Christian knew he wanted to join the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) as soon as he stepped on campus. His father had been a college minister, and Christian already knew the benefits of having a strong Christian community in college.
Once he got to campus, he began attending the BSM’s weekly worship nights. “It gave me a time to put away all my studies and really just worship,” Christian explained.
When Christian’s first roommate left ETBU, Christian felt convicted that he had never talked to his roommate about Christ. However, with members of his BSM, he prayed that God would give him opportunities to share his faith and the Gospel with his next roommate.
At the beginning of the spring semester, Greg moved in and became Christian’s new roommate. At the outset, Christian invited him to church, and he agreed. He also invited Greg to BSM, which Greg also agreed to attend.
One night, Greg shared his faith story with Christian, but Christian noticed that Greg never mentioned a point where Jesus saved him. Later that evening, Christian had an opportunity to ask Greg if he had ever received Jesus for his salvation. Greg told him that he had not. So, with Greg’s permission, Christian began to use Scripture to explain our need for a Savior and how we can receive Him by faith.
That night, Greg decided to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation. But, before he prayed, Greg and Christian called up some other ETBU friends and told them what had been happening. They joined in and watched over Facetime as Greg prayed to receive Jesus’ salvation.
A month later, Greg was baptized at Mobberly Baptist Church, in Marshall. That summer, Greg went back to his hometown, where he served the youth in his church at North Park Baptist Church in Sherman.
Bridging the gap
David Griffin, the BSM director, explained the importance of having a BSM on a Christian campus. “We are one of the major ways students can grow in their faith while at ETBU,” Griffin said, “and honestly, that is our main focus, to disciple leaders to reach others for Christ.”
Griffin added, “The BSM works in concert with ETBU. Through attending chapel, taking Bible classes, participating in a sports team, having opportunities for service and missions, and through opportunities with BSM, students at ETBU are able to engage in a holistic education that not only engages their minds, but also grows them in their relationships with Jesus.”
This year was Griffin’s first as the BSM director at ETBU. Before, he was the director of the BSM at Sam Houston State University. In total, the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program supports BSM on 114 college campuses around Texas. Partnerships with local churches, associations, and generous donors make this work possible.
Each BSM is unique, as they each have to meet the needs of the university they serve and each of them is seeking to fulfill the Great Commission in their context. One way BSM engages students in that work is through taking collegiate students to serve through missions. Two of the biggest opportunities for the BSM to connect these opportunities with their students is with Go Now Missions and Beach Reach.
“Students learn so much on these trips. They have the opportunity to step out on faith and depend on God in big ways,” Griffin said. “When they experience the movement of God in those circumstances, they are often impacted in powerful ways.”
Looking to the future
Griffin is grateful to be a part of the work on the ETBU campus. BSM directors are missionaries that devote their lives to discipling and ministering to college students.
“I am so thankful to be a missionary with Texas Baptists,” Griffin said. “They have sent us to places of abundant need and we have all had the opportunity to see God do amazing things in the lives of our students.”
This fall, Griffin hopes to see even more stories like Christian and Greg's. With the encouragement and mentorship that the BSM and ETBU provides, Christian students are being given the resources they need to grow and to lead missional lifestyles.
Across the state, BSM gives college students a place to worship and grow as believers. It gives students a firm foundation to go out and share the Gospel with others on their campus.
Incoming college students can enter their information here to receive personalized information about how to get involved with a BSM on their future college campus.