By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
CLARKSVILLE — In her own words, Alli McCarty was just “going through life” when she realized something “was missing.”
Through the Baptist Campus Ministry program on the campus of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, McCarty soon discovered the missing element in her life was Jesus Christ.
McCarty professed faith in Christ as her Savior and has been active ever since, sharing her faith and testimony with other students on campus.
McCarty’s story is featured in one of the recently released Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions videos. BCMs across Tennessee receive funding through GOTM.
BCMs serve two primary purposes on college campuses, observed Stacy Murphree, BCM director at Austin Peay.
There are students who come to campus who already know Christ, she noted. “We just want to be there to provide Christian community for them — to be a place where they can take ownership of their faith and just grow in Christ with other students,” she continued.
On the other hand, she added, “our university is a huge mission field” with many students who do not know Christ as Savior.
Murphree said the desire of BCM directors across the state is “to make sure those students don’t fall through the cracks and that they have a chance to be engaged with the gospel message while they are in college.”
Murphree cited McCarty as an example of a student whose life was changed because of BCM.
“She came to college not knowing Christ and was impacted by students who were willing to share their faith on the college campus,” she noted. Now, other lives are being changed because “Alli is willing to share her faith,” Murphree added.
“We are making a difference in the lives of so many students who came to college with no plan of God intervening in their life in any way but He did and now they are followers of Christ making disciples wherever they may go in life,” she said.
Bill Choate, BCM director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, noted GOTM funds enable the convention to employ campus missionaries who are developed as ministers, mobilized to reach students, and then multiply ministry efforts on campuses.
GOTM funding also supports two teams of college students who minister during the summer across Tennessee. “These teams are incubators for developing future leaders for the kingdom,” Choate said.
Vickie Anderson, executive director of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union, noted that because Tennessee Baptists give through the Golden Offering, 24 collegiate ministries are supported across the state.
“Lives are being impacted and forever changed as students are coming to know Christ, growing in their relationship with Him, learning to witness to and disciple others, developing and strengthening leadership skills, serving and ministering to others on the campus, in the community and beyond,” Anderson observed.
She also noted that BCM is “very personal for me because of the impact the BCM (then BSU) had on my life when I was a student at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville.
“Today many of my BSU friends serve as pastors, church staff, deacons, denominational leaders, missionaries, or strong lay leaders in their churches because of those at the BSU who poured into our lives and gave us opportunities to grow and serve.”