Baptist and Reflector
CLARKSVILLE — More than 350 Austin Peay State University faculty and staff participated in a cookout provided by the APSU Baptist Collegiate Ministries and the Cumberland Baptist Association on July 19.
Held in the University Center plaza in the middle of campus, the event was an opportunity for faculty and staff to come out and enjoy a free lunch and fellowship together.
It also was an opportunity to let faculty and staff know how much they are appreciated, especially at a time when the campus is about to be full of students and the fall semester in full swing again, said Stacy Murphree, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board collegiate ministry specialist at Austin Peay.
This is the fourth year for the event, a partnership of the association and the BCM.
“We partner with our local churches in reaching students, but it is always exciting, too, to see so many churches come together to reach out to faculty and staff as well. We simply could not do this large scale of an event without partnering together,” she said.
This year more than 30 volunteers from seven different local churches participated in preparing and serving during the event.
“Our annual staff and faculty lunch in July builds on the BCM reputation of serving people in the love of Christ. Churches come together and build bridges for a positive witness with a great free meal. We look forward to the event each July,” said Rick Stevens, director of missions for Cumberland Baptist Association.
In addition to receiving lunch, each faculty and staff member also receives a devotional book. Many of these devotional books are provided by the local Clarksville LifeWay Christian Store.
“As I’ve talked with many staff I have learned that they keep these books in their desk to read and often look forward to that just as much as they do the food,” Murphree related.
As Tennessee Baptists minister on colleges and universities across our state, students lives are being impacted, but this event also helps to highlight the need to recognize the university as a community made up of, not just students, but faculty and staff as well, she added.
“Healthy ministry to a university campus does not only include students. It also encompasses appropriate and effective ministry outreach to university faculty and staff. Stacy Murphree’s work on campus is always an example of one of our strategic values — becoming essential citizens of our university communities,” says Bill Choate, TBMB Collegiate Ministry Coordinator.
The Austin Peay BCM partners in various other ways with local churches from the Cumberland Baptist Association. Recently BCM students served on a team of 55 people from about 10 different churches in the association on a mission trip to Nicaragua. Local churches help provide weekly meals as well as partner with a variety of outreach projects on campus.
“Austin Peay is an important part of our community in Clarksville. From the associational standpoint, our churches value partnering together with the BCM to touch the lives of students and faculty on the campus. Together we have a chance to share the hope of Jesus with the lives that come through APSU each year,” Stevens said.
During the coming year the BCM already has plans to partner with local churches on several outreach projects. They also plan to continue the yearly summer outreach to faculty and staff.
“It is a blessing to serve with so many churches in our association who make reaching our college and university campuses with the gospel a priority,” Murphree said.