An open letter to the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Concerning Campus Ministry

March 22nd, 2012 Post by

The following is “An open letter to the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Concerning Campus Ministry” written by a LCMS college student at the University of Tulsa. Phillip Fischaber, a member at Grace-Tulsa, is a representative of Lutheran Student Fellowship, was a participant in the January Think Tank on Campus Ministry, and is also a member of the planning committee for Unwrapped 2013.

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

In the last chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Peter, “Feed my sheep.”  This is the mission of the Church.  She exists to proclaim the Word of God to those who do not believe and to feed believers with the precious Word and the Sacraments.  Every Christian needs these precious gifts, and every unbeliever needs to hear the gospel of salvation found in Jesus Christ.  Just as the Great Commission applies even to babies, so also it applies to college students.  We need God’s gifts just as much as everyone else.  If anything, we need them more, because most universities concentrate the attacks of the world.  Many liberal professors, in all fields, attack Christianity.  Some universities actively fund programs encouraging promiscuity among students.  Universities across the nation are attacking Christian and pro-life groups.  We need to hear the right preaching of the Word and to regularly receive the Sacrament if we are to resist these attacks.

Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt 18:20).  God is everywhere, yet it is at church, where we gather for Word and Sacrament, that He gives us His special gifts.  The Word of God is always powerful, even when read alone, but God commanded us to meet together that we may hear the Word preached and receive the Lord’s Supper.  At church, we not only hear the gospel of the forgiveness of our sins, but we also taste and see that the Lord is good.  This is why we need campus ministries, that we may not only read the Word, but see our salvation and feel it on our tongues.  It is to church that we go to receive the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of our faith, and life everlasting.  Without these blessed gifts, how can we hope to resist the assaults of the world, the devil, and our very own flesh?  Apart from these, how can we remain in the faith?

College students need churches.  Even more wondrous than having a church to go to is having a church on campus to go to.  Colleges seek to fill us with knowledge and make us grow.  This knowledge is good, but it does not bear fruit for salvation.  The vinedresser gave fertilizer and tender care to the fig tree, so that it would bear fruit and not be cut down.  So too do we need pastoral care and the preaching of the Word, that God may give us growth.  Without the Word of Truth, we too are in danger of being cut down.  Is it not fitting and proper that alongside the knowledge school teaches us, we should receive Him who is Wisdom incarnate?  Many wolves love to gather on college campuses.  A campus chapel is the sheepfold in the midst of the wolves, and this sheepfold is watched over not by hired hands but by the Good Shepherd.  Though every congregation has problems, it is churches that are the green pastures and quiet waters where He restores our souls.  Protect our campus chapels that we may have these green pastures and quiet waters in the very midst of the prowling grounds of the enemy.  That we may flee from those who would attack us, cling for mercy to the altar of the Lord, and receive the body and blood of the Shepherd who laid down His life for us.

Campus chapels are a wonderful blessing from God, because there we may receive His gifts in the midst of those who attack us.  There on campus, we can behold the font and make the sign of the cross in remembrance of our baptism.  We can see the altar and recall Christ’s sacrifice.  In the middle of a hostile university, we can hear, see, and taste our salvation.  Glory be to God for gifts such as these!

We go to college as adults, yet we are still learning.  College is some of the most formative years of our lives.  Though we are adults, are we not still your children?  Though we are not little, let us your children come to Him.  Please do not hinder us, for the temptations of this world are new and many, and the way of righteousness is narrow.  Do not cast us out alone into the darkness, but send us pastors who give us the word that is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

Though many of us leave behind our earthly parents, do not take from us our Mother the Church.  The gates of hell shall not overcome the Church, so may it be also for us.  When the assaults of the world, the devil, and our flesh assail us, let our Mother be near at hand to tend us.  For She does not merely give kisses and bandages to our wounds.  She gives us eternal life and salvation through Christ’s own true word and His holy, precious body and blood.  We need the Church to care for us more even than a newborn baby needs his earthly mother.

The closer we are to a church, the easier it is for us to be cared for.  Though God is always watching over us, His pastors cannot be.  If you take from us our campus chapels and draw our pastors away from us, the harder it is for them to tend us as their flocks.  That is why campus chapels are so important.  Though the Church is not a mere building, the building is the heights on which the watchman watches.  If you remove the heights, the watchman cannot watch as well.  We are sheep most apt to stray.  When we have a pastor on campus with us, it is much easier for him to go after the lost sheep.  I beg you; do not let Satan use distance to keep us from church.  Preserve it in our midst.

