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250 campus ministers called heroes for the juncture in which they minister

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Chuck Kelley welcomed 250 heroes to the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary May 24-27.
Kelley, the seminary’s president, welcomed 250 Baptist Student Union directors from six states to the campus, saying they are some of the most important people in the Southern Baptist Convention through their ministry to a group of people at a very important time in their lives.
“Student ministers are some of my heroes,” said Kelley, who was an assistant BSU director at Baylor University from 1972-75.
“They work with people who are at the point of major life decisions,” Kelley said of their meeting on campus, “and as a result, are some of the most important people we have in the SBC. It was an honor to have them on our campus.”
Organizers described the meeting as the largest-ever regional gathering of campus ministers.
John Moore of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, who helped organize the event this year, said student ministers need the fellowship and encouragement from such a gathering because their work sometimes gets displaced among other mainline ministries.
“Their ministry is different from any other kind of ministry,” Moore said. “They aren’t pastors and they aren’t youth ministers. Sometimes being there on that college campus gets lonely and discouraging. The highlight of this week was for them to get together. Strong friendships were nurtured and renewed at this meeting.”
Moore said the conference was intended not only to offer personal refreshment and renewal to the ministers, but also to give them a chance to be inspired and to connect with other directors. BSU directors from colleges throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas participated in the event.
During the weeklong conference, various speakers challenged ministers with stirring sermons and practical workshops designed to enhance their ministry. The keynote speakers included Kelley, Drew University Vice President Leonard Sweet, USC professor of philosophy Dallas Willard and student speaker Voddie Bachaum. In addition to the keynote speakers, several NOBTS professors and other student speakers led BSU directors through a variety of workshops dealing with topics ranging from new trends in worship to effective parenting.
Student speaker Louie Giglio led one of the workshops during the week, challenging ministers to bridge the gulf between group worship and the worship of God on an individual level. Worship, he said, is the priority of both ministry and everyday life, and there should be no discrepancy between an individual’s worship within a group and that same individual’s worship in his or her prayer closet. Student ministers, he said, are enlisted to make sure that students are individually living out the worship they express within the group.
“You as student ministers should hold them accountable,” Giglio said. “You have to be able to say to them, ‘You’re corporate worship is invalidated by your walk.’ You have to be the one to bring that tension.”
In addition to learning about holding students accountable, BSU directors were challenged to bridge the gulf of worship in their own lives. Sweet said ministers must strive to bring God pleasure through their daily life. Only by doing so, he said, will they remain effective ministers.
“The greatest rush and rapture in life is pleasing God,” Sweet said. “Pleasing God will keep you from losing your confidence, endurance and faith. Pleasing God should be your greatest ambition.”

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