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Leader helps collegians transition to adults

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For campus minister JoAnn Scaife, guiding young adults into the world of adult ministry sometimes means taking them out of their comfort zones.

Scaife took four Baptist Collegiate Ministry students from Tennessee State and Fisk universities in Nashville to New York City to experience missions in the big city last fall. They ministered and worshipped on the campus of New York University and at Graffiti Community Ministries.

It was TSU junior Juels Evans’ first mission trip, which she described as “amazing.” Evans, a communications major from Illinois, recounted, “I had the opportunity not only to meet Christian students from other campuses, but also to experience worship at Graffiti Church with pastor Taylor Fields.”

The trip was part of an outreach by CURES (Committee for Underreached Ethnic Students), a mission lab experience coordinated by the collegiate ministry area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“The CURES Mission Lab was designed to equip college students to mobilize them to intentionally reach their campuses,” said Linda Osborne, LifeWay’s director of young adult ministry, noting that mobilizing ethnic Christian students on college campuses is crucial for reflecting and fulfilling the Great Commission.

“For several of these students, this was their first mission trip experience,” Scaife said, adding that black churches tend to be less likely to do mission trips away from their own areas. “Getting the students away from the distractions of school, jobs and all the things that go with being a student allowed them to really open up to letting God use them.”

Scaife, an African-American woman herself, is committed to providing ministry and enrichment opportunities for her own students as well as African-American students around the country.

Besides serving as BCM director on the two Nashville campuses, Scaife is the founder of Living Single in Faith, a conference that meets during the Easter weekend at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. While the event is designed for urban/African-American students, Scaife insists that singles of all ethnicities are welcome.

“Living Single in Faith is a Friday evening through Sunday lunch event that celebrates the gift of living a single life with purity and faith,” Scaife said. “We bring in speakers who have the life experience that the young adults can respect. The speakers spend time talking with the attendees, not only in the conference time, but also in casual times. They [the students and young adults] can ask them anything and the speakers are straight with them.”

Scaife admits she holds high standards when it comes to ministry with her students and for singles in general.

“I know how important it is for my students to understand they can go against what culture and society says about sexual purity and the strength of a firm faith in Christ,” she said. “I will do anything I can to get them involved in activities and relationships that are strong and healthy.”

John Moore, LifeWay’s director of collegiate ministry, agreed that providing college students and young adults with positive role models is crucial.

“Too many students come from hard backgrounds,” Moore said. “They may not have had the blessing of a stable family life or a supportive church family. The Baptist Collegiate Ministries on our campuses can offer opportunities to interact with Christ-centered healthy churches, individuals and families.”

Moore described Scaife as a key example of BCM leaders across the country “who are doing great jobs in getting our students prepared for life as strong, committed Christians.”
Polly House is a corporate communications specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. For a video from the BCM mission trip to New York City led by , go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I9fo1pyS7Y.

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  • Polly House