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NAMB seeks to join collegiate ministry efforts

Kevin Ezell is the president of the North American Mission Board. (NAMB photo)

NASHVILLE (BP) – With the North American Mission Board again seeking to add the collegiate ministry assignment as part of its mission, both NAMB and Lifeway Christian Resources are working toward providing ministry and resources related to college ministry.

During the afternoon plenary session on Tuesday (Feb. 22), the Committee on Convention Missions and Ministry presented a recommendation to the full SBC Executive Committee to approve a request for a change in NAMB’s mission and ministry. 

The recommendation passed, and will now be presented to messengers to the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in June for approval.

Previously, NAMB planned to seek the ministry assignment change at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, planning to proceed only if related amendments to Lifeway’s mission were also approved. Messengers to the 2021 meeting rejected Lifeway’s proposal to shift away from collegiate ministry responsibilities.

Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, said he hopes adding the collegiate ministry assignment will create a deep sense of togetherness among collegiate ministries.

“NAMB desires to give collegiate ministry a home, a place where they feel like they have a family and a sense of belonging,” Ezell said.

“Paul Worcester, our national collegiate evangelism director, has a huge heart for reaching college students, and he is a leader among campus ministers. We are not truly taking the Gospel to North America if we are not reaching the next generation. NAMB is excited about working alongside churches and our state partners to make a difference on college campuses.”

Worcester told Baptist Press collegiate ministry is “the most strategic mission field in our nation.”

“It is critical that we reach this generation of students, and train them up to be the next generation of leaders for the church,” he said.

Worcester said NAMB’s strategy for collegiate ministry will include working together with a variety of ministries.

“Our desire is to partner with all expressions of collegiate reaching including campus-based ministries, church-based ministries and collegiate church plants,” Worcester said. “We want to add fuel to the fire of what God is already doing among our churches, associations and state conventions.”

While NAMB is preparing for the potential addition of the collegiate ministry assignment, Lifeway will continue to provide resources for the benefit of college students, fulfilling its own collegiate ministry assignment, said Ben Mandrell, Lifeway president and CEO.

“We’re thankful to see NAMB step into the collegiate ministry space,” Mandrell said. “As an entity that receives Cooperative Program funding, paired with their commitment to evangelism, NAMB is uniquely positioned to make intentional efforts in reaching college students with the gospel and mobilizing students to reach their peers.

“Adding this assignment to NAMB doesn’t change our commitment to serving local churches in their ministries to college students. Lifeway will continue to fulfill our assignment by providing resources such as Sunday School curriculum and short-term Bible studies that help disciple young adults and deepen their walk with Jesus Christ. This new ministry assignment allows both entities to focus on what we do best.”