I have often said that one of the largest mission fields in America is the university campus. Thousands of Oklahomans will spend four to six years on a university campus. Some of them come from our Baptist churches and move to college with a robust faith, but by far the majority of these young people attend college with no active faith or faith background.

College students often have a mindset to break from parental standards and explore new areas of “freedom.” For many of these students, drinking, drugs and sexual experimentation mark their journeys. On most university campuses in Oklahoma, students are bombarded with liberal ideas that directly contradict the views of their conservative communities and parents.

While all of this strikes deep concerns in the hearts of Christian parents, and well it should, there is a lighthouse on our college campuses. These lighthouses are places of refuge and opportunities for young people to find truth in the midst of so much adulterated “truth” passing as the newest ideas for success.

Indeed, these beachheads for biblical truth stand as light in the darkness. They are the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM), which are located on almost every college and university campus in Oklahoma. These ministries exist because of your church’s gifts through the Cooperative Program.

The BCMs are evangelistic ministries deeply embedded in campus life. From these ministries, students and staff seek to bring the light of the Gospel into dorms, classrooms and campus activities. They are also places for Christian young people to develop their walks with Christ, lifelong friendships with fellow believers and learn to become instruments of the Gospel on their campuses and beyond.

This is why the BCM is the largest financial commitment in the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma section of the Cooperative Program allocations each year. Oklahoma Baptists have long seen these ministries as vital to reaching the next generation with the Gospel and discipleship.

This is also why provision of adequate facilities for BCM ministries is so important. Just this month, we announced that the “Sowing a Legacy” fundraising campaign had reached its goal for a new beautiful facility on the University of Oklahoma’s campus that is strategically located across from the dorms.

In the near future, we will launch campaigns for Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. At OSU, we will begin the campaign with a completely debt-free property across from the dorms and new apartments as well as $1.85 million toward the goal of $5.2 million. At Southeastern, we will seek to raise $1.5 million for a new BCM building that has a prime location adjacent to the campus.

We are thankful for the generosity of OU alumni and friends, and we will soon break ground for the new building on campus. Now is the time for OSU alums and friends to step to the forefront to provide a facility to match the one at their sister university. Let Bedlam giving begin! I am convinced Southeastern friends will not be left behind.

Building facilities to house ministry at one of the most significant mission fields in Oklahoma is worthy of our best efforts. Thousands of people testify that their lives were changed through the ministry of BCMs (BSU for us old timers). We will build these facilities for a new generation whose lives will be transformed at a BCM and prepare them for a lifetime of service and ministry in the local church.