St. Clair Association helps start Bible study at Jefferson State Community Collegecomment (0)
May 8, 2014
By Anna Keller
When Jefferson State Community College opened a campus in Pell City in 2006, members of St. Clair Baptist Association started brainstorming ways they could minister at the school. But they kept hitting dead ends, said Ben Chandler, who serves as St. Clair Association’s director of missions.
“Most students are commuters, so there was no dorm, and nothing seemed to transpire as far as a ministry,” he said. “We kept praying, and one day I came into my office and opened my email and there was an email from a Jeff State professor who wondered if the association would be involved as she got a Bible study started at the school.”
That professor was Christina Dick, who started teaching art at the college in 2011. She was inspired to get a Bible study started after realizing the school was ripe with missions opportunities. So when her pastor led a session on spiritual gifts in fall 2013, she felt it was time to act on getting a ministry put in place at Jefferson State.
“In art there’s a lot of opportunity to talk about religious things, and I quickly learned that students didn’t know Bible stories — big things like David and Goliath and Noah,” she said. “My classes were turning into Sunday School classes. This was a missions field, but I didn’t know what to do with it.”
Dick’s pastor connected her with Chandler, and together the two began putting plans in place for a Bible study at the school.
As Chandler and Dick were working to launch the study, freshman Spanish education major Anna Arrington was searching for a similar outlet.
“I visited some friends at Auburn, and they were talking about how awesome their campus ministry was,” Arrington said. “I wondered why we couldn’t have that at Jeff State, and when I asked the campus director I was given a sheet to fill out like you would when you wanted to start a club.”
Arrington was connected to Dick and Chandler, and she became the study’s student ambassador.
Getting the word out
To publicize the Bible study to the student population, the group hosted a breakfast in January at the start of the spring semester, giving out food as well as information about the Bible study. That, along with word-of-mouth, helped to gather a strong group for the study’s first semester — with 12 to 20 attending any given week. The group met during lunchtime, and meals were provided by Woman’s Missionary Union groups from nearby churches. The group studied the book “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson.
Arrington said group members became close and already have plans for service projects and a fall retreat.
“At community college, you lack the community you get from living on campus at a university,” she said. “It’s given us a sense of community, and it’s encouraging to know there are other believers at the school trying to serve Christ where they are. We can help each other and have people who provide a way to do that.”
The second semester of the ministry will kick off May 27 with the summer semester.