Kindling relational capital

May 19, 2014

Dear Friends,

Whether you are a seasoned campus chaplain, brand new on campus, whether you’ve spent years growing a 20s and 30s ministry, or you are wondering how to engage young adults in your town, I hope you will join us July 28-30 at the University of Minnesota for Kindling.

Kindling is a new name for a gathering that has been happening for decades. Once called “the Chaplains Gathering,” the event was a time for college ministers to gather and share what they were learning. The name “Kindling” reflects the planning team’s desire for a wider conversation in the church: How do we continue to engage young adults on and off college campuses?

Kindling will be a conference without workshops. Instead, we’ll have informal but intentional conversations. We will focus on building relationships with one another, and our time will include training from community organizers on how to initiate new relationships on campus, in your neighborhood, and in the church.

Someone recently asked me to identify my “ideal” campus minister. I had to pause for a moment. The question is loaded. I have heard anxiety about the future for campus ministry in many contexts across the church. I finally responded:

“To me, the ‘ideal’ campus minister is not ideal because he or she happens to be a priest, a deacon, or a baptized leader. The ideal is not full time or part time. To me, the ideal campus minister is someone who sees relationships as his or her most important resource, someone who spends his or her time meeting with seemingly random students in coffee shops. An ideal campus minister builds relationships between students, between campus organizations, between local parishes and the student community.”

The same could be said for young adult ministers. Relationships are central to our ministry. We are called to lead communities of disciples who follow Jesus. We need solid relationships to build that community. Kindling will give you tools to build relationships. If you haven’t already, I hope you will register today.

In Peace,

Mike