Campus Ministries reimagines LOFT, Barnabas program


Worship on campus is changing … again. In the wake of COVID-19, programs like LOFT and dorm worship won’t be returning to the way upperclassmen knew them.

Since last year, Campus Ministries has eliminated the discipleship pastor position, rebranded Sunday evening LOFT services as “All-Campus Communion” and modified the Barnabas program.

Under pressure from budget constraints, Campus Ministries laid off former discipleship pastor Matt Postma this summer. Two seminary interns, Rebbeca Wiegers and Sarah VerMerris, have taken over the majority of that position’s roles, including leading the discipleship assistants and Barnabas team.

Wiegers and VerMerris implemented new expectations for the Barnabas team to create more freedom and space for creativity, according to Wiegers. Their focus is now on five areas of spiritual formation: word, worship, prayer, service and community. In lieu of weekly dorm worship, a worship element involving one of these categories will be offered once a month. Barnabas Bible studies, opportunities for prayer and service and social events will continue.

The discipleship assistants are expected to be leaders and mentors to the Barnabi. They are assigned to a dorm to help direct and encourage them in their work, according to Wiegers. They are to meet with the Barnabi individually and with the dorm team.

“We hope that our students are equipped to do their roles well,” said Wiegers, “with passion and the love of Jesus!”

Developments on the Barnabas and discipleship ministry training were completed this summer, according to VerMerris. 

“I love connecting with any students who want to meet for a one-time coffee or a more regular pattern of connection or mentorship. It is relationships with students that makes this work so awesome!” said VerMerris.

Chapel is in-person, with a mask requirement but no RSVP necessary. Hulst told Chimes that she’ll be preaching on Wednesdays and at All-Campus Communion on Sundays. The new worship services will begin Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. in the chapel.

Updates on Campus Ministries’ events are available on Calvin’s website.