The Baptist Student Ministry plays a vital role in the lives of college students across the country and here at home. Thanks to a generous land donation, the UT Tyler Chapter now has the chance to grow, and build a permanent presence on the campus.
When the Baptist Student Ministry tried to buy this property, the owners said they weren't interested in money. Instead, they decided to donate it to the group, on one condition. They had to begin construction of their new building within 18 months. "What that did was that ended up being a real blessing. That helped us put the people in place, and really set the wheels in motion," says BSM Director, Dr. Mark Jones.
For the last 10 or 15 years, the BSM has sought to have some presence on the UT Tyler campus. When the university added freshmen and sophomores, the BSM wanted to step up their commitment. "We said, 'We're going to be here every week. No matter what, we're going to be here to provide lunch.' The lunches give us an opportunity to meet new students. You meet that basic need, then that opens the door for us to share about spiritual things," Jones said.
"I was walking down in the UC and met someone in the community. He pulled me to the table, we were having a bible study. Then, I found out it was in connection with the BSM, and started coming to noon lunches," said BSM member, Stephen Gumber.
Now Stephen is a member of their leadership team, which Joe Osteen oversees. "We feel it's our obligation as believers, and as students at this time, that God put us here for a reason. That we are on this college campus, at this time, not just to go to school, but to minister to this school as well," Osteen said.
They say a building will help them take their already thriving ministry to the next level. They say they hope it will be a place where students can come to believe, to belong and to become the person they are in Christ.
The Baptist Student Ministries is planning a 9,000-square-foot building for the 2.5 acre piece of property. Their building campaign kick-off is being held at the TASCA building on Thursday, March 2nd at 3402 Old Omen Road in Tyler. If you want to learn more about the ministry and how you can get involved, RSVP by Monday at 903-592-0382.