It is not professors or textbooks, but Christ alone who has the words of eternal life.  Let us hear these words, for Paul says in Romans, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (10:14-15).  Do not draw pastors farther away from us, but send them ever closer.  Do not make them go far to reach us.  Instead preserve our campus ministries, so we may sit at those beautiful feet and hear the good news that preserves us in the faith.

All people are like sheep and apt to stray, yet we college students are even more apt.  The temptations are so great that over forty percent of youth leave the Lutheran church between confirmation and college graduation.  A few will go to other denominations that do have strong campus ministries, but most will leave the Church altogether.  How many more of us will be lost if we are without churches for four years?  I beg you; give us pastors to guard us.  Satan prowls like a roaring lion.  The world hunts us like a pack of wolves.  Our own flesh seeks to kill the new man within us.  Protect our campus chapels and promote our campus ministries, that our pastors may guard us well.  For what use is a guardian who is not present when someone needs protection?  Do not let distance harm us and keep us from the Church.  Instead come running as anxious as the loving father, to rejoice that we your prodigal children have returned unto you and to give us your gifts.

 

In Christ,

Phillip Fischaber

 






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  1. March 22nd, 2012 at 16:59 | #1

    Looks like someone has been reading Luther’s explanation to the Third Article in the Large Catechism. Well written! I remember being in college only a few years ago, and having a church and a faithful pastor close by is the best thing for a student, and I know that you are not exaggerating at all when you say that Satan is prowling especially around university campuses. The devil builds a chapel next to every church, but his headquarters seem to be universities, so he can prey on the vulnerable little lambs of Christ. When you take someone’s church away from him, you take Christ away from him. It’s as simple as that.

    As my brother Mark said, “ULC saved my soul from hell.”

  2. Old Time St. John’s
    March 22nd, 2012 at 17:14 | #2

    Andrew Preus :
    As my brother Mark said, “ULC saved my soul from hell.”

    And he was referring to ULC-MN. About to be bulldozed, if the MNS district has its way. Tragic.

  3. Matthew Mills
    March 22nd, 2012 at 19:04 | #3

    @Old Time St. John’s #2
    Natural Disasters are “tragic.” This is an intentional attack against faithful Word and Sacrament ministry, I’d have to go w/ “evil” at least.

  4. Old Time St. John’s
    March 22nd, 2012 at 19:54 | #4

    @Matthew Mills #3
    I’m going with

    D) All of the above.

  5. Lumpenkönig
    March 22nd, 2012 at 21:45 | #5

    Most college professors have never worked a job in the real world. As they busy themselves with theories and ideals, they are out of touch with reality. The typical Christian professor belongs to an extremely liberal denomination.

    Visit the web page of any public university, and note how many registered RSOs are funded with student tuition money. In the name of “diversity,” many are openly hostile to traditional family values and conservative church denominations.

    Wolves gather indeed!

  6. March 23rd, 2012 at 04:03 | #6

    “This is the mission of the Church. She exists to proclaim the Word of God to those who do not believe ***and*** to feed believers with the precious Word and the Sacraments.”

    Yes, both/and, not either/or.

    Outstanding letter!

  7. AJ
    March 23rd, 2012 at 13:35 | #7

    @Lumpenkönig #5
    How would you define “real world”? What about those professors who view their job as one of their vocations?

    I majored in vocal music education and many of my professors had prior experience to teaching at the collegiate level. Some had not, which was OK because teaching music theory, music history, and composition are mainly taught in depth at the college level. Although I don’t use music theory everyday, it is necessary in my profession as a musician. In my education classes, we covered some educational concepts because it was necessary before applying those theories.

    I am currently a church musician and I have a part-time job teaching vocal music in a public high school. Down the road, I may want to teach at the collegiate level. I don’t think I will be “out of touch with reality”. My professors in undergrad were not out of touch with reality (grad school on the other hand was a little different).

