Campus ministry


Erin Moniz D.Min.
Christian emerging adults struggle in their relationships because they lack a robust theology of intimacy. This thesis examines and analyzes the problem by combining practical theology, generational studies, and a study of the culture of faith communities. Biblical support is offered by an exegetical examination of three Scripture passages that demonstrate the three intimacy motifs of family, sexuality/marriage, and friendship. Trinitarian and covenant theology reveal the theme of intimacy in the triune God and redemptive history. The doctrine of Union with Christ connects human and Divine intimacy through a Christological lens. An ethnographic study involving a focus group and sixteen interviews is analyzed in order to uncover the intersection of faith and intimate relationships in emerging adults. This thesis investigates the role of faith in the lives of emerging adult relationships and offers a biblical and theological theology of intimacy.

Hollering Theology: Exploring liberation theology in Central Appalachia and its power to transform students at the University of Pikeville

Robert Dale Musick D.Min.
Central Appalachia is a complex and beautiful region that has been historically mislabeled, misrepresented, and shamed as the land of hillbillies. Suffering in this region is deep and broad as poverty, addiction, and disparities are statistically evident. Although the region is filled with churches, missionary endeavors, and government programs, places like Eastern Kentucky continue to struggle. As the Church seeks to address these diseases of despair, it is imperative for Christian universities to address this suffering through critical pedagogy and a contextualized theology. By the development of an Appalachian liberation theology known as hollering theology, this research project took this new theology and imbedded it in two different college classes at the University of Pikeville. Through this project, it was discovered that the fundamental source of oppression in Central Appalachia is the damning stereotype of the hillbilly. This stereotype has been internalized and is now killing Appalachian Americans. In this study, hollering theology will be offered as a way to challenge the stereotype, give a new vision for God’s work in the region, and make known a hillbilly Christ, which seeks to empower students at UPIKE to engage themselves and their community in a critical and engaged way.

Video Church: The Effects of the Video Church Model on Christian Hospitality

Assad Mohammed Saif D.Min.
Hospitality is fundamental to human spiritual growth. Jesus knew this. Therefore, Jesus spent much time seeking to encounter people in the spaces they naturally congregated in. God sent Jesus to come from heaven to earth to show people the incarnate God and his desire to welcome them into his family. More specifically, God sent Jesus to a specific culture in the world where he believed the message of God’s love could be viewed through the lens of hospitality. By using a grounded theory approach, the researcher set out to discover the methods by which hospitality is impacted within the video church model of Sunday morning church worship services. The researcher identified 12 key hospitable qualities necessary for the development of a culture of hospitality in church services. The researcher identified seven principles of healthy hospitality and seven considerations toward sustaining healthy hospitality within the video venue church. The researcher identified how human spirituality benefits from acts of hospitality by specifically studying the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. The researcher identified and analyzed data gathered from interviews with Senior church leaders, volunteers in video churches and small group leaders who attend video church services. This data was collected in order to help the researcher discover the effect of hospitality and how the lack thereof affects spiritual growth in the video church model. The researcher identified both the key qualities of hospitality which contribute toward healthy spiritual growth in video church services and the types of video church services that help to produce these qualities in Christ followers.


Mark Covel D.Min.
As part of the campus ministry of Cru, Design Movement seeks to come alongside the South Asian American college community. The purpose of this research was to gauge the effectiveness of specific training materials for equipping campus ministry workers for the ministry of Design Movement. To accomplish this, a newly written set of training materials were field tested, reviewed, and evaluated for effectiveness.

Design Movement uses a contextualized approach to ministry. It is a collegiate ministry seeking to come alongside the desi, or South Asian American, community. This community includes students who are Indian American, Pakistani American, Sri Lankan American, Bangladeshi American, Nepali American, Bhutanese American, and Maldivian American. Many of these American college students have a Hindu or Muslim background, while a smaller percentage of South Asian American students have a Christian background.

This major project arose from the need for more current and specific ministry training for staff and volunteers and resulted in the creation of the Design Movement Ambassador Training. The training is divided into four categories: “Learn about South Asian American Culture,” “Leverage Culture for Outreach,” “Launch and Grow a Design Movement,” and “Lead a Design Student Team.” Each category contains six modules for a total of twenty-four topics.

The study revealed that the training materials were successful in being able to equip campus ministers to effectively come alongside the desi community. The five Cru staff who participated in a focus group grew in their understanding about this contextualized ministry. The feedback from the five staff and four Consultants provided suggestions for minor improvements to the materials, including a few additional modules. Training materials specific to Design Movement proved helpful for meeting the needs of coaching students in Design Movement.

Deep Roots in Christ: An Exploration of Spiritual Formation Through Habits in College Ministry

John L Miller IV D.Min.
In this Research Portfolio, the author examines the role of habits and rituals in spiritual formation. The specific focus of the work is on the potential impact of ancient spiritual practices in the lives of contemporary students at an undergraduate institution. The author presents this topic through three primary movements. First, the author explores aspects of his personal spiritual journey through an autobiographical chapter. These reflections introduce the author’s call to ministry and share some foundational thoughts on spiritual formation as both key turning points and habits that ignite and sustain such experiences. Second, the author develops an organic framework for spiritual formation through habits focused on the image of a healthy tree. The model builds upon John Wesley’s Means of Grace and James K.A. Smith’s work on habits. Finally, the author reports on a research project where he invites current undergraduate students at Houghton College to participate in the practice of Lectio Divina to better understand the potential impact of habits on spiritual formation with contemporary college students. The research suggests that habits and ancient spiritual practices are indeed reliable pathways to experiencing God’s love for the contemporary undergraduate student.

