Ministry Students want to serve God, but not necessarily in the local church

College students who feel a calling into ministry passionately want to make a difference for God’s kingdom. But a significant number don’t believe the local-church setting is the place to do it, according to guidance directors for ministerial students at some Baptist schools.

“I think that for both positive and negative reasons, a lot of young people don’t see themselves settling into local-church ministry positions,” said Omer Hancock, professor of church ministry and director of in-service guidance at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology. “An increasing number of our students are gravitating to other areas—other expressions of ministry.”

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.

“The 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,” 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.

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And before anyone else asks - yes, I was actually in one of Dr. Hancock’s classes. 

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