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Collegiate ministers convene for sharing ideas, networking

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–More than 550 collegiate ministers from across the United States and Canada gathered for peer-led conferences, relationship-building and challenges from nationally known speakers during the National Collegiate Ministry Network’s May 1-4 summit in Nashville, Tenn.

Thousands of college students ultimately will benefit from the gathering. Bill Horn, for example, assistant Baptist campus ministries director at the University of Florida in Gainesville, noted, “Meeting all these other campus ministers, sitting down and talking to them about what has worked on their campuses — and what hasn’t — will be so good for me to take back to my campus for my own students.”

Networking with other collegiate ministries also was a key benefit, Horn said.

The National Collegiate Ministry Network (NCMN) joined with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention to sponsor the summit.

“This is the first national training event we have had in 21 years,” said John Moore, NCMN coordinator and state director of collegiate ministries for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. “We’ve wanted to do this for so long.”

LifeWay’s relationship with the NCMN boosted the summit’s success, Moore said, noting, “Campus ministers feel positive toward LifeWay. While LifeWay has been willing to help with anything the committee planning the event has asked for, it has stayed back and let the network take ownership of the meeting.”

Topics addressed during the 45 peer-led conferences included missions, leadership and fund-raising. Campus ministers led most of the conferences. In addition, ministry specialists from various SBC entities led workshops based on their respective areas of expertise.

Author Leonard Sweet, preacher/speaker Voddie Baucham, leadership expert Tim Elmore, singer-songwriter Kyle Matthews, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor Jeanine Bozeman, campus ministry expert Mike Woodruff, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Karen Bullock led other conferences.

The NCMN was formed three years ago to meet a need Baptist campus ministers had for networking, idea sharing and professional development. The network is organized with a coordinator and 10 committees. Each committee is made up collegiate ministers, based either on a college campus or in a local church. Moore is finishing a three-year term as the network coordinator.

“I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world getting to work with the group of 66 people who make up the committees of the network,” Moore said. “These folks represent the cream of the crop of collegiate ministry.”

The next nationwide event for Baptist collegiate ministries will be at the LifeWay-sponsored National Collegiate Week Aug. 2-8 at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center near Santa Fe, N.M. Plans also call for an NCMN missions conference in December 2005 and another leadership conference in 2007.

More information about the NCMN can be found on their website at www.ncmnetwork.com.

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  • Polly House