Sam Schlouch is only 20 years old, but has held more church leadership roles than most people realize over a lifetime.
The Augustana College
senior is finishing his second term on the ELCA's Church Council
— one of the denomination's highest decision-making bodies.
Sam says that without his pastor's encouragement and synod support, he wouldn't be a church leader today.
"No doubt about it," he said. "I would be nowhere without the interest they took in me when I was growing up. They planted the seeds early."
I would be nowhere without the interest [my pastor and others] took in me when I was growing up. They planted the seeds early.
- Sam Schlouch
During his first year of high school in Springfield, Illinois, he was tapped to participate in a four-year leadership lab sponsored by three Illinois synods.
He learned how to plan worship events and lead Bible studies. The training also helped him develop communication skills to lead small and groups.
He stepped into leadership posts in the Lutheran Youth Organization
as well as campus ministry at his college in Rock Island, Ill.
Campus ministry programs are critical to cultivating the future leaders of the church, Sam said.
Some programs around the country face new financial challenges. Resources available to them in the past were scaled back because of the U.S. economic downturn.Campus ministry at Northern Illinois University
is in the midst of a three-year initiative to raise $200,000. At the 2009 Northern Illinois Synod Assembly, Pastor Diane Dardon reported that one-third of the goal had been met.
Dardon thanked the synod for its generosity.
"Thank you for these initial gifts and for helping us meet our full goal," her report said. "Such support is bold affirmation of our church's commitment to ministry with and for young adults."Related Links:
- Find out more about Life as Vocation
- Explore campus ministry programs at colleges and universities across the country.
- Become a Leader provides information for those interested in public ministry (as a pastor, associate in ministry, diaconal minister or deaconess) in the ELCA.