By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
According to the Baylor Trends 2021 report, only 2.1% of students affiliate themselves with the Lutheran denomination, as opposed to 20.3% of students who consider themselves Baptist. This may not seem like a shocking statistic since Baylor is a Baptist university; however, Lutherans Doing Life Together, a group of Lutheran students, is creating a small slice of Lutheran community on campus.
Dripping Springs sophomore and LDLT president Madison Marotz said she plans events such as dinners and Bible studies while maintaining relationships with their church sponsor, St. Paul Lutheran Church.
“We’re all one little group of kids our age because it’s really hard to find people of the Lutheran denomination, especially at a Baptist university,” Marotz said.
LDLT has 15 members. They attend the 10:30 a.m. church service together on Sundays and host a Bible study weekly. In August, St. Paul Lutheran Church and LDLT went under new leadership from the Rev. Brian Hesse.
“One thing about Pastor Hesse is you can ask him any question whatsoever, and he’ll answer it,” Marotz said. “So it can be the most minuscule thing that you don’t think it’s important that you ask it, and he’ll answer it.”
Hesse, who has past experience teaching college ministry at West Texas A&M University, teaches Bible studies for LDLT, currently focusing on the canonization of the Bible. Marotz said they are similar to a Christian Scriptures class, except taught by a pastor.
“I think it’s important to create space that allows students, young adults to ask questions, even if it’s questions the church already has the official teachings on or questions where traditional Christianity has already come down to one answer all the time,” Hesse said.
This semester’s Bible studies have come from Lutheran Hour Ministries — an online platform that creates videos and devotionals regarding Lutheran history and other resources. Hesse said this platform helps facilitate conversations that lead to meaningful questions and answers for students.
“Not only are we getting the religious aspect of Lutheranism, but we’re also getting a historical context, which I think a lot of people really do appreciate in the club,” Marotz said.
While St. Paul Lutheran Church becomes a church ‘home away from home’ for members of LDLT, Hesse said he understands students already have their own churches at home and need mutual love, support and encouragement.
“Our students are a blessing to our ministry,” Hesse said. “So it kind of serves as a home church for them while they’re at school, and really, I would describe it as a partnership.”
Students are involved in the congregation by ushering, participating in the choir and volunteering at church events. Hesse said they also serve as a beacon of hope for older members of the church, who he said love seeing students attend.
“They bring a joy to our congregation in a vibrancy that just would not exist if they were not here,” Hesse said.
LDLT will close out this semester by learning about Saint Nicholas and how Christians can respond to the holiday season and the lore that comes with it. Next semester, LDLT will be starting a new Bible series called Bible Study Discovery, in which students will be able to lead conversations and build relationships with people in their everyday life.
Marotz said despite Baylor being a Baptist university, she never felt it push its Baptist beliefs on her as much as she thought it would. Since LDLT is a Baylor organization, it is receiving support from the university, but funds and additional support are from St. Paul Lutheran Church.
“I’ve never really felt out of place at all,” Marotz said. “It really helps all of us with the Christian aspect of everything, just knowing that we go to a university that is going to support us no matter what.”
Applications for membership in LDLT are open year-round. For more information and to stay updated, visit its Connect.