There is a silly discussion in Baptist life about which is better...an on campus BCM ministry or a campus church plant.
It is a silly question for two or three reasons. First, where there are already strong churches reaching out to the campus and there is a strong BCM ministry why do this duplication of ministry which can result in students being turned off by what they see as unhealthy competition. Plus, there are hundreds of campuses in America where there are no Christian ministries.....let's spend some of that money on those campuses.
Next, if campus church plants are going to replace BCM type ministries, then they will have to perform many of the same functions and from my limited view, they usually do not. A church on a campus is not automatically a specific ministry to college students....it may just be a church that college students attend.
There are BCM type college ministers who are considering starting a campus related church because there are no Baptist churches close to campus or that have the interest or resources to reach out to students. I see the need. But, it also points to the issue that a campus church and a BCM type ministry perform different functions.
I was recently in a meeting with a very successful campus church plant pastor who has hundreds of students attending his church....obvious evidence a campus church plant is a better idea! But, then he told me he had SEVEN (7) full time staff members!!! I don't know of a single BCM type ministry that has 7 full time ministry staff. So, the comparison there breaks down.
One other troubling side to this is when a state or national entity takes money from local churches and uses it to plant a college church in their town where they are already doing college ministry. At the very least, there needs to be talks and consultation before using someone's money to do the very thing they are doing on the same campus.
Asking which is better, BCM type campus ministry or a campus church plant may be like asking, which is better...preaching or Bible study? Or, which is better chocolate ice cream or mint chocolate chip? A friend of mine who serves in a big deal position says, "Every difficult question has an obvious and easy answer.....that is usually wrong!"