Congregation Exploration reintroduced by CMC

Amy Evans attends church though the Congregation Exploration program. Photo by Aubrey Schield.
Amy Evans attends church though the Congregation Exploration program. Photo by Aubrey Schield.

Campus Ministry Commission, or CMC, is reintroducing Congregation Exploration this semester. This service helps students find home churches in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

CMC Co-Commissioner Erica Jossund said it is important that students find a church they can call home when they are at school.

“Concordia offers a lot of great opportunities to get involved in ministry,” she said, “but it’s really special to actually go to church.  We want there to be relationships built.  We want people who love their church.”

Congregation Exploration offers students the opportunity to attend churches in the area with fellow Cobbers.  Students who already attend churches will serve as contacts to students who are interested in finding a church.

Jossund said there will also be a “wild card” contact who attends different churches based on where interested students want to go.

Congregation Exploration began last semester when co-commissioners Anastasia Young and Nikki Stulac wanted to provide students with a way of finding a congregation they could feel comfortable in.

Young and Stulac were the only people who attended church with students originally.  CMC changed the program this semester to incorporate more contacts.  Jossund said this will make Congregation Exploration more effective.

There are currently contact students at River City Church and First Lutheran Church in Fargo and Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead.

Jossund said that CMC wants to reach more congregations as the semester continues.

Students interested in finding a church through Congregation Exploration can find information on the CMC board outside the Centrum, where contact names and churches will be listed.

Campus Pastor Tim Megorden is excited about the program. He said that a problem with congregations is that people do not always feel welcome.  He compared church to an exercise room.

“If you go into a workout room and you don’t know anything about the equipment, you feel like an idiot,” he said.

The same feeling can be experienced when a person goes to church for the first time.  Congregation Exploration aims to remedy that issue.

CMC Co-Commissioner Kristin Remick said the program offers comfort to students who are interested in attending church but do not know where to go or who to go with.

“Coming to college, it’s hard to get connected to a church,” she said.  “(This will) offer that little hospitality of having someone you know.”

Another goal of Congregation Exploration is to get students out into the community, Remick said.

“We get so caught up in the Concordia bubble,” she said.

She added that worshipping in an intergenerational faith community is a key part of becoming more involved in the faith community beyond Concordia.

Campus Pastor Tim Megorden agreed and added that Concordia students have a lot to offer congregations in Fargo-Moorhead.

Concordia’s founders made a conscious decision to exclude a Sunday morning worship service for these very reasons, he said.  They wanted students to have the opportunity to be involved in faith communities outside of Concordia.

 Amy Evans, a senior, started attending River City Church during her sophomore year at Concordia.  She said she heard about the church through her friends.

Evans said she went “church shopping” before discovering River City.  She said it was good for her to go beyond Concordia’s ministry and hear different ideas about what she believes.

College is a time during which faith becomes personalized for a lot of students, Megorden said.

“No longer can you blame Mom, Dad, or your family for what you don’t like or don’t believe,” he said.  “Now it’s yours.”

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