COOKEVILLE — The story of Paul Stouder is one that comes full circle through the Tennessee Tech Baptist Collegiate Ministry, said Ben Maddox, Tech BCM minister.
As a freshman, Stouder visited the BCM for an outdoor worship service. He thought it would be a way to blend into the crowd while still learning about Christianity.
After that service, Stouder found community with other students who connected him with Stevens Street Baptist Church. There — and at the BCM — Stouder heard the gospel. In 2014, he was saved and baptized.
While at the BCM from 2013-2017, Stouder had opportunities to serve. He was student president and worship leader. He also interned at local churches.
Stouder’s experiences led to him feeling a call to ministry — a call that God uniquely aligned with the needs of another Tech BCM alum, pastor Tim Frank of First Baptist Church, Carthage.
Frank was a Tech BCM alum and reached out to Maddox to ask if he had anyone in mind who could fill a versatile role in the church.
“Tim, I’ve got the guy for you,” Maddox said.
Maddox connected Stouder and Frank, and today, Stouder is the associate pastor of FBC Carthage. In August, Stouder was ordained, and Maddox was part of the ordination service.
Stouder credits the BCM with many of his formative life experiences.
“Through the BCM, I came to Christ. I learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. I learned how to share my faith. I met my wife. I experienced my calling to ministry and learned what it meant to lead, to mentor, to coach people,” he said.
The BCM is a place they can make their faith their own in community with other believers.
“For many people, it’s the first time in their life where they’re really having to decide for themselves to follow Jesus,” Stouder said. “Trying to do that apart from local community, both the BCM and the local church, from my experience, it’s nearly impossible,” Stouder said.
Ben Maddox said Stouder’s full circle story is gas in his tank.
“It’s just really special to see somebody’s life being transformed by the gospel and seeing the fact that his life will have the legacy of impacting many many others with the gospel,” he said. “That’s fun. That’s what it’s all about for me.
This year, Maddox is praying for the salvation of a student named Aiden who had never heard the gospel or owned a Bible. Now, he’s reading through John with Maddox.
Through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, Tennessee Baptists can support the BCM and the mission field of the college campus.
“The BCM will lay such a foundation. It will train you. It will equip you. It will surround you with relationships that will set you up for a lifetime of following Jesus well,” Stouder said. B&R