How Pastor Bo is bringing individuality to spirituality
"Every one of us is created differently," says Reverend Wes "Bo" Baumeister, Concordia University's Director of Campus Ministries. "We each have different likes and different dislikes. So it makes sense that everyone's spirituality would be wired differently, too." In an effort to make the pursuit of spiritual growth easier and more personal for the diverse population of Concordia students, faculty, and staff, Baumeister decided to turn "chapel time" into "sacred time."
Feeding your faith: same time, new ways
As a modern minister at a liberal arts university in progressive Portland, Oregon, Rev. Baumeister — or Pastor Bo as he is known on campus — realizes the importance of updating traditions in order to preserve them. "Concordia started out as a training academy for pastors and teachers, so there's always been a spiritual presence on campus. Traditionally, we have always had daily chapel service. We tried to vary chapel every day, but in the end, it's still chapel — and that's not everybody's thing," he acknowledges with a smile.
Chapel time at Concordia has always been from 10:20 to 10:50 am, with no classes or meetings scheduled during this time — and Baumeister would like to keep it that way. But as a way to branch out, connect with more people, and provide options, he developed alternate ways for students and staff to "feed their faith" and build on their relationship with Jesus. Now chapel service — as well as these different avenues of connection — fall under Pastor Bo's reimagined "sacred time."
Here's a look at the components that make up sacred time:
Prayer time at St. Michael's
Monday through Friday, anyone on the Concordia campus is welcome to walk across the street to St. Michael's Lutheran Church for prayer time. Baumeister has made sure a prayer guide will be on hand for those who want it, while others can simply take part in quiet prayer.
Another way to experience sacred time is through scripture meditation, held every Monday and Thursday in Luther 300 (the old "Chapel of the Upper Room) Here, a leader facilitates meditation on several verses of scripture. The leader proposes questions that help participants think more deeply about a verse from the Bible and includes times of silence to listen to what God is saying. The goal of this and the other sacred time activities is a deepened faith in Jesus.
Table talk gives participants the chance to dig deep into a specific and contemporary topic each Wednesday in the dining hall. Take "gun control," for example. Does it apply to scripture? How does it relate to my faith? What are the ramifications from a Biblical perspective? Thought-provoking and lively discussion is guaranteed!
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a mutual support group of Cavalier athletes, coaches, and support staff, meets Monday through Thursday to discuss a specific topic or Bible verse. You can join this group in GRW room 318B and all are welcomed — not just athletes!
Making every day sacred
With various ways to develop, nurture, and investigate spirituality — chapel, prayer time at St. Michael's, scripture meditation, table talk, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes — the campus now has plenty of options for sacred time. Pastor Bo is the perfect person to usher in these changes. With a self-described "passion for moving forward," he is excited to keep incorporating new ideas that he feels will strengthen students' connection to faith on an everyday basis.