Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Issues in Baptist Life for College Ministry

I know all that follow this blog are not Baptist, but with Baptists being the largest College Ministry in America, whatever Baptists do will have some affect on College Ministry as a whole.

The cuts in funding in Baptist life is taking a toll on Collegiate Ministry. As one observer says, "The cuts are not aimed at Collegiate Ministry; we are just collateral damage". One southern state is doing a study of their College Ministry and some guess that a major consideration for them is doing away with Baptist Student Centers located on state university campuses.

In some areas, the Baptist Collegiate Ministries have been strengthened by the hiring of short term one to two year workers to serve as Assistant Campus Ministers in outreach and Freshmen Ministry. Typically, these have been paid "Intern type" salaries with no benefits such as insurance. Now, as a result of the change in health care laws, there is the feeling that these people must be provided health insurance. Some say that they cannot and so will do away with the positions. Others say the answer is to make those young staffers "independent contractors" who raise their own salaries. In Baptist life these type positions are called "Mission Service Corps". Traditionally, these type positions have only functioned outside the Bible Belt where Baptist finances are lean.

One of the differences in philosophy through the years in Campus Crusade and Baptist Collegiate Ministry has been the Baptists building and maintaining campus BCM Centers while Crusade either used school facilities or churches. Another difference has been Baptists having their Campus Ministry personnel paid a salary by the local or state ministry while each Crusade staffer raised their own salary.

There have been reasons for each of these approaches. One of the key questions now is, will philosophy drive the coming decisions or simply finances make the decisions?

Next Blog: Some strengths and weaknesses of each philosophy. Your thoughts are welcome as we navigate these new days!

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