Milwaukee Area Campus Ministry - An Exciting New Direction
My name is Stephen Avery and I am a student at MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering). This year, I started to get involved with The Point of Grace ministries of the Milwaukee area this fall. I had the privilege of playing guitar in the praise band for a few services at the building on the UW-Milwaukee campus. The service was great, the message was right, and the congregation was very warm and welcoming. However, there was something lacking from the building that surprised me: college students. Very few students outside the praise band attended the services that I went to. It sort of perplexed me; I was happy that such a welcoming group was so willing to minister to college students and really wanted to be part of this family, yet I seemed to be one of the few students to think so. Students today must be looking for something different that TPOG’s services were not bringing to the table. As you may know, The Point of Grace recently sold its building and moved to a smaller facility a couple doors down the street. At first, one may think that this is a bad sign and that TPOG’s ministry might be falling behind with today’s students. However, that is just the opposite. I strongly believe that this is a step in the right direction and that The Point of Grace can now help Milwaukee’s college students spiritually better than ever.
We all know that our faiths in Christ are not bound to a building but are a relationship that follows us in all parts of our lives. Likewise, campus ministry is not bound to a building and can be more effective if one thinks outside the box and reaches out to students. That is what The Point of Grace is now focusing on, and from what I’ve seen in the last few months, it is definitely working. TPOG is still going from campus to campus, hosting weekly Bible studies with each school, but what it is doing that pushes its ministry to the next level is a new monthly event called The Gathering.
The Gathering is not your typical bible study, nor is it merely a social event. It moves from campus to campus, unifying Christian students from the various schools into a community, rather than creating separate groups at each school. Each month, a theme for the Gathering is selected. For example, in March, the event at MSOE was titled, “My Life in Crime.” Luke Thompson gave a very engaging presentation to about fifty students that created very good discussions and also made us think about topics and in ways that we never had before. In fact, the majority of the material that he presented was actually secular works. He showed clips from Breaking Bad and Dexter and asked us to find common themes and archetypes of the “crime genre” of the TV shows. After about an hour of that, he then pulled up a couple Bible passages that supported what we discovered from discussing these TV shows. It had the usual law and gospel, but it was presented in such a new and refreshing way.
The message was not watered down, but it was not given in such a pushy way that anyone who was not a Christian would not feel uncomfortable as they would during a typical Bible study or worship service. It is the perfect event to bring your college friends to. There’s free food to entice your friends with and the presentation and warm hospitality then engages their attention and makes them see how and why Christians think like we do. To me, this is what campus ministry is about. It brings Christians together in a safe environment and creates an atmosphere that makes those who are new or returning to Christianity feel comfortable and informs them in a very engaging manner.
Yes, the building is gone, but that does not mean that The Point of Grace Campus Ministry is dead or dying. As mentioned above, we are just getting started and are very excited for the future. That is why I am asking you to please consider giving a donation to the Point of Grace. The ministry is growing in a new and exciting way and we are reaching new college students with every event that we hold.