Published June 30, 2011
Situated in the middle of our state, a mere two-hour drive south of Atlanta, lies the quiet bedroom community of Cochran. There you will find the oldest two-year college in the United States, Middle Georgia College. Founded in 1884, this University System of Georgia institution began as the College of New Ebenezer Association.
On the northern border of the campus sits a converted residence which now houses the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM). This building was purchased with monies from Pulaski-Bleckley Baptist Association and Cooperative Program dollars in the mid 1980s. Tracey Deavers serves as the campus minister of this college with slightly over 3,500 students.
Deavers is there because both he and BCM are supported by the Cooperative Program. When asked how significant the Cooperative Program is to his ministry, he said, “Without the Cooperative Program the BCM as we know it would not exist. CP giving helps us focus on what is most important – reaching and discipling college students – on what is probably the most difficult mission field in our world today, the university/college campus in the U.S.”
These are the current ministries and activities available to students on the Middle Georgia Campus through the BCM:
Impact Lunch: Weekly $1 lunch for students at the BCM House.
Nexus at the Hangar: This is done in cooperation with First Baptist Cochran’s weekly Bible Study and Worship for college students. The Hanger is the church’s youth and multipurpose building. Deavers often is the guest speaker.
Warrior Workout: Named in keeping with the college sports teams’ nickname, this is an exercise workout led on campus twice a week to connect with students who mostly would not come to church-type events.
Student Led Life Groups: A place to help connect students from the weekly worship service and help them grow more committed in their walk with Jesus.
Be Groups: Small groups of students who gather with a mentor to dig in to Scripture to discover biblically what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Lead Groups: For students who have been through “Be Groups” and will be leading other students through Be Groups.
Monday Night Live: Monday night Bible study held in Deavers’ home. The impact it makes on students to be invited into our home and world, helps them feel more a part of our lives, making it easier for us to be invited into their world and their lives.
Mission Trips: “The BCM at MGC has touched hundreds of students over the course of the year through our different outreach and ministry event,” Deavers said. “We have somewhere between 50-60 students who are actively involved in our ministry and Bible studies. The weekly worship with FBC on Thursday nights touches nearly 100 or more students on average during the school year.”
Student Mission Teams have made three trips to Haiti with another trip planned for this summer. On one of these trips students helped to unload “Buckets of Hope.” On other trips they have held Backyard Bible Clubs. This past spring a team went into a “closed country” where students saw first-hand people engaging in idol worship. And there have been two mission trips to Florida which are more affordable and allow for greater student involvement.
When asked about why it was important for Christian students to be involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Deavers responded, “The BCM provides students with a place to connect with other like-minded college students. The connection with other Christians provides accountability and encouragement. Many college professors are followers of Jesus. They do a great job trying to reach people for Christ on their campuses. But there are also college professors who try to destroy the religious beliefs of students attending their classes. Without a support system, students who are away from their churches and communities tend to be easy prey and quickly fall away from the things they have been taught.
The future of the BCM at Middle Georgia College and other schools in our state depends upon the faithful Cooperative Program giving from churches in Georgia. Perhaps Deavers said it best, “I pray that CP giving continues to support reaching and discipling college students by placing state missionaries on college campuses in our state. I thank God that Georgia Baptists still realize the importance of this ministry! I pray we will continue to place a major emphasis on reaching and discipling college students since these are the ones who are walking away from the church in massive numbers. If we fail to reach and disciple these students, we will lose an entire generation.”
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