Hope College Campus Ministries

Holland, Michigan

Project Director: Trygve Johnson

To engage in a liturgical and theological exploration of the biblical language and metaphor of friendship as a resource for the spiritual growth of the college community and for exploring issues of worship and justice.

Provide a brief summary of the purpose and goal of your grant. 

The primary purpose of our grant project is to develop a thicker description of what a theology of friendship looks, and to explore this in practices related to worship and Christian formation. 

The goal of our project is to engage a liturgical and theological exploration of the biblical language and metaphor of friendship as a resource for the spiritual growth of our college community. 

What questions have you asked about worship in the past year? 

What are the primary cultural forces shaping our personal and corporate theologies of friendship?  

What are the significant biblical and narrative sources in Christianity that can most effectively form a theology of friendship for adolescents? 

In what ways has your project engaged your congregation so that it impacts the worship life and habits of the congregation? 

This has been an exciting year teasing out the questions and beginning to form the foundations of what will likely be a multi-year project exploring friendship in the context of personal and corporate worship. The leadership team has met regularly this year and continued to unearth various ways that we might be able to engage our campus community around the themes of friendship. A book study, a podcast, a chapel sermon series, an intern from WTS's friendship house, songwriting, and some artistic meditations are all ways that our congregation has been impacted this year. 

What criteria have you used to evaluate your plan to foster vital worship? 

We have attempted to explore two criteria for our project. One is attentiveness - have we been adequately curious and aware of how friendship shows up in our spaces, our relationships, our practices, our liturgies, music, etc. We have been continually surprised at the variety of ways that friendship is present. TWO is Directness - have we adequately and holistically addressed the various dimension of friendship in our worship practices in such a way that everyone present experiences a deeper reality of friendship with God. 

What issues have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)? 

One significant challenge we have faced this year is growing our awareness and interaction with friendship and ableness. It has been a wonderful gift to have Curtis Cunningham interning with us from Western Seminary's Friendship House. He taught us all a great deal about friendship - friendship and worship, friendship and prayer, friendship and embrace, etc. We truly feel like we have a deeper experience of the friendship of God in his presence. 

What would you like to share with other Project Directors? 

Every theme that we explore has surprises and hidden gems to be discovered. For us, as we have spent the year meditating on the theme of friendship we have begun to see it everywhere...and in a hundred different shades and forms. Each grant is such a gift to give one of our most precious resources, 'attention' to a particular topic for a period of time