Frank Dudley. That name probably means nothing to you if you live in Arkansas, but to an East Texas Baptist University junior transfer from Florida, the name of my Baptist College Minister (then BSU) conjures up all that’s good.
One time, when I happened to be in his office, I saw his prayer journal lying open with a list of students’ names—my own included.
“I pray for my leadership team,” he explained, a little embarrassed at my discovery. “I want them to continue to grow in Christ, have a mission-minded lifestyle and stay connected to Christ’s church for the rest of their lives.”
While this might be tough for a mission-minded people to believe, I came into Franks’ ministry unfamiliar with the term, ‘missions.’ Also, when someone asked me my first day at college where to find the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” I just shrugged my shoulders.
I wanted to grow in Christ but never had the opportunity. The Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) became that opportunity.
Located a stone’s throw from my dorm, I attended every 6 a.m. prayer meeting; signed up for any local and national mission trips my schedule and budget would allow for; soaked up every leadership training event on the calendar and found myself on the BCM leadership team.
By my senior year, I not only knew the Philippians 4:13 verse, I was teaching it as chaplain to the girls in my dorm, drawing pictures of it for children who lived in government housing and quoting it weekly to senior citizens at three nursing homes.
By the time I graduated, I had surrendered to Christian service at 21 and enrolled in seminary.
Quite the change in two years—a change I gladly “blame” on the BCM.
Today, I count myself fortunate to still be involved in the BCM ministry, even though I’m way past the age of backpacks, study sessions, grade point averages and the (then dreaded, now obsolete) curfew.
Just last month, I hung around at a BCM mega-city mission trip mingling with students, pestering them with tough questions, following them with a camera around my neck. I am the College and Young Leaders Team writer for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
Let me assure you, the BCM is as strong as / stronger than ever.
“If we can win the university today,” said Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, “we will win the world tomorrow.”
To “win the world tomorrow,” we need the Baptist Collegiate Ministry—its focus on the lost; its intense training for the saved; its strong connection to the local church and its sold-out leaders with vision.
By the way, Frank Dudley came to see me about four years ago, at First Baptist Church, Fayetteville where my husband has been a pastor for over 14 years.
He didn’t say much; he just looked around and smiled.