Concordia Seminary Newsroom
Students Building Community
by Jacob Moore
Every day, Concordia Seminary students are planning and organizing events and activities to engage their peers and the campus community. We reached out to a handful of students to find out why fostering community and hospitality has become part of their lives while here on campus.
I participate in intramurals because it keeps me physically active and it is a great way to have friendly competition with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Participating in sports builds character, respect, honesty and hard work, and can bring out the best in all of us. Though it can get competitive at times, everyone comes together in prayer at the end knowing that we are all here for the same reason. The Lord has blessed us with our bodies and with the ability to show that friendly competition can bring everyone together.
We started the Student Ministry to the Armed Forces to provide veterans a way to find personal connections and to have an opportunity to share their experiences and stories. It is also a way to better support those who may be interested in becoming military chaplains by providing an opportunity for them to experience the stories and traditions that help to define the communities in which they may eventually serve.
Evening Prayer is an opportunity at the end of the day, after everyone has gone home from class to be with their families or roommates and to study, to come back together and commend our work and our lives to God’s care. Seminary is a busy time for everyone, students and their families alike. Evening Prayer is an opportunity to receive rest in the Word of God and to receive mutual consolation by praying together with the members of the campus community.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20 ESV). As we go through the liturgy and the prayers in these services, we are there praying for each other, singing together and, at the end of a long day, whether it was a good day or a difficult day for someone, these services build each of us up.
The Concordia Seminary Life Team is a beautiful model of how the church can affirm life in a Gospel-centered way. The Life Team creates community by equipping seminarians and their spouses to work together toward a common goal: affirming life. As a team we plan, pray, hear from God’s Word, learn, celebrate and eat together regularly, which creates deep bonds.
The Life Team organizes regular community events. Some of these are educational, providing seminarians with knowledge and resources about a variety of life issues that will benefit them in ministry. Some events are more personal, such as our annual miscarriage memorial service, which provides an opportunity for our community to gather together and grieve with those whose children have gone to be with Jesus before them.
When I came to the Seminary, we couldn’t do anything social because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Being a former camp director, I know that fellowship works well around a campfire. So, once the restrictions were lifted, we started having outdoor campfires on Fridays in the Woods (married students) apartments in good weather. My wife, Debra, and I provide everything needed. Sometimes students don’t have much spending money, or they have a hard time meeting people. This is one time where you don’t need to bring anything but yourself, and you can come and go as you please. The addition of s’mores is a no-brainer! But it’s really about unplugging for a while and contemplating life or getting in a great conversation. It is a way to release some of the pressure of everyday life, even if it is for just a little while.
Prof ’n Stein is a campus tradition that brings together students and faculty in a lighthearted environment. Professors share their funny stories and words of wisdom, and everyone enjoys free food and beer.
I love seeing people talk and laugh with each other. Sharing our lives together makes it possible for our community to grow deeper, and it also makes campus feel more like home when you can walk to class and see or say hello to people you recognize and enjoy. Long term, it binds classes together and provides opportunities for students and faculty to share in some of God’s better gifts: camaraderie and friendship.
Jacob Moore is a fourth-year Master of Divinity student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.