By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
TOWSON, Md.—Mike McQuitty, former collegiate minister at New York’s Syracuse University, has been named as a collegiate church-planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board and the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
In this jointly funded position, McQuitty will serve as the campus minister at Towson University and will oversee the collegiate ministries operations throughout the multi-state convention.
But his biggest task will be encouraging new church starts throughout the college and university campuses.
“Church planting has a natural bent for college students and recent graduates,” said McQuitty, who was featured as part of the annual Week of Prayer for the 2010 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
“If you think about it, young adults are key ingredients to a healthy church plant. Students often are eager to start something new. They are very energetic, and sometimes it’s hard for them to find roles in traditional churches.”
He also noted the college years are a time when young people are making the decisions that will shape the rest of their lives.
“My hope and dream is that students will start collegiate churches [while in college], and if they don’t stick around, they will form a team with others from their campus to move to another area and start a church,” he said.
Beyond that, McQuitty feels college campuses are a mission field of their own. Each campus has a unique culture and lifestyle.
And there are thousands of students—35,000 or 5,000 or 20,000 depending on the campus—who need to be reached. “That’s not counting the faculty, staff, mechanics, and pizza delivery guys,” he said.
McQuitty knows what he is talking about. He served for 14 years in Syracuse where he started a collegiate church from scratch. At his beginnings, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry had dwindled to two to three students, and he basically was tasked with a restart.
He unexpectedly started a Sunday service on the campus, primarily because many of the students didn’t have transportation and were unable to travel to other churches in the area.
The resultant University Church is student-planted and student-led. To McQuitty, it was the perfect training ground where students developed leadership skills in leading their generation to Christ.
“If you reach college students today, you reach the rest of the world tomorrow,” he said.
The Syracuse ministry focused not only on their campuses, but also on the world.
Many of the students traveled on mission trips throughout the Northeast—places like Boston, New York City, Montreal and even Baltimore—to assist church plants. They even served in West Africa, Asia and South America.
“We want to see the most mobile group of people in history—today’s college students—to take the gospel to the most unreached parts of the world,” he said.
McQuitty graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He also earned a doctor of ministry degree in collegiate ministries from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.
His wife, Vicki, serves as assistant professor of elementary education at Towson University.
If you know a student who is attending college in Maryland and Delaware, please contact McQuitty at [email protected] or (315) 569-2630 so that he can connect them with their respective campus ministries.