Located in Castleton, Vermont, Castleton University is Vermont’s oldest higher education institute, which was founded in 1787. There are just under 2,500 students enrolled at Castleton University, representing 40 different countries. Castleton is located in Southwest Vermont, with a population of just under 5,000. The University is the main hub of the village, but there are various locally-owned businesses.
This quarter’s campus ministry spotlight features Mission City Church‘s ministry at Castleton University. We asked campus minister Rhiannon Barnett to share some of the highlights, challenges, and opportunities involved with her ministry role to the students at Castleton. Here’s what Rhiannon had to say, as well as some ways you can pray for her, Mission City Church, and the students of Castleton University.
BCMLife: Tell us about your campus ministry and mission.
Rhiannon Barnett: Mission City Church’s ministry at Castleton University is a church-based ministry, with the goal of connecting campus to the Church. We host a weekly gathering and Bible study for college-age young adults, where we see around 20 students a week. Mission City Church, a mobile church plant, meets for our weekly worship on the college campus. We have a staff of five and many other servant leaders who are continually investing in the lives of students during these weekly gatherings. College/young adults make up just over 15% of our church population, and they serve in various areas of weekly Bible study and worship.
BCMLife: What do you sense are the challenges facing today’s college students?
RB: A major challenge students are facing today is not knowing where to place their identities, which leads to a sense of lostness. Students are pressured to place their identities in academics, peers, sexuality, etc., and they end up empty when these things fail.
BCMLife: Are there any prayer needs for your ministry that others in the network could pray about?
RB: Pray for our team as we continue to reach students where they are. Ask the Holy Spirit to stir in the hearts of students and then place those students along our paths. Pray for continued favor with the faculty and staff of Castleton University.
BCMLife: As a college ministry leader, what is the most rewarding part of your role?
RB: It is most rewarding for me to be able to watch students truly grasp faith in Jesus and to see them make that faith their own, which leads them to desire the same for their peers, to serve within the church body, and to see that their time on the campus is not wasted, but strategic.
BCMLife: What have been some great opportunities for outreach with your college ministry, either on your campus and/or within your community?
RB: We have seen our students given many opportunities to serve faculty, staff, and students by partaking in activities that the University is already doing. We encourage our staff, leaders, and students to attend these activities, which allows for opportunities to invest in lives and the campus. This has led to opportunities to serve with our public safety officers for event parking, encouraging various offices on campus through notes of encouragement and goodie baskets, helping clean up after sporting events and many more. These opportunities always lead to connections and conversations that point to the gospel.