The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Be the church'

ELCA Lutheran Campus Ministry prepares students for service in the world

Paul wrote that God's people have different ways of serving, but the Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all (1 Corinthians 12:7). Martin Luther, for his part, said God is served just as well by the milkman and the barmaid as by clerical leaders. It's why, at more than 180 colleges and universities nationwide, ELCA Lutheran Campus Ministry prepares students for service in the world, helping them see how vocations and daily work figure into Christian faith.

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ELCA campus ministry encourages students like Susan Clapp, a 2003 graduate of Clemson [S.C.] University, to "be the church" in their vocations.

"Campus ministry of the ELCA invites people in academic settings more deeply into Jesus Christ and the community that bears his name, so that they can discover and fulfill their vocation as disciples," reads the LCM mission statement. The invitation to discovery comes from a welcoming community.

Bill Oelkers, a 1961 graduate of Penn State, University Park, Pa., became involved in LCM through an invitation to attend a breakfast for freshmen held a few weeks before the start of school. "I [was] leaving home [for] a rather large campus of 10,000 students," he said. "I remember thinking how great it was that the church was writing to me even before I arrived on campus, inviting me to participate in the campus ministry programs."

Nita Peterson also remembers the campus ministry welcome at South Dakota State University, Brookings. "I was very nervous," said the 2008 nursing graduate. "I was making the biggest change of my life thus far and didn't have my family immediately available to lean on for support."

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