The initial registration drive is under way for intentional campus ministries in the LCMS to become part of the new “LCMS U” campus-ministry network. It runs through June 15 — guaranteeing that qualified campus ministries registering by then will be listed in the 2014 edition of The Lutheran Annual. Registration will be ongoing after June 15.
The LCMS U Web page, lcms.org/lcmsu, includes a tab to register for the network and an “FAQ” section with details about the registration drive.
LCMS U is described at the Web page as “the new campus-ministry initiative of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod through the Office of National Mission” (ONM) and as “the place to connect and support our students, congregations and campus ministries, so that we can boldly bear witness to Christ on our nation’s college campuses.”
In addition to the campus-ministry network, LCMS U’s “initial areas of emphasis,” according to the Web page, are campus-ministry training, student involvement and conferences such as the “UNWRAPPED” event in St. Louis Jan. 3-5 that drew more than 400 participants representing 85 schools. LCMS U and its distinctive “collegiate-style” logo were unveiled at that conference.
As explained in the FAQs, campus ministries that qualify for the network are those in the LCMS that are “intentionally engaged in campus ministry,” either on a full-time or part-time basis. Each campus ministry that registers must indicate as contact persons a student at that ministry and a non-student worker — whether paid or volunteer — who also is with the ministry.
In the past, the Synod listed congregations as campus ministries based on their proximity to a college, “whether they were intentionally engaged in a campus ministry or not,” according to one FAQ. “Campus ministries were also designated as full-time, part-time or dedicated ministries, based upon reporting from those at the local, circuit or district levels. While such designations may be helpful at those levels, LCMS U will no longer report those details.”
Another FAQ notes that congregations previously listed in The Lutheran Annual as a “contact congregation for campus ministry” will no longer be listed.
“All congregations are by nature ‘contact’ congregations,” a separate FAQ explains. “In order to be recognized by LCMS U, the campus ministry must be intentionally serving as a campus ministry.”
However, LCMS congregations — either individually or banded together, may support or carry out campus ministries as sponsors. LCMS circuits, districts, mission societies or Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs) also may sponsor such ministries.
The Rev. Marcus T. Zill, coordinator of Campus Ministry for the ONM, told Reporter that “our goal is to build a campus-ministry network that has the most accurate and best information possible.”
“We also look forward to working with those in the LCMS who want to develop new, intentional campus ministries,” he added.
There are no dues or fees required for registering campus ministries.
An FAQ points out that in the past, “various RSOs and other organizations have developed chapter systems.” They included Lutheran Student Fellowship (LSF), the Synod’s official student organization.
“Since LCMS U is building a bigger and bolder student component within its structure, a transition is under way that will bring to conclusion the service of LSF at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year. Those campus ministries that have been a part of LSF or other chapter programs are encouraged to register with LCMS U in its capacity as the Synod’s official campus-ministry network.”
Campus ministries that are accepted into the LCMS U network also may apply for a custom “LCMS U” logo in their schools’ colors.
Beginning May 1, the LCMS U Web page is scheduled to provide guidelines for using such logos. The site also will provide opportunities for buying and developing LCMS U promotional items — such as banners, table drapes and other items — either in the standard LCMS U logo colors or with customized color treatments.
For more information on LCMS U and registering as an intentional campus ministry, visit lcms.org/lcmsu, call 888-843-5267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.