The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has selected Paul Worcester as its national director of collegiate evangelism. Worcester will catalyze collegiate evangelism through church-based and on-campus ministries, working with churches and other Southern Baptist partners to reach college students.
“I believe the college campus is on the front lines of the battle for the next generation,” Worcester said. “College students make decisions that influence the rest of their lives.”
Worcester said the college years can also be a time when a person is willing to look at and consider the claims of Christ.
“Unchurched college students are very open to the gospel during this key transitional stage of life,” Worcester said, based on his experience of starting and leading a Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at California State University, Chico. “People often come to Christ in seasons of trouble and transition, and going to college is the first major transition for many.”
Worcester and his wife Christy started the BCM, called Christian Challenge, in 2009. He has authored several books on evangelism and college ministry and is a regular speaker at conferences. Worcester is also on the team that manages the site CollegeMinistry.com, which is sponsored by Southern Baptists, and recently launched the Campus Multiplication Network, an organization that helps collegiate ministry leaders evangelize and disciple college students and launch new ministries.
“I am so incredibly excited for Paul Worcester to join the next gen team as a part of NAMB’s evangelism and leadership team,” said Shane Pruitt, NAMB’s director of next gen[eration] evangelism. “Our aim is to work alongside our ministry partners and local churches, to resource them with networking opportunities, evangelism tools and strategies as well as training and coaching.”
Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, pointed out that there are 21 million college students in North America, and a significant number of students come from around the world to study in the United States.
“We have a massive challenge to advance the gospel of Jesus to every college student across America,” Floyd said. “We thank God for every person who serves with one of our Baptist Collegiate Ministries. I am highly encouraged and thankful we will have someone come alongside their ministries to encourage, equip and inspire all of us toward evangelizing college students.”
NAMB President Kevin Ezell said Worcester’s role reflects the priority NAMB is placing on reaching and discipling college students.
“We want to be an evangelism resource for all SBC campus ministers in reaching college campuses,” Ezell said. “We were determined to find the best person in North America to meet this critical need, and we found that person in Paul Worcester. We must focus on reaching the next generation, and college campuses are vital to that strategy.”
Pruitt and Worcester announced the transition to national Southern Baptist collegiate ministry leaders on an Oct. 12 Zoom call. Pruitt said the group expressed support for the announcement because Worcester has been active in the realm of campus ministry and is someone they know and trust.
“Paul Worcester is one of the top college ministers in America,” Arliss Dickerson said in written comments. Dickerson served as BCM campus minister at Arkansas State University for 32 years and served two years as college minister at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Ark.
“Worcester’s approach to collegiate evangelism is a role model to ministries all over the country,” Dickerson said. “We are blessed to have him as part of our tribe.”
Paul and Christy Worcester have two kids and will continue living in northern California.
“God is calling many students in our ministries to dream big dreams for advancing the kingdom, including becoming long-term international missionaries, planting new churches and starting new collegiate ministries,” Worcester said. “This generation is looking for a cause worth living and dying for, and we have the greatest cause on earth.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Elrod writes for NAMB.)