News, Views & Reviews

Nothing About This Week Is Normal

posted Apr 8, 2020, 2:00 PM by Ginger Bowman

Normally, Holy Week is a flurry of activity for most of our churches: passion plays, Good Friday services, maybe a Passover Seder meal. College gatherings are focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus. Normally this is a week replete with opportunities to share the Gospel.  But nothing about this week is normal. In fact nothing about the last four weeks has been normal. 

There is comfort in remembering that Holy Week for the disciples was not normal. A week that would have normally been a week of family gatherings, feasting, spiritual ritual and renewal would be the strangest and most difficult week of their lives. They would see their leader arrested and tried. They would fear for their own lives, and most would have to come to grips with the fact that they abandoned Jesus when he needed them most. Then they would grieve the loss of the one they had followed and trusted to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  

But in the midst of their dismay and disillusionment Luke tells us: 
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. -Luke 24:1-8 NIV

Let’s remember the words of Jesus this week. Nothing about this week has been normal since He rose from the dead. It’s still the greatest news anyone has ever heard. Even if we have to share it on a cell phone, through social media, or a conference call, let’s share it. The mission is not cancelled. The Gospel is still good news, and there’s a world full of people that need to hear. 

Happy Resurrection Week, friends. 

We are praying for you and your church. As you adjust to these ministry challenges and seek to continue to disciple students know that we are praying for you. If we can help you in any way please contact me, Ginger Bowman, at Find more articles in News, Views & Reviews at

Making Disciples Who Make Disciples

posted Mar 4, 2020, 1:22 PM by Ginger Bowman

Is your ministry making disciples? You might have the best college ministry strategies, weekly worship meetings and events, but if your college ministry isn't making disciples you're missing it. Why come up with something new when Jesus's strategy is still the most effective?

The problem for many of us is that the word "discipleship" comes with a lot of baggage. We have over complicated it for many years, creating systems, classes and strategies for what, in reality, is simple. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul instructs, "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.(ESV)" 

Find a simple process and stick to it. Even if you are volunteering in your college ministry and don't have much time, a simple method of discipleship can transform your ministry. 

1. Start small. Who are the faithful, available and teachable students in your ministry? Invite them to meet with you regularly one on one or in triads. 

2. Keep it simple. Your meetings don't have to be long. Have a short list of questions that you will work through that include sharing:

  • where is God is at work? 
  • what is God saying through scripture that you are reading together? 
  • where is there need for accountability?
3. Focus on the Bible. It is God's Word that transforms the lives of students. Be sure to communicate that being in scripture daily is a priority because of how God uses it in shaping our lives as believers.   
4. Pray together for specific needs and for lost friends. You are teaching your students to pray by praying together. Be specific as you share requests, being sure to pray for lost friends and family members. Prompt them in praying for how they will live out what they are learning as disciples.  

5. Challenge them to repeat the process with someone else. The goal is for students to be able to lead someone else as you are leading them. Keep challenging them to find someone to meet with until they do, then coach them as needed. 

A simple method for discipleship applied consistently changes the culture of your ministry. As more students engage in these relationships, discipleship will be the expectation and the norm. As a result, multiplication will happen naturally. 

Creating Critical Mass

posted Jan 29, 2020, 11:47 AM by Ginger Bowman

 It's never fun to be the only one who shows up to something, especially when you are expecting to be a part of a group. A Sunday morning Bible study class can be awkward when there are only two or three people in the room. It might even be so awkward some decide not to come back.   

How do we create a critical mass of people that makes the group an inviting place to be? Here are a few suggestions: 

Consider a change of venue. Meet in a space that matches the group you have. If you only have a few, a smaller room will feel more like a fit, and will be easier to fill up when your group begins to grow. Consider meeting in a more intimate space like a home or at a coffee shop to get things going. 

Join another group for a while.  Consider joining with another group, like a “Young Adult” group that breaks into smaller affinity groups for discussion and prayer times.  The larger group will help create a more comfortable environment for fellowship while the smaller group is developing deeper relationships.  As the smaller group grows you may want to move to becoming more independent.

Choose carefully. Look for leaders for your group who can make even a small group feel comfortable. College ministry leaders don't have to be professors, but they should be relational.  Their personalities will set the tone for the group you want to grow. 

Show no fear. As a leader, commit to the group no matter what. Don't apologize for there not being more people. Be grateful for who is there and the commitment they have made to show up. You communicate that you value them as an individual and not just as a part of a bigger group.  

Success in college ministry isn't measured by the number of students you have coming, but by whether disciples are being made. Is your ministry model moving students forward in their relationship with Christ? Are students becoming disciples who make disciples? If so, you're on the right track! 

