Talon Brandon serves as the assistant campus minister at the University of Arkansas Baptist Collegiate Ministry in Fayetteville.
I remember my first day on a college campus as a student. I took a different route than some and found myself being a 23-year-old freshman. Not only that, but just three months prior I had committed my life to Christ. I did not grow up in the church and here I was about to embark as a new believer on the largest college campus in the state. It was a scary feeling because I didn’t quite know how I would navigate college life as a Christian. I had always anticipated college through the lens of the world. Luckily my church encouraged me to check out the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) on campus.
I cannot express how important the BCM was to my spiritual formation. The leadership of Cole Penick and Lynn Loyd was instrumental in shaping me into the leader and discipler I am today. Lynn was the director at the time and Cole was an assistant who became director my senior year. I loved their commitment to us being involved in the local church. One verse that really stuck out as I was navigating college life was 2 Timothy 2:2.
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” – 2 Tim 2:2 (ESV)
In this Paul is showing us that not only does he expect Timothy to learn from Paul but to also teach others. But not only to teach others but teach others who also have the capacity to teach. This understanding of discipleship is what really drove me to follow in Cole and Lynn’s footsteps and work at the BCM. I love the ability to teach and train other college students so as they graduate college and move away, they understand how to serve their churches well by discipling others.
I had an opportunity in one of my first years on staff to take a group of six students on a spring-break mission trip to San Diego to share the Gospel on the San Diego State University Campus. Cameron was a sophomore that year. We had the chance to share the Gospel with non-believers every day. Cameron and some other students came back and quickly started sharing the Gospel on our campus as well. That summer Cameron served at a summer camp, and I remember receiving a call one day that he really felt called to full time ministry.
Over the next few years, he displayed leadership and continued in a desire to learn and teach others. During his senior year he committed to serving his church and as he graduated started leading the entire youth group. Now Cameron is attending seminary and teaching middle school and high school students week in and week out. Cameron is living out 2 Timothy 2:2 and that is what drives me as I work with college students.