By Julia Kayser
The General Board of Global Ministries (Global Ministries) and the General Board of Higher Education Ministries (GBHEM) have announced an exciting new partnership. Starting in 2012, select young adults from the Mission Intern and US-2 programs will be commissioned as Collegiate Ministries Mission Interns (CM Mission Interns) and Collegiate Ministries US-2s (CM US-2s). The program will allow these young adult missionaries to focus on ministry to college and university students with a justice and service emphasis.
Many young adults in mission are already working with this focus. For example, Mission Intern missionaries Nicholas Haigler and Katharine Steele are currently stationed in L'viv, Ukraine, where they work for a small Methodist congregation and a growing campus ministry called Youth to Jesus. Ashley Rosser and Wil Wilson, US-2 missionaries, work as associate campus ministers in Fargo, North Dakota. The new Collegiate Ministries partnership will expand opportunities for young adults to do this kind of vital ministry.
"This partnership offers the strengths of both agencies to better support young adults to engage in mission service through collegiate ministry and connect them to existing mission and collegiate networks," notes Elizabeth Lee, executive secretary of the Young Adult Mission Service office of Global Ministries. CM Mission Interns and CM US-2s will benefit from Global Ministries' training, programmatic, and administrative infrastructure. They will participate fully in events with other Mission Interns and US-2s, building a support network of peers. GBHEM will provide additional training and resources specifically geared towards collegiate ministries. CM US-2s and CM Mission Interns will be responsible for creating resources and Bible studies that will be offered as resources to Global Ministries mission and Collegiate Ministry networks.
The United Methodist Church has collegiate ministry programs on more than 1,000 campuses across the world. This mission is present on every continent except Antarctica. Many of today's young adult clergy discerned their calls during their college years, often through involvement with collegiate ministries and mission opportunities. For that reason, collegiate ministries and mission opportunities are critical for the future of the denomination. Although there will only be three CM US-2s and one CM Mission Intern commissioned in 2012, there is tremendous potential for this program to grow and flourish.
Rev. Michael McCord, director of GBHEM's Campus Ministry Resources and Training, says: "I believe collegiate ministry is the prophetic voice of our church. We can help to change the tide, because we live in the place that stands between the world and the church, between life and death, between belief and disbelief, and sacredness and secularization. We are called to translate a history of what has been into a dream of what could be." By choosing to invest in a partnership to bring passionate young adults into this mission field, Global Ministries and GBHEM are affirming the power of collegiate ministries and mission service to transform lives.
Photo: Jim Winkler, General Secretary of General Board of Church and Society, and reunion of former Mission Interns and Us-2s
Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey