Last week I gave a description of our university student ministry here in L’viv, Ukraine. At the end of the post I talked about how a portion of our worshiping demographic included students who have already graduated but are still worshiping and active with Youth to Jesus. In American campus ministries these people are called alumni and after graduation they transition to a local church. While we are very happy to continue to have “alumni” participate and worship with us at Youth to Jesus, we also consider it important and natural for them to incorporate into a church setting as they transition into the next phases of their lives.
Therefore, due to alumni increasing it was only natural that a church was planted in addition to the student ministry. Our predecessors, Fred and Stacy Vanderwerf, began a United Methodist worship service that met once a month and had increased to twice a month by their departure in the summer of 2008. Upon our arrival, in the fall of 2008, some of our students/alumni requested that we extend services to meet weekly, and we happily obliged.
To get a better feel of what it might be like to attend a Sunday service with us think of your church minus the building, the music director, the hymnals, the formalities, the experienced leadership and depending on your church size, most of the people. Our loyal group of 5 – 10 meet every Sunday for worship. Every other Sunday is ‘formal’ worship with a sermon, liturgy and music. The ‘other’ Sundays are more informal, with songs being requested by the worshipers, the sermon looking more like a small group and lots of tea and cookies. We also have a Sunday School that ranges from about 2 to 8 children that meets every week.
Despite our size, church has proven to be some of our most rewarding times yet. There is something wonderful about worshiping God in such a small, intimate setting. Please pray for our alumni; we want them to find a church home. Whether it is with us or elsewhere we pray that they will continue to follow and grow in their faith with Jesus.