GA’s Action on Campus Ministry: Cool, But Now What?

One thing I really didn’t have time to process while, in my delirium, I was doing energizer upon energizer up in Montreat, was General Assembly’s rather significant decision in regards to campus ministry this past month. But now that things are relatively back to normal in my world, I wanted to think about this for a sec…. because, after the Office of Collegiate Ministries was recently shut down, the 219th GA reopened it with overwhelming support. This, in my rather uninformed and naive opinion, is good news with wide-ranging implications. Namely, according to PACHEM’s (Presbyterian Association for Collegiate and Higher Education Ministries) blog:

(1) The Office of Collegiate Ministries will return as a stand-alone office.
(2) A higher education strategy will be developed to be presented to the 220th General Assembly in 2012.
(3) A Presbyterian Student Organization will be formed.
(4) The Presbyterian Student Leadership Team will be rejuvenated with funding.
(5) There was significant support across the Assembly for Collegiate Ministry.

Now, let me be real here for a minute. This doesn’t necessarily indicate sweeping reform and huge changes in the works for our denomination’s approach to campus ministry. There are still important questions to be asked in relation to funding and long-term commitment on the part of GA, etc…, etc… I don’t know how long this office will exist. I don’t know what a “higher education strategy” looks like and who will put it together. The fact that GA even used the word “strategy” in relation to campus ministry represents a serious upgrade.

But here’s what I do know: after attending a conference on Presbyterian collegiate ministries in Minneapolis this past month in the days leading up to General Assembly, I encountered a group of people who are ready for something. What, I don’t know. But I certainly sensed a call for change. Or, perhaps more precisely, a desire to be noticed. To be on the denominational radar, a place we college ministries haven’t been for awhile.

And I also know that candidates vying for GA Moderator were openly naming Presbyterian Collegiate Ministries as a field that needed tending. Our outgoing Moderator even dubbed Collegiate Ministries as his domestic mission that would receive a portion of the offering at GA’s opening worship service. And, from what I heard, when the issue of reopening the Office of Collegiate Ministries came before the Assembly, all of the Young Adult Advisory Delegates wore college/university t-shirts as a symbolic gesture. Almost like they were saying, “We’re here. Always have been. Always will be… unless you keep stepping on the collective throats of our ministries.”

I guess it worked.

All of which is to say that, for the first time in awhile, collegiate ministries in the PCUSA has some momentum, some energy, some direction to it. The next question, or course, is, “What now?”

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~ by presbytide on July 26, 2010.

One Response to “GA’s Action on Campus Ministry: Cool, But Now What?”

  1. This is great news – I am happy to see the church reaching out to kids on college campuses and “strategizing” for them. I can’t help but wonder if there will ever be plans for youth who don’t go to college. I will now commence my own blogging about much less serious issues.

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