College Students Consider their “Next” Ministry Role
Funded in part by TAC Center for Clergy Excellence, students from five college campus ministries joined other students at the Imagine What’s Next Conference in Colorado to help discern God’s call on their lives as future leaders.
What happens when 680 Methodist college students gather together to listen to God’s call on their lives and to discern where God beckons them? What if the doors of ‘vocation’ were thrown wide-open to include creative arts, mission and service, theological education, and radical hospitality?
According to Rev. Michelle Hall, Associate Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence, who accompanied a group of TAC college students to the conference, the event is designed to facilitate imaginative work, focused specifically on the spaces where church/world and present/future meet. “College students, campus ministers, and other creative disciples from across the United Methodist connection planned the event for their peers as an initiative of the Division of Higher Education of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry,” she says. “In keeping with our focus on Investing in the Young, the conference provided supplemental funds to help these students attend this exciting event.”
Students from Wiley College, Lamar University, Texas A & M, University of Houston, and Texas Southern University enjoyed a series of short talks, speakers and leaders discussing innovative discipleship and being challenged to consider their own next steps in their communities and through future vocations. Exhibitors and sponsors provided information about ministry and service internships, theological education opportunities, and ways to connect more deeply with the United Methodist Church. The event also included a service plunge and worship concert in downtown Denver on Saturday night.
Bishop Minerva Carcano, Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop in the California-Pacific Conference opened the conference with a challenge to the students, “that you will dream for our church, for the body of Jesus Christ, for the whole world. That you will be agents of God’s transformative mercy and grace. That you will do all you can.”
Some students returned inspired to begin new outreach and mission efforts in their local communities. “It will be wonderful to see what fruit this conference will bring through the renewed energy and commitment of these young people,” shared Rev. Hall.
A new six-week Bible study curriculum is now being offered to campus ministries to capitalize on the event’s momentum and identify tangible ways students can make a difference on their campuses and communities.