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Campus ministries support faithful living

Water bottle with NMU Wesley printed on it.

Eight Wesley campus ministries throughout Michigan provide a nurturing space for young adults to make important faith connections.

Mission and Justice Communications Intern

Creating faith connections for young adults at a pivotal time in their life is what Wesley does best.

“Wesley” is the name for United Methodist campus ministries throughout the United States. The Michigan Conference supports Wesley campus ministries at eight colleges and universities. Some are referred to as a foundation, others as a house, but the focus is the same.

Wesley campus ministries work to invest in community and leadership development, share the strengths of community members, and welcome all students without discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

It is a space where young adults can find out how they can engage the community around them, gain skills and learn about the possibilities that are out there for them, and discover what their faith means to them.

Tim Kobler, University of Michigan Wesley Foundation director, says his favorite part about being a director is helping the students engage their community.

“There’s so much going on right now that sometimes there’s this paralysis that sets in,” Kobler said. “There’s so much to do, and [Wesley is] helping them to find their thing that they can do that makes meaning and a difference in the world. There’s a sense that you have to attend to everything, and we just can’t do that. That’s not a possibility. So [we’re] helping them to find the ways in which they’re gifted to meet the needs of the present.”

Kobler says he helps students find their gifts and talents by providing leadership opportunities and spiritual formation. Students are able to learn what their strengths are and how these strengths can be utilized in their community.

Students learn how becoming active in their community and serving the needs of the present can help reinvigorate their faith as a result of ministry.

“Growing into that leadership and those spiritual gifts that have been given to them, it’s exciting to see them graduate, go into the world, and be active in their community,” Kobler said. “They’re active in their life of faith, either in church leadership or making faith happen where they are.” This transformation over time is something that amazes Kobler.

While Wesley campus ministries were designed to be located on a college or university campus, Audra Hudson, Central Michigan University Wesley House director, says they are open to all young adults, not just students.

Hudson says Wesley campus ministries are located on college campuses because of a higher concentration of young adults there.

“You need not be a traditional college student,” Hudson said. “You can be in a technical school, you can be in a community college, you can be taking a gap year, you can choose not to go to college at all and still be welcomed into those spaces. It’s a place people can explore their faith.”

Hudson encourages Wesley members to church-shop, see how others worship, volunteer at local churches, and take part in young adult ministries. Doing so will help them understand their own faith tradition and possibly learn something about themselves they didn’t know previously.

Once a young adult graduates from high school, there are many opportunities for them to actively engage others in their community and discover who they are and what a relationship with God means to them. Wesley campus ministries provide a nurturing space for those connections to happen.

Last Updated on July 12, 2022

The Michigan Conference