MBCollegiate Ministries Flood with Hungry Students, Student Leaders Rise Up

Stories of revival on college campuses have been quietly rippling through the college ministry world since the Asbury revival last February. As the fall semester gets underway, college ministries around the country are seeing record turnouts of students and a deep hunger and thirst for God on their campuses. Many MBCollegiate ministries are experiencing the same.

In just the first six weeks of the semester, Campus Missionaries report that they and their student leaders have had over 1,025 spiritual conversations with students and have presented the gospel over 350 times. Eight students on six different campuses have come to know Christ already.

Students Connect During Welcome Week

Welcome Week, the name for the first week of class (or “Week of Welcome” on some campuses), is usually prime time for campus ministries to make their presence known and connect with new students. Christian Challenge at Missouri Western connected with over 40 new students during Welcome Week. Nine new freshmen came to their bonfire, despite the 100-degree weather. Campus Missionary Paul Damery shares,

“This year we intentionally planned fewer of our own events so that we could go to campus for campus kick-off events (there was at least 1 every day). We still had a bonfire, a sand volleyball event, and our own tailgate before the first home football, but the gaps between these events were all filled with campus-planned activities. We’ve made quite a few contacts, and we’re praying the Lord allows us a receptive spirit among the freshmen and new students as we work to get them involved.”

The Missouri State BSU garnered over 100 new contacts, fifty of whom expressed interest in the BSU. At their first gathering, 22 showed up. Missouri S&T BSU saw 47 students come to the first worship night, twelve of whom were new. At the BSU’s beginning of the semester dinners, Jerome Stockert saw the largest turnout he’s seen yet in his four years as a Campus Missionary at University of Central Missouri.

The Lighthouse at Northwest Missouri State is also seeing record attendance at their weekly events. They had 117 students at their first weekly worship gathering, which is more than double what they averaged last year, and more than Campus Missionary Jason Yarnell has ever seen in his twenty plus years there. Yarnell attributes this high engagement, at least in part, to the initiative his student leaders have taken to invite students.

“We had a kiosk on campus and one of our seniors was going out of his way to invite students to our weekly dinner that night,” Yarnell says. “He estimated that at least 30 people showed up that he talked to, all people who had never once considered attending one of our events. Some of our student leaders have been going above and beyond in inviting new students and then connecting with them.”

Students Launch Bible Studies

Since the first week of class, ministries have followed up with students and launched Bible study groups. At North Central Missouri College, both of the BSU’s Bible study sessions are led by student leaders and were full of new students the first week. Campus Missionary Christina Boatright celebrates, “The first group lasted over an hour with continuous conversations, questions, thoughts, etc.! The second group took so many notes and stayed the rest of the evening for our outreach ice cream event.”

Boatright says several of the students regularly attending Bible studies are unchurched, unbelieving students. “More and more they are coming over [to the BSU] asking questions, talking through pain, and opening up to the gospel,” she says.

Clint Mahan started an athlete study at Lincoln University on Monday nights, something he had been specifically praying about this summer. The first week, he had eight guys and three gals in attendance. Paul Damery is excited about the life groups Christian Challenge is offering MO West students this year. They have two guy’s groups, one guy’s athlete group, and two girls’ groups. He says, “These leaders are working to strategically schedule and place their life groups at times that allow them to connect with new students.”

Students Take Initiative

MBCollegiate students are taking ownership in exciting and encouraging ways. Jerome Stockert says that his student leaders have done well at connecting with new students and setting up one-on-one times to get to know them. Student leaders have even gotten to share the gospel in those meetings.

Stockert also shares that, “A group of students, on their own, spent an afternoon walking around the campus asking students how they might pray for them. Through the encounters several spiritual conversations happened as well as several gospel presentations.” In just the first couple weeks, Stockert reports that he and his students presented the gospel 17 times.

Stedman Valentine at Southwest Baptist University has seen an increase in the number of students who want to join a D-group, a group of 3-5 students who shepherd one another to grow in Christlike maturity. He says more students want to join “because some of the D-Group servants have been pouring into them throughout the summer or in the short time they have been at SBU.”

Scott Westfall says he is seeing more students take ownership of The Bridge at Mizzou. “It’s been so nice to have them call me ahead of a service or event and ask what they can help with. God is raising up leaders,” he celebrates.

Student leaders are rising to the occasion at the Missouri State BSU as well. Campus Missionary Chris Wilson says the ministry is predominantly student-led this year. He celebrates that “every one of our student leaders is actively involved in a local church.”

Trista Arnold, a student leader with The Bridge Collegiate, is spearheading a novel endeavor at Missouri Valley. Knowing that party life is abundantly popular on campus, Arnold has made it her mission to provide a Friday night alternative for her peers. She’s been working hard to plan a full semester-long lineup of fun Friday night hangout activities. Campus Missionary Marita Avilez says, “This was all her idea, and she has been working hard to get it started! I’m excited to see what comes of it and the friendships that develop.”

Students Bearing Fruit

Students at the Truman State BSU are bearing noticeable fruit this fall. Campus Missionary Greg Xander rejoices that his students have been seeking to engage other students and live compelling, godly lives that demand a gospel explanation. As a result, students are coming to events, going to church with them, connecting, getting involved, and asking questions. He says,

“I love the work our students are doing to be in God’s Word, to be together, to serve and pray and keep being faithful in who they are on Saturday night as much as on Sunday morning… There are roots growing in their walk and lives of faith they are trying to live out. That their character is matching their spirituality, and that is probably THE most rewarding thing we are seeing in this fall. God is honoring their faithfulness through wonderful opportunities to keep being lights to their friends.”

Students Hungry for the Gospel

Collegiate Impact in Kansas City, which has staff and/or student led ministries on eight campuses, has collected contact cards from 185 students on their five staff-led campuses through tabling and outreach events. Their staff and student leaders have had 23 gospel appointments and 70 one-on-one discipleship meetings.

Travis Hamm, Executive Director of Collegiate Impact, sees a marked shift in students now as opposed to 15 years ago. “When I first started… apathy is the word I would use to describe students’ attitudes toward spirituality. That is not the word that I would use with this group. I think there is an interest, a curiosity, that this generation of students has… they’re legitimately curious about some of these bigger questions of life that previous generation of students weren’t as hungry for.”

Students Hear Hope

God is on the move. He’s stirring the hearts of college students, making them aware of the deep thirst within. As they wonder what might fill the emptiness within, MBCollegiate ministries are right there cultivating community, studying the Word, providing meals, handing out bubbles (yes, you read that right), serving needs, playing kickball, and opening their buildings, all the while giving a reason for the hope that they have in Jesus Christ and trusting that, whether they get to see the fruit or not, His Word does not return void.

This article is also published in the MBC Pathway.


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