Thursday, July 21, 2016

My View of the Current State of SBC College Ministry

I was recently asked to give an informal talk to a group of College Ministers about "The Current State of SBC Collegiate Ministry (Local, State, and National)". I asked for input from others and received several messages with their thoughts. But, in the end these are my thoughts and are in no way any official or approved statement by anyone.

I. State Wide Campus Based (BCM, BSU, BSM) organizations are more different than they have ever been.
1. No longer does every state convention have a State BCM Office and campus based people.
2. BCM Directors have a wider variety of responsibilities than ever before.
-One Campus Minister for a large major campus told me he is now on campus 3 days a week and traveling and
working with churches 2 days a week.
3. State Convention infrastructure has changed drastically in the last 10 years. As one has said, "The cuts in
BCM are collateral damage."
4. One Convention College Ministry leader said, "We are adjusting to new paradigms and new models. We are
working with both campus based and campus church plants.

II. There is greater awareness of and commitment to the value of church based College Ministry.
1. This is partly the result of some large church ministries being publicized.
2. It also relates to the discussion of campus church plants.

III. There is more sense of "competition" between different styles of College Ministry than ever before.
1. Campus based vs Church based
2. Campus based or Church based vs Campus Church Plant
3. This is partly related to some who have espoused "my way is the only way" rhetoric.
4. The cuts in budgets is making everyone have to make their case and tout their ministry louder.

IV. There is more stress on College Minister families than in a long time.
1. The loss of insurance for families in many Convention positions has added financial stress.
2. Added duties makes for more time away from home.
3. There is an added feeling of uncertainty about the future.

V. The influence of less experienced College Ministers is growing due to tech savvy and involvement while the influence of older and more experienced College Ministers is declining due to less tech savvy and social media involvement.
1. One has described some young guys as "Beasts of social media". Do they tweet and post in their sleep?
2. I don't regret anyone's involvement and we can learn from all. But, we need to get our older, experienced voices out there.
3. If you are one of these, I challenge you to be more involved in these national conversations. We need your voice and knowledge.

VI. Our national voice is varied.
1. Lifeway is the official office of College Ministry as voted by the Southern Baptist Convention and promotes and works with all different College Ministry models. At one time, there were 15 full time people in the College Ministry office at Lifeway. Now there is one with four part time Contract Workers.
2. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has been a significant positive and influential figure in College Ministry for many years. Recently, NAMB has chosen to go with the Campus Church Plant model and to advocate it. Some interpret this as Southern Baptists should only support this one model.

VII. We are seeing more positive recognition and promotion of BCM and Collegiate Church Planting at the Southern Baptist Convention and on these levels than in a very long time due to Dr. Frank Page and Ashley Clayton.

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