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Six Keys to a Fruitful Fall

This monthly newsletter called “KeySources” provides resourcing for Baptist Student Ministry leaders who work part-time or as volunteers on college campuses.  Below are six essentials for a productive fall:
1. Begin and sustain with prayer
Prayer seems to work in two directions: first, it engages God more directly in our situation.  Think of Abraham’s prayer that God would spare Sodom and Gomorrah.
God demonstrated openness to Abraham’s prayer that He would show mercy to the condemned cities (Gen. 18). Even though God does not grant Paul’s request to remove the “thorn in the flesh,” He provided reassurance that His grace would be sufficient for the crisis (2 Cor. 12: 8-9). And remember Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow who badgered the unrighteous judge into granting her request (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus encouraged persistency in prayer and confidence in the Father, indicating that we must persevere in prayer while knowing that unlike the judge, God is compassionately oriented to offering grace.

Second prayer changes the person who prays even when external circumstances do not.  Country and western singer Garth Brooks popularized a song about one of God’s greatest gifts being unanswered prayer, acknowledging that he had often prayed for that which, after personal growth and new perspective, he realized he really did not want or need.  And remember that prayer is as much about listening and availability as it is about giving God a list of requests.

Will you commit to praying daily for your students and quietly listening for God? Maybe God will change the circumstances; certainly He desires to change you and me.
2. Focus on Jesus
Constantly, programmatically, theologically! Going back to the previous point, ask yourself if Jesus’ commitment to prayer was comparable to yours or did his life reflect a radical need for time with the Father?
By focusing on Jesus, we find an example to follow and the most complete guide to the identity, nature and will of God the Father. One of the best things to read and discuss with seekers is the Gospel of John since it presents the dramatic claims He makes about His identity and relationship with God. (Note helpful resources at UTA BSM
Any focus on Jesus will necessitate dependence upon and leadership by His Spirit and obedience to His Father.
3. Prioritize People
You probably are familiar with Jesus’ response to the question about the “Greatest Commandment.”  He said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22: 37-39)
In Jesus’ parable on the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7), he accentuated the importance of the individual, especially the “lost,” indicating that the 99 sheep in the fold would temporarily receive less attention than the single sheep which wandered away. Are you leading students to have Jesus’ perspective and priority about reaching the lost? Would you meet with returning students and prayerfully set a goal to contact and get information on a specific number of students in the first two weeks of the semester? Then contact those students by email or text within the following weeks, offering to meet for “coffee” on an individual basis or inviting them to an event such as your weekly meeting.
4. Work with Others
Since the needs of your campus extend beyond your limitations, the involvement of others is a necessity—both for their good and yours.How can you cooperate with the following?
  • Students who are FAT, an acronym for Faithful, Available and Teachable.  These will be essential in forming a leadership team which is committed to the Great Commandment and Great Commission.   
  • Local Churches—In addition to asking for help from churches with luncheons or special events, invite church leaders to be present and get to know students.
  • Campus Leaders—There are people on faculty and staff who can be great assets to your ministry.  Other Christian organizations may provide partners in prayer and ministry.
  • State Staff—any of the state BSM staff would be open to a phone call or email and may have insight into the challenges you are facing. (All can be reached by adding onto their names, i. e., bruce.mcgowan, rick.spencer, john.pearce, beth.smith, joyce.ashcraft, robert.hooker for evangelism, brenda.sanders for Go Now Missions).
5. Bless the Campus
Make sure that you meet and get to know people in student life so that the BSM is perceived as an asset to student life, both for those who are Jesus’ disciples and those who may be opposed to Christianity.
Remember what Jesus said in Matt. 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” 

Are there service projects which students can help with? On certain campuses, Christian students go to dorms and ask to take our trash or help with athletic events.
6. Make Disciples
Often, BSM seems to be defined by students on campus as a luncheon or event.  And BSM leaders are tempted to define success in terms of attendance at meetings. 
Jesus demanded that disciples follow Him—a decision and process which resulted in transformation.  It has been noted that an organization (even a BSM or church) can be like a graveyard which is consistently adding new bodies without seeing any new life.

How would you expect a typical student on your campus with a vague familiarity with BSM to characterize the purpose of the students involved? Are they being transformed into Christlikeness? Are they manifesting the fruit of the Spirit listed in Gal. 5:22?
The BSM Staff Website is full of resource ideas, Bible Studies, up-coming events, and other material.
If I can be of help, please feel free to contact me at 512-497-3240 or
Past editions of KeySources can be found at
Copyright © 2016 Texas BSM, All rights reserved.

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