I Am Not the Future of the Church
Erica Oliveira is a Mission Intern with the General Board of Global Ministries, initially serving with the Youth to Jesus ministry of The United Methodist Church in L’viv, Ukraine. Below is an excerpt from her Exclusively Erica blog, dated February 15, 2013, on the value of campus ministry. Read the full blog post here: http://exclusivelyerica.wordpress.com/
I am proud and excited to continue to work with campus ministries and to witness the impact of this ministry on the lives of the students and young adults here in L’viv. From this small ministry we sprouted a church that recently celebrated its third birthday. From this ministry there are amazing stories of how God has changed lives and how we’ve seen others realize a call to ministry.
There is life on these campuses, and yes, they [young adults] might like their music a bit louder, but some of us still love the old hymns. We cannot settle, however, for churches that don’t put their money where their mouth is.
- Churches that preach justice and mercy but cut their missions budgets,
- Churches that preach only the good things, and fail to challenge their members,
- Churches that are full of “perfect people.”
South Carolina cut 100 percent of program funding to all of its campus ministries two or three years ago. We, the Winthrop Wesley Foundation, never once took up an offering at our services (we relied heavily on the faithful giving of others), and still we were present in our community. We still made time for service. We offered free lunches, mission opportunities, and shelter when necessary.
The future of our church is happening now. It’s happening under steeples, in apartments, and even in bars (theology on tap anyone?). Please stop looking at 18-year-olds as the future of the church….they are the church.
This article originally appeared in the July-August 2013 edition of New World Outlook magazine.
Erica Oliveira (first person seated left) celebrates the third anniversary of the church in L’viv. Photo: Courtesy Erica Oliveira