    If I may be blunt here, there are temptations at colleges and universities. However, the church is not wholly blameless. If it truly did its duty by teaching the faith and fully distinguishing between Law and Gospel (in addition to providing safe havens while students are in college), then maybe fewer young adults would fall away from the faith.

  8. Lumpenkönig
    March 23rd, 2012 at 15:14 | #8

    AJ :
    @Lumpenkönig #5
    How would you define “real world”? What about those professors who view their job as one of their vocations?

    Perhaps the situation is different in the college of music. I define the “real world” as the private sector, where working conditions are harsh compared to the classroom environment. I work with a lot of spoiled and pampered PhDs. I like to compare most professors to “limousine liberals”. Although the professors are nice people, their ideas and beliefs would not be compatible with LCMS doctrine, nor with traditional family values. Liberal ideas are no longer confined to a couple of oddball elective courses. Try voicing your beliefs around such professors sometime. You would not dare do that again!

  9. Matt B
    March 23rd, 2012 at 18:46 | #9

    @Lumpenkönig #8
    So what about first career pastors? Should seminaries require their students to work in some place where “conditions are harsh compared to the [pulpit, church office, hospital, et al?]” I’m inclined to think not. I understand what is being mentioned about academics and I think it applies to more field then just professors. But I also think that if a person has that field as a vocation then we should lovingly help them to grow via increasing the challenges.

    Anyway, on the topic of the letter I think that Fischaber is generally right. Colleges, including my own Concordia, need a church home for word and sacrament.

  10. Robert
    March 24th, 2012 at 17:48 | #10

    Congregations actively providing Word and Sacrament ministry to college students is vital. However, with decreasing funds and declining Synodical membership, college chapels have been, and will continue to be, a luxury that we simply no longer can afford.

    Those of us, who were or who have been involved with campus ministry, have known about and wrestled with this issue for twenty, thirty, or more years. This isn’t a new concern, and great minds have been thinking about what to do, and have been making very difficult choices (including selling of chapel property) in these situations, for decades.

    The very last thing we need is a massive campaign to build college chapels on or near college campuses in order to serve the very few Missouri Synod Lutheran students, who may be attending any given secular, private, or non-religious campus.

    In many cases, pastors and congregations are already near or within a reasonable driving/biking/public transportation distance from campus. Enable these congregations to be more effective with campus ministry.

    And, if students are genuinely concerned about their spiritual well being while at university, then they should consider attending one of the Concordias instead. That seems to be a most reasonable option to address a concern about receiving quality spiritual care during the college experience.

    We have twelve LCMS colleges/universities. I’m sure that they would welcome more LCMS students.

    And, by the way, contrary to popular opinion floating around on the Lutheran Interwebs, there are quite a number of dedicated Christian professors and teachers even at nominally-Christian, private, or secular universities. Not every professor, even if liberal or atheist, is Dr. Evil.

    Let’s stop the hype.

    Robert C. Baker

  11. John Rixe
    March 24th, 2012 at 19:19 | #11

    @Robert #10

    ULC-MN is self supporting. They also just raised $200k which could be used for building maintenance.

  12. LaVonne
    March 24th, 2012 at 21:01 | #12

    @Robert #10
    Robert, have you been to a Concordia lately? I wouldn’t send my dog to one for a “quality spiritual care” let alone a quality education. Having seen the educational standards at both Concordias and reputable secular liberal arts universities, I’d choose the secular school every time. At least there you get a challenging education and you know that what they are teaching in the class room isn’t going to be what the Church teaches. At our Concordias we’ve had (under the LC-MS banner) women preaching, Easter bunnies hopping down the aisle during chapel, celtic prayer ritual, meditation labyrinths, profs teaching evolution as fact, arguing for women’s ordination, and the promotion of just about every kind of liberal heresy one can imagine.

    I know some very quality Concordia grads, but apart from learning Biblical languages, I’m sure they’d have done even better elsewhere.

    Great minds thought enough our synod’s youth to build campus chapels at our major universities. Very small minds are choosing to tear them down. And this at a time when our synod is losing her youth at a terribly frightening rate.

    Time to wake up Missouri!

  13. March 24th, 2012 at 21:31 | #13

    LaVonne,

    Not to mention the education faculty members at Concordia, River Forest who signed the petition supporting William Ayers and the president refused to to do anything about it.

