College students who feel a calling into ministry passionately want to make a difference for Godâ€™s kingdom. But a significant number donâ€™t believe the local-church setting is the place to do it, according to guidance directors for ministerial students at some Baptist schools.
â€œI think that for both positive and negative reasons, a lot of young people donâ€™t see themselves settling into local-church ministry positions,â€ said Omer Hancock, professor of church ministry and director of in-service guidance at Hardin-Simmons Universityâ€™s Logsdon School of Theology. â€œAn increasing number of our students are gravitating to other areasâ€”other expressions of ministry.â€
To some degree, students are looking for other avenues of ministry beyond a local-church setting because of the controversy they have witnessed, Hancock said.
â€œThe reality is that for the entire lifetime of these young people, they have grown up in a culture where there is a lot of church conflict and a lot of denominational conflict,â€ he said.
Many students know little about their denomination, but they know firsthand about forced termination of church staff, conflict within congregations and a perceived lack of respect for church leaders, said Micheal Summers, director of church services at Wayland Baptist University.
And before anyone else asks -Â yes, I was actually in one of Dr. Hancock’s classes.Â