Campus ministry provides one the most important arenas to address the need for young lay and clergy leaders in The United Methodist Church. College is the most critical vocational discernment period in a young adult’s life, so campus ministries are one of the best opportunities to raise the possibility of a church-related vocation.
A survey on the spiritual lives of college students found that in 2004, more than two-thirds of 112,000 freshmen surveyed said they prayed, almost 80 percent believed in God, and nearly half said they were seeking opportunities to grow spiritually. The survey was by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.
More than 17 million college students attend more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. The United Methodist Church serves only about 350 of those campuses through its campus ministry programs.
Public colleges and universities in the U.S. educate more than 14 million students and campus ministry is the only inroad the United Methodist Church has to many of those students.
Professional development for campus ministry personnel is a significant part of this budget. A major initiative is being developed to provide training for the credentialing of campus ministers. And GBHEM supports the UMCMA, especially through a biennial event which provides opportunities for training and professional development.
GBHEM’s Campus Ministry Section is also working with annual conferences to develop tools to evaluate and review campus ministry programs for their effectiveness.
Student Forum has been expanded. The national leadership development event, organized and led by the United Methodist Student Movement Steering Committee, is open to all UM college students each year.
GBHEM has supported Student Forum events and Russia and is supporting a planned event in Africa this summer.
The Campus Ministry Section plans to develop publications for small group study and other curriculum resources for students. We already offer CD Journal, a small group covenant guidebook, Orientation Online, and So What About God Now that You’re Off to College.
District leaders in each jurisdiction will be recruited and trained to become higher education advocates.
The Thomas-Shockley Youth Theological Academy is a summer enrichment program in network recruitment that will help identify young people at an early age for church-related vocations by providing them exposure to the “Culture of Call.”