Leslie Limbaugh, minister of students and communication at Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, will chair a task force that will help the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship take a fresh look at developing ministries to college students.
Limbaugh is a former campus minister with the Missouri Baptist Convention, and later was associate coordinator in St. Louis with CBF of Missouri.
The formation of the task force came out of a May 4-5 meeting of about 90 people at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., who gathered to share ideas about ministering to college students.
Besides Limbaugh, Missourians present were Bruce Gentry, director of the Baptist Student Center at Cape Girardeau; Mike Shupert, pastor of First Baptist Church, Cape Girardeau; and Harold Phillips, coordinator of CBF of Missouri.
Mercer College president Kirby Godsey told participants that Baptists are losing momentum in connecting with college students.
He urged CBF and supportive churches to "inaugurate a branded ministry" to students, without replicating Southern Baptist Convention student ministries.
Southern Baptists and some of their state conventions have shifted their priority and funding away from traditional college ministries in recent years or pressured them to be more evangelistic.
Church historian Walter Shurden called the session "a long-needed and critical meeting for moderate Baptists," who have long championed college ministry.
Shurden is executive director of Mercer University's Center for Baptist Studies, which initiated and co-sponsored the event along with CBF and the Georgia CBF organization. (06-15-06)