FUMCFW College Ministries
9:00 – 9:40 am | 2 free breakfast tacos with current college ID
9:30 – 10:30 am | The Gathering Worship
10:40 am – noon | The Shift: Coffee, Culture, Conversation (Room 350)
Where did all of that come from?
On August 28th I went to the TCU Wesley Foundation Back to School gathering. Wesley Foundation is the United Methodist ministry on TCU’s campus where a lot of students find a faith-based community to belong to and live out their faith. There was a load of pizzas, sodas, and loud conversations. That evening I heard students saying over and over again how important their faith is to them and how they want to continue to be a part of a local church, just as they were back home. Wesley Foundation is awesome and offers a lot of opportunities for the students during the week, but it is not a church on Sunday mornings.
I sat down at the table with three freshmen students. They were from Houston, Arkansas, and a small town in the Texas panhandle. All three of them were active in their churches since they were children. They really missed that part of their life back at home and were checking out churches in Fort Worth. I asked them, “What is it that you are looking for in a church?” The three of them agreed that they want to find 1. a worship community with great energy, 2. where they can put their faith to work through service opportunities and 3. meet and hang out with other college students. In my mind, I went, “check, check, and… gotta work on that.”
Let me tell you why I am so passionate about College Ministries. When I moved away from my parents and came to the city of Voronezh to study cross-cultural communication at Voronezh State University, I also looked for a church. And I was lucky to find one where I met other college students. That group played such an important part in my faith journey. In our chats over sandwiches and tea, they challenged me to dig deeper into my own faith, to visit other worship communities, to experience different spiritual practices, etc. We read books, watched movies, ate more sandwiches, and talked for hours. In one of our Bible Studies, I was asked to pray out loud. It was my first time ever to pray out loud in front of other people — and we all know how terrifying it could be. This group supported me when I first answered my call to ministry.
As I was finishing my third (or fourth) slice of pepperoni pizza and chatting with TCU students, I remembered my college life back in Voronezh, Russia. And when I got in the car, I prayed that our church becomes a community that college students in the metroplex call their new home. I prayed that in our church these young women and men would grow in their faith and hear God’s call for their lives.
And within a couple of weeks, God started answering my prayer. Our Gathering members and Grace Group leaders Katie Owens and Ted Bauer stepped up to host and lead The Shift — Sunday morning meetup for college students after the 9:30 am Gathering worship service. Lisa Helm offered free breakfast tacos for them! I invite you also to join me, pray and support our College Ministries to see them emerge, grow, and transform lives!
Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship