The college years are the time when some of the largest life decisions are made: careers are chosen, spouses are found, and too often it is the time when people begin to drift away from church. The Missouri Conference is directly engaged with providing assistance to 15 local churches who are making reaching out to college students one of their priorities.
Nine years ago the Missouri Conference made the decision to shift from the model of staffing a campus minister at a Wesley House on campus to encouraging nearby local churches to engage in ministry with college students. Churches have tried different models, and some approaches have been more successful than others. Each year churches have the opportunity to request financial support for their programs from the Missouri Conference Congregational Development Team. This year Director of Congregational Excellence Bob Farr liked what he saw.
“I felt good about the proposals that were presented to us this year. We’re making progress,” Farr said. “Churches now have more well-defined plans regarding how they are going to reach out and engage in college-age ministry.”
That’s not by accident. Churches face tough questions from the Congregational Development Team when they make their grant precisions. They are required to meet benchmarks, and the level of funding depends on the scale of the ministry, and the expected outcomes.
The methodical process doesn’t mean it is all business. Every grant presentation begins with prayer, and each conversation regarding funding decisions is wrapped in prayer. Although the proposals use diverse approaches, everyone must relate back to the core mission of making disciples.