UMHB’s Baptist Student Ministries recently experienced a leadership restructuring that leaders hope will get more students involved in campus ministry opportunities and bring students closer to Christ.
The BSM is now divided into nine emphases, according to BSM Director Shawn Shannon. The nine divisions are: Campus Outreach, Church Relations, Community Partnerships, Faith in Action, Freshmen Outreach, International Engagement, Promotions, Specialized Ministries, and Student Missions. One or two Lead Team members head each emphasis. Three Core Team leaders oversee the Lead Team members. Then, Dr. Shannon and Assistant Dir
ector Karl Baker split the emphases that they oversee.
Each emphasis has several ministries underneath it. For example, under the Specialized Ministries emphasis, students can be involved in Drama Ministry, Heart for the Nations, and Worship in the Quad. Underneath Community Partnerships, there is Raising Arrows, Hope for the Hungry and Children’s Ministry.
Shannon said that the flexibility to add various ministries under each emphasis is an advantage.
“We had a freshman student that arose that said, ‘I really want to work with senior adults.’ So, by two weeks later we have a group going out to Park Place,” Shannon said. “Since then, we’ve had two other students come to us with ministries that will fit well under Community Partnerships.”
The Gathering, which is held every Tuesday evening at the BSM building at 7:30 p.m, was created as a part of this restructure, so that students can meet with the Lead Team members to learn more about each emphasis, and how they can get involved.
“During the Gathering, we usually have a “big group” time, which is unique every week… After that, we break out into each ministry emphasis, and students are welcome to attend any breakout session that interests them,” said junior Christian studies major Bekah Gaff who serves as a lead team member of Promotions.
Shannon likes the Gathering because students can visit with each emphasis to find out where their strengths will best be used and cultivated.
“It’s kind of like going to Sam’s on Saturday; there’s samples, so you can check things out,” Shannon said.
Baker said that the Gathering is an easy on-ramp to get involved with ministries immediately.
“If you showed up next week [to the Gathering], then you could jump into any of our 9 emphases, and make a real contribution right away,” he said. “Previously, it took a little more time. You could go to a ministry and learn more about it, but you were localized to just that one experience. You weren’t really tapping into the whole picture of the BSM.”
Shannon said that her goal for the BSM is to nurture life-long, disciple-making, followers of Jesus, and to help students, no matter where they are in their spiritual walks, to be closer to Christ. She hopes that through churches and the BSM, students can be a little more like Jesus each year.
“That happens first when we obey what God says, but secondly, when we [BSM, FCA, churches] are obedient to the Lord to create those kind of petri dishes where that can grow,” she said. “He’s the one who brings the growth, but there are certain situations where growth is just more likely to happen.”
Students interested in being a part of the BSM can contact Dr. Shawn Shannon, Ryan Baker, or attend the Gathering on Tuesday nights.
Graff is thankful that she joined the BSM, and believes that joining will be a life-changing experience for anyone.
“Joining the BSM has given me so many opportunities — I have a stable community with great people and I get to use the gifts the Lord has given me to minister to the students of UMHB and to the people of the surrounding Belton/Temple community,” Graff said. “My college experience looks completely different than it did a year ago, and that is all because of BSM. I definitely encourage anyone who is looking for a home base on campus to get involved with us.”