NAMB requests transfer of assignment from college ministry to SBC • Bible recorder
During their spring 2021 meeting, the trustees of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) unanimously passed a resolution formally requesting that the mission of the college ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) be given to the organization.
The request was made following changes, proposed earlier this year, to Lifeway Christian Resources’ ministerial assignments. At the February 2021 meeting of the SBC Executive Committee (EC), the EC voted to recommend the proposed changes to the ministerial assignments of Lifeway Christian Resources as defined in the SBC Organizational Manual, and these changes will be presented to messengers at SBC 2021. Annual meeting in Nashville for their approval.
The proposed ministerial assignment reflects extensive collaboration between SBC EC staff, NAMB leadership, and Baptist Collegiate State directors’ leadership. The final proposal approved by the NAMB Trustees reads as follows:
Help churches reach and mobilize college and university students in the United States and Canada. To promote the advancement of college and university ministry efforts in evangelism, discipleship, church spirit, leadership development, and mission mobilization through collaborative partnerships.
“Our team is thrilled with the potential opportunity to serve pastors, college ministry leaders and students across the country,” said Paul Worcester, National Director of Collegiate Evangelism of NAMB. “I believe our college and university campuses are our country’s most strategic mission areas. It is essential that we reach out to this generation of students and train them to be the next generation of church leaders.
“College students are not only incredibly open to the gospel, they are the future leaders of the next generation. The college campus is a relatively small percentage of the population, but it is a powerful percentage that influences the culture as a whole. The college campus is a bottleneck that nearly every leader of this generation will go through at some point.
The university population in the United States is approximately 20 million students. Last year, Lifeway reported that more than 750 Baptist college ministries reached nearly half a million students, with more than 70,000 students involved in Baptist ministries on campuses and in churches across the North America.
“It was my dream as a pastor – and it remains my dream on the Executive Committee – for Southern Baptists to reach and mobilize college students across the country,” President of SBC CE Ronnie floyd mentionned. “As the largest convention of non-Catholic churches in the United States, it’s time we took it more seriously than ever before to reach and engage college students. How can we not do this when we have over 20 million students, one million of which are international students? “
According to a recent study by Lifeway Research, 66% of young American adults who attended a Protestant church regularly as a teenager reported that they had left the church for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22. Reason # 1 given was, “I moved to college and quit going to church.”
According to NAMB, the average college campus in North America is reached at 5% with the Gospel. Even campuses with many large ministries have large numbers of students lost that no one engages with the gospel.
“Generally, if you want to know what the common thought and culture trend will be in a decade, you can look at the college campus today,” said Shane Pruitt, Director of Next Gen Evangelism at NAMB. “This is literally where our future is shaped to be sent out as influencers. Therefore, if we are to see a spiritual awakening that will impact culture for many years to come, we must immediately focus on influencing the gospel on college campuses.
“College campuses, universities, and college ministries can be strategic stepping stones for sending missionaries around the world to know Jesus and make him known. Reaching students with the Gospel and mobilizing them with the Gospel is a call and a conviction for us. It’s a non-negotiable goal for Paul and me. We are so excited about the potential for locking arms with BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) directors, pastors of local church colleges and collegiate church plantations to see a gospel impact on college campuses in across the country.
NAMB’s request for the new ministerial assignment will be returned to the EC for consideration prior to the annual meeting. Pending EC approval and pending approval of changes to Lifeway ministerial assignments by messengers at the annual meeting, messengers will also be asked to approve this change to NAMB ministerial assignment.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jonathan Howe is Vice President of Communications on the CBS Executive Committee.)