Background—Baptist Campus Ministry
After sending out 60 resumes trying to find a teaching position the spring I graduated from seminary with my PhD, I happened up by a fortuitous set of circumstances with a job as campus minister in the Alabama Baptist State Convention’s BCM program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The school was mostly a computer campus, so we were a commuter BCM program, but we still had the distinct privilege of having our own BCM Center on the corner of 8th Ave. South and 10th Street right across the street from UAB campus buildings.
I was brought on board the campus ministry program at UAB to bring the BCM’s rampant budget cost overruns under control and repair the damage caused by poor cooperation of the BCM work with the Birmingham Baptist Association and local Southern Baptist churches in the area. During my seven years as campus minister, our BCM budget was running in the black after the first year and never failed to do so in any of the successive years, mission fundraising tripled, student involvement in mission work quadrupled, weekly program attendance grew an average of 10% each year, and I had visited or participated in the Sunday services of 126 churches of the Birmingham Baptist Association.
This picture is from a “Tacky Tourist Party” we threw one time at the BCM. Whereas I definitely had an academic side during those BCM days, that cerebral tendency to being an egg-head did not mean I was absent a flair for cutting up and for drama. I played lead electric guitar, and after a famous fling in my doctoral gown slinging an electric guitar one year as the master of ceremonies for the Baptist Campus Ministry’s State Convention Annual Talent Show, I became known around state BCMs as the “Doc of Rock.” We raised the roof. I still have that flair, since, even though I teach at the seminary as a professor in the New Testament Department, I also play lead guitar in the praise band at First Baptist New Orleans.