Boise, ID – The National Collegiate Day of Prayer was February 23rd. The leaders of Foundation College Ministry in the Treasure Valley decided this was a perfect occasion to celebrate by doing a campus outreach where we hand out Hot Chocolate and Donuts and pray for students on the campus. The impact was incredible. FCM joined with other campus ministries and church friends who volunteered to help serve the students of Boise State with us. We prayed with a handful of students, listened to numerous prayer requests, and we went through twenty dozen donuts by the end of the morning. It was the perfect day for hot chocolate as it even snowed on us at one point.
Here is a list of some of the requests we heard about:
Upcoming Tests and Assignments (several)
Stress over an upcoming move
Passing of an aging loved one where they were primary caretaker
Can’t afford to fail this semester like last time
Family moving away from Idaho to California and leaving her behind
The requests were personal, some sharing names. This was the most transparent students have been than anyone at FCM can remember. Overall, over twenty-five students asked for prayer for one thing or another.
The day did not stop there, later that night FCM and the other campus ministries connected to Boise State joined together for a prayer meeting. It was so encouraging seeing everyone get together with the same heart of praying for each other, their campus ministries, and for the students of Boise State. The night consisted of worship then moved into praying for each ministry. A representative from one group would share what God is doing and specific requests for their ministry, then we would spend time praying over what was shared followed by the next ministry representative ending that time by praying for them from the stage before sharing about their ministry with the group. By the end of the night, students and leaders encouraged one another and the ministries were unified with the same goal of reaching their campus with the gospel.
Ogden, UT – “What happens after we die?” “Is there life after death?” “Are heaven and hell real?” These and many other questions will be answered by Dr. Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Dew will be coming to the Shephard Union on the campus of Weber State University, on Monday, March 27 at 6:30 PM. The public is welcome to attend, but priority seating will be given to Weber State students in attendance to hear Dr. Dew’s perspective on this important topic.
Casey Swails, Family Pastor at Redemption Church in Ogden had a vision to invite President Dew to give a new and eternal perspective on life after death that goes counter culture to the predominant perspective found on this northern Utah campus. Swails, who oversees the Redemption Church college ministry at Weber State shared that the vision for this event grew out of a relationship the church built with Dr. Dew, his family, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Swails said “While connecting with Jamie and his wife, Tara, last year at a ministry event at hosted at our church, he expressed his interests to aid in the continued ministry of Redemption Church. Considering his expertise in philosophy and theology, we concluded that inviting Jamie to speak on life after death would be an excellent opportunity to reach the campus with a gospel perspective and he gladly accepted our invitation.”
Every student that attends will receive a Gospel conversation guide, a follow-up card with links to continue the conversation with students through gospel appointments. They will also be entered into a drawing for additional prizes to be given away at the event. The first 40 students in attendance will get a free Bible. Following the presentation, students will have the opportunity to have a question and answer moment with Dr. Dew. Please pray for students that will respond to the invitations and attend this event with an open heart to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel and for them to consider the biblical truth of what happens after this life is over and what they can do now to be prepared of that moment.
This event is made possible through the cooperative efforts of many organizations and groups that seek to reach and minister to the students at WSU. The leadership and volunteers have expressed gratitude for the generosity of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Evangelism Department of North American Mission Board, as well as funding through the State Missions offering of the UISBC and direct sponsorship by Semper Veritas at Weber State, the college ministry of Redemption Church in Ogden.
Ogden, UT – Semper Veritas has just completed their Bible study through the book of Galatians for the semester. This Bible study proved to be extremely fruitful and generated lots of great discussion. One Weber State faculty member saw one of our posters advertising for our Bible study and decided to attend. He said that there weren’t very many genuine Bible studies that he could attend, but this one worked with his schedule. He and I talked for a while after the Bible study. Through our conversation at the Bible study and a later lunch conversation learned that he attends a local ward, but holds mostly to orthodox confessional Christianity. The reason he hasn’t left the ward is in order to avoid conflict in his family. I am maintaining contact with him and plan to meet with him again to help him walk through some basics of what it means to follow Jesus according to the Bible.
One of our student leaders, Connor, has been engaging other students as he goes to the gym. He said that he met a student named *Stephen who is LDS, but was curious about Connor’s beliefs since he was wearing a Redemption Church shirt that said, “Bringing Hope to the Valley.” Stephen asked Connor if he had ever read the Book of Mormon. This began a long conversation between the two about the differences between the LDS faith and biblical Christianity.
Connor had a similar encounter with another LDS individual named *Mark. They engaged in the same conversation where Mark was very intrigued by what Connor had to share about biblical Christianity. Mark ended up attending a Semper Veritas Bible study and Connor is staying in touch with him.
Another student leader, John, was able to connect with an agnostic classmate named *Dennis. They discussed together evidence for the existence of God and the validity of the Bible. It was a challenging conversation for John. As he invited Dennis to attend the Bible study with him, he politely declined the invitation. John hopes to continue to engage with his classmate.
