Published on January 31st, 2017 | by Wil Fisackerly0
Campus ministries fight Spring Slump
Spring semester has arrived at Florida Southern and campus ministries are struggling against this time of the year’s low activity and inconsistent attendance.
There is a wide range of religions represented, as well as a variety of events. Florida Southern campus ministries offers worship services, times of fellowships, studies, devotions, and even acts of service and social justice.
Campus ministries occur nearly every day of the week. A week of campus ministries starts with a non-denominational church service, a Catholic Mass, and Sandwich ministries on Sundays; Fellowship of Christian Athletes on Mondays; Wesley Fellowship on Tuesdays; At the Cross, Hillel, Men’s and Women’s bible studies, and Tzedek on Wednesdays; and finally Beyond on Thursdays.
To sum it up simply, most students by spring have found communities to which they connect and dedicate. Leaders of campus ministries agree that it is tough to get new students to attend this time of year.
“The fall semester we’re able to kick off with a giant campus ministries retreat and because we don’t have that [in the spring], we sometimes see dwindled attendance,” Associate Chaplain Bryant Manning said. “There’s not some sort of big event to kind of let everybody know what’s going on and what happens throughout the week.”
The Chaplain’s office recently held a campus ministries block party with that goal of a huge spring event in mind. Various ministries had tables at the event where they gave out free crepes, brownies, coffee and burgers.
Although some new students were introduced to campus ministries, the bulk of the attendance consisted of existing members of the organizations.
Some ministries have attempted to hold late night events to promote community. Beyond, a student-led worship service, held “beyond Beyond” earlier in January where students gathered after service on Thursday to eat cookies. Beyond Public Relations Chair Jessie Varnum said that the event didn’t accomplish what they were looking for.
“The point was to have people grow closer together and I think we thought really big which is also really great,” Varnum said. “If it’s not working for a week we talk about it some more and we try to shake it up.”
Wesley Fellowship President Jeff Taylor has a different approach with his organization. They have gone through the Center for Student Involvement to make their Wesley Late Night events Passport programs.
“The Passport program is a fantastic thing that requires students on campus to get involved with things that maybe they wouldn’t have gotten involved with in the first place,” Taylor said. “With Wesley being able to have some Passport events, it helps new people connect with Wesley.”
Perhaps the one thing that campus ministries can do during the spring is prepare for the fall. Manning said that the biggest event of the spring for campus ministries is Scholar’s Weekend. He said that each weekend gives campus ministries an opportunity to connect with new incoming students.
“We want to start a community and build a relationship with these prospective students,” Taylor said. “They know that there are safe places on campus where they can build in their faith and have this community aspect.”
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