EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an expanded article based on the 2020 Cooperative Program Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information, please visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp.
Discipling college students so they can live on mission for God wherever life takes them is both the goal of and the every-day life of Paul Lewis, director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO).
“It’s something God has called me to and given me a passion for,” Lewis said. “I meet personally every week with our guy leaders, in groups of three or four… This is such a pivotal time in students’ life, time for them to make huge decisions, everything from their career path, marriage and family, ministry, everything, and it all starts with their personal relationship with God.”
With the help of area churches, the UCO BCM offers a free lunch on Wednesdays, which draws about 125 students. A different group of about 130 students participate in Thursday evening worship. And last November, 250 students showed for a major Thanksgiving feast: a dozen turkeys and all the fixin’s. From the large group activities, leadership students are discovered, 52 this school year. They receive one-on-one and small group leadership training and go on mission trips.
Last month, the Baptist Messenger spotlighted Oklahoma BCMs ministering to college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lewis and his BCM team have regularly provided more than 100 lunches each week to student who remained in the dorms on campus.
“Our awesome student leadership came up with this idea,” Lewis said. “We have 51 students involved in leadership, and they wanted to do this to keep loving on our community and taking food to them.”
Paul Lewis and his wife of nine years, Emily, are the parents of three young sons, with the newest born this April. When he’s not involved with college students, the BCM director said, “I hang with my family.”
He owns perhaps 400 vinyl record albums, dating from James Taylor in the 1960s to “new stuff,” Lewis said. “I’ve always liked music.”
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at www.oklahomabaptists.org/CP