By Emily Campbell
The popular story about young adults in the church is often focused on their absence from the pews on Sundays. This narrative fails to capture the richness that young adults bring to the faith community through the integration of faith and their unique perspectives, engagement with communities at the local and global level, and commitment to social justice work.
Many young adults find their faith deepens in a community of their peers through Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM). LCM–Twin Cities is located at the University of Minnesota and is a partner of both the Minneapolis Area (MAS) and Saint Paul Area Synods of the ELCA. Students come together around tenets such as interfaith dialogue, service work, justice making, and life in community.
During the first full weekend of April, congregations across the Twin Cities will hear from student preachers to learn more about the side of the narrative that is often lacking when discussing young adults in the church. Students and alumni will be preaching at nine congregations in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods.
“We have such an enthusiastic and nervous group of students ready to proclaim a word of God’s grace.”
For the students, this is an important way to engage in the broader Lutheran Church and to participate in intergenerational community. And for some students, preaching is a chance to discern a call to ministry. Because so many congregations were willing to host student preachers, some newer students will also have an opportunity to preach, allowing LCM to build leaders throughout their college experience.
STUDENT PREACHERS WILL BE speaking on the lectionary text and connecting it their own life experiences. “We have such an enthusiastic and nervous group of students ready to proclaim a word of God’s grace,” says the Rev. Kate Reuer Welton, pastor for LCM-Twin Cities. “They are both ordinary and extraordinary in the way all of us are.”
For the congregations, this is a unique opportunity to amplify the voices of young people and to connect to the important ministry of LCM. Pastor John Hulden, MAS assistant to the bishop, hopes that congregations will gain “a new understanding of an incredible partner in ministry.”
Campus ministries are “an extension of congregational ministry to young adults,” says Pastor Reuer Welton. As such, they depend on congregational support to connect youth to organizations that will help their faith grow on campus. Additionally, LCM-TC relies on congregational support for a quarter of their annual budget and is always welcome to building new relationships with congregational partners.
“Many young adults find their faith deepens in a community of their peers through Lutheran Campus Ministry.”
Many congregations value the engagement of young people in the church and supporting campus ministry offers a variety of ways to act upon that commitment. As Pastor Hulden notes, students cannot financially support campus ministry on their own. Students “tithing their campus pay isn’t going to be enough to support a campus pastor, so this is one of those ministries that we need to continue to support for very good reasons.”
You can hear Lutheran Campus Ministry students preach at four MAS congregations this Sunday: Grace University Lutheran, Minneapolis; House of Hope Lutheran, New Hope; St. Stephen’s Lutheran, Bloomington; and University Lutheran Church of Hope, Minneapolis. Learn more about Lutheran Campus Ministry–Twin Cities at umnlutheran.org.