Over the past three years, the number of students actively engaged in our ministry has increased dramatically. This is the fourth in a four part series to help resident parishioners understand the student parishioners and how we go about our mission of evangelizing and building up disciples among them.
In this part, I am sharing some statistics of how the vision of reach, transform, send has been effective the last three years among our student parishioners. Records in Campus Ministry are spotty before 2016, but, in the past three years alone, we have seen incredible growth.
I welcome your questions, comments, and prayers. ~Fr. Patrick
Over the past three years, the number of students actively engaged in our ministry has increased dramatically. This is the third in a four part series to help resident parishioners understand the student parishioners and how we go about our mission of evangelizing and building up disciples among them.
In this part, I am sharing the actions we take to implement our vision of reaching, transforming, and sending students. The chart below is not one-size-fits-all, rather it provides a framework for how our ministry works and how students normally progress. It also provides guidance to our engaged/committed students as they discern how and where to invite the students they reach.
Most of our efforts are exerted in the pre-evangelization and evangelization boxes. In other words, we invest most of our resources into reaching out to the students, meeting them where they are, inviting them into relationship, and proclaiming to them the Good News of Jesus Christ. The biggest components are our Sunday Suppers, our FOCUS ministry, which comprises the small group ministry and formal 1-on-1 discipleships, and our retreats (Awakening and Connection).
In the next and final part , I will share the numbers on how effective our efforts have been the past three years. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and prayers.
Over the past three years, the number of students actively engaged in our ministry has increased dramatically. This is the second in a four part series to help resident parishioners understand the student parishioners and how we go about our mission of evangelizing and building up disciples among them.
In this part, I am sharing our vision for evangelization and discipleship. This vision is the product of the Parish Pastoral Council’s Campus Ministry Subcommittee from 2017-2018. The subcommittee consisted of myself, Dick McGarvey and two student parishioners, Sergio Ramos and Jenna Fisher. In the next part, I will share how we go about implementing this vision concretely.
Our vision is straightforward: to reach the students of IU, especially the lost, to transform them from believers to disciples, and to send missionary disciples into the world.
REACH. TRANSFORM. SEND.
Around 90% of our student parishioners are either unengaged or curious. In other words, most students aren’t looking to find us. Consequently, our first step must be to reach as many of our student parishioners as we can — on campus, in dorms, wherever they are. We reach them in two ways: personal encounter and social events.. Personal encounter is when an engaged/committed student meets another student, invests time and energy into building a relationship and accompanying them, and invites them to take the next step. Social events are planned throughout the year at St. Paul’s, on campus, and off campus. They serve as an opportunity for a community of engaged/committed students to meet their unengaged/curious peers. In both ways, we make every effort to ensure the people we reach encounter a welcoming community. Because this is the first and most important step, the vast majority of our energy and resources go to this step.
After we reach and welcome students into our community, we invite them to walk with us on the path of conversion and new life in Jesus Christ. In this stage, we proclaim the message of Jesus to make disciples of Jesus; we share the kerygma — the Good News of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His mission to save us; we invite them into leadership; we teach them how to pray; we ask them to transform their lives.
The work of the disciple is to make more disciples. Therefore, after a student has been welcomed and transformed in the grace of Christ and His Church, we prepare students to go back out and to do the work. To know and love Christ, to live in His love is to share that love with the world. On campus, this takes the form of personal encounter and investment in other students. In the community, this takes the form of service and mission trips. Students transformed by grace are sent to share, to welcome, to invite, to transform others.
Over the past three years, the number of students actively engaged in our ministry has increased dramatically. This is the first in a four part series to help people understand who we know our student parishioners to be, how we go about our mission of evangelizing and building up disciples among them, and our success stories.
In this part , I am sharing our general understanding of who our student parishioners are and where they are in their faith journeys. It is deliberately simple so as to provide a clear starting point for the creation and execution of our vision and a basis for how we allocate resources.
Who are Hoosier Catholics?
The unengaged are the largest group of Hoosier Catholics, comprising around 80% of the Catholics on campus. Simply put, they are not very interested in being an active member of the Catholic Church. They come to Mass sporadically, if at all. Faith and good works remain, for many, an important part of their lives, but its not really connected to their being Catholic. Their primary point of contact to St. Paul’s are friends who are engaged or committed.
The curious are interested in taking the next step in their Catholic faith (or joining the Church), but they are unsure how to take such a step or if they are ready to take it. They have big and difficult questions to ask and are starting to find answers in the Catholic Church. They may join a service group on their own but they need to be asked to attend Mass, a retreat or a small group. They have started to build Catholic relationships with the engaged and committed. They comprise about 10% of Hoosier Catholics.
The engaged intentionally practice their Catholic faith. They take the initiative to attend Mass, a weekly small group, or a retreat. They still have unanswered questions but they have found a home in the Church and are starting to put their faith into action in every aspect of their lives. Daily prayer, regular Confession, regular service and a few intentional Catholic friendships are hallmarks of this group. They comprise about 7% of Hoosier Catholics.
The committed define their lives through their identity in Christ and their Catholic faith. They pray daily, lead small groups, staff retreats, come to daily Mass, go to Eucharistic Adoration. They have a heart for service and evangelization and a desire to accompany others in their faith journeys. They comprise about 3% of Hoosier Catholics.
Fr. Patrick is a Dominican priest and the Campus Minister.