By Bill Choate
Collegiate Ministries Director, TBC
In the next few weeks, many of our fine young adults will leave home to go off to college. Moving off to live and learn on a university campus is an important step in growing toward adulthood. Tennessee Baptists continue to invest much in providing Baptist Collegiate Ministry on our campuses. BCM is a ministry of our churches — ministry done with, by, and for local Baptist churches. BCM is one of those things we do best together.
Why do Tennessee Baptists use Cooperative Program and Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions funds to provide collegiate ministers and BCM centers across Tennessee?
- Because Tennessee Baptist churches already have begun a good work in thousands of students going off to college each year and those students must be challenged to continue their growth through a life of discipleship, evangelism, and missions.
- Because Christian students going off to college must connect with a local church in their college community. They need to be part of a multigenerational congregation for weekly growth, discipleship, worship, encouragement, and leadership development. BCM provides that bridge between campus and church.
- Because a high percentage of the 340,000 college students in Tennessee do not know Jesus. College students are the least religious age group in American culture. However, while in college they are more open to the gospel than they may be later in life. Christian students must be mobilized on campus to reach those who do not know Jesus.
- Because we have an extraordinary opportunity to reach international and ethnic students. In Tennessee 17,000 college students identify as Hispanic or Asian. An additional 8,000 are foreign students, most of whom will return to their home country after their studies.
- Because tomorrow’s leaders, thinkers, and trendsetters are in our colleges and universities and can be influenced by the gospel today.
- Because Baptist Collegiate Ministry is a lab for learning how to reach young adults living at the cutting edge of our culture. Like the Athens of Paul’s day, college culture is at the same time heavily unchurched or even atheistic, and yet open to an authentic gospel. We are training future church leaders to reach their world.
As the students you know and love move toward college, pray for them, encourage them to be involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministry, pray for your local campus, and pray for our efforts together to reach and disciple Tennessee’s college and university students.