The college campus is a windy place. Life-long Lutheran students are suddenly carried away from the foundation of the apostles and prophets by every wind of doctrine. They appear to be helpless as the waves of rationalism, emotionalism, synergism, etc. bear them away from Christ. They are bombarded with new ideas that are foreign to their Christian worldview and conflict with everything they have been taught. Unaware of the danger, they follow the enticing voices of the world, their own sinful flesh, and the devil who still asks, “Did God really say…”
How can we help these students from falling away? St. Paul says in Ephesians 4 that Christ gave the Office of the Ministry so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. Thus, the LCMS does well to provide Word and sacrament campus ministry. Campus ministry is nothing other than the faithful preaching of Christ crucified and the right administration of the sacraments for college students.
What should pastors and congregations do to support campus ministry for the sake of their students?
First, find out where your college students are and help them find a confessional Lutheran campus ministry where they may attend. Sadly, once our high school graduates move away to college, they can become out of sight and out of mind in a hurry. I confess that I have done this very thing! Please be mindful of the students and contact them. The gentle nudging toward the one thing necessary is worth it.
Second, I highly recommend that the home pastor contact the campus pastor of the church where you wish your student would attend. This is good for so many reasons, but initially it is important for the faithful soul care of the student who may desire to receive the Sacrament from the campus pastor.
Third, I beg you, take care of things in your own congregation for the long run. Do not try to lure youth into your congregations by entertainment and emotional appeal. Students who are exposed to this in their home congregations are, in my own experience, easily drawn away to the seeker-driven churches. Rather, I plead with you to remain steadfast in the pure Word of God. Teach your children the liturgy and sing Christ- centered hymns. Teach them the catechism from their youth. Without a doubt, those students who have been grounded in Law/Gospel preaching, frequent reception of the Lord’s Supper, Christ-centered hymnody in the Divine Service, and ongoing catechesis are the ones who are able to stand steadfast on campus amid the wind and waves.
Associate Editor’s Note: With this post we introduce Pastor John Wegener to BJS as a regular writer. Here is some biographical information for him:
Rev. John H. Wegener was born on September 22, 1974 in Ames IA a minute after the birth of his twin brother. He was baptized on October 6, 1974 at St. John Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Hubbard, IA where his father (The Rev. Thomas C. Wegener) served as pastor. He was confirmed in 1984 at Faith Lutheran Church of Waterloo, IA. He graduated from West High School in Waterloo and then attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA where he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design in 1997.
In 2000, he began his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN. He served as vicar at Emmaus Lutheran Church, in Fort Wayne from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2003. He received his Master of Divinity from CTS in 2004. He was called to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Readlyn, IA and Immanuel Lutheran Church of Klinger, IA where he was ordained and installed on June 13, 2004. He served there until July, 2007 when he accepted the call to serve the campus ministry at College Hill Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa near the University of Northern Iowa. He was installed there on July 1st, 2007.
John met Ms. Heidi M. Johnson while in college at the church where he now serves as pastor. They were married on August 8, 1998 at Grace Lutheran Church in Waterloo, IA. John and Heidi have four children: AJ, Aleah, Javan, and Michael.