Every Fall the University of Tennessee gives its students a four day weekend early in October. We at the BCM take this time to invest in students through missions. We strategically plan for an on-campus evangelism experience during this time because we find that this helps prepare students to return to campus feeling equipped and encouraged to do evangelism at home. We generally take around 25 to 30 students with two campus ministers and another additional adult driver (sometimes a local campus pastor, a campus missionary, or alumni).
When choosing the campus to go to we look at a few things:
• Within a 5 hour drive due to the short term nature of the trip
• A campus with a BCM
• A city with other mission opportunities
Firstly, it helps to keep the drive short so we can leave that Wednesday night, sleep in our location, and awaken the next morning bright and early ready to serve. We also leave Saturday afternoon to allow students a chance to continue to connect with their local church in Knoxville. The Saturday departure is beneficial in two ways. We can stay at (**on the floor of) a local church in the mission city without impeding their Sunday morning activities. Also, it allows us to partner with some of our local Knoxville churches as well because we are not competing with students’ need to be home on Sunday morning.
Second, we love partnering with other BCM’s. It creates a kindred spirit amongst the states of partnering ministries trying to accomplish the same thing across the area. We also love supporting the network of BCM’s with willing and ready workers. It also encourages the students in the partnering BCM’s to be as bold as our students who are serving on mission are. When looking at a BCM, I contact the local campus minister and see how we can engage on their campus. This to me is an absolute must because you want to respect the time and effort they have put into being a good community member on their college campus. Another reason to connect locally is when you see fruit during your time serving on the campus, you quickly have a place to refer that student to be discipled and encouraged in their newfound faith. I also check to see how we might be able to connect with their students at some of their weekly events. Anytime we can have students sharing their passions and how they are seeing the Gospel move across their campus is a win. This cross-contamination of ideas can really spark some great exploration of evangelism on our campus later. Students will say things like, “People at So-and-So BCM do this, maybe we could do something similar.” We also love to see how other BCM’s do their discipleship and their worship times so joining in those activities is always beneficial as well. Anytime you want to send some on fire students towards Knoxville to share the gospel just let me know and we can be ready!
Lastly, I find that it can be very helpful for our students to not only engage in campus evangelism but also community evangelism and outreach. Again this serves a dual purpose. It helps my students who perhaps love kids or construction ministry to come on a trip with me and also get exposed to campus evangelism. On purely campus evangelism trips, students can sometimes disengage because they feel ill-equipped or because it’s all
things they “can do here.” Also, it helps them get excited about community ministry we often have back in Knoxville. I love to train students not only in what I would consider daily life evangelism (campus evangelism in their current season) but also serving those in need. It can help them see themselves fulfilling the Acts 1:8 commission in their Jerusalem and Judea.
Types of activities we have done on these Fall Break trips include: surveys, invites with freebies, ride along ministry (ride the local campus bus and strike up a convo!), lunch with a stranger, and proxy stations such as “What Fills Your Cup?”, “Struggle Bus”, and “Where is the World Going?”
We have seen a lot of fruit from these Fall Break mission trips not only on those campuses we serve on but also when we return home. It sets the tone of our ministry, letting those new Freshman and Transfers know that we as a ministry are serious about sharing the gospel not only on those incredible trips across the ocean but on our college campus. We are so serious about it, we take a trip that expressly trains you in doing it in your classrooms when you return home.