Home Christian News NAMB’s Role in Collegiate Ministry Leads Discussion Over Executive Committee Recommendations

NAMB’s Role in Collegiate Ministry Leads Discussion Over Executive Committee Recommendations

Messengers adopt a recommendation from the SBC Executive Committee Tuesday, June 15, at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. Photo by Adam Covington

ANAHEIM (BP) – A motion regarding the North American Mission Board’s ministry assignments dominated the SBC Executive Committee’s report of its recommendations during the June 15 morning session of the SBC annual meeting.

Last year, messengers to the annual meeting in Nashville rejected a request for collegiate ministry to be moved from Lifeway’s ministry assignment to NAMB’s. Lifeway trustees approved the revisions in January 2021, with NAMB trustees making a formal request for the change at their spring meeting.

Messengers at this year’s annual meeting asked for clarity on NAMB’s relationship with collegiate ministry prior to the motion’s approval, which ended up going forward by a sizeable margin.

J.P. Williams, pastor of First Baptist Church in Stonewall, Okla., asked one of those clarifying questions about Baptist Collegiate Ministries, also known as Baptist Student Unions or other names in different states.

“I and a good number of people my age in the ministry are products of BSU and BCM discipleship. What will the relationship be with NAMB and the existing BCMs?” he asked.

Williams cited a period of time in his state “several years ago” he called “very difficult” when “some consolidation took place.” Those steps came about from a mindset prioritizing efficiency. Smaller ministries and BCMs struggled in that time, he said.

“Are we going to begin to see BCM replaced by some sort of NAMB initiative?” he wondered. “Will the BCM continue to exist?”

NAMB President Kevin Ezell noted the contribution to Southern Baptist collegiate ministry through historic leaders such as Oklahoman Max Barnett before giving his answer.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “We want to work in partnership with our state conventions. All the BCMs that we relate to are connected through the state conventions.

“We simply want to come beside them and provide resources and a sense of brotherhood. Give them a national home where they relate state to state.”

Probing further, another collegiate ministry leader from Arizona asked if NAMB will invest long-term in collegiate ministry.

After expressing his appreciation for Arizona Southern Baptist collegiate ministry – called Christian Challenge – and the work of Executive Director David Johnson, Ezell repeated NAMB’s goals.