Campus Ministry adapts to online changes

Due to the sudden leave of students from campus, Waynesburg University’s Campus Ministry has developed an alternative form of worship that will take place each week virtually.

“We have created space for students to gather online every Sunday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and

Tuesday/Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” said Josh Sumpter, the Chaplain of Waynesburg University.

Lauren Bailey, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, and Sumpter are present during the meetings as they lead conversation, activities and prayer for students in order for them to stay connected to a Christ-centered community.

“On average, 15 students have joined us for each session with about 40 different students

participating regularly,” said Sumpter.

An email from the University Chaplain was sent out describing Campus Ministry activities titled

“Waynesburg University Campus Ministry.”

To access this gathering, the Microsoft Teams meeting link is provided in the aforementioned email. A shortcut link can be found in the Campus Ministry’s Instagram bio.

Each day has looked somewhat different for virtual campus ministry.

“The core components have been the same: checking-in conversation, a focus of Scripture and

encouragement and prayer with students,” said Sumpter. 

The meeting times have previously planned activities such as devotions, Bible study, intentional questions, jeopardy, etc., as well as flexible time to discuss life. 

“I think everyone is missing connection to some degree so it gives us the opportunity to connect in a unique way,” Bailey said.

To incorporate Upper Room, members of Upper Room play a song or two on Sunday nights to

replicate the experience of the on-campus event to the best of their abilities.

The purpose of this program “is to continue to foster Christ-centered community with WU

students, whether on campus or via online platforms. The intent is to provide encouragement

during a time that can be isolating and lonely,” Sumpter said.

“The online format has been a great tool and is definitely a blessing at this time, but is not quite

the same as being in person. I have appreciated the ability to get to know students in a different

way as we sit and chat online. It has also created an opportunity to be more creative in what

ministry looks like,” Bailey said.

“Going remote may not be ideal since everyone misses the presence of the students on campus, but “it was a natural fit. We can’t give virtual coffee or snacks, but it is fun to connect in the ‘online hub,’” Sumpter said.

Waynesburg students were already adapting to online platforms for social opportunities and classes in order to remain connected; so, Campus Ministry decided to do the same and invite all students to attend ministry events virtually.

“Although students are off-campus, you are not alone; the campus ministry team is here for you. We are in prayer for you and you can feel free to send prayer requests to [the] University Chaplain,” Sumpter said.