Almost a month ago I learned that the Baptist State Convention of NC (BSCNC) is going to cut their funding of Baptist Campus Ministry by laying off 10 Baptist Campus Ministers. This is a part of their reorganisation. You can read more about it here at Read it and Weep.
Reading the article brought just as much grief as when my grandmothers pasted away. Something wonderful is gone. The Baptist Student Union (BSU) was a place of spiritual formation for me when I attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). I had leadership opportunities through serving on the BSU council and I experienced my first overseas Mission Trip thanks to partial funding by BSU mission fund. My experience at UNCG was also unique in that we shared space will all the other campus ministries. The many days we spent in the lounge between classes and all the people I met because we gathered in an Interfaith building. I just can't wrap my head around our small corner being emptied. what or who will take it's place. Where will all of my BSU alums from Greensboro gather for our annual alumni day? Who will send out letters? (Normally the campus minister sends out the newsletter). It is surreal to say that an institution that played such a vital role in my calling is dying. I can't help but think of the loss the church will feel in the years to come due to the absence of a Baptist Minister not on a State Campus. How many young people will not be reached because their is not BSU. How can the BSCNC not see the devastating effects of this decision. How many young people will never discover hidden gifts because their is no BSU to foster and awaken them?
Growing up in a Southern Baptist church I learned through observation that Baptist's are doers. Scaling back on one of the major missional programs of the BSCNC is a retreat on the doing aspect. Am I watching the death of an institution that has done great things for young people? I think and feel that I am.
In my grief I share a treasured memory from my time in the BSU at UNCG.