Whew, what a chaotic and wild ride campus ministry has been and continues to be during this pandemic. As rules by the government changes, as the university flip flops on what they're going to do, it's been difficult trying to figure out how best to approach ministry this year. Butfor good or for ill, the university decided to open its doors for on-campus housing and in-person classes. And as long as there are students on campus, we want to be there for them. We estimate that the university population is between 40 and 50% of normal capacity, but that means over 10,000 students on campus. And with so few offerings of friendship and community, they are desperate for connection. We've tried lots of different kind of events and online options for them to try out so that their college experiences might be something they woudl remember fondly; that Christians loved them and wanted the best for them.
As always, the core of our ministry are our small groups, which is why we call them cores. But this year, even more than previous years, that value is holding true. We've been doing our best at equipping our small group leaders to do ministry with less support from our staff. With our large group sermons being streamed online and a huge shift away from large group events, the touchpoints between our staff and students has been constricted to mostly one-on-one interactions. So our students have become extremely creative and have put forth enormous effort to host their groups outside, to build relationships from behind a mask, and to keep everyone safe while also trying to care for everyone's emotional and spiritual health. Thank God that not a single student has contracted COVID in our ministry.
We also just got through our second entirely online Pizza Theology! We decided to tackle how to think like a Christian in society. It focused on culture, politics, societal issues, and you can watch both parts here! You can also watch all of our large group teachings that we call Deep Dive there as well! Even during this time we have a new generation of college students being built up in their faith and exploring Jesus and we want to stay faithful to God's call for us to be at this campus.
And finally, thank you all so much for sticking with me during this trying time. I hope you all are safe, are encouraged, and if there is ever anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate in reaching out. I pray that we will all get through this together and that God will use this time to refine us even further.