Campus ministry affiliates expand faith formation opportunities

By Christopher Clymer Kurtz '00 | May 30th, 2019

Micah Hurst ’02, MA ’18 chats with students in weekly visits to campus. He is pastor of faith formation for youth and young adults at Weavers Mennonite Church.

SOMETIMES CONVERSATIONS around a dining hall table can be about “nothing deep,” says EMU campus ministry affiliate Micah Hurst ’02, MA ’18 (church leadership) – but then a student “will say something like, ‘Well, I want to change the subject and ask you…’”

Hurst, pastor of faith formation for youth and young adults at Weavers Mennonite Church, is one of six area pastors and ministry leaders serving students on campus. The others are:

  • Moriah Hurst, Park View Mennonite Church;
  • Adam King, MDiv ’18, Rise Faith Community;
  • Gabriel Kreider and Oksana Kittrell ’17, Divine Unity Community Church; and
  • Rachel Yoder, class of 2015, Eastside Church.

“Having these pastors contributing to campus-wide ministries is a tremendous gift,” said campus pastor Brian Martin Burkholder. “They help campus ministries broaden the ministry and faith formation opportunities to better meet the growing diversity of our student body.”

The ministry affiliates take part in the “Ministry Hub,” monthly dinner hour table conversations with student leadership from various on-campus ministries: Alpha Omega Dancers for Christ, Celebration, Destiny’s Daughters, Every Nation Campus, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Gospel Choir, Hymn Sing, Y-Serve, pastoral and ministry assistants, and others.

Fostering the spiritual growth of student leaders – and strengthening their ability to minister to their peers – can impact the broader campus, said Hurst, a former residence hall director at EMU for five years who also interned with campus ministries as a seminary student. “They have the most opportunity to care for others, so the more I can help them the better off the whole campus is.”

Affiliates also host a Monday-afternoon prayer time around the fountain in front of Thomas Plaza, make brunch with students each month, meet one-to-one with student ministry leaders, and lead both small groups and larger group worship. Other activities also connect students with wider campus-oriented ministry: Kreider, the DUCC representative, accompanied approximately 30 students to an Every Nation Campus conference where five students were baptized.

“Our main goal on campus is to disciple students and to equip and empower them to be who God has called them to be,” he said.

It’s joy- and hope-filled work.

“It’s been beautiful to see students growing in their faith,” said Yoder, who leads two small groups for women. “Sometimes it’s been growth through doubts, other times through coming together as a community that challenges and encourages each other. My hope is that students become whole life disciples of Christ, are able to identify their God-given gifts and talents and how they can use them for the glory of His Kingdom, now and beyond their college years.”

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