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Higher education


Lutheran ministries are known for creativity, risk-taking and cutting- edge ministry. “We’re helping shape the future of the church,” he said. Lund leads Emmaus Campus


Ministry, a student group that focuses on community, dialogue and service. Emmaus meets Wednesdays for worship, and Sundays for dinner and discussion. Sunday nights mix food and faith


Emmaus Campus Ministry students from the University of Montana, Missoula, on a fall rafting retreat on the Blackfoot River.


Missoula campus ministry offers Lutheran life at a secular school


By Micah Drew


While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them (Luke 24:15).


C


ollege can be a challenging environment for Lutheran students who want to stay connected to their faith. At a secular school, church just isn’t at the forefront of social calendars, especially when surrounded


by students who cast a wary eye on Christianity. At many colleges and universities, evangelical groups like CRU (formerly


Campus Crusade for Christ), InterVarsity and Chi Alpha dominate. These three are the largest campus ministries in the country. CRU alone has chapters at more than 1,700 colleges and universities. The Lutheran presence on campuses is more subtle. Discounting the 26


colleges and universities that the ELCA partners with directly, there is an organized Lutheran presence at fewer than 400 schools nationwide. Although these groups tend to be much smaller than their evangelical counterparts, size isn’t indicative of significance. John Lund, campus pastor at the University of Montana, Missoula, said


42 www.thelutheran.org


for anyone who shows up. Students pitch in to help cook in a family atmosphere. But it’s serious too. Earlier this year students were asked to explore their interpretations of heaven and hell, define faith in their lives, and ponder the age-old doc- trine that premarital sex is bad. These aren’t questions that many ministry groups want to tackle, but Emmaus isn’t like many other ministries. “Doubt is allowed, even encour-


aged, because we know we have tra- ditions strong enough to rail against without sending our whole religion tumbling down,” said Erin Hastey, a peer minister at Emmaus. These are questions many people


struggle with, but while Lund encourages asking difficult ques- tions, he rarely answers them himself. “I don’t think that in the three


years I’ve been here anyone has been able to pin down what, exactly, he believes,” said junior Jessica Wurzel, another peer minister. “But you can tell, whatever it is, he believes it fully because he lives it.” What Lund does is practice radi-


cal hospitality, Wurzel said: “He’s got big, ambitious ideas and he works to make them realities.” Emmaus recently began a proj-


ect called “Friends in Need” where students help low-income residents by doing yard work, painting houses and taking on anything else that’s needed. Emmaus engages in other


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