Response to Budget Team Proposal

December 06, 2018
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Ryan Risdal
Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries
Chairperson
Iowa Conference, United Methodist Church
 
Dear Friends:
 
As Chair of the Iowa Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries I am truly saddened to have received the finding proposal to dramatically defund the BHECM in 2020. This proposal will severely impact the BHECM and the important ministries we support across Iowa.

This is a tough situation. The BHECM has been preparing for financial uncertainty but this dramatic reduction does leave our Campus Ministries in jeopardy. 

I believe this is the time for us to understand reflect on the impact the next few months have on all connectional ministries in the Iowa Annual Conference.  I do believe the proposed funding cuts are simply a leading indicator to larger situations.  Poor rural economy, elderly congregations, division over human sexuality, saving money for the potential church split are all contributors to these circumstances.  These are clear issues preventing the church from receiving adequate income to support the current structure. 

I urge all Methodists to engage in an internal reflection to understand our connectional relevance in the current social environment.  As Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z and Alpha emerge and retreat from society, our ministries must remain current in the social environment.  The simple fact remains, there is not enough mass(people)to support the churches approach and reflection should take the Iowa Annual Conference to focus on the ones that are not here and understand how to engage these persons and help them start their spiritual journey, while respecting the ones who are here.  Times like these provide an opportunity for persons to honor tradition by asking hard questions to build a church for tomorrow.

In 2019 you will have the opportunity to directly support campus ministry on your own.  The BHECM encourages you to connect with your Campus Ministry of choice and learn how you can support these ministries, building the next generations of spiritual leaders who will transform the world.
 
Peace,
Ryan Risdal
 
 
The Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (BHECM) equips young persons to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ toward becoming spiritual leaders who will transform the church and the world.

The Methodist movement was started on a campus; it was there that John and Charles Wesley formed a campus ministry(theHoly Club) to empower students to develop a relationship with Christ, grow as disciples and combine their Christian service with their vocation in a life-long witness of faith. Though the details have changed due to the needs and demands of each succeeding generation, this process continues to be the primary model through which campus ministries operate in what has now become the United Methodist Church.

In The Book of Discipline,  ¶601 reads,“The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local churches, all for the glory of God.”

The Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry is the primary organizing entity and connection to the Annual Conference for the conference’s Wesley Foundations, the United Methodist (UM) campus ministries on selected non-UM-related campuses. In the Iowa Conference, there are four: 
Drake University in Des Moines 
The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls (http://threehouse.org/)
Iowa State University in Ames (http://www.isuwesley.com)
The University of Iowa in Iowa City (http://iowawesley.org/)

The BHECM also maintains and oversees the relationship between the Annual Conference and its four historically-related United Methodist colleges in Iowa: 
Cornell College in Mt. Vernon (http://www.cornellcollege.edu/)
Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant (http://www.iw.edu/)
Morningside College in Sioux City (https://www.morningside.edu/)
Simpson College in Indianola (http://simpson.edu/)