By Sarah Beth Tankersley
As a college student, life is already pretty complicated. With puzzling questions like: “What am I going to eat today?”…“Can I squeeze in a nap before class?”…or “When is the last time I showered?” It’s always refreshing when life just becomes simple.
Many people, especially college students, have somehow gotten the idea that following Jesus is complicated. For whatever reason they feel as if it is too difficult, it’s too scary, or that they just aren’t good enough to follow Him.
NEWS FLASH: We will never be good enough, and that’s ok!
The beauty of Christ is that you don’t have to have it all together to follow Him. You...
Imagine what could happen if this generation of college students were equipped, connected and sent forth to creatively and faithfully change the world! The United Methodist Student Movement is a grassroots movement of Methodist-affiliated college students that seeks to do just that. Grounded in a long tradition of developing leaders for the church and the world, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and centered in Christ, UMSM connects students with peers around the world, mentors in their communities and the resources of our global church for the sake of God’s dream for the world.
Why a movement like this, now? It’s who we are. Methodism started as a movement seeking to grow in personal (inward) and social (outward) holiness. Our very nature involves connecting, in small groups and with brothers and sisters around the world. As college students, we need to create and belong to something that demands something of us, that is bigger than ourselves or our individual schools, that uses all of our gifts and talents. And the world needs us – our prayers, our passion, our talent, our unity.
UMSM is partnering with Annual Conferences, UMC general agencies, and college ministries to provide resources, gatherings, and connections for students. Resources are designed around two annual UMSM priorities, one area of personal holiness and one of social holiness. You can use any or all of the resources to join in collective prayer and discernment, action, and reflection with the movement. Check them out here!
One student from each annual conference will be selected as a field organizer to connect with students and collegiate ministry leaders throughout their conference, plan or lead college and young adult events to inspire faith and creativity, and organize students around the action priorities of UMSM. Additionally, up to 12 current students are selected from across the nation to lead and guide UMSM as the Vision Team. The Vision Team guides the movement, organizes and mentors Field Organizers in their region, and creates resources while growing in leadership, creativity, and faith. Meet the current team, and check out their blogs! Leadership applications are available each fall, and leaders serve for one calendar year.
Appalachia Service Project is currently the largest emergency home repair ministry serving Central Appalachia. We serve some of the poorest families in Appalachia in eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and southern West Virginia. Each year, ASP facilitates approximately 16,000 volunteers from across the country in repairing the homes of 550 low-income families.
Sierra Service Project is a nonprofit youth ministry organization active throughout the western United States. Every year, 2,500 volunteers complete over 130 home repair projects and other service work for local community organizations. SSP provides service-rich, educational alternative break programs for college groups at its South Los Angeles and Portland project facilities.
Birchwood Camp in Chugiak, Alaska, offers a summer mission opportunity for its 5 week summer camp season. Opportunities for service include as a counselor or cook’s helper. Participants are part of a caring Christian community and are part of a vital ministry serving campers from all over the state.
Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM) is a mission organization supported by the General Board of Global Ministries and is located in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. ARM coordinates home repair efforts and hosts day camps with local children in poverty-stricken areas in Alabama. They are currently seeking college students interested in being a part of their summer staff.
REVGO is a crowdfunding, engagement and discovery tool for young adults pursuing spiritual discernment through missional engagement. Partner organizations, young adults and donors can all use REVGO to meet and support one another. REVGO is designed to power this movement of thousands of young adults from hundreds of United Methodist churches serving with dozens of UMC-related ministries in mission, outreach, and radical discipleship. How will you REVGO?
The Epworth League is a Methodist association for young adults, aged 18 to 35. It consists of both a global organization as well as local church based chapters. This global organization provides support and services to churches and individuals trying to start or grow young adult ministry programs within their church. Also check out the web site for differnet mission opportunities.
Project Transformation engages young adults in purposeful leadership and ministry, supports underserved children and families, and connects churches to communities in need. Children – College-age young adults – Churches. This is a win-win-win formula, but relationships are at the heart of everything we do. It is through relationships that lives are transformed.
The Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV) is a general church initiative of The United Methodist Church that works to raise awareness and equip church leaders to effectively respond to alcohol, chemical abuse and dependency and related violence. SPSARV prepares clergy, lay leaders and church professionals to be informed and compassionate responders to the needs of individuals and families impacted by the disease of addiction.
Church World Service was born in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. A number of groups, faith-based organizations and businesses, came together to form an agency "to do in partnership what none of us could hope to do as well alone." CWS works include eradicating hunger, emergency response, assisting refugees and internally displaced persons, and much more. CWS is active in more than 30 countries globally.
Taken from Ministry With website
Read about Kennesaw Wesley Foundation's experience in ministering with the people of Jonesville, VA
Taken from 24/7 prayer
Let us know what your ministry is doing to focus on prayer in the upcoming year. Click here to let us know and see what others are doing.
10 Ways to Act
1. Find a local mentoring program and partner with kids at risk. Contact local school boards for a starting place.
2. Learn about one of the hundreds of United Methodist Missionaries around the world who are working with children. Form a covenant relationship with a missionary, or find ways that you can directly support their work and the children they touch.
3. Help raise money and awareness for global ministries like Imagine No Malaria or local ministries with children in your community.
4. Learn about why Methodists have always cared about children in poverty and how you can join the Episcopal Initiative to make a difference.
5. Sponsor a child through World Vision, Compassion International, or other global education-centered programs.
6. Fight childhood hunger in your community with Feeding America, local food ministries, or start your own food program.
7. Take and Share the Poverty Quiz from Compassion International to raise awareness around campus and community
8. Have a showing of The Line, a movie about people living at or around the poverty line in the US.
9. Include a children and poverty emphasis in your mission and service projects.
10. Use revGO.org, a crowdfunding, engagement and discovery tool for young adults pursuing spiritual discernment through missional engagement, to raise money for your next internship or project.
~ Additional Resouces
10 Ways to Engage
1. Practice daily morning prayer together in your ministry. Consider using the Upper Room daily devotional, The Daily Office, or Common Prayer.
2. Have ongoing ways to share prayer requests:
a. Create a prayer board where people can post requests—AND answers!
b. Ask students to write a card of prayer requests during a gathering, collect, and then distribute to students when they leave.
c. Assign Prayer Partners on mission trips or within your leadership team and commit to REALLY pray for one another.
3. Explore prayer by studying the prayers of Jesus.
4. Create a prayer room in your building or at your retreat. Provide lots of different ways for students to pray.
5. Organize a 24-hour or 48-hour prayer event focused on a particular injustice
a. Provide ways for participants to LEARN, PRAY, and ACT around the selected topic. Follow up with a service or mission project that addresses the injustice you’ve selected.
6. Find (or make!) a prayer labyrinth and invite students to discover [ancient] new prayer methods. Check The Upper Room Living Prayer Center for descriptions and tips for different prayer methods.
7. Establish prayer partnerships with other groups, praying with and for other ministries on campus, ministries around the world, or local churches.
~ 8-10 in Additional Ideas
The countdown has begun! NEXT 2014 will be held in Denver, November 7-9.
More information about registration dates and costs will be available early 2014. Applications for speakers and worship leaders will open February 1, 2014.
Save the date, and tell your friends. You won't want to miss NEXT!
For additional information: To find out more about the UMSM, contact your campus minister, chaplain, or local pastor. You can also contact the Campus Ministry Section in Nashville.
Campus Ministry Section
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
PO Box 340007
Nashville, TN 37203-0007
Click here for full Bios
Brittney Garza, University of Texas-Pan American
Chelsea Spyres, University of Delaware
Jalisa Ross, Oklahoma City University
Jenn Meadows, University of Indianapolis
Kayla Buechner, Shenandoah University
Levi Nord, South Western College
Michaela Nelson, Montana State University
Mataiasi "Tasi" Ahokava, San Fran State
Additional UMC Webpages