There are enormous shifts taking place in the cultural and religious landscape that profoundly affect ministries with emerging adults. Many of our Lutheran Campus Ministries are in vulnerable, even precarious states. Even so, we have vibrant ministries on campuses across the country that are having lasting impacts on the participants, their communities, and the church. The most effective ministries are deeply contextual, and they use a wide variety of ministry models.
An exciting research project is shedding new light on the nature of the changes taking place and the best practices of campus ministry in order to envision a way forward for these vital ministries. The project focuses on Lutheran Campus Ministries on large university campuses. This research project has direct implications for your ministries, and the research team is excited to share the findings as they emerge.
This blog is one way we will be sharing the findings with you and encouraging discussion. The first phase of the project involved examining literature from a variety of fields. There are some important insights in the existing literature that you can use to enhance your ministry, and we want to connect you with these resources. The first place to go is the Literature Review Summary, where you will find a concise summary of the major findings from the existing literature. There is also an Annotated Bibliography that provides information about a variety of books and articles germane to your ministry. The most exciting way we will be sharing the literature with you, however, is through a series of resource reviews written by your colleagues. These will be posted right here periodically over the next weeks and months.
The second phase of the project is nearing completion, and we are excited to tell you all about it at the LuMin Conference this June! We visited six universities across the country and interviewed 37 people (including students, campus ministers, board members, local pastors, and more) to get a deep look at what is happening on university campuses and how ministries are responding. The vulnerability of campus ministries is certainly evident in our early findings, but this is combined with some encouraging vibrancy and tremendous potential.
You will all be included in the third phase of this project, which begins this fall. We plan to survey students at campus ministries across the country, and we will need your help in contacting them. This will be the most extensive study of our Lutheran campus ministries ever conducted, and it promises to offer valuable insights to strengthen our ministry with young people.
Please join us in these exciting conversations and let us know what questions emerge!
Dr. Roland Martinson, Project Director
Dr. Jacob Sorenson, Research Director