Tyler and Shalynn Crawford: Partnership with German church opens new door for ministry
What could it look like if the lessons learned from years of campus ministry outside the church were applied from within a church?
Tyler and Shalynn Crawford, who started the Unterwegs campus ministry in 2009, began discussing this question as they looked for another way to serve when they closed out 11 years in campus ministry in Tübingen, Germany.
“We spent time in the process of discerning if there was a role for us to play as missionaries in Tübingen outside of our previous work with students,” said Tyler. “And our many conversations with alumni, friends, supporters, directors and others have confirmed the great need here for people who have been impacted by missional living.
“There’s great demand for someone who can teach how faith can be shared through the experiences of long-term relationships,” he added. “So, we are transitioning from Globalscope to work with the CMF Church Catalyst division on the leadership team of a partner church here in Tübingen, the EFG Kreuzkirche Tübingen.
The elders and leaders of the Kreuzkirche recognize in the work of Unterwegs a way of living out the Great Commission that has been missing in churches in Tübingen.
“When we pitched them the idea of a partnership, the response was not only positive but grateful,” said Tyler. “One deacon shared these thoughts:
“When people here think of missions, they think that you either have to move to a developing country or go to the pedestrian area here in town and hand out tracts. Unterwegs has found a way to live out the Great Commission in a personal, everyday manner that we as a church don't yet have, but that we need."
The Crawfords see their new ministry as a natural extension of their ministry to university students and will use what they’ve learned in the campus house on the broader scale of their church in the city.
“The heart of the ministry we do will not change, only instead of working exclusively with students, we'll be working with all age groups; instead of working with the Unterwegs team, our team will be the deacons and elders of the Kreuzkirche,” said Tyler.
“It is the hope of this partnership not only to reach and connect to people in new, unfamiliar circles, but to also focus the hearts of church members on people on the outside of faith,” he added. “We’re excited to see what stories God writes through our new partnership!”