While millions of American college students headed to U.S. beaches to party and have fun, 1,500 college students from Baptist Collegiate Ministry groups and churches hit the beaches with a different purpose. Their goal was to engage their fellow college students with the Gospel. Under the label, Beach Reach, these college student missionaries gathered at South Padre Island in Texas and Panama City Beach in Florida. These beaches represent some of the biggest spring break destinations for college students in the U.S.
Beach Reach missionaries met Brian on the beach in the middle of a giant beach party. Brian was wearing Mardi Gras beads and drinking a beer. He started talking to Lee, a Baptist Student Ministry student from Angelo State University. Lee was able to talk with Brian and share the Gospel. Brian shared that he realized that week he was making a lot of bad decisions and he wanted to change his life because it was headed in the wrong direction. Lee from Angelo State University talked him through why a relationship with Jesus is the only thing that can change him. There in the middle of a giant party, Brian gave his life to Christ. Immediately he ran to tell his friends about his new life in Christ. Beach Reachers helped him connect with believers from his campus to help him begin growing as a disciple.
Offering free van rides and providing breakfast were just a few of the ways Beach Reach students engaged with fellow college students. These outreach activities were coupled with concentrated prayer and worship and celebration.
In Texas, during spring break weeks in March, over 800 students from 5 states and nearly 40 campuses across the US came to South Padre Island, TX to serve the city of South Padre and share the gospel with collegiate spring breakers from all over the country. The goal was to keep spring breakers safe, meet some physical needs as well as share the gospel with them. With the help of Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief teams, Beach Reachers served free pancakes in the morning and out in front of the largest bar on the island during the late-night hours. A fleet of over 80 vans staffed by Beach Reach students and college ministry leaders provided safe rides on the island through the night and afternoons to 15,534 students. Throughout the weeks of ministry and through 8,269 Gospel conversations, they saw 207 students pray to receive Christ and 104 prodigals restored.
In Florida, over 700 college student missionaries from 21 colleges and universities ranging from Tennessee to South Carolina provided van rides to 2,404 spring breakers and saw 77 students pray to receive Christ. The van rides were provided at no cost to spring breakers from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. provided the college student missionaries with an opportunity to share their faith boldly.
Beach Reach is an annual event coordinated by Baptist Student and Collegiate Ministry teams in Texas and Tennessee. Pray for the 284 new believers in Christ, the 9,000 college students who heard the Gospel, and for students who recommitted their life to Christ.