Dear Partners in Mission:
Last Thursday night I had the privilege of joining our Lutheran Campus Ministry in Denton on the campus of the University of North Texas. The occasion was their weekly Thursday night cookout where they cook burgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers for anyone walking by who wants one. In this way they are both visible publicly on campus as well as demonstrating Christian service and love to their neighbors. More than a few times in the evening I heard someone ask, “is this really free?” or “why are you doing this?” both providing opportunity to talk about how our faith leads us to serve. That call, to service then became central in our bible study time when we engaged Luther’s “The Freedom of a Christian.”
What also struck me was that this serving event could only happen because of partnerships. Partnerships between NT-NL congregations supporting campus ministry as well as partnership with the Wesley House (United Methodist) Campus Ministry. We do not have a facility on the campus of UNT. But the Wesley House partners with us by allowing our ministry to have space and utilize their front porch for this meal. Additionally, the Wesley House joins our LuMin as the only two explicitly open and affirming Christian campus ministries at UNT to the LGBTQ+ community. This spirit of partnership and welcome gives even greater authenticity to our witness to God’s grace given freely in Christ Jesus.
As I look towards the end of 2021 and into 2022 it is clear to me ever more our future as a church in our mission field can only take place #InMissionTogether. Through partnerships between congregations and synodical ministries and even across synodical boundaries where we recognize we are stronger together. But to have these partnerships happen we are going to be challenged to let go of some things. To come together in mission will mean recognizing the giftedness of others, to get out of our silos. To be open, as the Wesley House is, to having us utilize their space and for our ministry to recognize the giftedness of not having to maintain a facility. These types of partnership conversations are happening across NT-NL and our wider church. I pray that, focused on our Christian freedom and call to witness, we will grow in our desire to come together to strengthen our mission and welcome.