College ministers celebrate God’s work through students
By Carol Pipes and Aaron Wilson/Lifeway
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – It’s been more than a year since COVID-19 caused the shutdown of colleges and universities across the nation. In March 2020, students barely back from Spring Break packed up their dorm rooms, moved home and shifted to online classes. College athletes hung up their sneakers and cleats, and graduation ceremonies were canceled.
The ripple effect of the pandemic left college ministers in churches and campus ministries
wondering how they would reach the nation’s more than 20 million college students if they weren’t on campus.
But collegiate ministers are resilient and innovative. “If anyone can figure out how to do ministry in the age of COVID-19 it would be collegiate ministers,” said Chad Stillwell, director of collegiate ministries for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
More than 600 ministry leaders from 35 states gathered for the 2021 Collegiate Summit, May 5-7, to celebrate not only how God has transformed the lives of students this past year but what He’s done through 100 years of Southern Baptist cooperative collegiate ministry.
The event, held at First Baptist Hendersonville, Tennessee, was peppered with interviews of ministry leaders representing multiple decades of collegiate ministry going back to the 1940s. Each spoke of the changes they’ve seen in ministry since their days as students to today.
“One thing that doesn’t change is the Gospel,” said Meghan Berry, who serves at MERCYHouse in Amherst, Massachusetts. Berry ministers to students attending Smith College and Mount Holyoke College.
“The last year and a half has been incredibly challenging,” Berry said. “But God told me to remain faithful.” She said seven students had been baptized at a recent baptism weekend, many of them a result of ministry during the pandemic. “Be faithful with little, and God will trust you with much.”
Ministering in the age of COVID-19 was a theme that ran through the summit. The past year looked strangely different from years past. From online small groups to virtual meet ups, collegiate ministers found creative ways to reach and disciple students in a time of COVID.
Psalm 139 Project places two ultrasound machines in Knoxville
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, dedicated two new ultrasound machines to Hope Resource Center at a special ceremony Thursday (May 6).
The Psalm 139 Project focuses on aiding pregnancy resource centers by securing ultrasound machines and providing training for their use. The centers use the machines in their life-saving work to support women and families in crisis pregnancy situations, helping many to make the choice for life.
“I am thrilled to announce The Psalm 139 Project has donated two ultrasound machines to Hope Resource Center to continue their courageous work in providing life-saving ministry to women and families in the East Tennessee region,” said Elizabeth Graham, ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives. “For us, as Christians, we do this work because we believe that every human being is made in the image of God and reflects his dignity and goodness.”
Hope Resource Center was founded in 1997 and has served more than 30,000 patients with pregnancy resource services in its 24 years of service. The center is fully funded through individuals, businesses and churches and all services are provided at no cost to the patients.
“We are honored to partner with the ERLC as we seek to make life an option for moms and babies in our community,” said Andrew Wood, executive director of Hope Resource Center. “These two machines will allow us to better serve our patients as we provide expert medical care in their time of need. We have been serving Knoxville for 24 years and this partnership is a testament to our work, our longevity, and the willingness of our partners to continue to step up and make HOPE a reality for thousands of women.”