I served in Campus Ministry for 31 years before becoming a full time Pastor on January 1 at the age of 61. While in Campus Ministry, I served in Commuter College Campuses, on a Baptist College Campus, a major flagship university (THE LSU), as a state BCM Director and very briefly as the National BCM Leader. As a pastor, I quickly realized that I had learned everything I needed to know about ministry in BSU/BCM! I have even come to the conclusion that every SBC Pastor should be required to serve as a BSU/BCM Director for 3 years before being allowed to pastor a church!!
Here are some great lessons that I learned as a Baptist Collegiate Minister that helped as a pastor:
-As a Campus Minister, I rubbed elbows every day with lost people and had a chance to share my faith almost daily.
-I learned that College Students (young adults) are fantastic growing Christian leaders that need someone to listen to them and encourage them.
-As the only staff member in my ministry, I was responsible for everything! From the Spiritual to the mundane. From leading Bible studies, to answering the phone, to unclogging the toilet.
-I learned to tolerate diversity. In an academic setting people come from from very different backgrounds and you have to be very loving and accepting to have the right to share Christ.
-As the main financial officer, you have to be great at fund raising and having outstanding accountability for how your funds are spent.
-You have more people who assume they are your boss then you can count! Students, pastors, parents, faculty, DOMs, the state convention headquarters, national Baptist agencies, alum's and the list goes on! Everyone who thinks they are your boss knows what you ought to be doing! Students think you should spend all your time hanging out with them.
-Parents want you to spend all your time keeping their children away from all evil in college. Faculty and staff want you recruiting and retaining students on their campus. Pastors want you on campus witnessing all day and they want you recruiting members for their church. DOM's want you to hqve a dynamic program so you can promote the Associationsl budget while taking a 10% cut from last year. State Convention officials want you to raise up more tithers. National agencies want you to train only Baptist students who be planters and use only Baptist publications.
-People criticize what you do or don't do even though they have no idea of your circumstances, goals or constraints.
-You do more then talk about missions. You are actively re hiring, training and funding students to go on summer missions, semester missions and school break missions.
You constantly have to defend and justify your ministry because someone has fallen in love with some other ministry who reaches, wins and sends fewer students.
The point is, Campus Ministers are hard working, deeply committed Christians who do a fantastic job. Are there some lazy campus ministers in Baptist life? I'm sure there are, but from my experience, there are fewer lazy Campus Ministers than you will find in any other ministry. If I had quit church when I had been disappointed by a pastor, I would have quit shortly after I started going.
Too often in Baptist life if we dont like the BCM Directors personality, or we don't think he is doing what he should, we say all BCM leaders are bad. That is just not the truth!
Next time you see a BSU/BCM Director, thank him for what he does. Assume he knows a ton of stuff about ministry, outreach, creative ways to share faith and that you can learn something from him! Who knows, he may be training to be a pastor!!
John Moore, Pastor
Jubilee Worship Center