Dear Pastors, Youth Workers, Lay Leaders,
I am so grateful for you. Thank you for the work you’ve done raising up these faithful young people, loving them well, and bearing witness to the love of Christ. We at LCM understand ourselves as a part of the ecology of the church – working in partnership with the parishes our students come from and will return to.
We rely on you for financial support, intergenerational mentoring, student referrals, and for the great work you do with your students. And in turn, we nurture the faith of young people attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, learn and reflect, and do our best to report back to you on what we’re learning with and from these young folks about what the church of the 21st Century might look like.
Lutheran students are 60-70% of our ministry each year, and they are an important part of creating a culture of curiosity, servant-heartedness, and authenticity. Students with a Lutheran background make it possible for us to walk with students who are new to Christianity, or who are coming back to church after a hard time in their life, or with the church, in general. The work you do with them is an integral part of what we’re able to do together on campus. It’s a really beautiful thing. Thank you.
And thanks be to God that none of us are in this alone. While we do our best to reach out to the young adults coming from your congregations, we also know they remain in touch with you. Here are some ways you can support them as they stretch and grow into the person God made them to be:
- Make a plan with them! Have a conversation, 1:1 or in a small group, and talk with them about faith in college. What do they want? What are they hopeful for? What do you hope for them? Encourage them to get connected with a faith community on campus (I’d love it if it was Lutheran Campus Ministry, of course!). Refer them to campus ministries across the country using this link.
- Give them Words! Talk with your people about the variety of voices they will hear on campus. Discuss the differences in theological perspectives and encourage them to find their own words to give voice to what they believe to be about God. They will certainly encounter people who have black and white ideas about who God is, who God is not, and if God exists. It’s important for them to have something to say, even (and especially) if it’s nuanced.
- Stay in touch! We want them to be in relationship with you. The more church folks they have in their lives, the broader their understanding of how God is active in the world. Send care packages around midterms or finals time, and include information on churches or campus ministries in the area. Invite them out to coffee when they’re home on break, or when you’re on campus. Trust me, your relationship matters to them. They talk about you a lot 🙂
And while you’re here, a reminder that our ministry relies on your support to do the work we do on campus! Here are some ways to support LCM-TC:
- Please help us welcome your students here. Please. It’s the ONLY way we know they’re on campus. At the U of M, our students are heavily marketed to and we have found that relationships are our best way to cut through the noise helping them place a priority on nurturing their faith. If you have a student coming to the U of M, I’d welcome an email or text introduction as well.
- Consider including LCM-TC in your budget and/or connect us with your foundation. Maybe it’s $500. Maybe it’s $5,000. We’re grateful for the support of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods, and also need you and your churches as partners. Our students can’t support this ministry by themselves. We’re very grateful for your generosity.
- Invite us to your place – to come and preach, lead an adult forum, talk to your high school students, your council, or whomever you think is an active audience. We’re happy to tailor presentations, and value connecting with congregations who have a passion for young adults.
- Pray for this ministry, and for young people on college campuses.
- Join LCM-TC’s monthly e-update list. This will help you remember college students in general, make sure you know about events we’re hosting, and also keep you updated on what we’re up to locally at the U. Sign up here.
Again, know how grateful we are for you, the work you do, and look forward to getting to know you better.