The second phase of the Lutheran Campus Ministry Research Project is complete! The research report is available on the LuMin website (CLICK HERE). Members of the research team crisscrossed the country in January and February 2017 to interview campus ministers, students, board members, area pastors, and university staff/faculty members at six different sites. We could not visit every one of our campus ministry sites, so we selected six that included different regions of the country, various student enrollments, various population centers (from small town to large city), and different campus ministry models (center-based, congregation-based, ecumenical, and inter-faith).
The six sites included: Oregon State University in the Pacific Northwest, University of Arizona – Tucson in the Southwest, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in the Midwest, University of Texas – Austin in the South, Syracuse University in the Northeast, and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in the South Atlantic.
We listened deeply to the 37 interviewees and carefully analyzed the interview transcripts, looking for commonalities, discrepancies, key insights, and overarching themes. Five major themes emerged from the data analysis, along with dozens of sub-themes. The five major themes include:
- Campus ministry addresses critical challenges
- Lutheran Campus Ministry is deeply, expansively welcoming
- Campus ministry is making a real difference
- Campus ministry is vulnerable
- Campus ministry has even greater potential
Some of the insights and themes in the resulting report will ring true at the campus ministry site with which you are most familiar. Other things may seem incorrect or missing. This speaks to the diversity of Lutheran Campus Ministry and the need for further investigation. It is our sincere hope that the report from the interviews at these six sites offers encouragement, insights, new possibilities, and a means of enriching intentional discussion and reflection about campus ministry.
All interview participants were asked to describe campus ministry in three words or less. Their answers are depicted below in a word cloud that gives a sense of the perceptions these interviewees had of Lutheran Campus Ministry.
The next step of the project is a survey of campus ministry participants at all of our sites across the country in fall 2017. We look forward to learning more and continuing the discussion about the characteristics and practices of faithful, effective, and sustainable Lutheran campus and young adult ministries.