by Chase Abner, BCI Collegiate Ministry Coordinator, and Geoff Safford, NAMB Mission Service Corps Church Planting Catalyst and Pastor of New Heights Church in Indianola
College ministry continues to thrive and spread among BCI churches. In 2016, God has used our churches to start new college ministries and to influence collegiate leaders from across North America. Iowa’s Baptist collegiate ministry is unique among many states because of our commitment to a church-based ministry model.
During the 2015-2016 school year, our collegiate ministries impacted over 6,000 students across our state with 311 students making new professions of faith. There were 542 students who were developed as leaders and nearly 400 who participated in mission work. Remarkably, students in Iowa-based collegiate ministries raised $532,400 for missions during the school year.
In August, BCI churches planted two new churches with college ministries in Iowa and one in Missouri. Cornerstone Church (Ames) planted Cottage Grove Church in Des Moines and has established a Salt Company to impact students at Drake University, Des Moines University, Grand View University, and Des Moines Area Community College. New Heights Church (Indianola) planted Paragon Church in Grinnell with a college ministry, Light Company, to reach students at Grinnell College. Finally, Candeo Church (Waterloo) planted Anthem Church in Columbia, MO with a Salt Company at the University of Missouri.
Another highlight of the year came as over 300 college ministry leaders from across North America gathered in Ames for an event sponsored by the North American Mission Board. The event was called Hitchhikers: Salt Company and was designed to allow guests to learn the history and convictions behind Cornerstone Church’s approach to reaching, discipling, and sending students with the gospel.
BCI continues to provide financial assistance to eight collegiate ministries through our partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources. We also support 2 collegiate interns who are serving through Veritas Church (Cedar Rapids), and Cottage Grove Church (Des Moines).
Looking ahead, BCI plans to continue assisting our churches to reach and disciple college students on more Iowa campuses, while also supporting our churches as they continue to plant in other states and around the globe.