August and September are often associated with new beginnings. Fall is around the corner. Football kicks off. And a fresh school year starts. For college students in Arkansas, the fall semester represents not just a new year, but due to the work of Arkansas Baptists, many will experience a new life in Christ. In recent weeks churches and Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) across Arkansas have organized hundreds of events (impacting thousands) for the sole purpose of reaching this generation with the Gospel.
“Khalid” is an international student from the Middle East whom the BCM campus minister befriended. Khalid has recently been questioning his Muslim upbringing and expressing curiosity and openness toward the Gospel. This led to great tension with his roommate (also Muslim), leading Khalid to move out, and into deeper relationships with Christians. Perhaps God’s plan is not just to bring Khalid to a new land but to a new life in Christ.
James is a baseball player who transferred to the University of Arkansas at Monticello and was looking for a place to connect. The BCM campus minister, Jeremy, knew James, heard he was coming to campus, and immediately connected with him. James became involved in BCM, joined the leadership team, and quickly discovered he had a purpose on campus even beyond baseball. Already, a football player and a volleyball player have come to faith in Jesus.
“Andrea” is an Arkansas State University freshman from out of state. She is very close to her family and found it difficult to move so far from home. Andrea heard about the BCM, attended an event for freshmen, and immediately expanded her circle of friends. She is visiting churches and using her gifts and abilities to minister to others.
Brad was a football player at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and is currently working on his master’s degree there. Brad has grown in his faith, and as a leader and is now considering a call to ministry. Brad is from Brooklyn, New York. Last year he went on a mission trip with the BCM to New York and God began to give Brad fresh eyes to see the harvest in his hometown.
“Sarah” came to an “elephant-in-the-room” series about God’s design for sexuality at the University of Arkansas BCM. Her initial curiosity led to deeper conversations. Sarah connected with students who helped her with some of her questions, and a deeper conversation later with the campus minister, Ryan. Sarah decidedly responded, “I want to convert to Jesus.”
God is at work on our campuses. Churches have created inroads on campuses by assisting with move-in weekends and joining with campus ministers by pastors speaking at events, providing meals, and partnering in outreach activities. Students are responding, expressing interest in having follow-up conversations about Jesus, and a desire to live for something greater than themselves. Churches are seeing spiritually hungry students gather to grow in community and be sent out to live on mission.
Fall is a time of harvest. It is time to bring it in.