CHURCHES AND BCM COLLEGE STUDENTS: SPRING BREAK’S PERFECT MATCH
In 2016, an Arkansas State University (ASU) student went on a spring break mission trip that changed his future. Today, ASU graduate Jordin Crow serves as an assistant full-time pastor with the North American Mission Board at Living Hope Church, Medford, Oregon, the same place he went as a college student. Crow is a former Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) intern at ASU.
This past March, four ASU BCM students chose Living Hope Church as their spring break destination too. The team worked on a garden, cleaned out a college recreation center, and helped out in an elementary school in hopes to help build relationships for this church plant to be able to share the Gospel. “They were great, very well-trained, willing to do anything and everything,” Crow said. With close Arkansas ties, he’s depending on teams from the Natural State saying, “I’ll do anything to keep up that relationship with the BCM and any others interested to come and help us out and help us gain wisdom. We can’t do it without you all, and we don’t want to.”
BCM Conway campus minister Ryan Scantling took a team of 25 from six different Arkansas universities to Winnipeg, Canada where they had about 200 gospel conversations with other university students and worked with a network of churches from the Canadian National Baptist Convention and City Light Church, a church on a college campus. This is their fifth year to go, and their ministry has grown from engaging students at the University of Manitoba to two other campuses in different parts of the city: University of Winnipeg and Red River College. In an anonymous debriefing email, one student wrote about another student named Kevin: “I got to give a clear gospel presentation, and he was blown away. ‘Wait, so Jesus never did anything wrong, but he suffered for me?’ he asked. He wanted a Bible and to start going to church. He did not make a decision, but clearly started to think about who Christ was and what that meant for him.”
Some BCMs went multi-generational by combining with local churches. “We had 34 in attendance,” said Southern Arkansas University Tech BCM campus minister Joyce Tillery, who took nine students to unite with First Baptist Church Eagle Mills. “Their ages ranged from 67-7 years old! That’s the cool part to me,” Tillery said. The team served with Global Maritime Ministry, a Christian outreach to seafarers since 1962 in Reserve, Louisiana, a port south of New Orleans. “We met people from 12 different countries without needing a passport,” said National Park College and College of the Ouachitas BCM campus minister Michael Clayton. His team of 6 shared the gospel 21 times. After a conversation with a Filipino, one student said, “I’m ready to go to the Philippines to share the Gospel.” “What they learned and experienced may have a greater impact for the Gospel not just in the United States but around the world,” Clayton said.
A Russellville mission team simultaneously worked with four church planters in San Diego, California for two days then they transitioned to Tijuana, Mexico, where they did children’s ministry and evangelism for two days. Jay Ham, missions pastor at First Baptist Church (FBC) Russellville, noted that along with block parties and other work, over 400 attended an Easter egg hunt in San Diego. Four students from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and five from Arkansas Tech University (ATU) partnered with 35 others from FBC. Going on mission trips “gives us a glimpse of what God is doing across the world,” said an ATU sophomore who asked to remain anonymous because of future mission trips overseas. That student also said, “You get a view of what God is doing in another context.” One team member shared the Gospel at a block party in Tijuana while UCA student Francisco Gomez Jr. translated. This was Gomez’s fourth spring break mission trip with FBC Russellville.