PC(USA) collegiate ministries. (One ice-breaker poster where we were to illustrate our  "typical student" participants had drawn a big heart and an even bigger stomach.) Perhaps a quarter of those feeding ministries had meals where students who might not necessarily be participants in the ministry could drop in, take a meal, and leave.

One of the dirty little secrets of college life is how many students don't get adequate food. They can't afford meal plans, and money for food is often an issue. Some ministers and students talked about students knowing which campus ministries fed on which days so that they could have a few days of good meals.

The other area where hunger kept cropping up was in discussions about students hungering for a welcoming place where they could bring their doubts and questions and be respected. This aspect of hospitality seems to be another one of the hallmarks of PC(USA) collegiate ministry.

How might the ministries with which you are connected be more intentional in responding to these hungers?