Senior Mak Holland was driving home last Monday when she decided to stop by the Salvation Army, where the campus ministry Juvenile Justice will be meeting regularly this school year.
As she parked by the building in downtown Anderson, she blasted the song “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong. She sat in her car worshipping and praying for this upcoming year and for the campus ministry she has served in for three years now.
Two years ago, Juvenile Justice worked with Pendleton Juvenile Correction Facility, but last year and continuing into this year, the campus ministry has partnered with Project Hope at the Salvation Army downtown.
“The biggest change from last year to this year is that the chaplain of Project Hope asked us to specifically look at their curriculum for the kids who attend each week,” says Holland. “The curriculum includes discussing how to deal with conflict, self-help and drug awareness.
“These are kids who are prone to delinquent behavior, so the curriculum they entrusted to us this year will also be more of devotional plans; such as small group discussions of the Bible, and include games and activities,” she said.
Holland is one of many AU campus ministry student coordinators. This past year, campus ministries have made minor changes to help each individual ministry become stronger for this school year.
Operation Foundation received a major renovation for this year. Instead of just one week of raking leaves and preparing homes for the winter, students can now engage in helping Anderson families through various work projects once a month. The new title of this ministry is Community Builders and will be led by senior Dave Bailey.
For Community Builders, the hope is to make it more accessible for people to serve. Now students can count on having more chances to take part in work projects, which allows for undemanding commitment to whichever project works for students’ schedules.
“Building relationships, breaking outside of the AU bubble and learning from those who live in our community is what Community Builders will bring,” says Bailey. “I think those are very important.”
Bailey has organized the November service project to partner with local organizations such as Operation Love and Man for Man ministries to help with their service projects, which will include sorting canned goods and serving in food pantries.
In December, Community Builders will partner with Tear Down the Walls ministry where they go out into the homeless community to provide food, clothing, a warm meal and gloves for the upcoming winter.
“We’re excited to extend this ministry year-round so that we can strengthen our relationships with the community as well as offer a service project once a month for students who can’t commit to something weekly,” says Becca Palmer, director of spiritual formation.
The Prayer Ministry has also made changes in order to expand students’ ways and knowledge of prayer. Mackenzie Fair is this year’s student coordinator for the Prayer Ministry.
Some changes that students should be aware of include new prayer night meeting times, which will be on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. in the prayer room located in the basement of Morrison House.
One other difference to make note of is that last year’s prayer nights were two hours of straight prayer. “This year it’ll be learning how to pray in unique ways and how to effectively pray,” says Fair.
“We want to facilitate a space where people can come and be taught how to pray differently, such as imaginative prayer,” she says. “We will also have guest speakers come and teach on that.”
Other campus ministries include Study Buddies, T.E.A.M (Teenage Mentoring and Encouragement), VisionRevision, Differently-Abled and the Christian Center ministry.
This year’s main focus is community. The ministry teams are striving to first be intentional about working together and then focusing on what it looks like to pour outwards.
“Building deep and rich communities is what we’re all about,” says Fair. “All the ministries work to reach a variety of people, but at the heart of it, we work towards getting people to know Jesus.”
Campus ministries have been a vital part of AU’s mission to serve others since the very beginning. From reaching out to local high school kids or tutoring elementary-aged students, to mentoring kids in the court system or doing outdoor work projects, these ministries provide a range of ministry opportunities that any student can get plugged into.
If students would like to learn more about each campus ministry and how they can take part in them, there will be a campus ministries training night on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 7-9 p.m. in Hartung 101.
“We believe God’s heart is for us to be reconciled with ourselves and with God,” says Palmer. “While we see division all around us, campus ministries are a beautiful way to say to someone who we may not have any other interactions with, that we love them we are for them and we want to do life with them.”