Leading Into 2020

posted Jan 28, 2020, 3:05 PM by Ginger Bowman

A new year has come. In these days of so much distraction, it is easy to let the time slip by and our goals slip away. If we are going to accomplish much for the kingdom this year we must be intentional as we lead in collegiate ministry.

Jesus was intentional. In Mark 1: 38 Jesus says to his disciples, "Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” (CSB)  How will you be intentional about leading your ministry this year?  Here are a few questions to spur your thoughts.
  • What goals have you set for this year? Are they specific?
  • How will you know that you have attained those goals? 
  • How have you communicated with your student leaders or core team what your goals are for this year? 
  • How are you helping students in your ministry own the goals for themselves? 
  • What action steps are you taking to accomplish your ministry goals? 
I pray that as we lead into 2020 together we would make a great impact in our local communities and in our state for the sake of Christ. The 1.5 million college students in our state need us to be intentional this year. 

Ginger Bowman
Church & Campus Consultant
Texas Baptist Collegiate Ministry

Reaching NYC: A Strategy for Urban College Ministry

posted Sep 25, 2019, 3:00 PM by Ginger Bowman

Meet Austin West. Austin, his wife Haley, and their two children Kolbi and Sawyer live in Queens, NYC. God has called their family to partner with local church plants to reach surrounding communities for the gospel. For Austin specifically, this call manifests itself leading out in the strategy and coordination of reaching college students across the entire city.

Working with the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association (MNYBA) Austin developed a strategy centered around engaging campuses and local churches simultaneously. Engaging campuses, Austin creates multiple pathways on and into campus culture otherwise not exposed to the gospel. Engaging local churches, Austin trains, equips, and supports the local church in reaching their campuses and students within their community. The vision for this strategy is to utilize the local church to create a gospel reproducing presence on every campus in NYC (over 100) so that every student in NYC (over 1,000,000) will encounter the gospel.

This vision is already taking root. In just two years Austin connected to 8 local churches, 10 campuses, 3 outreach organizations, and engaged over 2,000 students. Recognizing this momentum, local churches partnered to launch a monthly worship service for college students in June and saw 30 in attendance! The opportunity to see God move in the lives of college students is tremendous for the church in NYC and for many it has started with a connection to the MNYBA and Austin. The ministry has grown so rapidly that Austin is following a call January 1, 2020 to work full time as a Collegiate Church Mobilizer.

Are you taking notes? Urban areas in our state and around the U.S. can benefit from the ministry strategy that Austin and the MNYBA have developed. The campus is a strategic connecting point for local churches to engage this generation. Building relationships and meeting needs on campus can build bridges to local churches where students live and work.  

We're excited about what God is doing through Austin's ministry in Queens. We asked him what impactful things those interested in his ministry could do to help. Here is his response: 

Pray - God moves in incredible ways through faithful prayer (Mark 11:22-24)
Give - Austin is currently fundraising in order to be full time in January. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
Go - Come see what God is doing among church plants and students for yourself! (Mathew 28:19-20)

Want more info on how to partner with Austin contact Ginger Bowman at
Connect with us on our Facebook page here.

Making the Most of First Connections

posted Aug 29, 2019, 2:51 PM by Ginger Bowman   [ updated Aug 30, 2019, 9:14 AM ]

New students are on campus! As new students visit your ministry and events, how do you follow up with them? Having a well defined plan for follow up is crucial to making long lasting connections. 

Keep it clear & simple. 
There are so many different ways to collect contacts now. From QR codes to Google forms, Survey Monkey and a plethora of sign up apps. No more deciphering bad handwriting on a 3x5 card! But the 3x5 card can still be effective, and is handy when your internet connection is bad. Whatever you do, make it simple and easy to sign up.

Collect key information that will make it easy to follow up with students later: name, phone number, and maybe email. Give students options for what they are most interested in. Do they want more info about the church or college ministry? Would they like to know more about who Jesus is? Would they like to study the Bible? Do they need a ride to church? Quick check boxes are an easy way for students to share their interests and give those following up a place to start the next conversation.   

Consider the context. 
If you're collecting information from students at a big event on campus, it's likely not many students will want to fill out anything lengthy. Use a QR code they can scan quickly on their phone to take them to the sign up form. As an incentive, consider collecting information in conjunction with a prize drawing (gift cards, thumb drives, tv, etc.). 

Commit to follow up. 
Don't let those contacts grow cold! Follow up right away with students to know if they are interested in further contact from your church. Have students help make those connections the next day if possible. Personal is better.  If you can, make a visit, or a phone call so that students can be greeted person to person. We know some students will only reply to text, but make that your last resort, and be sure it's not just a group text. Remember personal is better!  

What is your plan for follow up with new students? We would love to hear your creative ideas! Let us know on our Facebook page here.

