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LifeWay to stay committed to campus ministry, leaders told

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–“The reorganization that is happening in LifeWay’s Church Resources Division will in no way diminish LifeWay’s commitment to ministering to college students,” Bill Henry, director of the national collegiate ministry department, said.

Speaking to a group of state Baptist campus ministry directors and associates at a luncheon, Henry, of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “Folks, our future looks good. There is a tremendous ministry going on on the college campuses and in the churches. There is wonderful work going on with the college students and by the college students. I thank you for all the work you do.”

Henry said he has “lots of mixed emotions” about leaving the position as head of LifeWay’s NCM department he has held for the last 17 years. He will become managing director of Network Partnerships Oct. 1 when the division reorganization is implemented.

“My whole career has been working with college students. I’ve done this for 31 years, first at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and here at LifeWay. There have been a lot of mixed emotions for me this week,” he said. “While I am looking forward to the new position God has for me, I’m going to miss the day-to-day contact I’ve had with all of you and with the students.”

John Garner, who will be the director of ministry team leadership in the new LifeWay Church Resources plan, said, “LifeWay is going through lots of changes. That’s a fact. But let me assure you, LifeWay has been, is and will be here for college students.

“We want to help you get the programs and materials to help you minister to your students,” he said. “We want to help this ministry grow by creating a synergy between college and campus ministry.

John Kramp, director of the LifeWay Church Resources operations group, said, ” I really am excited to see how college ministry has grown. I’m committed to reaching college-age kids. I was touched by the Baptist campus ministries when I was a student and I know what an influence you have.

“There are changes happening at LifeWay, some good changes,” said Kramp, will become director of church ministry solutions. “We’re putting our focus back on the churches. We are going to listen more. But transitions have not always been handled well. Let’s just put that elephant on the table now. We haven’t always made smooth transitions.

“But I want to tell you, I know of no agenda regarding collegiate work that would be something you wouldn’t like,” Kramp said.

Kramp told the campus ministry directors that while only one position on the organization chart carries the title of National Collegiate Ministry, others will be involved.

“There are people who will be working in publishing and others working on events. LifeWay’s commitment to college students is still there.

“These are important times for us and for this work,” Kramp said. “My optimism is high. I think the future of student ministry is very bright.”

Henry told the group, “The decisions that will be made regarding National Collegiate Ministry will be in good hands with these two men. They share my vision and my excitement about what is happening on our campuses and in our churches.”

About 2,000 people attended the Aug. 4-10 event sponsored by LifeWay’s National Collegiate Ministry Department. The next Collegiate Week at Glorieta will be Aug.3-9, 2002.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BILL HENRY.

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  • Polly House