Monday, October 3, 2016

College Ministry Cuts....."Partially Funded" Positions

A State Convention of the Southern Baptist Convention recently announced that three of their full time College Ministry positions (BCM Directors) on three different campuses would become "partially funded" effective January 1st.

In hearing the news, I asked if "partially funded" meant that these positions were to become part-time positions. The one sharing the information said no that this meant they were hoping that persons could continue to serve there full time, but that part of their compensation would have to come from other sources.

What would your response be if your supervisor told you effective January 1 your position is partially funded? It has long been a rant of mine that campus based College Ministers who do not work with alumni should be fired. As finances for ministry in general and College Ministry specifically continues to decline, alums who have experienced the value of campus ministry in general....and your ministry in particular are key!

A campus based College Minister employed by a Baptist Convention in another state told me that he wished the state convention would pay him part of his salary and let him secure the rest. He said he knew the area churches would provide it and then perhaps he could focus on college ministry. He then would not have to do all the non-college ministry duties being required by his supervisors was his reasoning.

One question that has been raised was this move to "partially funded" College Ministry positions a funding issue that affected only the College Ministry area. The answer was that there had been cuts in other areas and it was simply their turn to take some cuts. Financial gifts to this state convention have declined in recent years.

This action raises several questions. Are "partially funded"'positions a wave of the future? This state convention did not make all their college ministry positions partially funded. While I am not familiar with all three campuses affected, I do know that at least one is a large nationally known university. What determined which three would be changed? Some have speculated that the decision was based on the small response on those campuses. Would it have been better to maintain a fully funded position on one of these campuses, such as the large university and go part time on smaller campuses? Should funding be based on the size of the ministry or the size of the campus? Should Baptist entities that face declining finances adopt a model long employed by non-denominational ministries of simply being on "flag-ship" campuses?

What if your supervisor told you today your position will be partially funded as of January 1 and we hope you will stay? Would your alumni or area churches step up and cover the difference? Are you telling your story and maintaining the relationships necessary for that to happen? Is your ministry being what it should be or are you simply putting in your time? If that is so, I am sorry to tell you that those days are ending.

I sincerely hope this is not a gloom and doom message for you....but a reminder that we must be working with alumni and making sure that our churches and other interested parties know our story.

Yes; my next Blog will likely be on working with alumni.

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