Leaders seek multiplication among collegiates
EDITOR'S NOTE: The North American Mission Board has released a series of stories to Baptist Press on the primary areas of ministry covered by NAMB's evangelism group: church revitalization, LoveLoud, networks and resources (GPS), chaplaincy, disaster relief, and collegiate evangelism. Read other stories: overview article, military chaplains and LoveLoud. This article is the fourth in the series.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- For decades Southern Baptist collegiate ministries have helped impact North American campuses with the Gospel.
As extensions of the local church and, in many recent instances, as church plants themselves, collegiate ministries have served to reach, disciple and deploy college students to push back lostness in whatever profession and community God leads them.
And now collegiate leaders want to see the multiplication DNA of evangelism, discipleship and missions infused more intentionally into each student who comes through a SBC collegiate ministry.
"We want to see a movement mentality grow among our leaders and students. That's at the core of this," Keith Wieser, lead pastor of Resonate Church in Pullman, Wash., said. "Everything is accelerated on college campuses. Friendships are accelerated. Community is accelerated. Students are prepping for the big world in a short time, and we need to see ourselves as prepping them to change that world for Christ while on campus and wherever they end up."
On March 28-30 Wieser and Resonate Church will host Southern Baptists for a first-hand look at their ministry in the Northwest. The three-day event will offer attendees opportunities to learn from Weiser and other Resonate leaders on everything from small group ministry to developing student leaders to designing high-impact fall launches. Attendees will also be able to attend weekend worship services.
According to Brian Frye, the North American Mission Board's (NAMB) National Collegiate Strategist, campus ministries have an opportunity to develop best practices based on the successes of ministries across a variety of contexts.
Frye brings to this leadership role years of experience serving as collegiate metro director at University of Toledo and at Bowling Green State University. Frye also holds a Ph.D. in Evangelism and Church Growth from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He continues to serve as a collegiate strategist for the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.
"We have an opportunity to impact the lives of nearly 21.7 million students on college and university campuses in North America, and we want to learn from those who are leading the way," Frye said. "We want to multiply nationally what's happening locally. Wherever we see God working we want to learn from what He is doing through collegiate ministry. Then we are working to take best practices, principles and innovations thriving in one place and diffuse and contextualize them across many others."
Mike McQuitty, collegiate ministry director for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said he believes campus ministry is at its most effective when people focus and build on the basics of Gospel ministry.
"There are some fantastic ministries out there," McQuitty said. "I think what we need to do is keep building in our disciple making, evangelism, leadership development and to see students stretch their wings and do what God has called them to.
"We need to maintain focus on the fundamentals of making disciples who make disciples to see people bear spiritual fruit. It's always been the basics: reaching students for Christ, helping them use their gifts, learning to be those multiplying disciple makers."
With campus ministry leaders throughout the United States and Canada, Frye said implementation of national strategy for collegiate ministry will seek to:
-- Bring collegiate ministries together toward a shared vision for reaching the 21.7 million college students in North America.
-- Accelerate church planting efforts on or near college and university campuses.
-- Develop systems and processes to maximize resources.
Frye believes communicating urgency, multiplying efforts and strengthening the essentials are all a matter of good stewardship of Southern Baptist resources and God-given opportunities.
"We have a major opportunity and major responsibility to reach one of the largest mission fields in North America, and to deploy students to push back lostness throughout our communities," Frye said. "We want to champion and multiply what's working so we can be the best possible stewards of what God has given us."
To learn more about opportunities for college student through Send North America, visit www.namb.net/mobilize-me. For more information on Resonate's collegiate conference, visit http://www.hgtresonate.com. To hear an interview with Brian Frye, visit http://www.namb.net/BrianFryeInterview.
Adam Miller writes for the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).