This week’s DHD focuses on an important Christian ministry in Oklahoma. What has been known as Baptist Student Union (BSU) is now identified as Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM). I recently heard a report about the many BCMs across Oklahoma and how they are making a necessary difference at state colleges and universities.
Here are six reasons why I appreciate the work of BSU/BCM in Oklahoma. Thank you for reading!
- Great history and reputation
I was not involved in BCM during my college years. There wasn’t one at my college, but I did experience similar Christian mentoring and discipleship that BCM provides.
The college years or the early adulthood life stage could be considered the greatest molding period of a person’s life. This is the time when a person tries to figure out life and their own place in the world. Whom they allow to have influence and help shape their worldview will have a lasting effect.
For years, God has used BCM. There are a multitude of people who can provide testimony of how BCM shaped their lives. In fact, Cris Lowery, Oklahoma state BCM director, shared a story of a church leader who told him, “BSU saved my life.” Lowery gives other examples of the impact BCM has had on people.
You may have grandparents who could testify to the impact of a BSU in their lives. I was told recently that the BSU/BCM at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah is celebrating 100 years. What a great milestone of encouraging college students to live for Christ!
- Adoh’s story
This is one of my favorite stories I have ever written for the Messenger. A few years ago, someone told me about Andrew Doherty, who is known as “Adoh” at OU. Adoh is a track athlete who is from Massachusetts and knew nothing about Christianity when he arrived in Norman.
I wrote two stories on Adoh. The first one was published in January 2019, how as a distance runner he came to know the Lord during his summer training in Colorado Springs, got involved with the OU BCM and started leading a weekly Bible study, soon after he made a profession of faith in Christ.
The second story shares how the Bible study among track athletes grew and Adoh continued to grow in his spiritual walk while also becoming a triathlete competing for the Olympics.
Adoh shared how BCM is a big part of how he grew in the faith.
“The BCM is an incredible resource,” he said. “It provides community which is one of the pillars of living the Christian life. The BCM is a place where I can meet people outside of my ‘bubble.’ Being a student-athlete, you put yourself in a bubble. I choose to come (to BCM meetings) because this is true Christian community. I meet people who help me grow. They hold me accountable.”
- Ian’s testimony
Here’s the greatest thing I heard this week and what prompted me to write about BCM. A young man named Ian shared his testimony, starting with his freshman year at OSU. He made friends with other students who were involved with BCM and invited Ian to participate. The friendships grew to the point that Ian joined a group of students that did mission work in Baton Rouge, La.
Ian admitted he didn’t know much about God when the BCM friendships started, and much of his early college life involved partying most nights. It wasn’t until he went to Baton Rouge that someone shared the Gospel with Ian, and this clicked with Ian. He made a profession of faith in Christ on the mission trip.
Now, Ian is going to be on staff at the BCM at OSU. How powerful of a story is this?! Someone who started college not knowing the Lord has now graduated and is sharing Christ with other students.
This is a powerful example of how BCM is impacting college students.
- More ‘pipeline’ examples
Just like Ian, BCM helps other students grow in Christ and find their calling in ministry. Many can share a testimony similar to Ian’s how they are serving in ministry because of the impact of BCM in their lives. This could be considered how the ministry “pipeline” works. Just like how summer camp at Falls Creek helps young people get involved in mission and ministry work, BCM is considered the next step of this growing process.
Another story I heard this week involved a young woman who did go to Falls Creek, then got involved in BCM at Southeastern Oklahoma State in Durant, then worked on the Southeastern BCM staff, and now she and her husband are going to serve as journeymen missionaries with the International Mission Board (IMB).
I have heard that Oklahoma is well represented among current IMB missionaries. Thousands of Oklahomans have served and are currently serving through IMB. BCM is a major part of this “missionary pipeline” in Oklahoma.
- BCM influences more than students
In the report on BCM I heard this week, college students are not the only ones BCM directors focus on serving and try to connect with on campus. Administration and faculty members are also on the list.
BCM wants to serve all campus personnel, and there are many deep friendships made on many campuses. Why is this important? First, these relationships could last longer than a typical four-year college experience. College staff and faculty members have long standing positions at the many Oklahoma colleges and universities. BCM directors and staff members look for ways to get involved with campus life in order to serve staff and faculty and help them grow in Christ.
The second reason involves the threat of college Christian ministries not allowed on campus. This is an unfortunate growing influence across the country. It very well may happen soon in Oklahoma. As I heard it said, if such meetings happen to decide removing BCM on a campus, it’s important to have friendships with people who sit in such meetings.
- BCM directors
I’m going to elaborate on this DHD point in a later article, but many BCM directors have been serving in this important ministry for years. One in particular, Mike Barnett has been involved in BCM for 40 years.
Mike is currently serving at OU Health and Science in downtown Oklahoma City. I plan to write about Mike soon, but consider the impact this BCM has on future medical personnel. God has used Mike in a powerful way to impact frontline people involved in the current pandemic.
And Mike is one of many who have touch other lives of influence. Praise God for BCM directors! Consider this an overdue and needed shout out.