At the standing-room-only Collegiate Ministries Luncheon at the 220th GA on July 2, Presbyterians were introduced to a new direction for collegiate ministries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In introducing UKIRK Ministries—which means University Church—Adrian McMullen, associate for the Office of Collegiate Ministries of the General Assembly Mission Council was excited. “Our churches are back in the game,” he said. “They will do college ministry again.”

UKIRK ministries is a network of collegiate ministries supported by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) charged with reaching college students, loving and teaching them to be lifelong followers of Jesus Christ. These ministries could take place within a congregation near a local college or university setting, within a board-driven campus ministry, within a context of a college or university chaplaincy. It might also be some combination of all three. “The idea is for the body of Christ to be present where students are learning, growing and changing,” said McMullen. “The PC(USA) has to do a better job at loving and engaging college students.”

During the luncheon, Princeton Seminary students Emily Chudy and Megan Lecluyse presented findings from their senior thesis: “Promises to Keep: the Importance of Communities of Faith on the Development of Adolescents and Emerging Adults.”   

A 2008 General Assembly Mission Council statistic, that only 8.8 percent of PC(USA) members are 18-34 years of age was the motivation for their thesis. They wanted to find out why those present were actually there. What they learned was how important relationships in Christian community were for this age group. “This new life stage of emerging adulthood extends over a period of time longer than ever before,” said Chudy. “The church must adapt to the impact this has on the promises we make to the youngest members of our Christian family. God’s promise to us does not change when the world changes, nor do the importance of relationships in the Christian community.”