Sunday, May 27, 2012
Memorial Day, West Point & Cuts in Baptist College Ministry
Today LT Kaleb Blankenship, US Army and recently returned from deployment, read scripture in our service. He did so as part of our honoring those who do and have served. Kaleb was there because he married an Arkansas State University girl he met while both were serving in Beach Reach Spring Break ministry. Kaleb was there as the president of the BSU/BCM at West Point. Kaleb was being mentored by Dwain Gregory who had retired from campus ministry and moved there. Since the funding for a full-time campus minister at West Point had been eliminated, Dwain had begun to serve on a part-time basis. As kaleb read scripture, I was struck by how fortunate we are to have men of his character and ability honoring the Lord and serving as a leader in our military. Then I was struck by the absurdity of the fact that Baptists can't "afford" to have a full-time person serve at some of our most influential campuses such as West Point. Some estimate that within the last two years Southern Baptists have cut 35 to 50 full time college ministers. This does not count the part time positions that have been deleted. A man in my Sunday School class who is aware of some of the cuts asked me why the cuts had been made. The simple answer is a change in the funding priorities of the North American Mission Board and in some state conventions it is due to decline in income and college ministry has not been a high enough priority. We are losing the 20 something generation to the church and college ministry is not a high priority? My Sunday School friend said, "Why isn't someone waving a flag about this?". I am waving the flag! Would you wave the flag whenever and wherever you can?