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.
During the Freshman Experience, first-year students attending Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman learn to have consistent time with God every day, to memorize Scripture and to develop a lifestyle of evangelism and disciple-making. That’s not all.
“Meeting freshmen is super challenging but it’s a lot of fun,” said Wyatt Hebblethwaite, who works with first-year students in BCM at OU. “There are the first week pizza bashes, volleyball nights and video game tournaments have been really successful.”
Hebblethwaite came to OU to study business, but his education plans changed in the middle of his college experience.
“Two years later, I realized I wasn’t very passionate about business,” he said. “I was living in the dorm, meeting freshmen. College ministry was all I ever talked about. I decided to go for it.”
Freshmen make up two percent of the nation’s population, “but they’re some of the most impactful. They’re the next leaders,” Hebblethwaite continued. “We get as many as we can of our (BCM) students to meet one on one, and train them to train our younger students.”
It’s a daunting task. BCM staff members swarm out campus-wide to meet, connect with students and lead to Jesus as many as possible of OU’s 28,000 students. About 60 BCM students are in focused leadership training, designed to give them a Christ-centered template for the rest of their life.
“We train the leaders to meet with freshman and sophomore students and build relationships that lead to discipleship,” said Hebblethwaite, who’s been on the OU BCM staff since the fall after his May 2018 graduation.
In addition to his work with freshmen, Hebblethwaite designed the BCM’s website, does website maintenance and is the “resident IT guy.” He’s been married to Rachael since September 2018.
Sometimes downtime is needed. “I do a lot of oil painting – landscapes; I’m now deep into the Grand Canyon – and leathercrafting,” Hebblethwaite said. Even more important, “I’m learning to serve my wife.”
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