May 19, 2014

It has been a long-time goal of Lutherans For Life and the Y4Life program to bring the message of LFL to Lutheran campuses across the country. In March, we took the first step to making this goal a reality by hosting the first ever Y4Life Campus Ministry Student Leadership Summit. Student leaders were invited from Lutheran college and university campuses to Saint Louis to experience a weekend of leadership training and relationship development. The end goal was the creation of new life teams at their campuses and a network of students working to achieve similar goals of promoting the sanctity of human life in schools across the nation.

Eight students joined us in Saint Louis in March, representing five Lutheran campuses: Concordia University Nebraska, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Ann Arbor, Concordia University Irvine, and Concordia University Texas. A couple of these schools already have life groups on their campus but, for three of them, this was a completely new idea for their campus communities and a great opportunity to begin creating a culture of life at their schools.

While in Saint Louis, students participated in Life Leader training led by Doug Merkey of Churches for Life. They also had an opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities of working with faculty and staff from Dr. Jeff and Renee Gibbs, the faculty liaisons for the Concordia Seminary Life Team. Another highlight was hearing success stories and learning about experiences from current student life team leaders from Concordia Seminary and Concordia University Nebraska.

This weekend gave these students the tools, the motivation, and the confidence to go back home and be the leaders of groups that will truly make a difference For Life. “I am definitely more confident now than I was before this conference,” said one student. Another student, who started the existing group on her campus, said, “I wish I had gone to this last year before I started our group.”

But their education and equipping will not stop with the summit. Y4Life Campus Ministry is dedicated to ongoing mentorship and training for these students and any other Lutheran students who are interested in starting a life team at their school. In addition, the relationships that were developed during the summit will allow these students to continue to learn from and support one another in their missions.

I am so excited about what these students will accomplish. They are such wonderfully talented and passionate young adults with hearts for Life and the dedication needed to speak up for those with no voice. With these students leading the way, the future of Gospel-motivated life ministries on college campuses is bright.

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Laura Davis is the director of Y4Life.