Student mission in Germany

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Student mission in Germany
legal form Registered association
founding October 1949
Seat Marburg
precursor German Christian Student Association
motto think.believe.experience.
purpose Network of Christians in school, college and academic professions
Chair Susanne Terborg
Managing directors Gernot Spies (General Secretary)

The Student Mission in Germany (SMD) is one of the so-called free works in the area of ​​the Evangelical Church. As a professional association of Diakonie Germany, it is a member of the Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), old denominational churches and free churches . Internationally, as a member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) , the SMD is connected to student organizations in 160 countries. The SMD is divided into three areas: Student SMD , University SMD and Academic SMD . It is in contact with around 600 student Bible circles, is represented by college groups at more than 80 universities and offers around 20 specialist groups and networks for academics. The SMD sees itself as a network of Christians in schools, universities and academic professions, with the aim of motivating people to be an authentic Christian who faces intellectual challenges and determines all areas of life.


Creation and Consolidation

The SMD was founded in 1949 as a “Student Mission in Germany” and is now an independent organization in the church with offers for people of all ages. It comes from the environment of the community movement. The German Christian Student Association already existed before the Second World War , which had to be dissolved after a ban by the National Socialists in 1938. After the end of the Second World War, independent student groups emerged at several universities. They met regularly for common prayer and Bible study , from which a missionary campus work developed in many places. On the initiative of Ernst Schrupp , representatives of these autonomous groups met in Wiesbaden-Kloppenheim in 1949 and founded the student mission in Germany . The governing body was non-denominational. The employees came from various Protestant free and regional churches as well as from the Catholic Church . Members of the YMCA and the EC Youth Association were also represented.

In the 1950s, SMD work experienced a strong growth spurt, so that by 1960 SMD groups were present at almost all German university locations. A special working group for world missions was founded in 1963 (today's name: SMD-Weltweit ). In 1964 there was a clarifying discussion between representatives of the SMD and the Evangelical Student Congregation , which ended with a declaration of convergence, the Joint Recommendations . This agreed on mutual recognition and the respective independence of the work. Since 1975 there have been regular annual encounters with the other Christian university groups ( Campus for Christ , Navigators , German Christian Technicians Association ).

Development since 1990

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Student Mission (SM) was founded on April 1, 1990 in the GDR . In December 1990, two months after reunification, SM and "West-SMD" merged to form an all-German SMD. In 1999 the Institute for Faith and Science was founded, which deals in lectures, conferences and publications with border questions between different areas of knowledge and the Christian faith. In 2001 the SMD Foundation was founded, the purpose of which is to “promote Christian school work, Christian student work and Christian academic work at home and abroad”. Endowments are intended to support the long-term security of SMD work.

The SMD organizes Germany-wide Bible reading projects at longer intervals. At the beginning of the 2000s, the Gospel of Mark was advertised with the “Identity” campaign. In 2015 the SMD invited people to read the Gospel of Luke with the “uncover” campaign. A similar campaign for the Gospel of Mark is planned for 2019.

On April 1, 2018, the physicist Paul-Gerhard Reinhard resigned from the office of chairman, since then, with the judge Susanne Terborg, a woman has headed the SMD for the first time.

Structure and structure

The SMD works non-denominationally and is financed through donations. The full-time and voluntary employees of the SMD come from the Protestant regional and free churches , Protestant communities as well as from the Catholic Church .

The three areas of work are school, university and academic work, each of which is currently headed by a Protestant pastor. The general secretary, since 2000 the Protestant pastor Gernot Spies, represents the overall work.

The SMD sends two youth delegates to the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany , who have the right to speak and make proposals. The Evangelical Student Community also sends two youth delegates with the same rights.

working area

  • The student SMD maintains contact with over 600 student Bible groups at schools all over Germany. The school-SMD organizes around 20 camps a year and is committed to the school-based Christian youth work.
  • The university SMD includes SMD groups in 87 cities (76 recognized groups and 11 so-called friend groups). In the university groups, students organize public lecture series, free time and discussion groups on a voluntary basis. In addition, the university SMD organizes supraregional training courses and conferences and issues working materials. On the website of the SMD there is a list of all cities in which there is a university SMD group. Another area of ​​work within the university SMD is working with international students. Hochschul-SMD International would like to offer international students friendship and support and "build bridges between German and international students". The offers are open to all international students, regardless of their religion, nationality or personal background.
  • The Akademiker-SMD addresses the Christian faith in the context of the academic world of work. The aim of specialist conferences is to deal with profession-specific topics; Regional conferences, camps and various publications deal with general topics of Christianity in church, profession and society.
  • The Institute for Faith and Science deals in lectures, conferences and publications with border questions between different areas of knowledge and the Christian faith. The institute's website offers a collection of texts on a variety of topics. There are texts from the fields of ethics, history, literature, natural science, philosophy, psychology, theology and contemporary issues. The institute works legally and organizationally independently of the SMD. However, there is an exchange of content between the two.


As a professional association of Diakonie Deutschland, the SMD is a member of the Evangelical Work for Diakonia and Development of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), old denominational churches and free churches . Furthermore, she is a member of the Working Group of Evangelical Youth (aej), the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) and the holder of the JuLeiCa of the highest state youth authorities.

