Sharing the Overflowing Love of God
Matt Geerdes, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
Our half-time ministry at ISU is one of three partners in a building called the Campus Religious Center. One of the other partners in the building is a half-time staffed American Baptist ministry, and over the course of the last several years we have formed an informal ministry partnership, to the point where we now function as one community, which has room for diversity and distinctiveness.
On Monday mornings I brew up three pots of LWR coffee and some hot water and set up at a corner where sidewalks converge between dorms/apartments and the quad. This has been a great way to meet people and bless students in our neighborhood.
On Monday nights we host a community meal, serving between 30-40. The meal is open to everyone, although due to our neighborhood, the vast majority of guests are students. We make an effort to cook so that the love comes through, and often use produce from our community garden. Besides sharing a good meal together, our goal is to build up community.
On Thursday afternoons, I set up on the quad for a couple of hours with chairs and a sign that says “Let’s Talk – About Anything.” (Yes I shamelessly stole this idea from some of you fine colleagues). It is always worth the time. This is primarily a ministry for the good of whatever students happen to stop by, but it has in one case led to a trans student finding a life-saving place of welcome with us.
On Thursday evenings, we have our “dinner church” worship. This is the place where the Holy Spirit has really humbled me so far this year. The number of students probably would not impress anyone, but the diversity of the community that gathers, and the way the group has built community in sharing with one another absolutely moves my heart. And while we have taken intentional steps to develop such a community, I still find the reality of it to be a sign of God’s work.