News, Views & Reviews

Engaging Students: Opportunity Fair

posted Sep 20, 2018, 1:08 PM by Ginger Bowman

This week Jordan Whittington, College Minister at First Baptist Church in College Station, shares a great strategy for engaging students in the life of the church.

Sunday we held our 2nd Annual Opportunity Fair. This is a great chance for students to hear about the many ways that they can connect and serve. The fair happens during our Sunday morning College Group (our largest weekly gathering time). We provide breakfast to be enjoyed while student leaders involved in the various ministry areas share about their involvement. We divide our areas of service into three spheres: Serve our Campus, Serve our Community, and Serve our Church.

This year we had the following tables: Small Groups, Preschool/Children, Youth, Bless our Campus, Freshman Team, Neighborhood Missions, Worship & Praise Team, Orchestra/Choir, Creative Arts, and Food Pantry. Each table has a student ready to share about the works of that team and how students can participate. Our hope is for each student in our ministry to be involved weekly in a small group, actively participate in our church body, and to choose an area to serve weekly (alongside devotional faithfulness and relationally evangelizing). 

After hearing leaders share about each of the ministry opportunities we allow the students to visit the tables of their choosing to learn more or to sign up. Last year was our first attempt at an opportunity fair. Many students checked multiple boxes of areas they were interested in, however, few took the next step of plugging in. This year we are transitioning to a ticket system, encouraging students to choose wisely how they will spend themselves. Each student received 3 “tickets” (cards they are to write their name, cell, and email on) to place at the opportunities they are most interested in. Our hope is by limiting our selections we will increase our participation.

The Harvest Catch 22

posted Aug 30, 2018, 2:32 PM by Ginger Bowman

Campuses all over our state are coming back to life this week as students begin a new year of school. We're excited about their return. We're hopeful that we can impact their lives this year, but are we confident? Jesus says to the disciples in John 4:35,  "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (NIV). 

Jesus tells us there is a harvest. Do we believe him? Unfortunately many in our churches do not. When someone comes to Christ they are astonished. Decisions for Christ should be expected because we trust that what the Lord of the Harvest has told us is true. When did we start believing the lie of the enemy that no one wants to hear, or that no one will say "yes"? 

Why would you go to work in a harvest when you don't believe the harvest exists? This is the  harvest catch 22.  Jesus say to the disciples, "I will make you fishers of men" because he knew there would be men who would want to follow Him. We must lead students to believe his words. There is a harvest. 

We lead students to believe in the harvest by showing them the harvest. Many students don't believe there is a harvest because they have never seen it. Take students with you to share the gospel and be sure you ask for a response. Sharing without asking for a response sends the subtle message that we assume someone will say "no." They might say "no," but they might say "yes." Jesus said so. 

Do you believe there is a harvest? Before we can lead students to believe there is a harvest we must believe it ourselves. If you are honest with yourself, do you believe there is a harvest?  Take Jesus at his word, and confidently share the gospel with others. Your confidence will be contagious. 

If you need some helps, check out this great resource on gospel appointments. and the book Breaking the Huddle, which we review here.   

Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page here. 

Ministry Toolbox: Breaking the Huddle

posted Aug 30, 2018, 2:13 PM by Ginger Bowman

Is your church a huddled community, a witnessing community or a conversion community? 
How do you move an inward focused group to become an outward focused group? In Breaking the Huddle, Don Everts, Doug Schaupp and Val Gordon accurately assess the culture of a huddled community and how such a community can become a place where conversions are not the exception but the norm. These witnessing communities "actively embrace God movements." 

Breaking the Huddle builds on the five thresholds of conversion identified by Everts and Schaupp in the book, I Once Was Lost. These strategies can lead members to engage in relational evangelism as they begin to see outreach as a natural product of discipleship. This book is an invaluable resource not only for college ministry groups in churches and campuses but also for churches in general as we seek to lead our churches to become the church on mission in our communities.   

Breaking the Huddle, Don Everts, Doug Schaupp, Val Gordon.  InterVarsity Press, 2016.
I Once Was Lost, Don Everts & Doug Schaupp, InterVarsity Press Books, 2008. 
Find Breaking the Huddle and I Once Was Lost  on Amazon. 

