How should denominations relate to students? Currently the PCUSA has no specific ministry to college students. Yes, the Office of Collegiate Ministry supports collegiate ministers who then support students. Yes, there are some connections possible through NNPCW, REYWT, and the YAV program, but where is the care and support for students as students? There is nothing.
The recent Task Force for a Collegiate Ministry Strategy did not include a student on the Task Force by choice, and there was no public way for students to have input into the strategy. The strategy did not address student issues, but only those of college ministry.
The 2010 General Assembly Worship service had college student ministry as one of the beneficiaries of the offering. To my knowledge those monies have never been released!
What does a student do at a college where there is no PCUSA presence, and no local congregation? What if the nearest congregation is not interested in college students? (Shocking, but true! Every year a few students contact pachem.org asking for student connections or campus ministry programs. I send them information about the nearest congregation and send the congregation an e-mail - or letter since a goodly portion don't have e-mail. [also shocking but true!] In perhaps the last 15 contacts, I have received two responses from the churches saying that they will contact the students. I have not done any follow-up in the last five years, so I don't know how successful those connections have been. I am not hopeful.)
How could the PCUSA help college students?
Couldn't the PCUSA have a social media presence so that Presbyterian College students could connect with one another? PCUSA Young Adults have a FaceBook page, why not one specifically for college students? What about a site where students could get some resources and connect with PCUSA students at other isolated campuses? How can we help those students feel connected?
Well, why don't they form a community themselves? Why hasn't someone already done it?
Perhaps because the transition to college is pretty overwhelming, and they have already tried to locate a campus ministry and local church where they feel comfortable. Perhaps because starting an online community would take time before the word got out and a critical mass of students joined. If there was an on-going group already started, perhaps searching students would join. Establishing and maintaining such a community could easily be administered by the denomination with some (lowly) paid student moderators.
But maybe the time has passed for denominational connections..... What do you think?
2018 Conference - Creating Many Ripples Best Practices in Campus Ministry featuring workshops from the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative* June 8...
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