Sometimes, we must just step back and watch while God does remarkable things before our eyes. Like the Psalmists, who regularly called on the people of God to recount the mighty acts of God, our generation of Baptists has seen God move in remarkable ways. As the children of Israel were given the Promised Land, so our God has provided for the work of Oklahoma Baptists.
When we think of mission fields, we often think of faraway places like China, India, or Muslim nations—or we think of the great cities of America. Not wrong-headed observations; yet, I would propose that one of the greatest mission fields on Earth is the university campus. Yes, I know I have said this many times, but it is because of the magnitude of the opportunities to shape our nation and world from these campuses.
Our Christian worldview is lost in a wasteland of contrary ideas, and this is why Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCMs) are so important and valuable. These ministries are lighthouses in the darkness on campuses across the state.
In the last year, God has remarkably provided unprecedented access to students for Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Oklahoma’s two largest university campuses. Let me share the exciting news.
One of the keys for a Baptist Collegiate Ministry is location, location, location. Being near the dorms and apartments on campus is of high value for easy access to the ministry building by students.
For many years, the BCM or (BSU for us oldies) at the University of Oklahoma was located at the front door of the University. In fact, the building was next to the OU president’s home. Sounds good, but student housing, including much of the Greek housing, is on the opposite side of campus.
In addition, the building has been in disrepair and unusable for the last several years. The cost to repair was significant. The building was too small for the number of students involved and was located a long distance from where the large concentration of students live.
Last year, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) was given the opportunity to sell our prime campus property in Norman to the University. In exchange, we were able to lease property directly across from the dorms and also where many new dorms are projected to be built.
In the contract, the BGCO was additionally given the ability to purchase this property at a fixed price that does not exceed the amount received for the property. The plans for the purchase of this property are already in place and will be completed.
Amazingly, within the same year, we were given a similar opportunity at Oklahoma State University. Our BCM property in Stillwater was across the street from Theta Pond and at the front door of the University. However, student housing is on the opposite side of the University. Projected new dorms and apartments are being built on the other side of the campus.
Just as at OU, our OSU building was old and too small to accommodate the ministry. So, God provided us with the ability to sell our property and receive new property directly across the street from the new dorms and apartments.
This is exactly the place the ministry needs to be located for easy access for students. In addition, the BGCO received a gift of $1.75 million that will go toward the construction of a new BCM building.
All of this may seem like just another real estate transaction, but I assure you, these actions position our collegiate ministries in prime locations on the campuses of OU and OSU for reaching and ministering to students. These transactions also provide the opportunity to replace facilities that are outdated and too small with new buildings that will carry the BCMs into a new era of Kingdom ministry at Oklahoma’s two largest universities.
The process of designing the new facilities has begun and will require us to raise funds to build these buildings. After seeing the Hand of God so dramatically provide prime locations, I am confident He will provide the funding needed.
So like the Psalmist, I call upon us to rejoice and remember the mighty acts of God. To God be the Glory!