Preaching Beyond the Hedges: A Psycho-Social and Spiritual Exegesis of University Students as a Resource for the Campus Preacher

Community exegesis is gaining interest among preachers as a means to communicate the Word of God to a particular group, time, and location. The work of Lenora Tubbs Tisdale and her study of communal exegesis marks a significant influence on this interest. The Second Vatican Council also calls upon the preacher to utilize language to tailor the Word of God for the listener. Relying on the study of social location and combining that effort with psychological, social, and spiritual disciplines, preachers engage concepts that aid in the exegesis of today’s university students. This study demonstrates that exegeting the Scriptures and the community is beneficial to the psycho-spiritual cognitive development of students.
This thesis examines disciplines that equip preachers to exegete the university student community, thereby contributing to a better preaching event. To that end, the first chapter describes the importance of studying the historical and observable social location in which the students are living. The second chapter treats psychological stage development and current struggles that today’s undergraduates are experiencing. The third chapter considers two specific research methods and ways that preachers might implement them. These research methods uncover the language of university students, as reflected in conversations with focus groups. The fourth chapter examines the fruits of Emmaus Walks that lead towards Paschal Preaching, and the witness that university students give when preaching moves into action. The preacher also calls to mind the role of the Holy Spirit in creating a preaching event. The conclusion highlights the benefits of this thesis as an exegetical resource, suggesting that preachers can preach more effectively to students on their campuses by gaining knowledge of the social location, updating their understanding of proposed theories of psychological stage development, using a variety of research methods, and intentionally journeying with the students.

Towards a Holistic Education: Forging Integrative Approaches between Campus Ministers and Theology Faculty at Catholic Universities

Rachelle M. Kramer D.Min.
This thesis-project explores to what extent a synergy could be created between campus ministers and theology professors at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities that might contribute to a more holistic development (spiritual, moral, intellectual) of their students. The project overall seeks to learn how a holistic education can best be understood in Catholic higher education today as well as the factors that foster and hinder it. The experience of campus ministers and theology faculty, emerging adult theory, the Catholic Tradition, and integrative learning theory serve as dialogue partners in order to unearth new insights and concrete actions for the future.

Cruciformational Discipleship: A Leader Training Program for Producing a Fruitful Missional Ministry for the University City Chinese Christian Church

Tony Liang D.Min.
The mission of the church was expressed as to build a fruitful cruciformational community of Christ that glorifies God. To do that in the postmodern and post Christendom age, a missional church would need the full utilization of the ministry of the Word. in all its forms for all levels, from personal to congregational. It required developing ministry expressions that properly adapt to the very complex and rapidly changed ministry context, and at the same time that ensured these expressions to be firmly rooted in the Biblical foundation and centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The theological vision that was derived from the theological framework for the given ministry context was key to fulfill that purpose effectively. This project was a discipleship training pilot program for all ministry leaders.

The program first presented to the trainees the big picture of how the ministry of the Word transformed the lives of believers as holy priests through the worshiping lives of the church to produce fruitful results. It then taught the trainees the process of utilizing it: to build the theological framework that was the foundation of ministry, to develop the ministry platforms that enabled effective ministry utilization, and to derive the theological vision that connected the Biblical foundation to the ministry expression for
given ministry contexts.

The results from the evaluation of the program showed that the project had reached the initial goals in understanding the basic concepts and their theological foundation. However, the program had too much content. Therefore, the trainees could not explore the three catalysts fully and had not reached one of the goals associated with them (to have the basic skill to apply those catalysts in ministry).


Ryan Peterson D.Min.
Concordia University, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has always had a strong commitment to a Christ-centered ministry. But with a changing student body and an awareness of the changing needs of the millennial generation, it is clear that deliberate and intentional planning for ministry is needed. This major project has sought to consider the historical issues surrounding campus ministry, as well as the theological and biblical issues that undergird the ministry, in order to develop a strategic plan for campus ministry to undergraduate students.

This project focused on achieving four primary goals. The first goal was seeking to understand the values, ideals, influences, and preferences of the millennial generation. The second goal was to identify the five to seven greatest spiritual challenges facing the students at Concordia University--Ann Arbor. The third goal was to analyze and synthesize the findings from the identified challenges and SWOT analysis. Finally, the fourth goal was to describe the strategic plan for campus ministry at Concordia University--Ann Arbor.

The field research focused on three specific areas: writing a campus culture narrative based on three student focus groups, completing a SWOT analysis of current campus ministry programming by students, faculty, and staff, and then identifying the specific spiritual challenges facing our current students through a Delphi survey. Finally, a strategic plan with strategies, objectives, and tactics was completed and presented to the president of the university for his approval. The effectiveness of the field research components was evaluated, and each of the four goals of the major project have been achieved.


Jonathan Nielson D.Min.
For this major project, the study participants were Princeton University undergraduate
students who were actively involved in the ministry of Princeton Faith and Action, which is
staffed and resourced by Christian Union. Students were observed, studied, and interviewed at
the beginning (fall) and conclusion (spring) of their freshmen years at Princeton, with the goal of
determining to what extent this campus ministry was contributing to their spiritual growth. The
research and study focused on five main metrics to measure the growth in spiritual maturity of
these students: Bible and theology knowledge, spiritual disciplines, personal holiness and
godliness, evangelism and gospel witness, and understanding of and involvement in local
churches. Conclusions were drawn about the strengths and weaknesses of this campus ministry
at Princeton University and its effectiveness in helping undergraduate students grow in spiritual
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