The Mission Field Within the Mission Field

Aparna had no idea what to expect when she arrived in America and on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Johnson City couldn’t be more culturally different from her home in Northern India.

She didn’t know anybody when school started. One day she saw a group of people standing around and wandered over to see what was going on. It was the Pop-Tart Cart, a ministry of the ETSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry. Sure, it is a place to grab a pack of Pop-Tarts and a cup of coffee, but it is really a connecting point for BCMers to share the love of Jesus and the gospel with fellow students. One of them struck up a conversation with Aparna and invited her to the BCM. That invitation changed her life.

She made lots of new friends in the following weeks and frequently heard the gospel. It wasn’t long before she realized her need for a Savior and gave her life to Jesus. Awesome!

But the story gets better. Continue reading “The Mission Field Within the Mission Field”

Reasons to Celebrate the Cooperative Program

I’m amazed at what God is doing across Tennessee through His people and through the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

In Dandridge, 15 more boys were recently saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship at a detention facility. These precious younger brothers in Christ add to the harvest of more than 100 new believers who have come to Jesus over the past three years at the facility through the ministry of Swannsylvania Baptist Church.

Just last year we saw 95 college students come to faith in Christ through our Baptist Collegiate Ministries on university campuses across our state. More than 4,700 students are involved in BCM and 152 of them are preparing for church-related vocations. Continue reading “Reasons to Celebrate the Cooperative Program”

Teaching Millennials: Be Online

170315young-woman-using-smartphone-tablet-smilingMy family recently moved to Memphis. While moving is always stressful, the one aspect that my wife and I dread most about moves is “the church search.” We both hate visiting churches. We’re both introverted, a little guarded and, now, super protective of our daughter. All of those elements combined mean we like to learn as much about a church (as well as a ministry or person) as possible before we even consider attendance or involvement. Continue reading “Teaching Millennials: Be Online”

Eight Principles for Teaching Millennials

170308young-people-pointingI never expected of my ministry journey to take me into working with college students. I’ve found, however, that I really enjoy them!

One of the unexpected blessings has been the privilege of working closely with several folks who were well read on Millennials, education and the church’s response. As a result, I’ve become pretty well-read on the subject. It doesn’t hurt that I don’t mind trying new things, failing miserably, saying, “Welp, that didn’t go how I had hoped,” dusting myself off and moving on. Continue reading “Eight Principles for Teaching Millennials”

Eight Factors in a Successful Youth Small Group Ministry

170301student-meeting-library-teamSmall groups and youth ministry are subjects of lively debate these days. Is a youth Sunday school class a real small group experience? Should they meet on the church campus or in homes? Should they be co-ed or same sex? Should they all study the same curriculum or be allowed to pick their own? Should they meet all year round or take the summer off?

While these are all good questions worth thinking about, the truth is that none of these are the factors that most contribute to a successful youth small group ministry. Continue reading “Eight Factors in a Successful Youth Small Group Ministry”

The Circus and Reaching Students with the Gospel?

161228circus-souvenirs-toysAs a kid, I always loved going to the circus! It was an annual event for my family. Now, even though I’m a “grown up,” it’s still fun!

Several years ago, I noticed something interesting about the circus and their intentional marketing efforts. They are really great at displaying and selling us their souvenirs. As soon as you arrive outside the arena, you are encouraged to buy a circus program. Just inside the doors, sales tables sparkle with toys, stuffed animals, illuminated swords and gadgets. Continue reading “The Circus and Reaching Students with the Gospel?”

Teaching Millennials: Be Application-Minded

hand-holding-bible-studyingI am a graduate of a Southern Baptist seminary. As you may know, Southern Baptists are very fond of expository preaching. We are so fond of this particular method of preaching that it is the only method in which I have received training, either formally or informally. Our fondness for expository preaching is so pervasive that I was taught that even if I were to decide to preach a topical sermon, I should do so in an expository fashion. Continue reading “Teaching Millennials: Be Application-Minded”

Five Steps to Help Students Share Their Faith

161019youth-students-happy-jumping1. Teach your youth group to pray for their unsaved friends.

Praying by name for lost students is a must. When teenagers embrace the power of prayer, they are transformed into servants who continually look to see where God is at work. Teenagers begin to see their friends from a completely different perspective. Through prayer, God reveals to us those who are seeking him. Through prayer, teenagers become sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit and daily look for opportunities to witness as God guides. Teach your teenagers now how to pray for their unsaved friends and family. Continue reading “Five Steps to Help Students Share Their Faith”

Celebrate Baptism With Students!

160817baptism-water-woman-silhouetteAs you think about your youth ministry, why not plan a youth baptism celebration? Are there students in your youth ministry who have made salvation decisions but have not been baptized? Are there students who have been putting baptism off for whatever reason?

A youth baptism celebration – held in the church baptistery, a swimming pool, lake, a horse water trough, or a river – can energize your youth group and the entire church! Be sure to invite the entire church family to be a part – and of course the families of all the students that you will baptize. Continue reading “Celebrate Baptism With Students!”

Tennessee’s Ministry Training Ground

Here’s a quiz. Ready? What does a country girl from McMinnville, an agnostic from Mt. Juliet, a Division I basketball player from Memphis, and a Jewish young man from Georgia have in common?

Hint: The same thing as several Muslims from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Yemen, and quite a few Buddhists from Korea, Japan, and China. They were all brought to Jesus as Lord and Savior through the Great Commission work of your Tennessee Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM). Continue reading “Tennessee’s Ministry Training Ground”