COLUMBIA — Twenty-five Columbia Christian ministries welcomed MU freshmen Friday afternoon at a fair organized by Rooted, a Christian student organization.
Rooted is a nondenominational Christian campus ministry, whose goal is to help incoming freshmen get a glimpse of the variety of ministries available to them, said Elizabeth Jester, a Rooted executive board member.
Rooted, which began on the campus in September 2008, “provides a Christian retreat for new Mizzou students at the beginning of the school year,” according to its Web site. Although Rooted focuses on freshmen, it welcomed all students to the ministry fair.
The event was the first time that Rooted hosted a ministry fair, a practice it plans to continue at the beginning of every school year.
“It’s hard to have an expectation for the first time. So far, what we have has completely exceeded our expectations,” said Jester, 19.
John Carruthers, 26, a worship leader at Heritage Baptist Church, also was unsure of what to expect from the event. His church represents Logos College Ministry, and it is the ministry’s first year on the Missouri campus.
Carruthers used the Rooted event “to reach students where they’re at instead of expecting students to come to (them).” He hopes to eventually have a presence on all three of Columbia’s college campuses.
Jester said in order for most ministries to successfully continue on campus they need to have more students. She added that ministries are mostly interested in providing foundation and support for students.
“We just want people to know God,” said Meredith Burgio, a representative of Vineyard Community Church. Burgio, 24, said she feels that having a presence on the campus for students is another “medium to what God wants (them) to do.”
Mike Will, 49, from the Wesley Campus Ministry echoed Burgio’s comments.
“We have a real investment,” Will said. Because MU students are predominately from Missouri, the United Methodist Church considers students coming from other Missouri congregations as the ministry’s “own children.”
“We want to be there for them,” Will said, adding that the church plans “to continue to provide spiritual direction and [to] nurture.”
The 25 ministries at the fair represented a wide variety of Christian denominations, including Catholic, evangelical, Baptist and nondenominational.
Jester said members of Rooted hope to help students answer the question, "Who do I feel the most connection with?"
The ministries, in turn, hoped to find a connection with the students as well.
“We are in a college town; it’s a vital part of life. It’s so important to be a part of the community,” said Cathy E. Rosenholtz, an Evangelical Lutheran Campus Fellowship minister.