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?page_id=4332

  14. Robert
    March 24th, 2012 at 21:46 | #14

    LaVonne,

    That is another issue entirely. If there are problems at our Concordia University System schools, then those problems need to be addressed.

    But it doesn’t logically follow that the way to address those problems is to spend yet even more money on an expensive “campus ministry” project at non-LCMS schools.

    Just how many LCMS students attend non-LCMS schools? And how much money are we talking about per student?

    Your argument is sheer ad hominem emotionalism and it fails. Where’s your proof that the LCMS is losing youth at a higher rate than at any other time? What exactly is a “terribly frightening rate”?

    Prove it.

    Robert C. Baker

  15. Concordia Cryptolutheran
    March 24th, 2012 at 21:55 | #15

    @Robert #10

    @LaVonne #12

    I am a senior at a Concordia I have attended two Concordias. I have either heard the following personally, or comforted others who have heard it, all of these ideas have been espoused by one or more official representatives of one or more Concordia’s religious departments, religious education departments, or administration. I have friends at nearly every Concordia, frankly the only ones I haven’t heard anything disturbing from are Seward and Mequon, though most of my friends from those institutions are not terribly interested in theology.

    1. The line between dce’s and pastors is “blurry” DCEs should feel free if they feel so gifted to serve in any capacity. After all, they are “full ministers of the Gospel” and ought to serve in preaching, baptisms, celebration of the sacrament, funerals and weddings.

    2. Worship needs to connect on an emotional level or it is useless.

    3. Intercessory prayer is bad, because it constitutes an attempt to force God’s hand.

    4. Since we are only bound to the original manuscripts of scripture, if something seems out of character with the whole of scripture as you understand it, feel free to ignore it as a later addition. (this in reference to women pastors)

    5. The earth is billions of years old (also from the science department)

    6. From a dce professor – I am not only here for those preparing to be Lutheran DCEs, but all DCEs, it wouldn’t be fair to them if I taught only Lutheran Doctrine.

    These off the top of my head.

    In short, the Concordias are broken. I suspect it may be harder to be a Lutheran at Concordia than at a secular college barring excellent catechesis before Concordia. There is an opportunity for incredible growth at Concordias, but it takes the either extraordinary blessing or extraordinary catechesis to finding yourself connected to the right person and the right church. Rumor tells me I face not being allowed into seminary because of the debt I sustained at Concordia, and were it not for the simple fact that I met the woman I intend to marry at Concordia, it would be the most deeply regretted decision of my life.

  16. Robert
    March 24th, 2012 at 21:56 | #16

    @John Rixe #11

    Mr. Rixe,

    Surely you don’t mean to suggest that $200,000 comes even close to providing the cash necessary to upgrade and maintain the facilities at ULC? What about long term?

    Good grief, man. I have rehabbed an inner-city St. Louis church and school, to the extent of spending some $25,000 of my own money over the course of two years, while raising another $35,000 from various sources.

    It is extraordinarily expensive.

    Robert C. Baker

  17. Concordia Cryptolutheran
    March 24th, 2012 at 21:59 | #17

    @Robert #14

    It’s not about logic. It’s not about dollars and cents. It’s about feeding Christ’s sheep. The CUS doesn’t work as a means of doing that. Campus chapels do, particularly since Campus chapels tend to have parishoners other than college students.

  18. Robert
    March 24th, 2012 at 22:04 | #18

    @Concordia Cryptolutheran #15

    Again, issues at the Concordias are separate issues.

    Beware of making a hasty generalization. Simply because you have witnessed or observed a number of errors (that do need to be addressed!) at a Concordia University, it does not follow that “the Concordias are broken.”

    Robert C. Baker

  19. Robert
    March 24th, 2012 at 22:08 | #19

    @Concordia Cryptolutheran #17

    Really? Campus chapels tend to have parishioners? If so, then those that do are properly called “congregations.” Congregations near a college or university should be involved in campus ministry. That’s a given.

    Robert C. Baker

  20. LaVonne
    March 24th, 2012 at 23:18 | #20

    @Robert #14
    Robert,
    With all due respect, you brought the Concordias into the discussion, not me. It only stands to reason, though I do not have the numbers, that there are far more LCMS students at non-synodical schools than at synodical schools, just as there are far more LCMS high school students in secular schools than LCMS high schools.

