Friday, August 10, 2012

Graduate Student Ministry

Graduate and professional students are an often under served population on campus. They don't usually want to participate in the undergrad fellowship, and they often have time and family constraints.

Some specific facets of a grad school outreach might include:
English conversation, especially for families
Child care
Transportation for spouses
Assistance with food, clothing (especially for seasons not present at home), and furnishings
Groups which meet at unusual times for Bible Study and support
Job training for spouses

Many of these needs would be applicable to immigrant communities, and are volunteer intensive.
Wouldn't this be a good ministry for some volunteers to spearhead?
Retirees in local congregations might be a good source of support. Even those in congregations which aren't near campus might feel called to help with transportation or English conversations.

Even small congregations near campus, who feel as if they don't currently have the energy or resources for an undergraduate campus ministry, might be able to provide some graduate student ministry.

The Graduate Studies Administration on campus would be a good place to begin in trying to identify needs and locations of the graduate students.

Here's a model of a grad student ministry practiced by at least two Presbyterian congregations:
Meet after worship for lunch provided by the congregation (usually pizza or something simple ordered in) and use five questions as discussion starters ("What struck you in the sermon?", "Did anything in worship  move you or seem especially appropriate today?", etc.) Child care might be provided, based on the attenders. The group eats and talks for a while. They end with prayer, and leave after about an hour total.

It's an easy way to start.