I became an accidental campus minister. But it was a happy accident.
I accepted an appointment as pastor of University United Methodist Church and Student Center at the University of Florida. A university church pastor and a campus minister are very different roles in both perception and reality. Little did I know how much the ministry and my focus would change over the next few years.
Those years were packed with demolition of all church facilities, laying aside previous building plans and designing new ones, construction of a new campus ministry building, discontinuance of University UMC, and the birth of Gator Wesley at the University of Florida with a new board of directors. Along the way, we revitalized worship, small groups, missions and community life.
Student involvement grew from 35 students to more than 200 students. I discovered a freedom and joy I hadn't experienced before in ministry. I'd try something new, watch it fail miserably, and experiment with something else the next week. Working with passionate and talented student leaders allowed for an openness and innovation that's far more difficult in ministries with institutional memory.
Why in the world would I ever leave?
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* Rev. Fuquay's commentary first appeared in the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry newsletter.