BCM mobilizes believers, trains leaders, influences campuses
By Bill Choate
I looked across Mark Whitt’s desk at MTSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry office and asked, “What are the blue cards?” Mark, BCM Campus Minister, said all 750 were contact information cards from new students coming to MTSU.
They were gathered by Mark and student leaders over a summer of on-campus student orientation events.
Of the approximately 4,500 new students on campus at MTSU this fall, BCM already has touched and gathered contact information from 750. School hasn’t even started!
Across Tennessee, colleges and universities are preparing classes and dorms for the 350,000 students who will arrive in August. On the twenty campuses where Tennessee Baptists provide direct Baptist Collegiate Ministry, facilities are being repaired and painted, programs are being developed, and leaders are being prepared for a positive, strategic engagement of college students.
Tennessee Baptist churches are gearing up to receive students into college ministries, to work with BCM in reaching campuses, or to reach out to the many campuses where there is no BCM.
In this amazing opportunity to reach the mission field which is college ministry, there is much work to do.
Baptist Collegiate Ministry strives to disciple the Christian students who arrive on campus, and to mobilize believing students to reach unbelieving students.
BCM connects students to a local church, engages students in missions, and shows students how to live an intentional, missional life. BCM is our mission to the campus: a Tennessee Baptist ministry serving with churches, sent by churches, present on campus for churches, and accountable to Tennessee Baptist churches. While there are other excellent ministries, only BCM has this distinct mission.
One satisfying result of collegiate ministry is in the development of Christian leaders. After 34 years in Tennessee, it’s my joy to see men and women who were shaped by BCM (or BSU, as it was called for many years) leading in Tennessee communities.
- Teresa Smith Ledden from Rogersville jumped into BSU at UT Knoxville. Her experience in BSU student leadership, leading Bible studies, and mission trips shaped her to live out her faith as a teacher for 29 years at Oak Ridge High School.
- Buddy Creech came to Vanderbilt BSU from Chattanooga. His freshman mission trip to New York City was an eye-opening experience, and BSU was a place to grow his faith. Today Buddy is faculty member and pediatric infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, as well as Director – Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program.
- Glenn Turner came to UT Knoxville from Jackson, was active in BSU, served as a journeyman missionary in the Philippines, then returned for a master’s degree from the UT College of Agricultural Sciences. For over 30 years Glenn has been a county extension and 4-H agent in Sevier County.
Each of these three has brought faith to work daily, influencing countless lives through the years, as well as serving as lay leader in a local church. The number of BCM/BSU alumni serving as pastors and missionaries around the world is immense, but the impact of BCM/BSU alumni serving in our Tennessee communities is beyond measure.
August 12 has been designated as Tennessee Baptist Collegiate Day of Prayer.
Through the Cooperative Program and Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, Tennessee Baptists invest generously in Baptist Collegiate Ministry. Local churches and associations from across the state are committed to partnering in this urgent effort.
Would you help us? Invite those in your influence to pray. Pray for our collegiate ministers facing this big ministry task. Pray for thousands of college students to get a vision and urgency for their campus. Pray for churches and associations who faithfully engage the campuses in their local communities. Pray for lost college students. Pray.