United Methodists are getting older, especially in our clergy, the statistics tell us. Wisely, we are seeking to reach more young people. Why not go where the young people are?
In the Dec. 11 issue of The United Methodist Reporter there is an article that tells of the success that Mississippi has had at increasing young elders. Number one on their reasons for success is “committing resources to campus ministry.”
The article goes on to say “Mississippi has 27 campus ministry units across the state – one on every college campus ... all are Wesley Foundations.”
Our Indiana leaders have opted to cut support of Wesley Foundations and campus ministries in the state; no wonder we are losing touch with our youth. The campuses are where the young people are.
F. Kaye Bass
Just a quick note to thank you for the super article (Nov.-Dec. 2009 Together) you did about Barnes’ Club Hope.
We have had so much positive feedback. We’ve started another new ministry. It doesn’t have a name yet, maybe the Christian Cafe Saturday Night Ministry, but it is a nontraditional ministry on Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. We have Christian and contemporary, clean karaoke and spoken word. Three men gave their lives to Christ this Saturday, our first night. We had big fun and got a word. Come out and be our guest.
I find that after my letter appeared a month ago concerning the health insurance for retired clergy, revealing the quadrupling of the cost and not covering dental and vision care, that there is a great deal of strong feeling in our Conference. Myrene and I have had to make a change in our quality of life because of the increased cost, and I can easily imagine that hundreds of other retired couples and widows have had to make changes, also. One pastor wrote that the change does not represent our old Conference. A lay leader of our Conference responded by saying that “if our churches were all tithing their income, the action would not have been taken.”
I am grateful to be able to say that every church I have served paid its apportionments. It grieves me now to see how the churches and pastors are neglecting the importance of taking Conference obligations as seriously as they do mortgages, utilities, insurance, salaries, etc. The lack of faithful giving to the Conference has negatively impacted the lives of all the retirees. As budgets are being formed for the new year by pastors and finance committees, strong commitment, planning and careful administration are needed throughout the year to get the job done.
My hope is that we can make a difference to improve the welfare of all retired clergy and their families. Something needs to be done because the current situation is unfortunate, hard to endure and needs prayerful attention.
Did anyone else notice something missing in the two-page article, “Focus On UIndy” in the recent November/December 2009 issue? The article presented a lot of interesting information concerning the life and programs of the University of Indianapolis. However, nowhere did the article say anything about teaching the students’ course work through the grid of Holy Scripture, nor challenging them to make a commitment to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. There was no direct talk of helping UIndy students to grow in their faith or to become better disciples of Jesus Christ. I did not see anything in the article that distinguished the University of Indianapolis as a distinctly Christian institution any different from a state university with a campus ministry program.
Perhaps it is not the fault of UIndy and its faculty and staff that the school would be featured in this way, since the university is held accountable by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church, with the Senate’ s seven criteria of a “church-related” college and university.
Some may not see any difference between “church-related” and “Christian,” however this is an issue of degree and of presenting an uncluttered witness and a clear statement of faith. Why is the university and the University Senate reluctant to boldly proclaim their faith as disciples of Christ? Why does the Senate’s criteria not challenge our Methodist-related schools to promote a commitment to God’ s Word as the foundation of all that they teach and do? Are we embarrassed by the Gospel so that we are unable to proclaim it boldly and articulate it clearly?
Since UIndy is a Senate approved institution, it apparently is doing a good job in meeting the criteria for a church-related institution, but as a Methodist and a Christian, I personally wish to challenge the University of Indianapolis and the University Senate to do better. I am sure that the Rev. Dr. Brownlee and his colleagues do a superb job in promoting Christian spirituality and biblical teaching in their department, but what about the entire university?
If you believe that the Bible is God’s Word of good news for humanity, then teach and promote it. If you believe that Jesus is Lord, then say so in your literature. If you believe that living one’ s life as a follower of Christ is relevant to today’ s issues and is instructive to modern godly living, then let it permeate all that the school is and does as a Christ-led institution.
Let’s not hide behind watered-down words like “church-related” as if we are ashamed or embarrassed of something. Let’s promote our colleges and universities so that the lost world will not have any confusion as to who they are and what they stand for.
Rev. David R. Jennys