Connecting with Campus Ministries

9/5/2019

By Jasmine Haynes, Communications Specialist for the Mississippi Conference

Children and youth aren’t the only students headed back to school. Young adults are returning or embarking on a journey of ‘adulting’ and learning what all that entails at colleges and universities around Mississippi and at out-of-state campuses. Now is a great time for faith communities to offer guidance and support to students who belong to their congregations, as well as partner with campus ministries to help those who are a long way from home.

Rev. Zac Cox
Photo Courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.
According to East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) Wesley Foundation Director Rev. Zac Cox, the first thing faith communities can do to support college-bound students in their congregations is to find out where those students are going to college. Then,congregations should ensure they know about the Wesley Foundation on that campus and make a connection.

“It’s so important for students to have a safe and positive place to go and a Wesley Foundation is that place,” said Cox. “College is a time of growth and self-discovery for students that can lead to anxiety about decisions that will impact their futures.”

EMCC student and Wesley Foundation worship leader Nathan Shelton expressed that his Wesley Foundation experience in ministry, Bible study and missions has contributed to personal development in leadership, as well as benefited other aspects of his life.
Nathan Shelton, EMCC student and Wesley Foundation worship leader
Photo courtesy of Rev. Zac Cox


“Some of my best friends are the ones I met last year in the Wesley Foundation,” explained Shelton. “Through serving together on our Wesley Foundation’s worship team, attending Statewide Wesley, eating lunch together once a week and countless hours of fellowship—we all grew closer to God and to each other.”

Shelton also shared that words of encouragement, letters, text messages and care packages are all great ways to let students know they are missed and thought of often. In fact, Shelton says that he recently looked through cards and notes he received after graduating high school that contained congratulations and words of wisdom.

“It is so comforting to be told and know that my family, friends and church family are praying for me,” shared Shelton.

Like most Wesley Foundations, EMCC Wesley has regular activities for students to be involved in campus ministry. For example, “NOONTIME” happens on Mondays and is an opportunity for Christian activity groups to come together for lunch and devotion. The EMCC Wesley Foundation in Scooba also hosts RENEW Worship on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Orr Center on Campus.
EMCC Wesley Foundation students out bowling Photo courtesy of Rev. Zac Cox
Wesley Foundations present activities that students can be a part of on campus, which opens doors for connectional ministry between Wesley Foundations and local congregations.

“I’ve seen many churches collect school and dorm supplies, toiletries and various food items,” said Cox. “So much can be done by a local church supporting a Wesley like providing financial support, sponsoring a dinner or lunch, sponsoring students on trips like Statewide Wesley and so much more.”

Mississippi Wesley Foundations exist to be a lighthouse to students on campuses across the state of Mississippi. They provide a home away from home where students can worship, fellowship, ask challenging questions, get away on retreats together and share the Gospel with other students. To find out more about Wesley Foundations near your faith community and how you can partner with them, visit the campus ministry page on the conference website.
 

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