CMV Bart Loos talks about his campus ministry experiences
I will start off writing about my experience of the first year of college:
I attended Binghamton University, a relatively large public university, my freshman year of college. In my first semester, my time filled up with school and with college soccer. There was no attempt to find a Christian fellowship on campus by me prior to attending, and consequently, I spent most of my semester not being a part of one. I realize that this is my fault, and by the time I tried to find a Christian fellowship, I could not — and I was limited in the time and effort I could devote to finding one.
I was the only Christian in my dorm suite, and one of the very few on the soccer team. Therefore, my living situation and even my time on the team provided no fellowship with brothers or sisters in the faith. This all was a very difficult struggle for me. It was not until my second semester that I became part of a Christian fellowship on campus, although not a Lutheran campus fellowship.
I am currently serving at the University Lutheran Chapel here at UCLA, a public university like Binghamton (but much larger). The chapel is in a beautiful place where it can reach out to students on campus. We have been given the opportunity to reach out to them and make ourselves accessible by searching them out. As I learned from my own experience, Christian students may be lost and longing for a fellowship but be so caught up in school and other obligations that they do not expend great effort to search us out. So, I believe the chapel and this Lutheran campus ministry (and every Lutheran campus ministry across the country) has been charged with the responsibility to go and seek out these students.
Furthermore, University Lutheran Chapel is located on “Frat Row,” and serves as a beacon of light for the Church as a whole in a place that is perhaps greatly opposed to it. The chapel offers a place for fellowship to hear and receive the Word and sacraments purely—so it offers more than just fellowship; it offers fellowship focused in the Word and sacraments.
Here at UCLA, we have also been called to reach those who are lost or seeking with the Good News that Christ has brought us back into a right relationship with God by His death on the cross, and with the assurance we have of eternal life in Christ’s resurrection. We provide fellowship and reach the Christian students, take care of them, preach the Word and administer the Sacraments. However, we are not the end, but rather means—so we encourage and equip the students and members of the chapel to go out and reach the student body by sharing and living out the love of God.
After Binghamton University, I attended Concordia University—Chicago, and although Concordia was a Christian university and different from Binghamton, the campus ministry there was certainly a needed ministry as well as a blessing to be a part of. Whether the school is secular or Christian, a campus ministry is essential—both to help Christian students grow in faith and to share God’s love, His message, and His call to those who have not yet come to know Him.
Bart Loos graduated in 2011 from Concordia University—Chicago in River Forest, Ill. with a degree in biblical languages. A goalkeeper on the CUC men’s soccer team, Bart was named second team All Northern Athletic Conference for the 2010 season. As the Campus Missionary Volunteer at University Lutheran Chapel (UCLA), he works with Pastor Mark Jasa in a variety of ministry roles.
Want to learn more about LCMS Campus Ministry’s Campus Missionary Volunteer program? Visit the CMV page on our website!