Dateline: October, 1959
“Where else could the Greater Cincinnati Association of Baptists witness directly to 18,000 students? At least 200 of these are international students who don’t even know Christ as Savior. We give our money to missions thousands of miles away, while right here, under our noses, the ‘cream of the crop’ comes to learn what they can to take back to their countries. Why don’t we give them Christ to take back with them, which would be more important than any degree they might earn. The fields are white unto harvest at UC.” (Attributed to E.M. Helton)
Dateline: October, 2016
We are still here. Now there are 44,000 students at UC from 110 countries around the world. And thousands more on campuses like Miami University, Xavier University, Cincinnati State, and the list goes on. Fifty-seven years completed and still going strong. Things look different from what E.M. Helton and others could have imagined. The campuses and students are much different than they were in 1959, but the basic need for Jesus Christ as Savior is still what motivates our ministry to students. We do things differently, but we seek the same result: spiritual transformation that begins with salvation and leads to a discipled life that brings honor and glory to our Savior.
Much of this past year has been marked by transition and decision making. The campus is not the only thing that changes. How and where we do our ministry to collegians is also undergoing change.
Tonight you are hearing, possibly for the first time, about the new direction of ministry to college students. There are new partnerships, new strategies, and new expressions of Jesus’ love for students. But what does not change is the goal to see young lives impacted, changed, and made significant within the Kingdom of God.
Significant changes in the funding support for college ministry in Cincinnati from both the North American Mission Board and the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio have motivated us to seek a new way to do ministry with college students. In concerted effort with Mark Snowden, our new Director of Missional Leadership and the Administrative Leadership Team of CABA, we established a focus group to seek alternative methods and ideas. We spent several months talking, traveling, praying, and discovering alternative strategies employed by campuses and associations and states around the SBC.
And what you have is the proposal before our association tonight where we will recommend the establishment of a new and separate non-profit that will directly minister to college students in the greater Cincinnati region. We have been given this coming year to organize, fund, and establish such a new strategy.
This comes with many challenges as well as opportunities. Both, we believe are from the Lord. In believing such, we seek and trust in His hand to guide and instruct all along the way. Your prayers are especially needed as we seek to discern between our knowledge and His instruction.
Such restructuring will increase our involvement with churches across the association. Initially the focus will be with the Bridge Church at Miami University and the H2O Church at the University of Cincinnati. It will also increase the participation with churches doing ministry with college students such as Clough Pike Baptist Church on the campus at UC Clermont. And we will begin to reach out to other churches near campuses or who have a heart for young adults to seek strategic relationships and methods of ministry.
Funding such an endeavor will be an early priority. There is still much to work out. But this will especially change the way we “do business” in college ministry from our historic traditions to more current strategies.
Please listen carefully to tonight’s report from Collegiate Ministry.
Please read carefully the materials supplied for you to carry home to study and pray over.
Please do ask questions, invite conversation, and seek to understand what is happening.
It is a lot to change what has been in place for 57 years. But everything is possible with prayer and fasting and obedience to God. We are still sharing Christ on campus. We are still baptizing new believers into the Kingdom. We are still personally involved with missions and disaster relief. We are still a shared vision with the churches of the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association to reach young adults.
It is recommended that we make such changes. Collegiate Ministry supports this recommendation.
Campus Pastor: Ken Dillard
Volunteer Staff: Aaron Smith and Mike Ross