This article was written by Jeremy Woodall. Jeremy serves on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Monticello(UAM) as the campus minister for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM). Jeremy is in his fifth year at UAM BCM where he has the pleasure to serve with his wife Becca, daughter Willow, sons Cash and Bear, a great assistant director C.J., and great student leaders.
One of the goals of each BCM campus ministry is to develop next-generation leaders. At the UAM BCM, one of the ways this is accomplished is by investing in the lives of students and equipping and challenging them to become student leaders. For the student leader, there is a further investment and with this often comes help with discovering and developing a certain call on their lives. Occasionally, we are able to utilize these student leaders in a more specific role and bring them on staff as an assistant campus minister.
The assistant campus minister has been a vital part of BCM ministry here in Arkansas. Over half of our ministries have at least a part-time assistant that helps minister to their campus. In this position, they are able to further explore their call and continue to be equipped for the ministry the Lord would call them to.
One of our former BCM assistants at UAM BCM is Austin West. Austin came to UAM from a school in Texas to play baseball. After baseball didn’t work out, Austin was pursued and invested in by the campus minister, Tracy Reed. Austin says of Tracy that he, “Loved me when I wasn’t lovable.” Reed left the BCM after Austin’s freshman year and the new campus minister, Phillip Slaughter, invested in Austin, gave him some leadership responsibilities, and in Austin’s words, “really helped refine God’s call on my life.”
While serving as the assistant from 2013 to 2015, Austin helped lead a mission trip for the BCM to Long Island, New York. This helped fan the flame of a passion and interest in potentially returning to New York City (NYC) one day and doing ministry.
In 2016, Austin, his wife Haley, and little girl, Kolbi, moved to Queens, New York to begin answering God’s call. Currently, Austin serves as the Collegiate Church Mobilizer for the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association. Austin has started and serves as director of Commons NYC. Commons NYC is an organization working in partnership with the Metro New York Baptist Association to connect college students to a healthy community.
They do this by intentionally engaging churches, campuses, and campus ministries to combine the resources of all three into one pathway for students to feel loved and supported and to encounter Gospel truth. They currently have eight team members working with over 20 organizations to create Gospel reproducing cultures for students on campuses across NYC. They are also working with local churches to equip, model, and support their ownership of collegiate evangelism and discipleship.
Austin, Haley, and Kolbi have since welcomed sons, Sawyer and Hunter, to their family and continue to serve college students and churches in NYC. Austin and Haley were trained, equipped, and discipled as leaders through their BCM at UAM. Austin and Haley agree that their time serving as leaders with the BCM helped to prepare them for the work that the Lord has had for them to do in NYC.
If you would like to follow along on the Wests journey in NYC or want to connect and partner, @commonsnyc @aus10.west, and @haleykat09 are all Instagrams that can be followed to connect further!