When Joe Osteen is asked for an update on the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at The University of Texas at Tyler, his response is, “we are doing more of the same thing - telling students about Jesus and making disciples who make disciples.”
As an encouragement to his fellow BSM Directors at a dinner on Sunday evening of Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Waco, Osteen reminded his colleagues the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Having served in the position for the past 12 years, he has seen the importance of being faithful to invest in students and teach them how to make new disciples year after year.
At the UT Tyler BSM this semester, 12 students have made professions of faith. He attributes the growth to the Lord working through BSM students who are learning what it looks like to make disciples.
Boto Joseph also spoke at the dinner, representing the partnership established several years ago between Texas BSM and the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association. The impact of the partnership was evident as BSM Directors around the room raised their hands showing those who have gone or have sent students to New York to work with the church-starting movement.
“Thank you, Texas BSM, for your partnership in spreading the Gospel,” Joseph said.
Joseph planted Jackson Heights Community Church this April in Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the country. He shared about a friendship built between Charlie, a student from UT Austin serving in New York this summer, and Samir, an immigrant from Nepal.
Samir had previous experience with church when he lived in Houston, and thought he was not interested in more involvement. When he moved to Queens four months ago, he met Charlie and started coming to Tuesday night gatherings with Jackson Heights Community Church.
“We talked over many cups of chai,” Joseph said. “One night, in our apartment, I pulled out my guitar and we sat and worshipped Jesus in Nepali and Hindi. After worship, Samir said, ‘I have meditated in the names of many gods. Tonight I have experienced a deep peace I have never felt before. I want to know this Jesus.’”
Soon afterwards, Samir gave his life to Christ and was baptized.
“Not only do we share in our harvest but we share in our laborers,”Joseph said.
Toward the end of the evening, Joseph led the group in worship, singing “God is so good” in four languages - English, Hindi, Tibetan and Nepali. This was just a small representation of the people groups being reached through the work of Texas BSMs serving on college campuses in Texas, through partnerships in New York and through trips around the world with Go Now missions.