Christian Reformed campus ministries are active and growing on more than 35 campuses across Canada and the United States.
Christian Reformed campus ministries embrace not only students but also faculty and staff, in an intentional community where people can come as they are. Through campus ministry, people experience God’s unconditional love and can form deep friendships with one another. They are places where students, faculty, and staff can find:
Prayer and worship
Discipleship and mentorship with a caring pastor
Faith formation for living out the gospel in every area of their lives through Bible studies, book studies, and more
Leadership training and experience (learn more about our Emerging Leader program)
Opportunities to learn about and engage in social justice, racial reconciliation, and global mission work for strengthening God’s global church and renewing creation
Campus ministries are also a gift to the whole church. They are places where young adults and others on campus are called, equipped, and sent out to join God at work in neighborhoods, churches, and the workplace.
These campus ministries are able to be faithfully present on university campuses in part because of support from believers like you!
“Campus ministry offers a place to belong unconditionally—even for those people who do not identify as a follower of Jesus, or people who are curious. It can be a safe place to land where students can just make friends, and they can just ask questions, and they can really be heard and known.”
Sara DeMoor, campus minister at University of Guelph
Starting a new campus ministry might seem like a daunting task, but we are here to help you through the process. We’ve got many years of experience in doing this, and lots of people and resources to help you along the way.
To give you an idea of what might be involved, here is a brief outline of what is usually involved:
Gather together a group of people who share your vision of starting a campus ministry on your local campus. Make sure you include at least one person from your local Classis.
Get in touch with us so we can walk with you through the process and serve as a resource for you.
Do some research. What is already happening on your local campus, where is God already at work there? What are the needs there? What might it look like to love this campus and the people in it? Meet with university administrators to gain their perspective and input, as well as with Christians who are part of the campus community.
Bring an initial proposal to Classis so they can support and work with you, and so that you can ensure the campus ministry will contribute to the vision of Classis.
With the blessing of Classis, develop a full proposal, including a budget that outlines, in broad terms, expenses and potential sources of funding.
With Classis approval and support, develop a job description for a campus minister and begin the search and calling process.
While this might seem like a lot, once it is started, it flows fairly smoothly. Each step should be included prayer and discernment. The Home Missions campus ministry team will also walk with you through this, and we have many resources to assist you. If you’d like to start the ball rolling, or would simply like to talk further, please contact us.
Christian Reformed Campus ministries began in the 1930’s with the formation of a fraternity, Phi Alpha Kappa, at the University of Michigan. Rev. Leonard Verduin was called in 1941 to being a formal campus ministry there. This campus ministry has just celebrated its 75th anniversary, drawing together its many alumni commemorate this long-standing community and ministry.
While growth to other campuses was slower, there was increased vision for campus ministry and in 1967, Synod adopted “A Campus Ministry Policy Statement”. This result in increased awareness and interest in campus ministry, and by the end of the 1970s, there were more than 2 dozen campus ministers serving across North America. Since 2010, there has been a renewed emphasis on starting and supporting campus ministries, so that now there are 37 Christian Reformed campus ministries across North America.
Each campus ministry is unique and, drawing its character and shape from the context of the campus and larger community where it is found, and on the individuals who gather to form the campus ministry community. They are also shaped by the gifts and calling of the campus ministers who lead and serve them. All, however, seek to see people flourish as they discern and pursue their calling, and to see the larger institution flourish as they engage with it both prophetically and pastorally.
Christian Reformed campus ministries celebrate and proclaim God’s good news for the educational world They are an incarnational presence of Christ’s body within institutions of higher education. Christian Reformed campus ministries invite and challenge people, along with their ideas and institutions, to follow Jesus Christ and to work toward the flourishing of all creation.
To promote gatherings of God's people, in the specialized context of higher education, engaging in holistic kingdom ministries, led and served by campus ministers and sustained by campus and church in relationships of mutual accountability.
The Christian Reformed Church is uniquely gifted for this work because of its theological heritage and educational fervor.
Institutions of higher education are a primary means by which our culture claims the hearts and minds of the next generation.
The power of the gospel to transform, redeem and renew the world needs to take root and flourish at this threshold of social and intellectual change.
Campus ministries seek to influence the entire university. They encourage and enable students, faculty and staff to love God with heart, soul, strength and mind. They challenge social and intellectual centers of power with a prophetic call to be merciful, just, and generous in their institutional habits and hopes.
Campus ministries recognize that the church on campus is made up of many denominations and traditions, called together to herald the coming of God's reign.
Celebrating our unity in Christ is a vital part of Christian Reformed campus ministry.
Campus ministry is not something that is 'done to' the university, but is itself part and parcel of the university. Like yeast, it works from the inside out, affecting the whole.
celebrate God's creative, renewing grace within and throughout the world of higher education;
eagerly gather students, faculty, and staff into fellowship with Christ and other members of his body;
boldly promote the Reformed world and life view within the academy, enabling students, faculty and staff to explore and unfold the wonders of God's creation, equipping them to better serve God in this world;
persistently engage the spirit and mind of our culture, testifying to the Spirit and truth of God's grace, and offering hope and redemption by pursuing the Way of Jesus; and
willingly offer the fruit of this missional engagement to the institutional Church.