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Bob Anderson records 27 years of service to Kansas collegians

MANHATTAN, Kan. (BP)–With the average minister changing positions every 36 months, those who commit their lives to the task in one location are unique in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing society.
Bob Anderson is one such minister. As Baptist Student Union director at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., he has dedicated himself to that task since 1972.
This summer, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary honored Anderson’s 27 years of dedication by naming him as the 1999 Alumni of the Year at the annual meeting of Midwestern alumni June 16 during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Atlanta.
According to a Midwestern graduate who nominated Anderson, the choice was clear. “I personally know of no other man who more clearly models the fullness of character of Christ in his courage, faithfulness, sacrifice and purposeful ministry,” stated the nominator who was mentored at Kansas State by Anderson and now ministers overseas in a country closed to formal mission work.
“Bob Anderson is a rare jewel who has for two and a half decades poured his life out in an obscure place so that college students of the Midwest/Great Plains region would walk with God and lead others to do so,” the nominator said.
The desire to minister to college students at Kansas State was born during Anderson’s time in the military while stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. “We saw a great opportunity for ministry,” Anderson said. After coming home from Vietnam, Anderson began his ministry with Kansas State’s BSU and has been there ever since.
“We just have a real vision to reach and disciple this generation of students,” he said. “We have felt the hand of the Lord on our lives.”
His passion for the students is obvious as he speaks about the potential in their lives. “Students today are available, responsive and have their whole lives ahead of them.”
However, Anderson acknowledged the challenges he faces in student work. “It takes an incredible amount of energy. It’s always changing — very dynamic.” He also has seen a change in students themselves over the years. “This generation of students comes from broken homes. You have to take that into consideration. There is lots of healing that needs to take place.”
While serving at Kansas State, Anderson took on the personal challenge of attending Midwestern and completing the work for his M.Div. degree. Balancing his BSU work with studies proved to be a quite a feat for Anderson and his family. “I managed to condense the three-year program into 10 years,” he joked. He recalled being on the Midwestern campus in Kansas City, Mo., from Tuesday to Friday each week and arriving home Friday night with homework to do. “I remember literally getting down on my knees beside the word processor with my wife [Sandie] typing my papers until early in the morning on Saturday.”
He then spent Saturday to Monday working with students on campus at Kansas State and heading back to Midwestern on Tuesday to do it all over again, completing his degree in 1986.
“It was hard, but I’m glad I did it,” he said. “It was a good break, a good learning process. I met people who were pursuing God like I was.”
At Kansas State, Anderson’s goals are simple, yet potentially life-altering. “I try to help students walk with God, spend time in his Word daily and disciple their friends,” he said.
He also believes his ministry is to help students get a vision for the whole world, noting, “We are sending a whole lot of students to unreached people groups.”
Currently the BSU at Kansas State draws more than 300 students in its weekly rallies and sponsors 40-50 Bible studies per week. Anderson is quick to give the credit to the Lord. “It reflects on the wonder of God what God has done here.”
He is also surprised and humbled at his selection as Alumni of the Year. “I thought they had the wrong person,” he said. “I don’t see myself as the kind of person who catches attention. It is incredible that God would use me.”
While Anderson may be amazed at how the Lord has used him, others have seen it for a long time. “Bob Anderson is a true Midwesterner who has faithfully poured out his life in service to Jesus Christ and the saints,” said the nominator. “His life models the heartbeat of the new Midwestern Seminary, and the Lord Jesus Christ whom the seminary exists to glorify.”

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  • Stephanie Heading