840.1 Policy for Goshen College/
Local Congregational Relations
Created 1991-10-17, Updated 2003-08-01
Campus ministry at Goshen College is one of many activities intended to fulfill our college mission:
Goshen College is a four-year liberal arts college dedicated to the development of informed articulate, sensitive, responsible Christians. As a ministry of the Mennonite Church, we seek to integrate Christian values with educational and professional life. As a community of faith and learning, we strive to foster personal, intellectual, spiritual and social growth. We view education as a moral activity that produces servant-leaders for the church and the world.
The first of our ten learning outcomes in the context of our Christian mission is “a faith that is active and reflective”.
We recognize that Christian nurture typically begins in homes, congregations and other expressions of Christian ministry years before students arrive at Goshen College. We also are aware that the years between 18 and 25, the ages of our traditional students, offer a special opportunity to help students move from a more dependent, inherited faith to a more personal, more mature faith that engages all of live including mind, will, and emotions.
Goshen College values the partnership of congregations as we receive persons from over 30 states and 30 foreign countries. Local congregations are welcome and urged to partner with us in the ongoing congregational nurture of students. Some have explicitly included ministry to students in their congregational mission statements. We offer the following statement of policy to make the college/congregational partnership work best for all concerned.
The college offers opportunities for faith development through regular worship in chapels, Bible and religion classes, small group series, opportunities for Christian service and many other resources for Christian growth, including MIP, SIP and CIP program options. All faculty are required to be Christian and to be supportive of the key Mennonite doctrines. Thus all classes are to be taught with the Christian faith as privileged truth even as we enjoy the academic freedom in the liberal arts tradition to investigate or examine anything.
Congregations offer Sunday worship and instruction and many other opportunities to grow in faith. We encourage church attendance. Some students sample many churches. Some choose to become very involved in, associate or full membership and active participation. Students who get involved and use their spiritual gifts in the local congregational setting are the most likely to grow rapidly as Christians in the college years. At the same time, we own the Anabaptist theology that faith is a free, uncoerced decision rather than an imposed or a manipulative pressure. That means that not all youth will respond to a genuinely free offer to engage in Sunday worship and we will respect that freedom.
Some congregations are eager to do some things on campus as well as the congregational setting. We are open to announcements of services. We invite local pastors and those from a distance to contact their church member and offer personal ministry and support.
We do not see that actual programming on campus is a helpful role for congregations. In the exceptional case, we ask for the following courtesies: Please be aware of the many Christian activities, listed above that are already available to our students on campus. Any suggestions for speakers, for music, requests for space, requests to circulate a questionnaire, should be cleared with our campus minister.
We are pleased to share the names of students who have expressed a preference for a church, other than Mennonite with local pastors. We must operate with a limitation, due to the Buckley privacy amendment in federal law, of clearing such requests for names with the students.
Students are encouraged to form small groups for Bible study and mutual support. They are free to invite pastors or lay leaders from the local community as resource persons.
Congregational leaders who are ministering to students are in a position to be a second listening ear. As you become aware of individual needs, or more general patterns of spiritual need, we invite you to share your counsel and suggestion with our campus minister.