We are excited to pick up a new teaching series in January for the start of the Spring semester. There is much planning going into reaching the campus with the gospel next semester. We will have mission teams helping engage the campus, we will have a “Perspective” event with Dr. Jamie Dew, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he will give a presentation on “What happens after we die?” We are praying for God to continue moving in the hearts and lives of students at Weber State. Thank you for praying along with us and for your support. – Casey Swails
Casey is a volunteer collegiate ministry leader from Redemption Church in Ogden and leads Semper Veritas college group on the campus of Weber State University. Check out this recent report of the work being done on that campus through resources you provide through the Utah Idaho State Missions Offering. 10% of the State Mission Offering is designated to do work on our college campuses across Idaho and Utah. Thank you for supporting collegiate work through your prayers and giving through the York-Dillman State Missions Offering.
*names have been changed to protect the identity of students who are questioning their current faith traditions on our college campuses.
Louisiana – One of the greatest challenges facing the future of our denomination centers around the lack of leaders being called out and developed through our Next Generation ministries in most of our churches. Steve Masters, BCM director at LSU, has created a website which is chock-full of resources every Pastor, Youth Pastor, College Pastor, Campus Minister or anyone else invested in the lives of young people, should know about. Honestly, EVERY Baptist church and ministry leader should know this site.
We are talking about the SBCcalled.com website. This site could immediately be helpful to you and your church as you attempt to help young people navigate a possible call to ministry.
The first thing you will see at the site is the purpose statement and it is as follow:
Welcome to SBC Called. The purpose of this website is to provide information, resources, and training for High School Students and College Students who feel called to ministry. We hope this website will help these students with their journey into ministry.
The resources are almost overwhelming. There are so many helpful things scattered around the site but the main tabs are as follows…
Preparation – This section will help you in areas of personal preparation as you explore your call to ministry.
Resources – This section contains resources that will be helpful in your path to ministry.
Education – This section provides helpful information for continuing your education as you prepare for ministry.
High School Students – This section is to help High School students with your calling into ministry.
The tab titled “SBC INFO” covers information related to the IMB, NAMB, the CP, and the BFM. The site also describes the basic anatomy of Baptist life and how associations, state conventions, and our national entities serve our cooperative effort. Each of our six seminaries and every one of our over 50 Baptist-related colleges are mentioned and linked to from this site. It is literally the one-stop-shop for those who serve our high school and college students as they help our young people consider the possibility of a future in ministry.
The fact is, most of us have heard of the discouraging news related to the lack of young people entering vocational ministry. A number of our states have more churches than they do pastors to shepherd those churches.
This resource is one that will help your ministry and your church identify, encourage, and equip your young people to navigate their call to ministry. Desperately needed, this site is appreciated and ought to be regularly utilized. God had placed this burden on the heart of Steve Masters which was ultimately fleshed out in the form of this website.
Please let your ministry friends, as well as, any young people you know who might be interested in ministry know about the SBCcalled.com website and let’s pray God uses it in a mighty way.
The article was reprinted with permission from SBCVoices.com by the author, Louisiana Pastor, Jay Adkins.
Another great resource that goes along with this website is a new book launched this week (November 1, 2022) by Scott Pace and Shane Pruitt
Ministry comes with many weighty responsibilities. Ministry leaders are called to teach, serve, and lead. But in leading those under their care, there comes a moment when they recognize the future leaders under their leadership. With this recognition comes an all too familiar question: What comes next?
In Calling Out the Called, Scott Pace and Shane Pruitt answer this question by giving direction, encouragement, and a charge for ministry leaders to recognize the future leaders in their midst and do what needs to be done for the future of ministry: the calling out of the called.
Orem, UT – When you give to your state missions offering, do you sometimes wonder if your money is actually making a difference? To the students at Utah Valley University, it certainly is. UVU is located in Orem, UT and Utah County, the number one most unreached county in North America. Aaron Marshall is a college ministry leader for Gospel Grace Church in Salt Lake City. Last month, he made a trip up to the UVU student union to look for an opportunity to connect with students and possibly open the door to a gospel conversation. Here is his testimony of how that went:
We were tabling at Utah Valley University a few weeks ago. When we table we set up a table with all kinds of Christian literature and information that people can take. We also have a whiteboard that we write a question on to try and get students to engage with us. On this day the question was, “Could you be wrong in your religious views?” We had some good conversations but one in particular stood out. *Arthur is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He actually said that “he could be wrong in what he believed” which I appreciated. “Because of the kinds of claims we are making, religious claims are either true or false for all people, at all times and in all places. They are not just my personal truth.” I responded. He agreed. So then we started talking about ways that we could investigate to determine if our religious views were correct.
