It’s the worst of times. It’s the best of times. It’s the third week of fall semester. At least, that’s when we do it in Tuscaloosa.
First, a little background: Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) at the University of Alabama began having events and activities nearly every day for 28 days — including weekends and holidays — planning, praying and preparing to engage as many university students as possible.
We call them “10 Days of Insanity,” but in reality they cover nearly an entire month.
These exciting but exhausting days set the tone and rhythm for the entire semester.
We began by bringing our BCM leadership team back together, many of whom hadn’t seen one another since the end of spring semester.
We shared stories and experiences since many of these students served in ministry and mission positions for much of the summer. Others continued schooling or worked summer jobs.
It’s a sweet time to reconnect and to be encouraged by what God has done in each of their lives over the break.
But we quickly turn our focus to the business at hand: preparing to reach out to the almost 40,000 college students poised to converge on Tuscaloosa in less than one week.
We began our leadership workshop by dividing into teams of 2-3 to prayer walk strategic areas of our campus. What a great way to start our time together!
For much of the rest of the day, we majored on three things:
- Calendar: what was happening when and who was doing what.
- Our Purpose: to see Christ known on our campus; to see university students, faculty and administrators transformed and conformed to the image of Christ. It’s why we plan and do — everything!
- Who we are: Baptist Campus Ministries is a missional ministry of local Baptist churches. I often express it this way: BCM’s number one priority is the Gospel and to connect students to a local church — and to connect our local churches to our campus. Our vision is to be a champion of the local church.
BCM is made possible by Alabama Baptists’ gifts through the Cooperative Program. If not for the generous CP support of Alabama Baptists churches, we would not exist. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
When I am overwhelmed or question my calling to serve through BCM, God reminds me of how BCM is unique. We reach people for Christ and connect them to a local church. It’s in our DNA and it’s biblical!
I love each one of our local churches in Tuscaloosa. Each desires to be obediently represent Christ and to impact our community for Him.
We unapologetically challenge and move students toward finding a local church. Many will identify and plug into a local church. As they do more and more in and through their churches, by necessity they will do less and less with BCM. We celebrate this. This is a win for us! BCM is an evangelistic outpost on campus for local churches.
But it’s hard. It’s fun to see big numbers and to meet lots of students, and each year my ego wants to push back against it. In these moments, I remind myself that each of us have a role to play. We are one body with many members.
My role is to be a connector and catalyst between our campus and churches.
Would you please pray for our churches?
- Pray that they will embrace and engage college students as they visit and look to get plugged in. Over my tenure here, it seems each year another church begins to allocate resources and/or personnel towards reaching this generation.
- Pray that they will have patience as students visit churches, looking for “their place.”
- Pray that BCM and churches will work together for our common purpose – to reach and disciple students.
- Pray that we will be diligent in our follow up.
- Pray that we will lead with evangelism, that Christ would use and work through us to draw collegians to Him and that we will be faithful to continue connecting them to local churches.
In the end, the goal of each collegiate experience is graduation. When they leave campus, there will be no BCM or other campus ministry, but there will always be the church.