Unpacking the Summer

posted Aug 13, 2019, 2:08 PM by Ginger Bowman

Whether it was South Asia or South Texas, a week or full summer, students are returning to your ministry with experiences they will need to unpack. They often come home to the same routine but feel as if they are not the same. Help them to process what they are feeling and what they have experienced by listening and asking good questions.  

Need some help? The Go Now Missions staff has prepared some great material to help you with debriefing. Find the pdf document here.  If you need extra help feel free to call the Go Now office at 817.277.4077.

Be sure to celebrate the summer by giving them opportunities to share with other students at gatherings or over coffee. Help them think through what would be the best stories from their summer to share with a group. Testimonies of fellow students are the best way to challenge other students to serve in the coming year. 

May we recommend... King of the Campus

posted Jun 11, 2019, 1:58 PM by Ginger Bowman

If you're looking for a resource to place in the hands of those freshmen who are heading off to campus this fall, you might want to consider King of the Campus by Stephen Lutz.  There are several resources out there for freshmen students.  Many of them have great content warning students of some of the pitfalls and problems they will face when they arrive at college.  However, Lutz challenges students to go beyond "staying Christian" and pursue God and all that He has for them in this new season of life.   
Here's a bit of the challenge:  

Amid the opportunity, life and vitality of college, there is a better way. Different from a list of "don'ts" that leave you bored and alone on Friday night, we can have an active lifethat is engaged with the world around us- one that is not characterized by fear, but by faith, freedom, and joy. We do have a positive agenda, and it's a purpose and a mission that is far greater than any campus website can promise you. What is this purpose? The kingdom of God.

 King of the Campus is a discipleship handbook for the college years, covering the basics as well as spiritual disciplines and practices for a growing faith.  Lutz calls students to re-examine the Christian life.  He calls them to a vibrant life of following Jesus.  Students are asked to move beyond "vampire Christianity" to a faith that is active daily.  Lutz does a great job explaining holiness and the reason to pursue it.  We are to move beyond behaviorism to follow Christ out of our relationship with him.  

The usual challenges of college life, partying, sex, cheating and the like are also covered well.  Lutz addresses the notion that students can have different "lives" apart from one another, noting that eventually all of those "lives" come together to make you who you really are.  He challenges students to live lives of integrity and authenticity.  King of the Campus is written with this generation of college students in mind.  It well addresses the mindsets and challenges of this generation of students.  It would be a great book to share with students heading to campus for the first time.  Or use it in a retreat or study setting.  Each chapter ends with scripture to study and discussion questions that relate to the subject matter. 

The Key to Fruitful Ministry

posted Apr 4, 2019, 12:13 PM by Ginger Bowman

There's no hidden secret for successful college ministry. That's good news, and bad news. Even when we have been walking with Christ for a long time we can get caught up in thinking there might be something we could do, some strategy we could employ, that would guarantee great growth in our ministries and our churches. Notice the "we"s in that last sentence.

All of the books and resources on ministry have their place and value. However, I often need to be reminded of the words of Jesus in John 15:5, and maybe today you do too: 
"I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me."  John 15:5 CSB

No secret formula, just abiding in Christ. That is what produces fruit, in our lives and ultimately in our ministries. We can do a lot of things, but we cannot bear kingdom fruit without him. Nothing of spiritual significance that you are wanting to happen in your ministry will happen without Him. So put down the "how to" book and pick up your Bible. Seek His face, and trust him for the increase.  

Let's be sure to lead students to do the same. They are watching and following our lead. Do they see us planning more than they see us praying? Are we inviting them to join us in praying and seeking the Lord? What could God do in our ministries and in the lives of our students if our primary goal was to abide in Him? 

Student Leaders & the Local Church

posted Jan 23, 2019, 12:06 PM by Ginger Bowman

We have heard all of the statistics about students who leave their faith behind when they go to college, but what about the ones who didn’t? As I have read applications and gotten to know the students serving on this year’s Lead Team (pictured above), I have taken note of the impact that the local church has had on many of these student leaders. What made the difference for the ones who stay connected to their faith and the church? One common thread among these leaders is that they served, and continue to do so. 

Here are some of the things they listed that they have done in their local churches: 
- VBS leader    -Sound and media    -Childcare worker     -Social media team   - Youth sponsor   -worship band    -Sunday school teacher    -Hospitality team   -Student music ministry section leader   -Mission trip member   -Long range planning   -Youth Worship Band    -preached some Sundays when my pastor was out   -parking   -Handbell director assistant   -planned youth group activities     -youth small group leader  

In big and small ways these students have played an active role in their local churches. They know that being a part of the body of Christ means more than being a spectator. They are invested, and because they are invested they have seen God at work in and through their local church. As we begin a new year, how can we invite more students not to just show up for our college ministry activities, but to find a place to serve and invest?  

Ginger Bowman 
Specialist, Church College Ministry & Student Leadership 
Texas Baptist Collegiate Ministry 

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