Hesston College creates an atmosphere where choices can be made that are consistent with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Recognizing that Hesston students are at different places in their faith journeys, the college offers a variety of activities and leadership opportunities to all students, encouraging them to participate where they feel most comfortable.
The campus pastor is a vital resource to students, faculty and staff. The pastor is available for pastoral care and support in faith development and is responsible for religious life programs and ministry, Christian growth, leadership and worship. The following Campus Ministries activities fall under the leadership of the campus pastor.
Formation includes Formation Gatherings and Community Engagement Activities. Both are important facets of how Hesston College invites each student to grow in their thought, life, faith journey and service to others. Designed with a Jesus-centered approach that welcomes all denominations and faiths, Hesston College Learning Outcomes and the Philosophy of Faith Formation serve as the foundation for Formation programming. As a collaboration of Student Life and Academics, responsibility for Formation programming rests with Campus Pastor Micah Hurst and Professor Michele Hershberger. Any ideas or concerns related to Formation may be forwarded to them. Each semester, Formation will appear on the grade report and transcript with a grade of pass or no credit.
Formation Gatherings meet Mondays and Fridays from 11 to 11:30 a.m. and provide a time for the entire campus community to come together for thirty minutes to experience sharing of announcements and concerns, topical presentations, guest speakers, experiential activities or faith practices centered on a variety of themes which integrate intellectual and spiritual content. Students are expected to respect presenters and participants by refraining from talking, studying or using electronic devices, including wearing headphones, during Formation Gathering. ID cards are scanned at the beginning and end of each gathering to record Formation Gathering attendance points. Part-time students and employees are warmly invited to attend and participate in Formation Gatherings each week.
Community Engagement Activities may be offered on any day of the week and are promoted in advance by the sponsoring campus group or facilitator. This may include a particular performing arts or athletic event, a service opportunity or an intercultural experience which relates to Hesston College Learning Outcomes or Philosophy of Faith Formation. Attendance is recorded at each event to receive Community Engagement Points. Students interested in planning a Community Engagement Activity should collaborate with a faculty or staff member to prepare a submission request.
Associate Degree Formation Point Requirements: As part of Hesston College’s commitment to its learning outcomes and philosophy of faith formation, all dorming and full-time commuter Hesston College students are required to earn a specified number of Formation Points each semester, based upon their course load and course level at the beginning of each semester. Each Formation Gathering is worth 10 points and most Community Engagement Activities are worth 5 points each. Specific requirements are described below.
- On-campus students enrolled in associate degree level coursework will earn at least 300 Associate Formation Points per semester.
- Full-time commuter students enrolled in associate degree level coursework will earn at least 80 Assciate Formation Points per semester.
- Any points earned beyond the minimum Associate Degree Formation point requirement during fall semester may be carried over to meet spring semester point requirements.
- It is each student’s responsibility to monitor Formation attendance points on Moodle. All appeals for credit should be made to the Student Life office manager within two weeks of the event, using official forms found through a link on the Moodle Formation page.
- In the event of an occasional activity that conflicts with Formation Gathering (field trip, music performance, athletic trip), no excused credit is given. It is up to the student to plan for such events to still meet the point requirements as there are plenty of opportunities to earn Formation points.
- Students holding previous college degrees and part-time students are encouraged, but not required, to meet Associate Degree Formation credit requirements.
The campus pastor hires, trains and supervises a group of returning students each year to assist in Christian ministry across campus. These students go through an application process in the spring semester of the previous year. MAs partner with the campus pastor to lead a variety of ministries, campus-wide opportunities for spiritual exploration and growth, based on the gifts of the MA group and the needs of campus.
Bible Studies, Small Groups and Life Groups
Small groups for fellowship, sharing, Bible study and prayer are available for students who desire a more intimate setting in which to experience personal growth and accountability. Each group is led by student leaders or an employee. This year the student leaders of most of these groups will be part of the Campus Ministry Team of MAs. Local pastors may also be involved in small group leadership. Anyone wanting to be involved in a small group or in campus ministry should contact the campus pastor.
One type of small group is Life Groups. Each Life Group consists of five to six students of one gender and a faculty or staff leader. Groups form at the beginning of each semester. Each group is intentionally formed with students who have different involvements. Life Groups are a place to make deep, intentional relationships for the purpose of learning about oneself within a small community. They are a place to grow in the ability to talk about the important stuff of life that often lies under the surface of daily living. Some also function as an accountability group. The group members themselves will determine in what ways their Life Group functions.
The campus pastor leads group prayer times on an occasional basis. Individuals are invited to form prayer groups or to call the pastor for specific prayer needs.
Service Opportunities (Love in Action)
Love in Action is Hesston College’s peace and service club and coordinates a variety of service opportunities. Love in Action partners with a number of local organizations to provide voluntary service options that are available in the area. In a typical year, these include M2 prison visitation, Big Brother/Big Sister program, Mennonite Disaster Service, Schowalter Villa and other local service opportunities. Students can check the service board in the Larks Nest for one-time and ongoing service opportunities.
Missions and Service Days
In a typical year, there are two specific days where representatives from various mission and service agencies come to campus to provide information about the needs and opportunities within the programs they represent. During the fall semester, representatives from various summer camps come to campus to provide information about the needs and opportunities within the camps they represent. Students who want information on a variety of mission and service agencies or camp ministry opportunities may ask the campus pastor for contact information.
Stutzman Retreat Center, located eight miles southwest of Hesston, is available for off-campus retreats which are scheduled to provide students with the opportunity to break from their routine, meet other people or concentrate on a particular project or issue. A college employee, resident assistant or ministry assistant must be part of the group. Reservations may be made by contacting email@example.com.
Many local churches welcome students to engage with them for Sunday morning worship and other aspects of their life together. Some congregations provide transportation and special classes for students who attend their services. See congregation listing in the Services Available Off-campus section.