Campus Ministers Enjoy Discussing Best Practices

Date Posted: 2/13/2014

According to Campus Ministry Board Chairman Carmen Rickel, “With resources getting tighter every year, there is a growing need to find funding for campus ministry -- beyond conference apportionments.” To that end, TAC Administrative representatives hosted a Best Practices retreat in January for Wesley Foundation leaders and campus ministers to share and discuss ideas on becoming more financially self sufficient.
And now a word from participant Mark Porterfield
“I absolutely love interning with the Texas A&M Wesley Foundation. I’ve gained an appreciation of the ministry that I didn’t have, even as a student.  I have formed loving, faith based relationships with students, planned events, and trained leaders, all while carrying out the mission of The Wesley Foundation in bringing college students to Christ and building their faith to last for an eternity.  After a summer and one semester of interning, I had been to every conference Wesley Foundation event since I was a freshman at Texas A&M University.  So not only did I know my own ministry at Texas A&M, but I knew the others too – how they were different and how they were the same, how they were struggling and how they were succeeding, how they viewed themselves and how they viewed each other - or so I thought…
In January, I had the unique opportunity to attend the 2nd annual Best Practices Retreat where our conference’s campus ministers and other Wesley Foundation interns and representatives are sponsored, by the conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, to meet together to fellowship, discuss, and learn from each other and from keynote speakers.  I had mixed emotions about attending the retreat, and when I found out this year’s theme – fundraising – I began to wonder what I could gain, let alone what I had to contribute.  I tried to open my mind to hear and my heart to understand the need for this topic in the context of this ministry. 
Our first speaker was Rev. Melvin Amerson from the Texas Methodist Foundation who brought us a presentation entitled “Leading Believers to Generosity”.  This was an excellent presentation, and it stretched far beyond dollar signs and budgets.  For me, the lesson boiled down to one key word – Intentionality.  Be intentional with people, state mission statements boldly, have a clear vision, and congregations will respond.  Our second speaker was Chris McCormick who is currently working with the University of Texas Wesley Foundation as a fundraiser.  We discussed tactics he has found effective throughout his long career in fundraising and how those practices can be used in our Wesley Foundations.  The two talks were beyond expectation and inspired ideas and motivation within each person who sat through them.  Yet, as inspiring as these talks were, there was something that, to me, was as an even greater takeaway – I got to see the heart of our campus ministers.
Like I said, in truly 22-year-old intern fashion, I thought I had seen it all.  But on the Best Practices Retreat, surrounded by clergy, peers, and conference representatives with a heart for Wesley Foundations and campus ministry, I was blessed to see the fellowship and union among us.  What resulted was a motivation to succeed outstandingly from a love of seeing Christ not only enter into, but grow in the hearts of college students throughout the state.  A desire to make an impact in people’s lives, in the conference, and in the ecumenical church was the heart of every person at that retreat, and I was blessed to witness it.
So thank you, Church.  Thank you for supporting your ministry to college students through The Wesley Foundations of this conference.  Thank you for providing a place and opportunity for clergy and students to live out their passion for bringing college students to Christ. For that, truly is, a best practice.”