Tigerville, SC (September 24, 2019) Thursday evening, August 29, as the bell tower rang seven startling times, Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) kicked off its first worship night of the semester. Returning students and several alumni were present along with the new faces of first-year students. Even the mayor of Travelers Rest, Brandy Amidon (’02), was in attendance.
Many students were there for the first time. For freshman Hannah Rodgers (expected ’23), her first BCM was nothing but a positive experience. She says that as she worshiped with other students, she felt “the presence of God surging through the room” and that she left feeling refreshed with friends that had become “a newfound family.”
Mary Garcia (expected ’21) started coming to BCM as a freshman herself, attracted to the sense of community and the fact that the students who attended BCM wanted to come; they weren’t there for any school credit. This semester, Mary is leading with the BCM worship team. She shares her excitement about the band introducing different styles of worship and says that she hopes all people will “feel welcome no matter their style of worship.”
Tansy Pocernich (expected ’21) shares her thoughts that, although students don’t have to be a part of BCM in order to be involved in the NGU community, BCM is a wonderful way to grow and serve with “a group of people who aren’t just going to sit in their seats,” but who are “trying and wanting to be involved.”
This involvement is just what Joshua Gilmore (’05, M.C.M. ‘07), BCM director and the first speaker of the semester, highlighted in his message Thursday night. He reminded the students that their responsibility and privilege as a family of Christ-followers is not simply to sit in the stands, but to be players on the field. He encouraged his listeners to live out a whole-hearted pursuit of Christ by being “servants” instead of “spectators.” Immediately following his message, he gave students the chance to be servants by presenting sign-ups for several ministry opportunities in the community around campus and beyond.
BCM worship nights give students a chance to rest and worship as their busy week comes to an end; but these Thursday nights are just the beginning. BCM is not a club, but a community. To put it in Gilmore’s words, this community is “a force to be reckoned with” that seeks to spread the kingdom of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. No one is excluded; everyone is welcome, no matter their denomination or background. Commuters, residents, grad-students, dual-enrolled, and part-time students are all encouraged to attend. BCM is not just for college students but is open to NGU staff as well. Additionally, seniors in high school are encouraged to see firsthand what God is doing at NGU by participating in a BCM gathering on a Thursday night. Everyone who comes has the chance to be a part of what God is doing at NGU and to serve alongside the BCM family in advancing the Kingdom of God.
“Know. Grow. Go.” is the mission of NGU campus ministries. We believe that college students must know what they believe, grow in their relationships with Christ and others, and go, in serving people and sharing the gospel. If the first Thursday night of the semester was any indication, BCM is on the right track to fulfilling this mission.
Written by NGU student Mikayla Rose Kuckel (expected ‘21).