Seminarians explore unconventional callings

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Campus ministry comes in many shapes and sizes, and it requires people who love the church, love students, and are willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved.

That’s what seminarians heard when Calvin Theological Seminary’s Mentored Ministries Office and Church Planting Club hosted eight campus ministers in a lunch discussion to give seminarians a taste of this exciting ministry.  

Campus ministers from Calvin College, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, McMaster University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Western Ontario talked about the challenges of their ministries: the constant turnover of students, the busy schedules, the astonishing lack of biblical literacy, and the vast amount of time required to develop meaningful relationships.

They noted how every university or college has its own “personality”—a fact that calls for creativity on the part of campus ministers.

Advice they gave included the following:

Learn as much as you can about your campus, its environment, and its history.

Stay connected to the church; make sure you love the church and see yourself as an extension of it.

Find ways to serve that match the gifts God has given you.

Make room for “free time” when students can stop in to talk.

Communicate with key people like the dean of students, the director of student life, or even the president of the school.

Help students develop leadership gifts and a Christian worldview.

Use the materials provided by Christian Reformed Home Missions to see what’s going on in your school setting and ask how you can create a wholesome environment.

Go and visit a campus ministry!

About the Author

Kathy Smith is senior associate director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and an adjunct professor at Calvin Theological Seminary and Calvin University. She is a member of First CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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