This article was written by Thomas Guinee, Assistant Campus Minister at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry.
Over the course of an average college career, a student will have 16 breaks that can be used to serve in mission opportunities. When used strategically, these opportunities can be tied together to create a pipeline that offers further mobilization opportunities.
Through a partnership with Jeremy Aylett, North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary and Arkansas native, we recently took a team of 11 students from our Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at the University of Arkansas to serve alongside church planters in the greater San Diego area. Over the course of a week, we partnered with five different church plants serving various parts of the area in strategic contextualized ministry.
Participating in hands-on labor projects, students were able to serve three local churches doing projects including donations sorting for a church that works directly with refugees, clearing out and setting up new children’s ministry spaces, as well as laying down turf for an outdoor worship space.
Students also participated in evangelistic work around the city of Oceanside, sharing the Gospel with dozens of individuals over the course of an afternoon at apartment complexes, city parks, and a local college campus.
By the end of the week, 7 of the 11 students indicated a willingness to return the following summer to serve through NAMB’s “GenSend” program, a program that offers college students a chance to spend their summer break serving directly alongside local church plants.
When speaking one on one with these students, most of them indicated that they had witnessed a particular aspect of a church plant that aligned with some or many of their God given passions. Seeing this, they knew they wanted to return and spend an entire summer serving.
One of these students interested in returning, freshman Morgan Schleppi, shared, “I would love to go back and partner with Pillar Church because of what their church does to bless military families. I recognize that there are so many people that were not raised in homes hearing the Gospel like I did. I’ve grown up watching my dad support friends that he has in the military. It’s a challenging thing for many families but I’ve been able to see how a family loving God together can bring them closer even when they are apart physically.”
She went on to say, “It was amazing to see how this church lived in their community with their parents’ night out. In San Diego God taught me not to stick with what’s comfortable and I think GenSend would be a great opportunity for me to explore that more.”
We are so blessed to continue to partner with incredible missionaries all across the nation and the world. Through these incredible partnerships, we can continue to raise the banner for the Great Commission calling in the lives of the next generation.