    One does not need to conduct a study and have hard facts and figures to see that the youth are fleeing our synod. Just go to your typical LCMS congregation and see for yourself. How many twenty-somethings do you find there? Not many.

    Meanwhile the youth we do have are not being well catechized, but are taught drivel in most parishes, being entertained in Church and in Sunday School, having jungle and desert adventures during the summer (thank you CPH), and being fed empty emotional highs at our synodical youth gatherings. It is amazing that more of them don’t flee the LCMS for the American evangelicalism our churches so desperately try to mimic.

    If the LC-MS is concerned that campus ministry is too expensive, then perhaps it needs to re-evaluate its priorities. Bloated District bureaucracies, countless dollars spent on this or that latest program and fad, thousands and thousands spent every year on corporate style meetings, etc. etc. It isn’t that there isn’t money to be used for campus ministry and for other important Lutheran missions, but that the money the synod (especially the Districts) have is being squandered.

    Moreover, if you bulldoze campus ministries that are paid for and self-supporting, such as ULC in Minneapolis, don’t be surprised when the synod is lacking well-educated professionals and leaders in the pews twenty years from now.

  21. LaVonne
    March 24th, 2012 at 23:26 | #21

    @Robert #19
    Robert, your lack of knowledge on campus ministry is astounding. Of course many of them have congregations attached to them, and many of them are attached to congregations. But let’s not destroy the one’s that aren’t. (ULC in Minneapolis, by the way, has a pretty healthy congregation from the looks of things there, and is self-supporting and paid for according to their website. Why destroy something so successful to try to encourage campus ministry at places that haven’t shown an interest in doing campus ministry for decades (many of the planned sites according to the MNS District materials)? Small minds at work indeed.

  22. Jason
    March 25th, 2012 at 04:06 | #22

    Robert

    Your views are craptastic. ULC under John Pless became a great mission outpost, and has continued under David Kind. You want congregations to do campus ministry, and there are great beneifts to that. (I lived that once, it was great) Well, that is exactly what ULC is: a congregation. And it’s missions firle dis the University of Minesota. But the MNS BOD has decided to cut its nose off to spite its face, selling out the property, trying to undermine the very work ULC is doing. I have lived in the Minneapolis area, and am familiar with its geography. Have you ever been there? Have you lived there to get a good feel for it. LaVonne is totally correct. All the alternatives MNS has are not viable. They are not that close. There are geographical, neighborhood, cultural, emotional variables that get in the way. ULC is the prime entity to successfully minister to the college students, better than all the other dozen or so options combined. We have no problem sending millions of dollars overseas, which is a good endeavor, but can’t supply ten cents to the local mission field on campus, WHERE WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO REACH MANY FOREIGN STUDENTS? (ever heard of ISM?)

    Concordia Cryptolutheran also sees what I saw when attending CSP. DCE’s have a greatly overinflated opinion of themselves. Theirs is the one commissioning that resembles pastors, with installation rites that are practically identical to ordained ministers. All other commissioned offices have a less, more simplified rite. During my studies the discussion was along the lines of: if (when?) the pastors screw up, it is our job to teach the congregaiton correctly. Hmm.. sounds like undermining the authority of the pastoral office to me. And as to Word and Sacrament ministry, CSP didn’t fully have it. Sure the Wed. chapel had communion, but there were never services on Sunday. There was a good reason for that: to force force all church career students to attend their fieldwork assignments, and to get the professors into regular congregations. It broke up the cloistered feeling of the isolated campus environment.

    While the Concordias are good and worth having, I think they are a bit off the mark of where the could and SHOULD be. Even then, they are still not a congregation, so they will never be quite what some may imagine them to be. While I don’t think it is a good idea, your thought train would argue for the closure of some, maybe many, of the CUS schools. After all, how can we afford brick and morter?

  23. Robert
    March 25th, 2012 at 05:55 | #23

    @LaVonne #20

    LaVone,

    So you admit not having the numbers. Are you even interested in the numbers? And how do LCMS high schools have any relevance to this discussion?

    The “youth are fleeing our Synod” line is an old one. Youth have been fleeing attending church since forever.

    So what you’re envisioning is that campus ministry is supposed to fix bad catechesis, bad Sunday School, and bad VBS in the parish. So, in addition to our synodical colleges and universities, our synodical congregations can’t be trusted either.

