At its most recent board meeting, the Minnesota South District Board of Directors approved a comprehensive campus ministry plan, which makes dollars immediately available for the support and expansion of campus ministry throughout the district.
The plan was developed in response to Resolution 1-01, “To Expand and Strengthen Campus Ministry,” which was adopted at the 2015 District Convention. This resolution was written in response to the need for a comprehensive plan to be developed in light of the district holding substantial funds (approximately $1.8 million) after the 2012 sale of campus ministry properties at University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University-Mankato. The resolution mandated that the Board of Directors approve a campus ministry plan during the first year of the new triennium (2015-2018).
A group of campus ministry leaders and congregation leaders located near campuses was convened in January 2016, and from that meeting, a subcommittee was formed to develop a plan for spending these funds to support campus ministry across the district. The subcommittee included the following leaders: Rev. David Kind (University Lutheran Chapel, Minneapolis), Rev. Richard Moore (St. Martin, Winona), Rev. Tom Braun (River of Life, St. Peter), DCE Shelly Schwalm (Concordia University, St. Paul), Rev. Dr. William Utech (Minnesota South District), and Rev. Tim Booth (Trinity, Hudson; subcommittee chair).
The subcommittee finalized the plan in March, and the Missions Committee (with slight revisions) adopted it at its April meeting before passing it to the Board of Directors, which made additional tweaks to it before unanimous approval. The plan is comprised of four main components:
1. District-wide campus ministry organization and support
2. Staffing support for campus ministries
3. Facility support for campus ministries
4. Grant support for future campus ministry opportunities
District-wide campus ministry organization and support includes regular meetings between campus ministry leaders to provide support and encouragement to one another, as well as provide opportunities to review grant requests that will go before the Missions Committee. There will also be a campus ministry summit that will give existing campus ministries and congregations looking to start campus ministries the opportunity to learn best practices, share ideas, and find out how district campus ministry funds can support their work.
Staffing support for campus ministries includes the availability of funds that will be granted to campus ministries to hire staff focused on evangelism. As part of this plan, University Lutheran Chapel (ULC) and Concordia University, St. Paul (CSP) will each receive $30,000 per year for five years to accomplish this. ULC will be employing an evangelist to work primarily with Chinese students, while CSP will be using the grant to move from one-and-a-half full-time campus ministry staff members to two full-time staff members.
Facility support for campus ministries includes the granting of $500,000 to ULC for their new sanctuary project, which is scheduled, at this time, to break ground in late 2016. Additional dollars are available through the grant application process for worship space needs.
Grant support for future campus ministry opportunities includes a new application that can be submitted by any congregation located near a campus, or a current campus ministry, to do campus ministry projects that fulfill the district mission of cultivating leaders intentionally engaged in the mission of God. Some previous grants have supported spring break mission trips and meals for college students. There will be a new section created on the Minnesota South District website in late spring specifically for grant information and application forms.
For more information about the campus ministry plan or grant opportunities, contact Rev. Dr. William Utech, assistant to the president for missions, at 952-223-2151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.