4 Things to Do Now to Jump Start Your Fall Ministry

posted Aug 6, 2018, 1:36 PM by Texas BSM ‎(Baptist Student Ministry)‎

Enjoy soaking up the lazy days of summer, but don't forget that the school year starts in just a few weeks. The start of the fall semester is the most critically strategic time to reach students. Here are four things to do now that will help your ministry year get off to a great start! 

1. Have a year long plan in place. You don’t have to know every detail, but have a plan. Students will want to follow you if they know where you are going.  Keep it simple and clear. How will they grow? What will they be a part of?

2. Recruit volunteers now. Both students and adult leaders can play an important role in reaching out to new students. Cast vision for who you want to reach this year. Ask them to join you in that mission, then train and prepare them for outreach. 

3. Pray for the work ahead. Involve your students, volunteers and your church in praying for the fall semester and new students coming to your local campus. Have prayer gatherings, send prayer reminders and add specific requests to churchprayer lists. 

4. Be aware of current opportunities. Students are coming to campus for preview days, registration, etc. There may be openings right now to interact with incoming freshmen. Call your local BSM Director or the campus student life office to ask about any ways your church could serve incoming freshmen. Remember to always follow campus protocol to insure your church continues to have a good relationship with your local campus. 

What do you do in the summer to jump start the fall semester? Tell us on our Facebook page

Using Gospel Appointments to Reach Students

posted May 14, 2018, 3:23 PM by Ginger Bowman

Gospel Appointments

Need help connecting with the students in your community? We can't assume that students today know anything about Jesus, or the 
church. The best way to help them understand is to explain it to them, intentionally.

Gospel appointments are a simple and effective way to connect with students in any context who are not yet believers. As the name suggests, " it’s a planned time to get to know someone and share the gospel personally." Paul & David Worcester and BCNet have designed a great website with all of the information you need to train students to share through gospel appointments. For the full resource go to

Life on Life. It's Important.

posted May 14, 2018, 3:20 PM by Ginger Bowman

In 2018 America time is a more precious commodity than money. We just don't have enough of it. We prioritize tasks and use "work arounds" to get things done. College ministry is built on relationships, and relationships take time. There is no "work around" for that. Here's why it's so important.  

College students need individuals not institutions. No longer do students trust the institution of the church just because it is the church. They need to see the church in action, individuals living out the call of Christ in community. They need to see the church being the church. This cannot happen at one weekly meeting.  

College students need models not instructors.Don't tell them; show them. They can find all of the information they need on Google. They need someone to model how to walk with Jesus through the ups and downs of daily life. As Paul said, "follow me as I follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1)." 

College students need the freedom to ask real questions. No one asks a stranger their most pressing life questions. They ask someone they trust. Trust only comes in relationship. Many students are looking for someone to confide in, someone they can trust to ask those life questions. Earn the right to listen to them by investing your time with them. 

If you lead a large group you cannot spend quality time with every student. You will need to enlist others to help. But you must invest in some. Students are watching. There is no substitute for life on life ministry with college students. So, clear your calendar and jump in with both feet. It's important.

What Happens After Spring Break?

posted Mar 15, 2018, 2:26 PM by Ginger Bowman   [ updated Mar 15, 2018, 2:27 PM ]

This week students from across the state will engage people with the gospel through spring break mission projects. They will be bold in sharing for this one week. What happens on mission could transform the way they live their lives if we are careful to help them connect the dots. 

How can you communicate that the mission exists beyond an event? Here are a few thoughts: 

Missions is not projects but people.  The people students encountered on mission are living out their own lives as usual. Hopefully there was a plan in place to follow up with them after the week was over.  If it involves your students, hold them accountable to that follow up.  If it doesn't, be sure that they are aware that there is follow up from someone, that the people they met are real people who matter to God every day. Make a plan to pray for the people they ministered to during the week.  

The mission is for here too.  Several BSMs and churches have come back from the mission field and implemented similar strategies in their own locations.  Whether it's free rides from the late night hangouts or engaging international students in a new way, help students implement the things they learned in their home context. Being on mission can happen wherever you are, and a mission trip can jump start new ministry in your local context.   

