Daniel Johnson and Jake Hancock recently played a game of “Trading Places.”
The Baptist Campus Ministry leaders of the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University experienced how the other side lived.
They found some things they liked and could easily be used in their own ministries.
“Jake and I share similar DNA for ministry with similar concepts,” Johnson said. “It was good. He has a great group of students. Jake is such a good leader. He has trained his students to lead well when he’s gone. It was like a professional meeting.”
Hancock had similar praise for the BCM meeting on the UK campus where there was a large turnout to greet him.
“We had our largest gathering,” Johnson said of the UK BCM crowd. “Of course, it’s the night I’m not there. Jake can bring in the big crowds.”
Hancock, a UK graduate, said Johnson’s fingerprints were all over the BCM in Lexington.
“It was really wonderful to see how Daniel has shaped the culture the past few years,” Hancock said. “He’s integrated a missional culture of students not seeing this as a ‘Holy Huddle’ or community for Christians. Their Scripture reading was reciting Matthew 28, the Great Commission, because they’re being sent out onto campus.”
Hancock said he enjoyed preaching there because of the “strong energy.”
It was clear, though, that Johnson’s influence was powerful.
“I could tell the students just love Daniel,” he said. “He has made an incredible impact on those students. There’s good loyalty there. The leaders lead out. He has equipped them to take great ownership over the ministry.”
Making it local
Hancock and Johnson have both been strong about connecting their respective ministries to the local church. “They really have a cool pipeline of students already serving the church that are later going to be part of KBC churches,” Hancock said. “The local presence is awesome. Being there was like watching his leadership style in real time.”
Johnson said he “picked up some tips of the trade when he walked around the building” at EKU.
The local church was promoted heavily, Johnson said. “They have a poster that promotes their local churches and a full billboard of small groups with pictures of the students. That’s a god personal thing to do.”
As the two were driving back to their campuses, they called each other to find out how everything went.
“He came back and said, ‘I’m going to steal five things from y’all.’ I said, ‘Good thing, because I’m stealing five from y’all.’’’
Johnson said he often uses local pastors to come and speak.
‘Heart for the local church’
“We have such a heart for the local church,” Johnson said. “Me going over there and them hearing from other campus ministers and church partners is great. We want to develop a heart for the ‘Big C’ church. Don’t get territorial. We love Porter Memorial even if we go to Ashland (Avenue). We love Gospel Collection even if we go to Mission Church. Don’t make it about you. The best leaders don’t build it around themselves. If Jake would ever leave, it would be terrible, but he’s built enough culture around EKU that it would last for years to come.
“It’s good. They’re doing a great job of connecting students to the local church. We’re not just BCM. Our best leaders come away from our ministry and are able to serve the local church the best. They’ve developed a ‘Big C’ church vision.”
Of course, there still must be a few pranks.
Johnson toilet papered Hancock’s office and put a plunger in a guitar stand. It was payback from last year when Hancock did the same to Johnson’s office.