“Do you not say, ‘There are four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35, NASB)
“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants not the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (I Corinthians 3:5-9, NASB)
In these two passages of scripture, we find the urgency of evangelism and the power for evangelism. Evangelism is something to do now as God’s faithful servants. And God is the one at work in people’s lives. Evangelism has been the heartbeat of Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) for decades.
Recently, I was reminded of the long-term impact our evangelistic efforts on college campuses can have on God’s call on Christians to fulfill the Great Commission. Ten years ago this fall, Robert* began attending BCM at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). For several weeks he would come to our weekly worship service and sit on the back row. Then he began connecting with the students who had invited him to the BCM and other students involved in our ministry. Several weeks later, Robert professed faith in Christ and accepted Jesus as his Savior. Over the next four years I had the privilege to lead Robert in one-on-one discipleship and involve him in mission trips, outreach/evangelism efforts and leadership development. He served with distinction on our BCM Leadership Team. He also had many upperclassman friends encourage him in his faith.
In the fall of 2005, his brother Steven began his studies at UAB. He also received Christ as his Savior through BCM and became involved in many of the same things as his older brother. He was a fantastic leader for us as well, leading in outreach efforts, discipleship, evangelism and missions. He met and married Mandy, a young lady also involved in BCM. These two young men’s lives were changed because God worked through the efforts of Alabama Baptists and their commitment to collegians through Baptist Campus Ministries.
And, to give you an update on Robert and Steven – Robert and his wife are being appointed by the International Mission Board this year as career missionaries. Steven just graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is actively seeking a church to serve as a vocational minister in the area of young adult ministry. He and Mandy just celebrated the birth of their first child.
So, as you pray for college students across our state this fall, pray that their hearts will be open to the concerted efforts that campus ministers and committed students give each day to reaching students for Christ and developing them into Christian leaders. Thousands of students’ lives have been changed through the nearly nine decades of collegiate ministry. Prayerfully, thousands more will be!
What a blessing to have had the privilege to be a part of their journeys of faith. Thank you, Alabama Baptists!
Campus Minister, UAB
*Names have been changed for security reasons.