Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Campus Based College Ministry or Collegiate Church Plants?

A key discussion within the Baptist collegiate ministry community these days raises the question.....Campus based College Ministry OR Collegiate Church plants? Some are advocating doing away with the BCM/BSU model which has been so successful and replacing these ministries with campus church plants.

To me, it is a false question. In some campus situations there is no evangelical church close to the campus or that even tries to relate to the campus. In those situations a Collegiate Church plant is an obvious solution. In many situations (particularly in deep south states) where there is a strong Baptist Collegiate Ministry and often more than one church reaching out to students, a campus church would not be the best option.

Some argue that as long as there are unreached students, why not go ahead and start a collegiate church. I have two responses to that. First, with so many college campuses with no evangelical ministry, why start a church where we already have functioning ministries? Second, many College Ministry experts say that 4 out of 5 high school seniors active in church have no spiritual connection in college and a factor in this is separating youth ministry from the church as a whole. So, when youth leave the youth group, they have graduated from church.

Now, are we ready to risk separating College students from a multi-generational church and hope they connect to a church after college? Where there is no church, start a collegiate church. For those of us who see many Baptist Collegiate Ministries reaching more students with the Gospel than all other ministries on campus combined, the suggestion that we do away with those ministries is difficult to understand.

It is a false question to ask which is best...traditional campus ministry or college church plant? It depends on the situation and what is already happening there.

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