Boldness is needed wherever you go.  This week will be the first time some students have ever shared their faith with someone. The mission environment creates a sense of urgency and fosters boldness.  What could happen if your students brought back that same urgency to their local campus?  Encourage students to be bold on their own campus, to see those they encounter each day with fresh eyes. People on their campus need Jesus too, and the urgency to proclaim the gospel is the same wherever we go.  

Students Lead in 2018

posted Jan 17, 2018, 10:09 AM by Ginger Bowman

Last week student leaders from across the state of Texas met together for the State Lead Team Winter Summit. These leaders will represent Texas Baptist Student Ministry and college ministry in Texas Baptist churches for 2018. At the Summit they were challenged  to be on mission where God has placed them for this season of life. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Observe your surroundings. See people in their context. Who are they? What needs do they have? 
  • Adjust. Everyone's experience is not the same as yours. How will you adjust? 
  • Engage. God has given you a mission field where he has planted you. Engage it. 
Students were challenged to find someone this semester who they can train to be on mission with them on their campus. 
Pray for these leaders and others as they return to campus, that they would be on mission to reach the students of Texas with the gospel in 2018. 

Our thanks to Caleb Crider from the International Mission Board for sharing these ideas and his insight with us at the Summit.  

Youth Ministry to College Ministry: Mind the Gap

posted Oct 11, 2017, 1:18 PM by Ginger Bowman

They graduated and spent their last summer in the youth ministry, but where did they go this fall? When they became college freshmen?  If you're having trouble connecting with the students that just left your youth ministry, you're not alone. And, there may be some things you can do to "mind the gap" in this next year. 

X You Are Here.  When students leave the youth ministry, where do they go next? Is it close to the youth building? Are you asking them to cross a parking lot, or go to a space that is far away from where they have been? It may sound silly, but your location might be creating a barrier for students. They have left friends in the youth group behind, and taking the initiative to go to a space far from where they have been might be enough to keep them from making the effort. If moving isn't an option, be intentional about finding students to help build relational bridges. 

Invest in the Youth Ministry. What do current youth know about the college ministry in your church? Do they know you as the leader? Students need to have a picture of where they will go next and who will be there. Let them see college students serving in the youth ministry. Have college students share testimonies about a college mission trip or retreat. If you're the college minister, offer to speak at a youth event, or serve as a leader at youth camp. Get to know the students who will be in your college ministry next year, or in two or three years. 

Remove the Stop Sign. Work with the youth minister and youth ministry leaders to develop a strategy for ministry that begins in the youth ministry but continues on into the college ministry. Begin to share that plan and vision with students in the youth ministry so they see graduation as a marker, not a stop sign, What will they look forward to as they grow into the college ministry? Leadership? Special mission opportunities? Giving back to the youth ministry where they started? Share the plan with students and parents along the way so that students eagerly embrace the road ahead as they move into the college ministry. 

Sending Out the Scouts

posted Sep 6, 2017, 10:27 AM by Ginger Bowman

When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes.   Numbers 13:17-20 CSB

God commanded Moses to send out spies to scout out the Promised Land before the people went in.  They were to collect valuable information about the land and the people they would encounter there.  And they were to be courageous.  You're not occupying a foreign land, but sending out some "scouts" from your group can help you be ready to engage the campus. 

Your strategy for reaching students in your area should involve the students in your church.  They are already engaged in your ministry, and they are already connected to local campuses and other students.  It's possible that they have never seen their campus as a mission field. 

Be specific in asking them to share their insights about their campus.

  • On your campus, what does an average student's week look like? Are they commuting? Hanging out on campus? Leaving quickly?  
  • If you were to describe the students on your campus to an outsider what would you say about them? 
  • In your opinion, what do you think are the greatest needs that students on your campus have? 
  • What is one thing that we could do as a college ministry to serve the students on your campus? 
Give them specific tasks to do at the beginning of the year to get a better idea of what is happening on campus.  Find out what student organizations are on campus and if they are planning any events.  Encourage them to volunteer to serve at of beginning of the year activities. They might go to the student  activities office and ask if they could help with new student orientations, or welcome week events. Have them download a campus map and be intentional about helping new students that might be lost and looking for a classroom.  

Help them be courageous by giving them a place to start.  Asking specific questions and scouting out the campus can build confidence to do more. They can lead to building relationships with new students and seeing their campus, not just as where they go to class, but as the mission field that God has given them for this season of life.  

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