College Ministry is one of the full time Christian vocations recognized and utilized within Southern Baptist life. There are three different types of College Minister positions.
Campus Based Collegiate Ministers
Many of the Baptist State Conventions employ full time and part time College Ministers that serve in campus based roles. Within a significant number of the southern states these College Ministers have a ministry center which is located on the campus or immediately adjacent to the campus. These College Ministers function in evangelism, discipleship, missions, and organizing and directing an overall ministry to the campus. In addition, they function as a partner with local and area churches in reaching students and often serve in a consultant type role with churches. Their salary is paid in most instances by the state Baptist convention. The names of SBC campus based Collegiate Ministers varies from state to state. The most common names are Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Baptist Student Ministry, Baptist Student Union, Baptist Campus Ministries, and Christian Challenge. The ministries are student organizations of a college or university. One of the ministry roles of a campus based Collegiate Minister is to sponsor Bible Study groups. Others include outreach to freshmen, outreach to international students, and the sponsoring of a weekly worship services, evangelism, missions, and discipleship. The campus based Collegiate Minister has various groups that he or she relates to. These groups include the students attending their college or university, the faculty, staff, and administration of their college or university, alumni of the ministry, parents of the current and former students of the ministry, the local sponsoring churches staff members, the state sponsoring churches, and the national collegiate ministry leaders such as NAMB, Lifeway, IMB, etc.
Church Based Collegiate Ministers
These College Ministers serve on the staff of a specific church and lead the church’s outreach and ministry of discipleship and evangelism with students on one or more college campuses located in the area. In some churches this is the sole responsibility of these church staffers. In other instances, this role is combined with other responsibilities with a title such as College and Young Adults of College and Missions. They lead in specific ministries and events with the students in addition to involving and connecting students to the church as a whole. Where there is a Baptist Collegiate Ministry, they partner with that ministry for the benefit of both ministries and students. Most church based Collegiate Ministers sponsor a student ministry Bible Study and other Bible Study groups throughout the week. Some also sponsor a weekly worship service. The church based Collegiate Minister works with the other church staff members to help college students become integrated into the life of the church. College students can serve in collegiate ministries, student ministries, children’s ministries, and other areas of the church. College METRO is an annual gathering of church based Collegiate Ministers for idea sharing, community, training and fellowship. More information can be found at collegemetro.com.
Collegiate Church Plants
A new development within Southern Baptist life has been planting churches on college campuses or adjacent to the campus with the primary purpose being a ministry to and with students. This is often done when there is no other ministry or no church which is able to carry on an effective ministry with college students in that area. There is a great need for Collegiate Church Plants in the emerging region areas of the United States. The Northwest, the Midwest, and the Northeast are a few of these areas. There are nearly 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. The SBC ministry has ministries on less than 1,000 colleges and universities. A Collegiate Church Planter usually raises their own support. Sometimes a local church or a group of churches offers support. Support is possible from a local association, or the State Convention on the North American Mission Board. In many situations the Collegiate Church Planter combines the ministry role of campus and church based ministers. The North American Mission Board would be an excellent source for Collegiate Church Plant information.
Some Baptist State Conventions and churches require their College Ministers to have a seminary degree. Each local church that employs a College Minister determines their educational requirements. A seminary degree or similar graduate work is beneficial to those serving in a college ministry leadership role.
A campus based collegiate minister is usually hired by a State Convention Some are hired by a local association. A church based Collegiate Minister is hired by a local church. A church plant Collegiate Minister may be hired by a local church, an association, a state convention, a SBC agency, or a group of interested individuals.
The need for more Collegiate Ministers is great. There are 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States with no SBC campus or church based Collegiate Minister. There is also a need for collegiate ministry missionaries in the countries of the world.
The Baptist Collegiate State Director’s (BCSD) is a fellowship of leaders from state Baptist Conventions. Their mission is, “The gospel for every student on every college and university campus.” The BCSD groups moves toward reaching this goal as it facilitates the development of collegiate ministry specialists and shapes the future leaders of the church. This group is led by a group of officers elected annually at their October meeting. Their collaborative planning efforts provide direction for Collegiate Week in August, the Summit Collegiate Worship, the BCnet teams and currently hosts the www.collegeministry.com website.