    Well, as the church lady would say, “Isn’t that special!”

    Robert C. Baker

  24. Robert
    March 25th, 2012 at 06:25 | #24

    @Jason #22

    In this case, the word is “craptacular.”

    So help me to understand. You’ve offered University Lutheran Chapel, a brick-and-morter enterprise, as the template for LCMS ministry going foward. Most or all non-LCMS colleges and universities should, in this view, have brick-and-morter ministries nearby, but preferably on, non-LCMS colleges and universities.

    You haven’t provided the number of said students, nor have you discussed the cost of building and maintaining all these buildings.

    Now you suggest that these ministries will not only serve LCMS students, but also foreign students. LCMS campus ministries have already been doing that for years, so no news there.

    Is this what you’re suggesting? How could what you want to achieve be achieved through better utilization of existing resources (pastors, congregations)already engaged in campus ministry? In initiating further existing parish resources for such ministry?

    Robert C. Baker

  25. John Rixe
    March 25th, 2012 at 08:05 | #25

     
    Pastor Harrison has reported that in the last dozen years the attrition rate for youth leaving the church has been 40% or more:

    “The church is losing her young people. This is a concern we all share. While some fall away during high school, by far the greatest losses occur during the college years. Our young adults are bombarded by a secular worldview that is antagonistic to their Christian faith. College campuses have become a place where the truth of God’s Word is mocked, the divinity of Christ is questioned, and the church is scorned.   While the Synod has a tremendous system of Concordia colleges and universities, the vast majority of our young people attend secular institutions of higher education. ” – Pr Matt Harrison

  26. Noreen Linke
    March 25th, 2012 at 09:00 | #26

    @Robert #10
    Robert Baker – My middle daughter attended Concordia St. Paul. She was a Director of Parish Music major. The availability of faithful Word/Sacrament ministry at CSP was scarce, and as a result she found University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis to worship at. I think the Concordias attempt to appeal to the students, and approach chapel in a “missional” way and therefore have largely adopted contemporary worship for their chapel time. Any orthodox Lutheran student is probably going to feel the need to find a faithful, orthodox Lutheran congregation to worship at.

    As for your comment about not carrying on massive campaigns to build chapels near colleges and universities. That may be a valid point as far as it goes, but I do not think that it follows that we should sell and tear down the ones that do exist. We should value and preserve them, especially the ones that are healthy, vibrant, alive, and faithful, like ULC in Minneapolis.

  27. Robert
    March 25th, 2012 at 09:37 | #27

    @Noreen Linke #26

    Ms. Linke,

    I’m glad that your daughter enjoyed a pleasant outcome to her conundrum. As I wrote above, problems at the Concordias are just that: problems at the Concordias. That is a separate issue needing to be addressed.

    The initial post in this thread advocated for chapels on campus. That assertion is what I’m contending with. I’m not advocating destroying or selling chapels if they can be maintained–both financially as as a physical plant. But today is not yesterday. The Synod, districts, and congregations have been selling property for years. And they will continue to continue doing so, the chief reason being that we are not having enough children to replenish our ranks. Smaller population, less income, fewer properties. It’s that simple.

    Brick-and-mortar chapels simply are not necessary, but Word and Sacrament ministry is. There are any number of fine, LCMS campus ministries that do not have chapels on or immediately near campus. They make good efforts at reaching both Lutheran and non-Lutheran students. Occasionally, unbelieving students come to faith and are baptized.

    I should know about those kinds of campus ministries. I served at one.

    Robert C. Baker

  28. Noreen Linke
    March 25th, 2012 at 12:32 | #28

    @Robert #27
    I am sorry to have discussed the Concordia System in this thread. I was only responding to what you yourself introduced, most specifically this comment you made:

    “And, if students are genuinely concerned about their spiritual well being while at university, then they should consider attending one of the Concordias instead. That seems to be a most reasonable option to address a concern about receiving quality spiritual care during the college experience.”

    I am asserting that the Concordias are not a reasonable option that addresses some of our concerns about receiving quality spiritual care during the college experience.

    As for your campus ministry comments, none of what you have described so far applies to ULC Minneapolis on any level.

