Priority Christian Challenge at California State University San Marcos was launched in August 1999 when there were only 5,000 students at this decade old university. Now, there are more than 18,000.
Milt Hughes and Ruth Bran moved to San Marcos to begin the work in conjunction with Neil Walker, state director of Southern Baptist collegiate ministry. Milt had served in collegiate ministry at LifeWay for 22 years before retiring in 1992.
We asked Milt to share some of the highlights, challenges, and opportunities involved with his ministry role. Here’s what he had to say, as well as some ways you can pray for him, the ministry, and the students involved.
BCMLife: Tell us about your campus ministry and mission.
Milt Huges: We are completing our 20th year as volunteers. Our on-campus group is called Priority Christian Challenge. The greatest response has been with international students. Beginning in 2009, we have conducted a weekly dinner and Bible study for them. We meet each Friday Night during the academic year for a home-cooked dinner, conversation, pointed Bible study, small group discussion, dessert and games. This past year, we have averaged more than 30 each week. Through the years, we have hosted students from more than 25 different nations. A number have begun the journey of following Christ.
BCMLife: What do you sense are the challenges facing today’s college students?
RS:Three major things would rise to the top of my list: The financial burden of college, a lack of mentorship from older generations, and divisiveness (which is the new normal in our culture).
BCMLife: Are there any prayer needs for your ministry that others in the network could pray about?
MH: Our greatest prayer need is for raising up new leaders to continue this ministry if-and-when we can no longer carry on. Milt is 89. Ruth is 63.
BCMLife: As a college ministry leader, what is the most rewarding part of your role?
MH: Our greatest and most rewarding experience has been with loving and sharing the good news of Christ with hundreds of students from all over the world, week after week—Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, nothings, atheists, and agnostics. We have involved several believers from other nations, discipling them and encouraging them to share Christ wherever they go.
BCMLife: What have been some great opportunities for outreach with your college ministry either on your campus and/or in your community?
MH: We have a close and trusting relationship with the entities on campus dealing with international students. They invite us to participate in the annual International Fair on campus. They trust us with names and information of students in their care. We maintain a ministry with faculty called Faculty Christian Fellowship, meeting when possible for lunch, discussion, and encouragement. We have also involved many non-Christian international students in our church. As many as 15 have attended Saddleback San Diego with us on a given Sunday. Many tell us “church is fun!”