Lifeway Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board are asking messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Nashville to consider ministry assignment changes related to college and university students.
If approved, the assignment for reaching and mobilizing students in North America will transition from Lifeway to NAMB. Messengers will consider the Lifeway request first, which would allow Lifeway to amend its stated mission and all 10 current ministry assignments. Lifeway trustees unanimously voted for the changes in January and forwarded their request to the SBC Executive Committee, which approved it in February, and has it ready to for SBC messengers June 14–15.
NAMB’s board of trustees unanimously passed a resolution in May asking for the college and university students ministry assignment. The request will be considered by messengers if Lifeway’s amendments are approved.
The proposed NAMB ministry assignment revision reflects extensive collaboration between the SBC Executive Committee staff, NAMB leadership and Baptist Collegiate state directors.
The final proposal approved by NAMB trustees adds the following language its ministry assignment: “Assisting churches in reaching and mobilizing college and university students in the United States and Canada. Promote the advancement of college and university ministry efforts in evangelism, discipleship, churchmanship, leadership development and missions mobilization through collaborative partnerships.”
Shane Pruitt, NAMB’s director of Next Gen evangelism, said college campuses, universities and collegiate ministries can be “strategic launching pads to send out missionaries all over the world to know Jesus and to make Jesus known.
“At NAMB, we are excited about locking arms with BCM directors, local church college pastors and collegiate church planters to see a gospel impact on college campuses.”
The proposed revision to Lifeway’s mission and ministry statement would add the phrase “designing trustworthy experiences that fuel ministry” to the statement.
“This phrase boils down Lifeway’s purpose into six words,” said Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway. “We want to be known as a ministry that will go the extra mile to thoughtfully design tools that help people meet God and grow closer to Him. Whether it’s Bible study curriculum, short-term studies, ministry training, a new Bible, camps or events, a resource must be well-designed and provide a trustworthy experience for us to produce it.”
If approved, the full Lifeway mission statement would read: “Lifeway Christian Resources exists to assist churches and believers to evangelize the world to Christ, develop believers, and grow churches by designing trustworthy experiences that fuel ministry and by being the best provider of relevant high-quality, high-value Christian products and services.”
Most of Lifeway’s current ministry assignments were assigned to the organization in 1995.