Collegiate ministries build bridges between students, churches
By Joe Graham
Georgia Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) builds bridges to the college and university campuses of Georgia. The bridges go from Georgia Baptist churches to the campus and from the campus back to the churches. A BCM is not a church – it is the ministry on campus that represents all Baptist churches in the area. BCM wants every student to find a church home in one of those churches and begin to assume leadership roles there.
BCMs build bridges to lost students on campus – students who might never darken the doorway of a church. Like all missionaries, campus ministers develop strategies to build bridges to reach all the assorted groups and organizations that constitute a college campus. The department builds missional bridges to help students discover how they can live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. The missional call is as close as the room/apartment next door and as far away as the other side of the globe.
BCM builds bridges of fellowship among believers that allow them to find community, encouragement and accountability. The discipleship within a BCM allows new and older believers to develop spiritual disciplines, discover their giftedness, discover the ministry passions God has placed on their hearts and discover what it means to be a disciple who produces disciples.
What does success look like?
Success is found in reaching out on campus, engaging lostness and developing maturing disciples who engage their campus with the gospel. Success is also measured by the number of students who are finding a local Baptist church home and moving into significant leadership roles in that church. BCMs develop leaders who are growing deeper spiritually and who are living out a life of obedience and faithfulness. Long-range success is measured by the number of students who, five years after graduation, are actively engaged in a leadership role in the Kingdom of God. This may take many forms, including serving as full-time, part-time or volunteer ministry leaders, preparing for seminary, assuming missions roles around the world, planting churches wherever their jobs take them, being a deacon or elder, teaching a Life Group, leading a children’s choir, leading a young mothers support group, working with students, etc.
How can Georgia Baptist churches and individual Georgia Baptists connect?
Be aware of the academic calendar and pray for collegians during the challenging parts of their year – when students arrive on campus as well as during mid-term and final exams. Look for ways to make your church and worship “collegiate friendly.” This doesn’t mean catering the entire worship service to college students.
It DOES involve looking for times when it might be appropriate to ask students to pray during worship, give a testimony or share their musical gifts. Students returning home at Christmas can share about their college experience and thank the church for the foundation they received as children and youth. Churches can also work with the BCM to actively welcome new students and students who transfer to campus. Feeding students is a time-proven way to reach out and meet needs.