Since I started College Ministry in the 70's, a question I am often asked is, "What has changed in these years?". My thoughts and responses will strictly be from a Baptist perspective and I would be interested to hear form other perspectives in the similarities or differences.
1. My first and quick answer is lack of loyalty of students. Formally, if you reached and worked with a student, they would stay with you their whole college career. This was particularly true of students in leadership roles. Now, a student may be very involved as a leader and just go to a different ministry the next year. Many students must almost be re-enlisted each year.
2. When I first began, many of the best known "BSU Directors" nationally were women.
3. Early on there was more emphasis on growth and discipleship and now there Is a greater emphasis on evangelism and missions teams.
4. There are fewer weekly events now. The BSU program I was involved in as a student had 8 programs each week....5 Noondays 12:25 to 12:50 Monday thru Friday and 3 night programs 6:00 to 6:30 Monday, Tueaday and Wednesday. When I went to Henderson State as Director, we "only" had 3 programs a week...Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
5:30 to 6:00. It was 10 minutes of music led by a different student each time, 5 minutes of announcements and a speaker for 15 minutes.
5. Today College Ministers are often expected to be speakers. In the 60's and 70's the emphasis was to stay in the background. If you were up front, you were not equipping your students to do the ministry.
6. The "Big Name Speakers" were staffers at NAMB and IMB or one of the Seminaries (Nathan Porter, Ed Seabough, Stan Nelson, Tommy Starks, Grady Nutt) and spoke at the large conferences and on local campuses as part of their job. Later on Charlie Baker was the preminent college speaker while pastoring churches in Oklahoma. Money was not an issue in having them.
7. Church College Ministries were primarily Sunday morning College Sunday School and Sunday night supper and programs at church or in homes.
8. Weekend Revival Teams of 4 or 5 students went to different churches throughout the year leading youth or all church revivals. That's where many led music or preached for the first time. Later, that morphed to traveling Drama Teams and Singing groups primarily for Sunday night services.
Conclusion: College Ministry will always change, adjust and adapt....the point is to be intentional about meeting needs and being what God is leading us to do. Don't change to change and don't stay the same cause, "That's the way we have always done it.".