by Ian Pacey
One month ago, right around the first week of September, was a great time for those who serve in schools and school related ministries. Improving weather. Students. Learning. It’s what people who work and serve in this area live for.
At the beginning of the fall 2014 semester, the California State University system, which is made up of 23 schools, almost 450,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff (the largest university system in the United States), sent this notice to its Intervarsity’s (IV) campus ministry clubs: “You are out. You are out not just at one of our universities. You are out at all 23 Cal State University schools.” (Click here to read Religion News Service’s article on the matter.)
What was the reason for the dismissal? Underage drinking? Dangerous hazing? Encouraging cheating? No, this dismissal was not the result of any of the typical college “crimes.” All of its campus ministries were kicked out of the Cal State system for their adherence to the biblical teaching concerning human sexuality. In short, the groups were “expelled” because of their public confession of the faith.
The LCMS is not in fellowship with IV. IV isn’t even a church body. Nevertheless, this news should catch our attention. The reason why this should catch our attention is because IV’s views are our views on this particular subject. It should also catch our attention because the location of this rejection is the university system, the place where the minds of young people are being formed vocationally, philosophically and spiritually. By way of this action, Cal State University system has said it does not want authentic Christianity to be a part of this formation.
Because of the importance of what takes place at the university, the LCMS is making a strong effort to raise awareness of campus ministry through the group named: LCMS U. Just weeks ago, the LCMS installed a full-time director of campus ministry and LCMS U, the Rev. Marcus Zill (long time campus pastor at the University of Wyoming).
Go to the LCMS U website! There are plenty of resources available to assist with ministry on campus including a list of all the LCMS U locations throughout the United States.