  29. Mrs. Hume
    March 25th, 2012 at 13:43 | #29

    “The Synod, districts, and congregations have been selling property for years.”

    Okay, but each case needs to be considered separately. No one would be crying if Minnesota South had sold their own admin offices so they could save money by renting. Surely somewhere in Minnesota there is a church with some basement space they could use. They could sacrifice like so many others have in the past to keep the ULC chapel open.

  30. LaVonne
    March 25th, 2012 at 20:54 | #30

    @Robert #23
    Robert, my point is that one does not need to conduct a statistical analysis to grasp what is staring the entire synod in the face – the loss of our youth. So what if this is an ongoing problem. Should we therefore sit back and do nothing to combat it in our age?

    And yes, I believe that sound campus ministries can do a lot to help keep our youth, and to make up for the lack of decent catechesis and faithful practice in many, many LC-MS congregations. But they cannot cure that problem on their own. We need our congregations to quit feeding our kids drivel, entertainment and emotionalism.

    (I have no interest in discussing Lutheran High Schools. I was simply drawing a comparison. Again, one does not need to run a survey or do a hard statistical analysis to see that more of our synod’s college students attend secular schools than Concordias.)

    By the way, where did you serve in campus ministry and in what capacity?

  31. Nathaniel Jensen
    March 25th, 2012 at 22:51 | #31

    Good job Phillip!

  32. Robert
    March 26th, 2012 at 06:46 | #32

    @Noreen Linke #28

    Then, Ms. Linke, you are advocating for a particular type if campus ministry, one that your daughter found at ULC. But you aren’t advocating for campus ministry in general. See the difference?

    Robert C. Baker

  33. Robert
    March 26th, 2012 at 08:02 | #33

    @LaVonne #30

    LaVonne, the Synod has been concerned about “losing youth” for decades. Read any old Reporter or Witness. What makes this loss different, or more urgent, now than it was before?

    As for my credentials, while on vicarage (1996-97) I served as campus minister at the University of Florida and Alachua State College. Our program, tied as it was to the Divine Service followed by a meal, Wednesday Bible study, and recreational activities, had a core group of about 25-35 students, as I recall.

    Even then there were discussions about what to do with campus ministry. Today, a called pastor provides that service at UF. About that time, an LCMS campus ministry at another Florida university opted to become a congregation, because even then cost issues were becoming a concern.

    Although our church was not located on campus, we did far better than the ELCA Lutheran “chapel” located directly across The Swamp, the UF football arena.

    What are your credentials?

    Robert C. Baker

  34. Noreen Linke
    March 26th, 2012 at 10:00 | #34

    @Robert #32
    Yes I do. I was reacting the ULC Minneapolis comments at the beginning of this thread, and to your Concordia comments in #10.
    I know that you have wanted to steer this conversation in a particular way, but all of us are contributing the comments that mean something to our own situation. I think we can absorb it all and still come out ok at the end.

  35. Matthew Mills
    March 26th, 2012 at 11:24 | #35

    @Robert #33
    Dear Pastor,
    So far as the U of M ULC goes, your first post started w/ something of a red herring: “Congregations actively providing Word and Sacrament ministry to college students is vital. However, with decreasing funds and declining Synodical membership, college chapels have been, and will continue to be, a luxury that we simply no longer can afford.” I know that this string is more general than the evil carnage at the chapel on my alma mater, but your opening might have inadvertantly stepped on a few very sore toes (mine included.)

    MNS is not attempting to sell the ULC because they are short of money and need to make payroll. Their plan is not to spend the money this sale generates at all, but to bank it and use the intrest income it produces to fund a brand of “student ministry” that fundamentally clashes w/ your opening statement. The MNS vision has nothing to do w/ “actively providing Word and Sacrament ministry to college students” but using college students as unpaid missionaries. The ULC’s focus on “actively providing Word and Sacrament ministry to college students” is precisely what most offends the uber-missional MNS. It is hard to reasonably come to any other conclusion than that this is an ugly, naked, realpolitic-based attack on a traditional Word and Sacrament Lutheran congregation by Dr. Seitz and his BOD.

    Kyrie, Eleison+,
    -Matt Mills

  36. Robert C. Baker
    March 26th, 2012 at 12:59 | #36

    @Noreen Linke #34

    Ms. Linke,

    There is nothing wrong with my recommending students to attend one if our Concordias. We have twelve schools. If spiritual care is a priority for a young person, then he/she and his/her parents should make attending a religious school a priority. That’s just common sense.

