Campus Ministry is Where the UMC Began!

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As I begin Charge Conferences I have just come back from a Cabinet Meeting where we talked about the terrible situation we face in connectional giving in our annual conference. I know times are tough and money is tight, but I am very upset that all of our SC Campus Ministries were told 2 days before school started that they would not receive any program money for the rest of 2010 or 2011. My daughter, Narcie, is a Campus Minister and the UMC is the only denomination that was founded in a university. John Wesley was a campus minister. Right now, I know of at least 4 seminary students, future ministers, who have come out of SC’s campus ministries. Our future clergy are being sold short because of poor giving and that will show up in the kind of preacher some of you will get.

I’m upset on two levels. One is that Narcie has her first post-brain tumor op MRI this coming Tuesday and she already has enough stress on her than to have the ministry money plug pulled out. On the second level I am appalled at how this economy has made us more selfish than giving. Instead of pulling together in prayer, shared giving, common causes – I sense we’re in an “every man for himself” phase. That’s not good. We need each other now more than ever.

The late Paul Harvey reported that a woman called up the Butterball Turkey Company’s consumer hot line and asked about the advisability of cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years. The customer service representative told her that it might be okay to eat it if the freezer had maintained a below-zero temperature the entire time, but even so, the flavor would have deteriorated so much that it wouldn’t be very tasty. Said the caller, “Oh, that’s what we thought. We’ll just donate it to the church.” The church has received more than her share of “old turkeys.” Parsonages are too often filled with cast-off furniture from people who upgraded in their own homes. People aren’t tithing or even coming close. Churches have become self preserving silos and don’t give a rip about “the least of these.”

I recently saw the movie “Lost in Woonsocket” and would recommend it to anyone who is trying to figure out how to help those who are struggling, and the frustration that goes along with it. But, even if we fail sometimes, sometimes we succeed. Gone are the days of easy employment searches, and name-your-price job opportunities. Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources person asked a young engineer fresh out of MIT, “And what starting salary were you looking for?” The engineer said, “In the neighborhood of $135,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.” The interviewer said, “Well, what would you say to a package of five-weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50 percent of salary, and a company car leased every two years — say, a red Corvette?” The engineer sat straight up and said, “Wow! Are you kidding?” And the interviewer replied, “Yeah, but you started it.”

All kidding aside, what are we going to do about this economic melt-down – hunker down in selfishness or believe Jesus that we should give it all away? I say let’s get together and get real, helping everyone that we can. Here’s a thought, go to http://winthropwesley.com and make a donation to help campus ministry. Check out the sites for all the other campus ministries in SC and do your part. Find a way to donate time if you don’t have the money. I know that I’m trying to do my part and not just because two of my kids are ministers because of campus ministry. What are we going to do? Do it!

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One thought on “Campus Ministry is Where the UMC Began!

  1. >It's very upsetting to hear about the non-existent funding of campus ministry in your area. I am a product of campus ministry; I don't know where I would be today if I had not had that spiritual influence during my college years. Some of the most important parts of United Methodism are being cut. If we do not value our children, youth and college students where will we be?

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