Campus Ministry? What’s that? Though campus ministries have been serving university campuses for over 125 years, and though on many campuses they attract more students than any other type of student organization, they aren’t well-known to the average American. Since the term is unfamiliar to many, on campus we generally refer to our groups as “student faith communities”. So what ARE they?
You have heard “one picture is worth 1000 words”, but we’ll go one better than that: on Sunday, September 22, at 10 AM in the Plaster Student Union theater, the Campus Ministers Association of MSU will show you what campus ministry looks like as we come together to offer a time of worship for you and your student(s). We’ll have music, prayer and an inspiring message to remind us all that life matters and the choices we make now have big impact for the future.
Campus ministries are campus outposts of various religious traditions which want to make student support, community building, and spiritual growth opportunities readily accessible to students while they are going through one of their most transformational times of their lives. At Missouri State University, for an organization to be recognized as a campus ministry, it needs to have a student organization and has to have at least one staff person whose job description at least ten hours dedicated to students on campus. At this point, the Campus Ministers Association has 15 member organizations, all of which happen to be Christian at this time. For a complete listing, see https://www.missouristate.edu/studentengagement/campus-ministers-association.htm.
What does a campus ministry do? Each varies somewhat, but most members of the CMA offer a larger weekly gathering that includes worship and teaching. Usually, students themselves are very involved in orchestrating the gatherings and they tend to be up front more than the professional staff. In addition, student-led small groups provide opportunities for students to grow closer to one another as they grow closer to God. Since students still like to hang out with one another, at least sometimes, social events, involvement in intramural sports, and spontaneous get-togethers are part of the campus ministry experience.
But faith is not an inner impulse: members of the CMA offer opportunities for students to serve others on campus, around town and around the world. From local opportunities to befriend under-privileged youth to international opportunities to do relief work, CMA ministries offer students the chance to expand their vision of the world and what their role may be in that would. We want our students to make a difference in the lives of others now, as well as in the future.
To learn more and to get acquainted with us, please plan on joining us for the CMA worship gathering in the Plaster Student Union theater on September 22 at 10. If you have any questions, please email DEmbee@MissouriState.edu.
David Embree is the director of Christian Campus House at MSU, where he also teaches in the Department of Religious Studies. He has been involved in the Campus Ministers Association since it was established.