It’s back to school time! When I was a campus minister, this was one of the most exciting (and taxing) times of the year. Students were back from their summer work or mission service, new students were arriving for the first time, and the possibilities seemed limitless. For 14 years, this was the time of the year I worked the hardest. If we didn’t make contact with some of these new folks in the first two or three weeks, they probably would not connect with the Baptist ministry on campus.
I thought about the excitement of this time of year when I visited at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, this morning. This beautiful stone church sits across the street from Missouri State University. For the past ten years, the church has hosted the MSU Pride Band for worship and lunch on the first Sunday before classes begin. The place was packed with the band members and a number of other students. Pastor Danny Chisholm preached an appropriate sermon on “A New Beginning,” associate pastor Cory Goode handled the logistics for lunch, and students were involved in worship leadership.
How many of these students will be back next week? I am sure that there will not be as many as there were today, but those who attended today were exposed to a Baptist church that “gets it” when it comes to collegiate ministry. They were greeted, feed (on the Word and with sandwiches), and respected. We need more churches that are willing to do this!