100S OF ARKANSAS COLLEGIANS SHARE THE GOSPEL OCT. 15TH AFTER CRYING OUT TO GOD FOR A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
ACROSS ARKANSAS –What happens when 100s of Millenials from over 10 locations pray for over 20-plus hours (called Haystack Prayer Meetings)? What does it look like when 100s share Christ on their respective college campuses in a 24-hour period (called Engage24)? Five Arkansas Baptist campus ministers share their story.
The writing is on the wall of Ryan Scantling’s office: Since the beginning of the semester, the Conway Baptist campus minister tracked 165 times when one of his students engaged someone with the gospel; one hundred of these he recorded this October. That increase, he said, is a direct result of the Haystack Prayer gathering coupled with the Engage 24 challenge.
“It’s exponentially increased,” said Scantling regarding the upward spike in the graph. They also doubled their evangelism teams from four to eight and now have two new prayer groups meeting Mondays and Thursdays every week.
Fifty students involved in four area churches attended the Ft. Smith gathering Oct. 13 resulting in five commitments to witness and 1.5 hours of two private conversations about how to share the gospel.
“I can lead college students and reach college students, but Millenials (born past 1990-2010) are going to reach Millenials,” said Lee Woodmansee, BCM Campus Minister at University of Arkansas at Ft. Smith.
Woodmansee hopes for future fruit, too. “Our goal was not to have an immediate, quick payoff,” he said. “We want lasting results where students are regularly stepping out in boldness.”
Three University of Arkansas students in Monticello stepped out in boldness. Two baseball players shared Christ with 44 members of their team, said Phillip Slaughter, BCM campus minister. Also, his BCM intern dressed like Superman and witnessed to anyone who asked why he dressed like that.
Slaughter calendared his Haystack date after Engage24—to partner with a statewide student Connect Mission weekend. That brought the numbers up to 180.
“We started praying for the lost in our closest circles,” Slaughter said. “One by one, names began to fill the air through the sound of sobbing voices,” he said. “I heard students crying out ‘Daddy’ while interceding for God to save their fathers.” He called the sound “absolutely heart-breaking and beautiful all at once.”
Diligent, corporate prayer among the Haystack groups stirred up not only evangelistic boldness on various campuses around the state, brokenness for the lost in the hearts of students, but also unity among believers, even among rival schools.
“The most impactful thing for me was to see how mixed the groups were,” said Jared Farley who serves at Henderson State University, adding that the rivalry between Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson sometimes keeps the groups separate.
“The more unity we have, the more that gives the opportunity for other students to see that maybe there’s something to the Christian faith.” That, in itself, is a witness, he said.
Finally, at Southern Arkansas University, 108 students prayed and worshiped for almost two hours Oct. 6th. The week after (Oct. 12-15) the SAU group gathered in the student center.
“Instead of Engage24, we had Engage96 (sharing the gospel for four days),” said Mike Sandusky, BCM SAU minister. Most of these students had never shared the gospel before. “On Monday, they were all scared. By Thursday, they were asking, ‘When can we do this again?’”
Lisa Falknor is the northwest correspondent for the ABN