By The Rev. Taylor Daniel, Anglican Campus Pastor to the College of Charleston
Hello all! I am writing to you because we have launched a new campus ministry at The College of Charleston. We’re calling it Campus Communion. (More on that below.) The details of how we’ve gotten here are intricate and interesting but it all boils down to this – Jesus calls us to make disciples of all nations, and that starts with our own backyard. With that simple truth and vision, multiple churches in our diocese have come together and commissioned me to plant an Anglican student ministry on campus at CofC.
It’s off to an amazing start! And I want to tell you all about it!
Where We Are: As I write this article, I am already four weeks into the job. In that time, churches around the state (as well as other parents who have somehow heard the word) have given me the names of students headed to or already at the school. I’ve reached out to these broke college kids with a tried-and-true ministry tactic – I offered to buy them lunch. As more and more have taken me up on that offer, I’ve heard their stories. Then, I started introducing them to each other and some of them started to hit it off. The practical upshot? We kicked off our semester with a bowling night, and had 14 CofC students joining us! This past Saturday we got the band back together for Mexican food trivia night. And we’ll keep going every week – with more students getting connected and invited, via their friends, into Christian community for the first time in their college careers.
Where We’re Going: Believe it or not, all of this is part of a bigger group-building plan for this ministry and that plan is very simple. It goes like this:
Individuals lead to small groups lead to large groups.
That’s it! As I’ve engaged with these initial students, I’ve been able to see how the Lord has gone before us in this ministry. He has sent some amazing young people our way. I’ve seen students’ eyes light up at the vision of being part of a new, fresh movement of God at the college. Already a core group is forming, a core group eager to invite friends, to evangelize, and to take ownership.
As we gather and grow through our weekly social events, on-campus lunches, our individual hangouts, and our worship together in church each Sunday, we’re moving from a collection of individuals to a small group. Lord willing, we’re looking to make that move official by mid-October. From there, we’ll keep building until we have enough small groups to add a “large group” meeting every week. I hope and pray that we realize that dream sometime next semester. All of this is in service of our core ministry aims: to see students at The College of Charleston encounter the gospel, grow in their faith, and take up their callings to serve in God’s Kingdom.
What We Need: With all that said (and thank you for reading this far!), we could really use your help for three things.
We need your prayers! And that’s not just some token Christian language. I really mean it! Yesterday I struck up a conversation with a CofC sophomore purely because I was wearing a Memphis shirt and she, being from Memphis, asked if I was too. After talking all things our hometown, I told her what I do and she said that, while she identifies as an agnostic, she’d love to learn more. We’re getting lunch Wednesday. And friends, God is doing things like that all the time! He loves these students far more than we do. So won’t you join me in committing to pray regularly for more of these divine appointments, both with and between students, for the expanding of his Kingdom?
2. Partner With Us
If college ministry, and giving the gospel to those who don’t know it, is something close to your heart, please consider partnering with us in this ministry. Our organizational structure relies on a partnership between the diocese, local churches, and individual donors to meet our needs. Your contributions can go directly to buying the free lunch that entices a new student to give us a hearing. In a time in which over 50% of Gen Zers report dealing with either depression, anxiety, or spiritual apathy, ministries centered on campus are a powerful remedy that provides belonging and hope! As a registered 501c3, all donations are completely tax deductible and you can give either monthly or lump sum. For more information or to give today, visit https://adosc.org/ministries-and-departments/college-ministry/
3. Tell Someone About Us
At this stage we’re all in with the old maxim, all press is good press! Whether it’s a college student you know who needs to know about us, or someone else who can commit to pray for this work or financially come alongside it, every conversation counts. I can always be reached on my personal cell (901)-413-7370 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One More Thing! What’s in a Name…
Earlier I said I’d elaborate a bit more on our name. Why Campus Communion? We call this ministry Campus Communion because that name hits two big values for us.
1. We Plug Students into the Greater Christian Tradition.
We are, in many ways, like other campus ministries in that we seek to evangelize and disciple students so they bear fruit in their lives and are plugged into the church. Yet we’re also different, and distinctly Anglican, because of our emphasis on the larger tradition. Rather than running away from Christianity’s past, we use its enduring customs as tools to teach and equip. We throw parties on certain Saint’s feast days and talk about the lessons of their lives. We walk through the Church calendar and use its liturgical rhythms to shape our services. In all of it, we seek to show students that the faith is far wider, weirder, and more wonderful than they’ve heard, that all its riches are theirs, and that they can actually help!
2. We Are About Community.
Don’t get it twisted, we’re a ministry; we teach and preach and serve together. But, we’re not a place where you have to believe all the right things to belong. We also laugh together and regularly fellowship. If some students who still won’t darken the door of a bible study want to join us for Taco Tuesdays or bowling night, that’s great! Campus Communion is a “come as you are” ministry. We seek to be a rest stop for tired Christians and a safe place for skeptics.
Friends, it is a truly awesome thing to be writing to you about all of this. I am so humbled and thankful to be a part of what the Lord is doing in and through his church here in Charleston. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have. If you want to join our email list to receive updates visit https://adosc.org/ministries-and-departments/college-ministry/.