I'd promised this post last week but never got around to writing it. It's been incredibly busy these last few weeks as those of you who follow my twitter probably know. It's really an exciting time to be in ministry at Schweitzer for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is our new college ministry.
We started the college ministry here last fall as part of an expanded view of our age-specific ministry strategies. It's been pretty low key up until this spring. We've been really blesssed by the Missouri Conference in supporting this new ministry. As a conference they've made the shift to ministries that local congregations lead from the traditional Wesley model. As part of this we've been dreaming about what a new ministry from Schweitzer would look like. Last fall we were awarded a one-time grant from the conference to help us expand the ministry (see my previous college sound gear post). This winter we applied for another grant to really expand what we're doing.
I'm really excited to say that we received the second grant we requested. It's going to fund this ministry dramatically, essentially matching the investment Schweitzer is putting into my role as a pastor. All of our pastors wear several hats. The two core areas of emphasis for me will be college ministry and creative arts leadership. The title is a bit clunky, pastor of creative arts and college ministry, anybody got better suggestions? It's not officially my title until July 1, so there's some room to play.
The approach we're taking is to plant a second site on the Missouri State campus. Right now our college worship is a monthly event. Starting in August we'll be opening a new campus at MSU with a weekly Sunday night worship service. Our worship offerings will be Saturday night (5:30pm), Sunday morning (8:30, 9:45, & 11am), and Sunday night @MSU (9pm). Obviously the focus of the site will be college students, but we've got a great group of older folks that are going to be working with us on the worship and other ministries. We've been using the Big Idea worship planning model for about a year now which will let us coordinate the messages I preach at MSU with the weekend on our main campus. Obviously there will be some differences because of the group, but generally we're going to try to keep on the same message.
My favorite part of this approach is that rather than being a traditional campus ministry we're part of a church. Our goal is to offer campus ministry like options with all the depth, opportunity, and community that happens within a local congregation. We're going to be connecting students to service opportunities, leadership development, small groups, discipleship, etc. We really believe that the local church can dramatically impact student's lives.
I'm having a blast planning and working with students for the future of college ministry. The shift to being a multisite church is really challenging. It's taking a lot of work, training, and prayer. I'd really like to talk with some folks doing portable multisite ministry. It's going to be a fun ride and I can't wait to see what God does.