Written by: Brian Baird
As I prepared to enter into my freshman year of college, I was given many important pearls of wisdom I quickly learned to be true. Advice such as “you look stupider if you’re the only one NOT doing the hog call” and “there’s at least a 90% chance you’ll get a parking ticket within a year” (both of which proved to be painfully accurate) were constantly thrown my way. The most important advice I was given, though, and the advice I most readily pass forward to any incoming student is to get plugged into a deep, solid community of Christians. For me, this community was the BCM.
I learned the importance of Godly community long before I graduated high school. My friends, youth group, church, and mentors in high school deeply shaped my walk with Christ, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this dynamic would be even more impactful during my college years. Because I knew how important this aspect of Christianity was, finding Godly ministries and a church to get plugged into wasn’t just a halfhearted desire of mine as I moved to Fayetteville, but the greatest of my priorities. I made a commitment to myself and to God to be intentional about my hunt for community long before entering college, and I did all I could before moving to Arkansas to prepare myself. I prayed. I researched. I asked contacts for any information they had to offer. The real adventure, however, didn’t begin until I reached campus.
While in my hometown, I was constantly plagued by anxieties about how I would find Godly community at the U of A. I don’t know why, but, in my head, I had built college life into some depraved, Godless abyss. I thought I would have to go far out of my way to find other passionate believers, that the ministries I did find would be theologically manipulative and shaky, and finding a good church right off the bat would be almost as unlikely as the Razorbacks winning a football game (yes, I said it...). Looking back, these presuppositions make me laugh more than a little bit. You see, I was right to assume it was going to be difficult to choose a single ministry to get plugged into, but the reason was far from what I expected.
The problem with choosing a ministry was not that there were no solid communities of believers on campus, but there were so many different communities I fell in love with. I was stunned by all of the options I discovered through events during A-week and the weeks following. During my first few months of college, I visited so many churches, campus ministries, and small groups that I lost count. For a few weeks, I was attending a bible study with a different group almost every night of the week. The stunning thing is out of these countless different groups, nearly every single one of them was a group where I could see myself faithfully glorifying God, growing in my walk with Christ, learning solid Biblical doctrine, and reaching out to others. If it was possible, I would have loved to fully discover and embrace every one of these ministries, but sadly, no person can be spread that thin and still grow. Trust me, I tried! I quickly discovered that I would have to choose one or two ministries and fully commit to them in order to most effectively move forward in my faith.
That brings me full circle back to the title of this post: “Why I joined the BCM”. It would sound beautiful if I said the reason was because the BCM just shined so much brighter than anything else on campus and comparing the BCM to other ministries is like comparing the sun to candles. It would be much more thrilling and dramatic to say the BCM was a lone battalion of Godly warriors fighting desperately against the powers of false doctrine and worldly temptations without assistance. Neither of these statements would be true, though. In reality, I chose the BCM because it is where God naturally led me to get plugged in. As I winnowed down the groups I was getting involved with, my friendships through the BCM were the tiniest bit deeper than others, my enjoyment of the bible studies were the slightest bit greater than others, and my peace as I prayed to God for direction was slightly more prevalent. After committing to the BCM, God continued to affirm my choice with blessing after blessing. The BCM connected me to a great church, I formed wonderful friendships, and I was pushed to grow in my spiritual disciplines in so many different ways. My choice to join the BCM has proven to be the best choice I made during freshman year, and I would make it again in a heartbeat.
There is one final thought I would like to leave with any student not currently involved in a Godly ministry. Finding Godly community is vitally important to our lives as Christians. While it is a tempting lifestyle that seems more comfortable at times, we can not be functional Christians without community. The enemy prowls about like a roaring lion, and we would be foolish and arrogant to assume we can defeat him alone. For me, this community happened to be the BCM, and
while I would be beyond thrilled and overjoyed to welcome you into our ministry, if it’s not a good fit for you, that’s fine! But be sure to find somewhere that will support you in your faith. If you make great connections with CRU, praise God! Use CRU to dive into your faith and glorify the Lord! If it’s C3, go for it! My point is, find somewhere that will help you grow closer to the Lord, and dive in head first. After all, while we may be separate organizations, we are all part of one kingdom, one body, one global church, and we are serving the one true God together!