State’s Baptist Campus Ministries have ‘immense missions field’ among studentscomment (0)
October 3, 2013
By Grace Thornton
Brant Bonds isn’t just being dramatic — his life really would look a whole lot different if it wasn’t for Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM).
For starters, he wouldn’t have met his wife, Allison, at a BCM student week at Ridgecrest in North Carolina.
But he also likely wouldn’t have grown in his walk with God the way he did, or develop a sense of calling to missions — or move his family to Brazil.
“Baptist Campus Ministries has had a huge impact on my life and will forever hold a special place in my heart,” said Bonds, who was part of the BCM at Auburn University during his time there as a student. “During my college years, the BCM helped me grow tremendously in my walk with Christ through its discipleship and evangelism focuses and its emphasis on the importance of being involved in a local church.”
BCM also grew a strong love for missions in Bonds’ heart. He served as a student summer missionary to western Canada, and during his time there God clarified his call to ministry, Bonds said. After he graduated from Auburn, he enrolled at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham.
“While there, I began to think on the big impact BCM had on my life and how the college campus is such an immense missions field,” Bonds said. “I sensed God calling me into campus ministry.”
He served nearly a decade total as the associate campus minister at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, then at Auburn University before feeling a tug toward the international missions field.
“God would have had to call me away from BCM ministry because I love it so much and because college campuses are such large and important missions fields. And that is what He did,” Bonds said.
Steve Thompson, campus minister at Auburn for the past 17 years, said Bonds is one of many students who have found that BCM “provided an opportunity to grapple with faith and come to an understanding of their own personal faith.”
“There are many students who have then gone on to serve faithfully in their chosen vocations, some of which were Christian vocations,” said Thompson, who served 11 years as campus minister at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) before moving to Auburn.
Mike Nuss, director of the office of collegiate and student ministries for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said BCM is a “perfect picture of the Cooperative Program (CP) at work in Alabama.”
“Gifts from Alabama Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program give every church the ability to minister on one of Alabama’s greatest missions fields — the college and university campus,” Nuss said.
Thompson agreed, noting that “the CP is our only lifeline, the only mechanism to fund campus ministry personnel and student centers” in Alabama.
It’s a fact he tried to keep in front of his sons as they grew up in a family serving in a CP-funded capacity.
“Any time I have had an opportunity to share at a church (about BCM’s impact), I’ve tried to take one of them with me,” Thompson said. “I wanted to help them visualize how we’re funded and who it is that’s funding us so we can be appreciative of the sacrificial giving of so many people across Alabama.”
His son Blaine said he got that message loud and clear. He saw how important BCM was and thus the funding that kept it going.
“Growing up with my dad and around that culture, it came to light how important the college experience is … it represents the first time a student is outside their parents’ house and at a crossroads to choose to go one way or another,” he said. “BCM is a really good way of helping students stay grounded in an impressionable part of their life.”
Now as a student at UAB, Blaine Thompson is experiencing that firsthand.
“It has made a really, really big impact on my life,” he said. “Through BCM I was exposed to domestic and overseas missions, and that opened doors to what I believe is God’s calling for my life,” he said. “I feel like I’m being called to a career overseas.”
BCM helped him at a time when he was “kind of finding my own faith,” he said, noting that the relationships he’s built and emphasis on church involvement has helped guide him through his time in college.
Bonds asked for prayer for BCMs and their campus ministries “as they are salt and light for Jesus on college campuses.”
“God uses BCMs in a mighty way to reach students for Christ,” he said.
For more information, visit www.onemissionstudents.org.