We talked about how we needed to have objective, external evidence that we could look at that could give us more confidence that our position was true. We also agreed that if there was good external evidence that went against our position that would mean that there would be good reasons to not hold our current position. So I challenged him with two Biblical tests regarding his faith position. The first test was from Galatians 1 where Paul says that there is only one Gospel and any other Gospel is false. Arthur and I agreed that the gospel that I was sharing with him (the Biblical gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone for eternal life) is different from the Latter Day Saint gospel. We agreed that both of us could not be right. I then challenged him with the Biblical test for a prophet in Deuteronomy 18 and whether Joseph Smith met that test. I gave him two prophecies of Joseph Smith to look at:
(1) the prophecy that a Temple would be built in Independence, Missouri in his lifetime and
(2) the Civil War prophecy.
I challenged him to read those prophecies and determine if they came true. We had a great conversation and he said he wanted to keep talking. Please be praying for Arthur that I can continue to challenge him with the truth claims of Biblical Christianity and the lies of the LDS church.
(*name of the student has been changed to protect his identity)
Plans are currently in place to bring noted apologist, Dr. Frank Turek to the campus of UVU later this month. He will share his message to UVU students titled “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”. A similar event to this one was hosted on the UofU campus last year. The event takes place on Tuesday, October 18. Please pray for students to hear and respond.
Stories like these happen on a weekly basis across Utah and Idaho campuses, and the leaders who have those conversations are funded in a small way through money you give to the state missions offering. 10% of every dollar given to the State Missions Offering is designated to start, maintain, and facilitate ministry on college campuses across our two states. Our Convention Collegiate Network Coordinator, Ben Neiser, maintains direct connections with these volunteers and missionaries serving on these campuses. He uses these funds to fund free lunches for students, outreach events on the campuses, and retreats that disciple and equip future campus leaders from the students they serve.
I hope you pray about what your church will give towards the State Missions Offering this year. It is not too late to participate in this transformative work happening to reach the next generation of our church leaders studying on our Utah and Idaho campuses right now.
If you want more information about how you can partner to reach a college campus in your area, please contact email@example.com. He would love to connect with you and your church.
Mission Team in Utah speaks with Chip Thompson of Tri Grace ministries.
Salt Lake City, UT- The mission field is huge and might seem insurmountable, but that is not slowing down the efforts to push back the darkness at the University of Utah and two other campuses in Utah County. Gospel Grace Church in Salt Lake City hosted a mission team of college students on their spring break last month. Teams from their own congregation joined them to present the gospel to anyone who will listen while ministering to all three campuses. One of teams helped pave the way for a large scale event on the University of Utah campus that was well attended.
Aaron Marshall, the leader of Gospel Grace Church’s collegiate ministry shared about the success of this event. “We hosted Frank Turek for his I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist presentation. We were able to co-sponsor the event with three other campus ministries which was awesome. We ended up having close to 400 people in attendance. They all heard the evidence for Christianity and a clear Gospel presentation. I was so excited for the turnout. We made a lot of contacts that night and have had multiple new people come to our meetings as a result of the event.”
Following the presentation, the weekly gatherings at “the U” were opportunities to follow up on questions that were raised by Turek at the event. Aaron shared “The meeting after the event we had one of my atheist friends, Daniel, come and give a response to Turek’s arguments. He then let the students ask him questions and challenge him. He is a former Later-day Saint that is now atheist. Our student President, Vince Mays, ended up staying and talking with him for over three hours after the meeting. Vince is a PhD candidate in Biology and was challenging Daniel on the origins of life. We continue to pray that Daniel will come to know the true Jesus.”
Aaron continued to share about the growth they have experienced this spring. “We have picked up at least one more person that wants to do evangelism with us on the campuses, so we are very excited about that. We now have four people that are going out weekly to do evangelism. The month of April should be great because the weather will be nice and we will set up our evangelism table outside. Please pray for our team as we try to share the gospel on the campus of The U, UVU and BYU this month.”
Please pray for college ministry work on all of our college campuses across Utah and Idaho. 100% of the collegiate work on our campuses if supported by local churches, associations, and a portion of the York Dillman State Missions Offering. We depend on the faithfulness of local UISBC churches and volunteers who have a passion to reach this generation. Pray for our Collegiate Network Coordinator, Ben Nesier as he helps equip local leaders on these campuses and serves campuses in his own community of Utah County through a collegiate church plant in Provo, Mosaic Church. God is sending mission teams from across the country to our area. They need our support and prayers as they serve in this important task. For more information about how you can impact a campus near you, please contact Ben Neiser. He would welcome you on the team to help reach these important mission fields.
Aaron Marshall of Gospel Grace Church in Salt Lake City contributed the testimonies of students and events that were discussed in this story.
College mission team in Utah to support Gospel Grace Church’s collegiate ministry outreach
Vince Mays, president of Gospel Grace Church college ministry introduces Frank Turek
Over 400 students and faculty attended the “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” seminar at U of U campus
Christian LDS Apologist, Jared Halverson, helps train mission team in Utah
Mission Team in Utah speaks with Chip Thompson of Tri Grace ministries.
UISBC Collegiate Network Coordinator, Ben Nesier, prepares mission team in Utah to share the gospel on BYU campus