DURANT—Oklahoma Baptists, in partnership with Southeastern Oklahoma State University and several local churches and community leaders, broke ground on a new Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) building at Southeastern on March 26.

SE BCM Building Committee members Shelly Key, Thomas Seidel, Garry McNeill, Todd Fisher, Jeremy Parham, Tim Bowen, and Shane Knight

A ministry of Oklahoma Baptists, BCM aims to advance the gospel on 39 college campuses across Oklahoma. BCM seeks to help students and campus leaders follow Jesus, with the desire to impact every life on every campus and beyond. In the 2021-2022 school year, Oklahoma BCMs had positive interactions with approximately 40,000 college students across the state.

The proposed BCM facility is approximately 11,500 square feet and features several functional spaces. The multipurpose worship center and banquet hall seats up to 400 people. The facility also boasts a kitchen, an office suite, an educational center, a lounge area and a scenic balcony.

Tommy Kramer, Bart Rustin, Betty Wheeler, Paul Buntz, Cris Lowery, Rhonda Richards, and Shelly Key pose with their shovels.

Shelly Key, vice president for enrollment management at Southeastern, spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony about the longtime relationship between BCM and the university.

“Baptist Collegiate Ministries and Southeastern have been proud partners for over 80 years,” Key said, “and the university looks forward to continuing this relationship with the addition of this new facility on campus. BCM and Southeastern share the same goal: helping our students be successful in life now and in the future. The new facilities will enhance the services already being provided by the BCM.”

Trey Hedrick addresses the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Trey Hedrick, Southeastern BCM director, acknowledged that the work of BCM impacting lives will continue with or without a building, but he spoke of the many benefits a physical building would bring to the ministry. He noted that having a building would allow new students to get connected easier, provide stability so students no longer must ask each week where they will be meeting. The new building also will enable Hedrick to spend more time on campus as he currently rents an office space off campus.

“It’s important for us to have a place where students can come and know this is a safe place,” said Todd Fisher, executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists. “They know it’s a positive place; it’s a place where they’re going to be told the truth, and it’s a place where they can have relationships.”

Current Southeastern student Will Sandmann shares a testimony of the BCM’s impact on his life.

The fundraising efforts for the new facility have been ongoing for several years but began gaining momentum in 2019. Though the COVID-19 pandemic and recent inflation have impacted many people’s ability to give, new donations continue to roll in. However, more is still needed to reach the final goal and begin construction.

Garry McNeill, pastor of Durant, First, announced at the ceremony, “Today, the amount we need to finish our facility is $1,149,697.00. To God be the glory, that number is almost $900,000.00 less than it was three and a half weeks ago. I just want to say thank you to the Lord. I want to say thank you to everyone that has labored with us in this process.”

Cris Lowery, BCM director for Oklahoma Baptists, reported construction will begin as soon as the fundraising is complete.

“Even though we haven’t reached our financial goal completely, it’s exciting to see the project moving forward,” Lowery said. “Our prayer would be to reach that goal in order to begin construction sometime this summer.”

To contribute to the Southeastern BCM building campaign, visit oklahomabaptists.org/sosu. Donations are tax deductible.