Working together with those around us who do college ministry is an obvious. Sometimes there exists a line of tension between BCM ministers and their local church college ministers. Why is this and how can we improve it?
BCM directors say they often feel that they have to compete against the very church ministries they are trying to help. The old given that the churches take Sunday and Wednesday nights and the BCM gets the other nights no longer holds true. "Sunday School groups" now often meet all different times and nights. Many churches now have gone to separate college student worship services that meet different nights of the week. Church college ministers say BCM folks don't understand the pressure on the church guys to produce numbers. One says he will never forget his first Monday staff meeting where the pastor said to him, "We were down 50 in students in Sunday School. Why is that?". The implication was somehow the college minister was at fault.
Some BCM directors have shared the frustration of inviting church college ministers to start of school freshmen events to have them get up and announce events they were sponsoring that directly conflicted with the BCM weekly main event. One BCM director said, "I can't believe he just did that with my microphone!".
One explanation goes "there are lots of students on campus not being reached, so what's the big deal?". Part of the problem is student leaders often feel over stretched and caught between the two...their church and the campus based ministry. Time constraints of students often force them to choose and one or the other of the ministries suffers the loss of a leader. So, what do we do?
Communication continually is huge. Meet together regularly. Making the other aware of dates as early as possible is very helpful. Realize the on campus ministry offers some pluses the church ministry cannot. Never forget one of the ultimate goals is for believers to have a long term commitment to the Bride of Christ..the church. Join together in joint efforts where possible. Remember students are often turned off altogether when they sense there is an unhealthy sense of competition. Don't copy the other, but accentuate the unique aspects and strengths of your ministry. Try to separate your ego from what is best for the students' long term relationship to the Lord. Sometimes that is the toughest part. Remember, one of the strength of Baptists is when we work together!