Lutheran Campus Ministry as a Gift to Campus
Campus Ministry in the ELCA is full of joy, because we make such an impact on students’ lives. We get to bring good news of freedom and hope to people! We see lives transformed and have even seen lives literally saved by the power of God’s love.
The gospel of Jesus brings us freedom from our own sin and shortcomings and also freedom to love. Our particularly Lutheran presence brings an emphasis on God’s grace and freedom to campus.
We hear from young people that Christianity, unfortunately, has a reputation of being concerned with who or what you are against. But we believe that the good news of Jesus is about who we are for.
Based in our Lutheran tradition, what we are for is that everyone might know the overflowing love of God.
One particular expression of Christian freedom relevant to campus ministry is that in the ELCA Lutheran tradition, we have the freedom to use our brains and intellect without worrying that doing so will diminish our faith, because nothing can diminish the love of God. This is particularly important to ministry among college students, and it is in stark contrast to the way some ministries try to present science and critical thinking as enemies of faith.
Also, our freedom as part of the ELCA to fully include LGBTQ people in a way that other churches do not is an expression of gospel that is rare and vitally needed on campus.
In our ministry at ISU, we partner with other Christians who have similar beliefs about the love of God, and we reach out to people who appreciate the love of Jesus even if they have had struggles with the church. We strive for diversity and affirm all people as beloved children of God.
Check out our web site and watch our video which features students sharing their experience with our ministry!
Our ministry is based at the Campus Religious Center, 210 W Mulberry St., Normal, across from Hewett/Manchester dorms.
Some of our regular activities are:
Every Monday morning we serve coffee, tea, and hot cocoa to students on their way to and from class, just to brighten their day, and as a small expression of our conviction that love is freely given and overflows from God. We are set up within sight of our building, so this also gives us the opportunity to invite students to our Monday night community meals.
We serve a home-cooked meal for students and people in the community on Monday nights at 6:30. While our neighborhood is mostly students, people who are experiencing homelessness and families share in our meal on a fairly regular basis. We give special attention to making sure that students and others can “taste the love” put into the cooking, and feel cared for and not just fed. We often hear that it is the best meal that people have all week, or even the best part of their week. This meal has such a good reputation in the community that a community blog, the local newspaper, and two different television stations have spontaneously showed up to do news stories about it in the last several years.
We gather for worship in a setting of “dinner church,” Thursdays at 6:30. We have time for song, prayer, checking in with one another, a gospel message, and holy communion. After worship, we have a time for discussion.
Fun, Learning, and Service:
We also host and participate in other educational and service opportunities. We have fun activities like game nights. We usually offer a retreat and a spring break service/learning trip each year.