What does it mean to grow in faith? Ultimately, it is to become more like Christ.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the fall 2022 edition of Hearts Together, a Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor special magazine edition.
And we become more like Christ through obedience to the Lord. At Concordia, we are deliberate about the ways in which we encourage and inspire students to grow.
Each weekday at 9:30 a.m. Central/10:30 a.m. Eastern, the entire Concordia community pauses classes and business operations to allow for Daily Chapel. Chapel is optional, yet a couple hundred students, on average, elect to attend each day to immerse themselves in the Word of God, sing a hymn, and hear a message from one of Concordia’s many Biblical scholars.
Other worship opportunities
In addition to Daily Chapel, Concordia offers a variety of other evening services and opportunities for spiritual growth and praise, including a Wednesday night Candlelight Evening Prayer service on the CUW campus and Night of Worship on the CUAA campus.
Weekly Bible studies
There are upwards of 20 Bible studies offered weekly on each of our campuses. Some are organized and led by students, and others are hosted by faculty or staff. Either way, there is no shortage of opportunities for students to regularly engage in God’s Word.
Faith-filled liberal arts core
Concordia’s liberal arts core—a 45-credit course load required for all undergraduates, regardless of major—comprises more than a third of every Concordia undergraduate’s academic experience. Within the liberal arts core are three requisite faith courses: “The Bible,” “The Christian Faith,” and a faith elective course. Of the dozens of instructors who teach within the liberal arts core, a majority are Lutheran. All who teach the faith courses are rostered LCMS pastors, some of whom hold leadership positions at the synodical or district levels.
Campus Ministry programming
Under the faithful leadership and direction of Concordia’s campus pastors—Revs. Steve Smith, Randy Duncan, and Doug Bender—several dozen CUWAA students organize and lead ongoing ministry efforts designed to “seek the lost, strengthen the saved, and nurture Christian leaders.” The CUW and CUAA Campus Ministry teams are by far the most robust and active student organizations on each campus.
How are we doing?
80% of 2022 CUAA graduates indicated they grew in their Christian faith during their time at Concordia.
82% of 2022 CUW students said that faculty regularly integrate faith into the curriculum of their classes.
When surveyed about faith, here’s what students had to say
Non-believer: “I currently do not believe in Christ, and I am not interested in exploring what it means to be a Christian”
Beginner: “I believe in God, but I am not sure about Christ. My faith is not a significant part of my life.”
Believer: “I believe in Jesus and am working on what it means to get to know him and to share that love with others.”
Follower: “I see Christ as assisting me in life and it is leading me to a much deeper love of family and others.”
Disciple: “I have an intimate relationship with Jesus that drives my flourishing unity with others.”
Students’ survey responses ranked Concordia highest on these five faith indicators (out of more than 25)
- Concordia helps me develop a personal relationship with Christ.
- Concordia has teachers/faculty that model and consistently reinforce how to grow spiritually.
- Concordia teaches me the words, stories, and key messages of my faith.
- Concordia inspires me to make my faith an active part of my life.
- Concordia helps me understand the Bible in greater depth.
Concordia’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness is committed to the ongoing, objective assessment of our university’s progress and success. View more measures of success at cuw.edu/fastfacts or cuaa.edu/fastfacts.
—The fall 2022 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in early October. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.