Too often, I hear well-meaning folks say, “Our kids are the future of our church.” And I get what they mean. But they aren’t just our future; they are our Church already now. Baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, they are full-fledged, card-carrying members of the holy Christian Church.
We don’t need to wait for them to be a part of our life together. They’re living in it by God’s grace already now! That’s why we expend so much joyful energy on our LCMS campus ministries and the Concordia University System, on LCMS U and our church work programs: because these young people, loved by God, have value and significance even in their youth.
Our Concordia University System, under the faithful leadership of the Rev. Dr. Dean Wenthe, is recommitting itself to focusing on the eternal and lasting gifts of God, rather than on the transitory trinkets the world offers; on the truth of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, rather than on the subjective truth of the culture; on the worth of each human being on account of Christ, rather than on passing, earthly pleasures.
Our campus ministries are working harder than ever, drawing Lutheran college students who are away from home into congregations, where they receive Christ’s forgiveness and peace in Word and Sacrament, form friendships with fellow members and remain rooted in the Gospel while far away from their parents and families.
Our LCMS U director, the Rev. Marcus Zill, is taking up a mantel that has lain dormant for 12 years — that of full-time campus ministry work on behalf of the Synod. LCMS young people maintain sturdy church attendance between confirmation and high-school graduation, but we lose them at an alarming rate when they head off to college. Focusing on them — and the importance of connecting them with a pastor to shepherd them through those difficult college years — is one of our greatest joys and challenges.
Our young people are our future, but they also are our present. That is why we care for and about them right now, urging them to attend CUS schools, consider faithful careers in church work, and link up with a Lutheran community at a nearby campus ministry or LCMS U chapter. Won’t you join us in this important work?
In His name,
The Rev. Bart Day
Interim chief mission officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod