Department: Center for Collegiate Ministry, Go Now Missions and Texas BSM
Staffers: Bruce McGowan - State BSM Director; Joyce Ashcraft - Ministry and Regional Coordinator; Brenda Sanders - Missions Consultant; Robert Hooker - Evangelism Consultant; Ginger Bowman - Church Life Consultant; Katie Gravens - Leadership Consultant; Rick Spencer/Nick Howard/John Pearce - Regional Coordinators and Ministry Assistants: Peggy Moulden, Cindy Zoller and Becky Barnes
Mission: To engage the 1.5 million college students in Texas to follow Christ and transform the world. We support BSM’s on over 115 campuses in Texas prioritizing evangelism, discipleship, missions, leadership and church life. We also encourage and support local Baptist churches to engage the college campuses in their area.
How many college students are on Texas campuses?
What are the different parts/aspects of your ministry?
There are several, but here are some of the ones that really stick out to us:
- Incarnational philosophy to ministry - engaging students in their cultural environment.
- Creating a "harvest culture" - discipleship and evangelism are two sides of the same coin. Spiritual growth is fueled by reaching the lost and reaching the lost is fueled by spiritual growth. God's heart is for the non-believer, for Jesus came "to seek and to save the lost."
- Developing growing disciples involves relationally connecting students to God and to the nonbeliever. BSM staff is present to equip students for the ministry to our campus, community and world.
- Entry Points for the non-believer - a variety of events are planned to connect Christian students with non-believers in a natural, culturally sensitive way. The purpose: to allow students the opportunity to hear the Gospel and follow Jesus. Examples include but not limited to free luncheons, 72 hours of prayer, solarium cards, information tables on campus, recreation events and conversational English classes.
What is a short history of Texas BSMs? Go Now Missions?
In 1918, seven Baylor students covenanted to pray secretly together for a campus ministry. These seven were not surprised by the vote in December of 1919 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas to begin a Student Department.
Go Now Missions formerly called Texas BSU Summer Missions began in 1946 by students Bo Baker, Jackie Robinson, Howard Butt, and Reiji Hoshizaki (plus adults Woodson Armes, pastor of Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, William Hall Preston from the Sunday School Board in Nashville, and Dr. Howard Director of Texas BSU). This came right after the conclusion of WWII. The Youth Led Revival Movement began in Texas Baptist life with many returning veterans and others traveling the state of Texas leading large worship events with the purpose of winning people to Christ. The leaders of the movement included Dr. W.F. Howard who was the State BSU Director were invited by Hawaii Baptists to come share the Gospel in Hawaii using college students. This began Texas BSM Summer Missions, which in 2000 was changed to Go Now Missions. No longer did we send students just during the summer, but year round.
How many BSMs do you represent? Student missionaries?
115 BSMs with full-time, part-time, paid and volunteer directors. 473 Student missionaries. A total of 948 students serve throughout the year in short term missions through both Go Now and other avenues.
Are there any Texas campuses you see a need for a BSM, but does not currently have one?
Right now, we currently know of at least 35
How important is the BSM in a student's college life?
BSM enables a Christian student an opportunity for spiritual growth, community and engaging the campus culture with the Gospel. For the non-Christian BSM offers an open, non-threatening environment to explore the meaning of the Christian faith. For student testimonials visit www.texasfreshmen.com
How important are missions in a student's college life?
Missions opportunities either weekly, an entire summer or semester are critical to the discipleship process in a student's life. Learning to deal with believers and non-believers alike in a different cultural context stretches the students' vision of God's work in the world.
What events are available to college students?
On the local campus a wide variety of options are available for students: retreats, leadership training, mission trips, small groups, weekly outreach luncheons, welcome week events for new students, international ministry, weekday missions, etc.
Here's a list of some of our larger events:
- Leadership Summit: January 4-7, 2015
- Truett Seminary Abide Prayer conference: January 23-24, 2014 at Highland Lake Encampment
- Go Now Missions Discovery Weekend: February 6-8, 2015 at FBC Midlothian
What event is coming up soon? Why did you feel this particular event is important?
Engage24 is coming up this fall. This is an opportunity for college students to share their faith on 10.14.14. Training, prayer and engaging one's friends with the Gospel are all a part of Engage24. The first three weeks of school are critical for any BSM. Students set their patterns in these weeks and BSM's are spending time and energy to make connections with all students. Engage24 provides a great opportunity for BSM leaders and students to make these connections. More info on Engage24.
What is one of the most encouraging stories you've heard from one of your students, BSM directors or student missionaries?
One quick story, the story of Sam captures what Texas BSM is about!
Weekly, students at UTA have training on how to share the Gospel with fellow students. The training is not just classroom learning but actually going on campus and praying for divine appointments with students in order to share Christ. Two students met Sam on campus and shared Christ with Sam who became a believer. Sam was baptized this past year at FBC Irving. Her mother, through the influence of Sam's transformed life became a believer this summer and was baptized at FBC Irving this month.
You can read about her story on Sam's blog.
What has been one of the most successful things in your BSMs?
Creating a culture of obeying the Great Commandment - love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and the Great Commission - go and make disciples.
What is one thing you say to all your BSM directors? Student missionaries?
Our target group on the college campuses of Texas is the 95% of students who are not following Christ. If this is your target group, God will provide the "laborers for the Harvest" from among the 5%. Yes, you do want to involve as many Christian students as possible; however, real purpose for a BSM student, a Christian student, is found in "making disciples of all the nations." That is our vision, our goal and we trust God to raise up laborers on every campus in Texas.