“What would be missing on your campus – and in the lives of the students you work with – if your ministry did not exist?” This is a question that I was asked more broadly about the UKirk Network as a whole….what would be missing if UKirk Network ministries were not present on the 200+ campuses across the country? What would be missing in the larger collegiate ministry landscape if we, as a body, were not present?
My short answer to the person who asked me the question was, “UKirk both nationally and locally believes that ALL people are beloved by God, and are therefore not only welcome to attend campus ministry events but also to participate fully in sharing their gifts and graces* in the community. That is one reason that we are unique in the larger landscape of collegiate ministry organizations. The second is maybe even more profound, though, and that is that we believe that inviting students into Christian community is transformative so that they can discern how best to be co-workers with God and embody their gifts and graces in the transformation of the world.”
I shared last week that I am excited to share the work that the national UKirk board has completed as we have put together a 3-year strategic plan. Part of that work centered in articulating the core values that guide our work nationally and our work with your ministries. They are:
● Inclusivity—Because of God’s expansive love and UKirk’s commitment to reforming in the Spirit, we welcome and celebrate human diversity and faith exploration.
● Partnership–UKirk strategically accompanies collegiate ministries and campus ministers to provide care and strengthen their work.
● Enacting Justice—We believe each student is loved and called by God to use their gifts for their flourishing and the restoration of the world, and we strive as an organization to align our common work with God’s renewing power.
● Imagination & Intentionality—UKirk undertakes our work with purpose for each season to foster ecologies that will allow collegiate ministries to thrive in various contexts.
● Following Jesus—Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), we are rooted in the Reformed Christian tradition and collaborate with other denominations in witness to Christ’s ministry of love, justice, and peace.
I suspect these core values we have articulated also guide the work of many of your local ministries as well.
Upon deeper reflection, what I wish I would have added to my somewhat long answer was this, “As I look around the world as it is today, I thank God that UKirk network ministries DO exist to witness to and invite students to participate in Christ’s ministry of love, justice and peace.”
Someone once told me, “If you don’t like the world as it is, start building the world that you want to see.” Thank you, UKirk Network ministries, for doing just that.
Blessings and peace,