Campus Ministry: Uncharted Territory?
By Ansel Augustine
I have been working with Campus Ministry for several
years now. First when I was a graduate student at Loyola University of New
Orleans and now as a staff member at Xavier University of Louisiana. In the
middle of all of this I was a youth minister for several years here in the
Archdiocese. When I look at all of the youth and young adults that I have had
the opportunity to minister with; the overall challenge is the same: How do we
bring Christ to our youth, and how do we get our youth to realize that He is
what they are searching for?
While I was working in the parish, I had the
"luxury" (and often times challenge) of having the families of my youth to help
out with ministry related issues, but on the college campus, all you have are
the young adults. Many of them turn to alcohol, sex, and drugs due to the lack
of stability or just to try to fit in (or right now people are stressed being
here in New Orleans during the rebuilding). To try to reach as many young adults
as possible with the Gospel Truth is hard due to the varied lifestyles they
lead. We have married young adults, working ones, commuters who come to class
and leave, residents whom we never see. So to try and implement programs to meet
all these needs is truly a challenge, but one that faith in our Lord can easily
It is really a "Different World" doing ministry on a
college campus, but it is important that we instill in our young adults their
need for a relationship with Christ and the church as a whole. We need to have a
whole new form of evangelization for our students in college because they are
the future leaders of our world and, more importantly, our church. Yes, it is
hard when your ministry event is competing with a step show, party, or some
other social activity that our young adults think is the most important thing in
the world for the future of their lives; but we must be patient just as God has
been patient with us.
Many of my young adults have come to me with various problems and issues in
their lives and I point them to two scriptures cards that I relate to my own
situations in life. The first is James 4:8, "Come near to God and He will come
near to you." This means we are to trust in HIS timing, rely on HIS promises,
wait for HIS answers, believe in HIS miracles, rejoice in HIS goodness, and
relax in HIS presence. The second is Matthew 17:20, "Öif you have faith as small
as a mustard seedÖNothing will be impossible for you." I use this to let them
know that the task ahead of you is never as great as the POWER behind you.
Many people say that we shouldn't worry about young
adults. They are just going through a phase and they will eventually come around
and come back to church so don't worry about them and let them do whatever it is
they are doing. But we must remember; what would our lives be like if God had
that same attitude with us? Yes Campus Ministry is a different type of ministry.
We are called to be the family, counselors, and friends of various students from
various backgrounds. But we are mainly called and blessed to be able to be
ambassadors of Christ to a lost group which is in desperate need of Him!!!
Ansel Augustine presently works in Campus Ministry
at Xavier University of Louisiana. He has been involved in youth ministry for
six years. He received his Master's in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University
of New Orleans and his Certificate in Youth Ministry from Xavier University's
Institute for Black Catholic Studies. He is presently on the faculty of the
Institute at Xavier in their Youth Ministry program.
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