Mission ethics

The SMD dealt intensively with the paper “The Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World - Recommendations for a Code of Conduct”, which was published in 2011 by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) was published jointly. At the delegates' meeting, the university SMD adopted the paper. It should be a touchstone of your own actions. The SMD was involved in the content of the MissionRespekt congress , which promoted the paper in Germany in 2014.

Major events

Throughout Germany, the SMD regularly organizes the Heko, Studikon and Akademikon. The Schüko (student congress) is currently no longer taking place.


The Heko (short for autumn conference) is the annual conference of the entire SMD work and, as a network meeting with mostly between 500 and 1000 participants, connects schoolchildren, students and academics. Heko has been held annually in Marburg since 1951.


The Studikon (short for student conference ) is the student conference of the university SMD that takes place every two years over Easter. The aim of the congress is to encourage students to deal with their studies and related questions of life and belief. The Studikon should offer ideas, impulses and spiritual strengthening.

Previous venues and mottos as well as the main speakers were:

  • 2001 in Marburg : take off , Andrew Page
  • 2002 in Marburg: Welcome to reality , Eckard Krause
  • 2003 in Aschaffenburg : Dare longing , Martin Heizmann
  • 2005 in Bielefeld : Un-ashamed. The successor , Volker Roggenkamp
  • 2007 in Aschaffenburg: Cross-border commuter , Matthias Clausen
  • 2009 in Marburg: Aroused , Noor van Haften
  • 2011 in Aschaffenburg: Ctrl + Alt + Del - Everything new , Hans Bayer
  • 2013 in Aschaffenburg: PSSST - confidential , Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Eckstein
  • 2015 in Baunatal : Vinegar & Oil on an indication salad , Sabine Kalthoff
  • 2017 in Aschaffenburg: Presence - international studikon with 1700 participants from 45 countries
  • 2019 in Aschaffenburg: Spoiler alert - when prophets can't help but Timothy J. Geddert


The Akademikon is a congress for Christians in academic professions that takes place at different locations. The first Akademikon took place in Mainz in 2007, further congresses of this kind followed in 2010 and 2014 in Schwäbisch Gmünd and in 2018 in Westerwald / Rehe. The next Akademikon will take place from May 29th to June 1st, 2020 in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

Known employees

  • Hans Ferdinand Bürki - Swiss educator and speaker at German universities
  • Matthias Clausen - Protestant theologian, evangelist at universities and since 2013 holder of the Karl Heim professorship for evangelism and apologetics at the Tabor Evangelical University in Marburg
  • Klaus Jürgen Diehl - Protestant theologian and travel secretary of the SMD 1970–1971
  • Hans-Joachim Eckstein - Protestant theologian and New Testament scholar in Tübingen
  • Rolf Hille - Protestant theologian and general secretary of the SMD 1982–1984
  • Fritz Laubach - Protestant theologian, during his studies 1949–1955 in Marburg and Tübingen
  • Helmut Matthies - Protestant theologian and journalist, during his studies 1974–1977 in Hamburg
  • Ulrich Parzany - Protestant theologian, during his studies employee in the SMD group Göttingen
  • Paul-Gerhard Reinhard - professor emeritus for theoretical physics at the University of Erlangen - chairman of the SMD 2012–2018
  • Hans Rohrbach - emeritus professor for mathematics at the University of Mainz
  • Hermann Sautter - professor emeritus for economic theory and development economics at the University of Göttingen - chairman of the SMD 2004–2012
  • Ernst Schrupp - Protestant theologian and director of the Wiedenest Bible School - co-founder in 1949
  • Manfred Siebald - Christian songwriter and professor of American studies - wrote the song "It's good that we have each other " from his SMD experience
  • Jürgen Spieß - ancient historian, General Secretary of the SMD 1984–1999, then until 2014 head of the Institute for Faith and Science in Marburg
  • Roland Werner - linguist, SMD university evangelist 1990–1992
  • Birgit Winterhoff - during her studies she worked in the SMD groups Bielefeld / Bethel and Heidelberg

Web links

See also


  1. Bodo Volkmann: Awakening in the time of upheaval . In: Studentenmission in Deutschland (Ed.): Giving account of our hope. Festschrift for the 50th anniversary of the student mission in Germany . Marburg 1999, p. 58 ff .
  2. SMD Foundation. SMD, accessed May 19, 2018 .
  3. Support the SMD. SMD, accessed May 19, 2018 .
  4. .
  5. .
  6. a b For the first time there is a woman at the top of the SMD ,, message from March 23, 2018.
  7. SMD on student Bible circles ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  8. Archived copy ( Memento from June 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  9. List ( memento of June 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) of SMD university groups.
  10. .
  11. .
  12. .
  13. ^ "Akademikon": Being a Christian in everyday working life. Retrieved February 18, 2020 .
  14. 450 participants at the academics congress on the Schönblick. May 4, 2010, accessed February 18, 2020 .
  15. Welcome: SMD: akademikon. Retrieved February 18, 2020 .
  16. General: Akademiker-SMD - Being a Christian at work. Retrieved February 18, 2020 .