Let me break my series on the future of the church and comment on an article that appeared on the Baptist Center for Ethics website.
BCE reports that David Clippard, the executive of the Missouri Baptist Convention, recently said, "The real threat we are facing today is that Islam has a strategic plan to conquer and occupy America." Part of this plan is funding Islamic studies and opening mosques near colleges and universities. "They are after our sons and daughters, our students," Clippard is reported to have said.
I don't know if Clippard's observations are correct or not, but the idea of attempting to reach a nation through its college and university students makes sense. In the early 20th century, many Christian groups (including Baptists) decided to do the same thing. This gave birth to the Baptist Student Union, the Student Volunteer Movement, the Wesley Foundation, and many other denominational and non-denominational groups. This resulted in the equipping and calling of thousands of ministers, educators, missionaries, and lay leaders for the churches.
The unfortunate thing is that this strategy is not being actively pursued by Christians today. Southern Baptists have pulled much of their funding for national programs for college students, and state programs of campus ministry are facing frozen or declining budgets (Mr. Clippard's MBC is a good--or bad--example).
Those of us in the CBF camp haven't done much better. With a few exceptions, most churches, state and regional organizations, and national entities have not made ministry with college students a priority.
There is a vacuum in ministry to college and university students. Maybe the Muslims have found a "niche." If so, we have no one to blame but ourselves.