    Robert C. Baker

  37. Robert
    March 26th, 2012 at 13:08 | #37

    @Matthew Mills #35

    Mr. Mills,

    The initial post did not mention ULC. I did not mention ULC. My comments are limited to arguing against the assertion that we need LCMS chapels on non-LCMS campuses in order to do campus ministry.

    We do not.

    Robert C.Baker

  38. Matthew Mills
    March 26th, 2012 at 13:26 | #38

    @Robert #37

    Question one: If our Church teaches that many secular vocations are necessary and God-pleasing when faithfully practiced, does the Church bear the responsibility to minister to her children who are honorably engaged in preparing for necessary and helpful secular vocations?

    Question two: “The proper goal of Lutheran missions is Lutheran Congregations” Discuss in a college setting.

    Lenten Blessings+,
    -Matt Mills

  39. Noreen Linke
    March 26th, 2012 at 20:32 | #39

    @Robert C. Baker #36
    I didn’t say there was anything wrong with you recommending one of the Concordias. I think my comments were plain to see for anyone caring to read them with unbiased eyes. You just didn’t like what my response was. That’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion and to your own personal experience. I have my opinion and my own experience. You are still attempting to steer the direction of this thread and some of us are just interested in sharing what we have to share and letting the reader think for themselves.

    BTW – the main reason for all the campus ministry discussions on BJS at this point in time is because of the situation with ULC Minneapolis. Quite a few of us have a significant investment in this topic as Matt Mills said. Anyone who has taken the time to read every document and dig into the history of this sordid tale knows that what he stated in his post above is true. “this is an ugly, naked, realpolitic-based attack on a traditional Word and Sacrament Lutheran congregation by Dr. Seitz and his BOD. ”

    So while you may not be directly discussing ULC, many of the rest of us are and whenever the topic of campus ministry comes up, it is foremost on our minds and the focal point of our discussion. ULC MN is the canary in the coal mine. All who have ears, let him hear…..

  40. helen
    March 30th, 2012 at 12:38 | #40

    It may not be “necessary” to have a structure on or near campus to do campus ministry, but it surely helps students to know where such ministry may be found. Surrounding in the beginning, but now surrounded by, University of Texas campus, are full scale congregations with large buildings for most protestant denominations represented in Texas and two locations for the Roman Catholic population. Despite the fact that Austin was at one time (probably when those large churches were being built) 40% Lutheran, neither dominant Lutheran body (ALC, LCMS, then)
    built anything comparable. Their presence is relatively obscure therefore. Serious LCMS Lutherans look for an off campus congregation.

    Of course, time may solve this. UT has spread up to 28th street, with private apartments for students extending much further; St Paul, at 35th, is almost a “campus congregation.” :)
    So far as I know, the district cannot claim to “own” us.

  41. helen
    March 30th, 2012 at 12:44 | #41

    It may not be “necessary” to have a structure on or near campus to do campus ministry, but it surely helps students to know where such ministry may be found. Surrounding in the beginning, but now surrounded by, University of Texas campus, are full scale congregations with large buildings for most protestant denominations represented in Texas and two locations for the Roman Catholic population. Despite the fact that Austin was at one time (probably when those large churches were being built) 40% Lutheran, neither dominant Lutheran body (ALC, LCMS, then)
    built anything comparable. Their presence is relatively obscure therefore. Serious LCMS Lutherans look for an off campus congregation.

    Of course, time may solve this. UT has spread up to 28th street, with private apartments for students extending much further; St Paul, at 35th, is almost a “campus congregation.” :)
    So far as I know, the district cannot claim to “own” us.

    @Robert C. Baker #36
    If spiritual care is a priority for a young person, then he/she and his/her parents should make attending a religious school a priority.
    Young people and their parents should by all means, shop for a church as well as a college.
    There are good reasons why confessional Lutherans will find their church home away from CU campuses. Aside from the obvious, that they are no better equipped than secular schools, by intention.
    Francis Schaeffer said, “Better to attend a secular school where you can be on guard against assaults on your faith, than to attend a religious school, which pretends to feed while undermining it.”

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