By Mark Warrington
Baptist Student Ministries
This past year, our Baptist Student Ministriess rallied behind 1 Peter 2:9 as a theme verse. Peter, quoting the passages from the Old Testament writes, “but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light.” Our focus was to proclaim the virtues of God to the campus, and our students have done this well.
Between our staff, student leadership team, and volunteers from local churches, we estimate that we had around 1,182 spiritual conversations with not-yet-believers at UTD alone! Five UTD students made professions of faith over the year, and four students professed faith in Christ at Beach Reach, one of the mission trips we take during Spring Break.
Our team of staff, student leaders, and church volunteers engaged with more than 300 students each week at our weekly Free Lunch outreaches at UTD and Collin College McKinney, Frisco, and Plano campuses. In addition to Free Lunch, we had weekly evangelism efforts on all campuses, trained over 40 students in sharing the gospel, and had more than 50 students in weekly small group Bible studies. At UTD, we also had 30 students involved in weekly discipleship with a staff member or church volunteer, and 2 of our students served on mission trips to Alaska and New York during the summer.
Our college campuses are such strategic mission fields. At UTD alone, we have around 8,000 international students (more international students than any other Texas school) coming primarily from countries in the 10/40 window. These countries are difficult to reach and yet they are coming to the metroplex for school! Indeed, UTD and Collin College are mission fields that are in our back yard! Furthermore, these international students will often go back to their home countries to be influential leaders and serve in strategic positions. Thus, it is critical that we reach our international students with the gospel while they are here!
To this end, we have made great efforts to reach our international students in several ways. One of the first ways we connect with internationals is through airport pickups- where we pick up international students who arrive in the U.S. for the very first time and give them rides to the campus. In conjunction with volunteers from local churches, we arranged over 1,200 pickups in the 2017-2018 school year! In addition to this, we host a “Big Howdy” welcome party where we connect many of these international students to various ministries, such as Friendship Partners, language partners, and community groups. Several of the students who professed faith in Christ this past year were international students that we connected with at one of these ministries!
One such story is that of *Lin (her name is changed here to protect her identity). In the fall of 2015, Lin came to the United States from China to study for a Master’s degree in accounting at UTD. During her first few weeks on campus, she experienced a warm welcome from Christians in campus ministry. At the BSM’s Free Lunch, Lin got to know Shea, who encouraged her to come to BSM’s Bible study and get involved in a small group. During that first semester, Lin became comfortable enough to share that she, as a non-believer and a non-native English speaker, was having a tough time understanding the teaching. Upon learning this, a few girls in the BSM – Shea, Bethany, and Allison (all BSM student leaders) – began meeting with her weekly to study the Bible and talk through any questions she had about Christianity. When these girls graduated, they saw that Lin still wanted to continue studying the Bible, so other BSM students (Ginnie and Alyssa, also BSM student leaders) continued reading God’s Word with Lin. Ginnie, Alyssa and Lin read John, spending time praying, reading, summarizing, and discussing. Throughout the rest of that semester and into the next, they saw God working to draw Lin as they engaged with her questions. Some of her reservations about becoming a Christian primarily involved the Party, the government system in China, and her family, but she had also shared things that showed God at work in her heart. Since she was still unsure if she was willing to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior, Ginnie and Alyssa kept praying for her and encouraged her to pray for God to help her with her uncertainties and her doubts.
After studying John, they decided to read through 1 John in the month and a half before Ginnie and Lin graduated from UTD and saw God work in might ways; Lin found a job that would allow her to stay in Dallas doing the Bible study the following semester. In December 2017, Lin shared something amazing; the day before, she’d made a decision to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior! Alyssa said, “I was overwhelmed with excitement for her, with joy in the Lord, and with gratefulness that I got to see the fruit of the Lord’s faithfulness and the faithfulness of so many believers who’d talked with, walked with and prayed for Lin over the past two and a half years.”
Lin had been encouraged by BSM students, a local Chinese church, and other believers to think on whether she truly believed. BSM students and staff members had heard updates about the Bible studies and had been praying for her to trust in Christ for years leading up to her decision. The students/alumni who had read Scripture with Lin were finally able to embrace her as a sister in Christ. They rejoiced alongside her for her faith in God and have since continued studying the Word together and discipling her. Many believers, upon hearing this news, got to share in the pleasure of rejoicing and seeing years of prayers answered!
Our ministry is only made possible through partnership with location churches, individuals and Baptist associations like Collin Baptist Association. The UTD and Collin College BSMs continue to need volunteers and partnership in the following areas: Financial support for staff positions, help with airport pick-ups at the beginning of each semester and people willing to serve as friendship partners to international students, and free lunches for weekly outreaches at the UTD and the Collin College campuses.
If you are interested in partnering with the BSM, email Mark at