ARLINGTON – Christian college students across the nation set out on Oct. 10, with a common goal in mind – to share Christ. Through Engage24, students involved in Baptist Student Ministries were each encouraged to engage one person in a conversation about Jesus, and that is just what they did.
Morgan McAree, a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington, shared her faith for the first time and it made all the difference in her life, and in the life of the fellow student she talked with on campus.
Prior to Engage24, Morgan knew Jesus as her personal Savior but never considered herself an evangelist. In fact, she was rather timid when it came to talking about spiritual matters but over the past summer, she increasing felt the Lord speaking to her heart and asking her to make her faith known.
When the BSM at UTA began offering a class on world religions, she signed up with the intention of learning more about the faith of others, but still unsure about actually sharing her faith personally. She started attending the classes and began coming early to meet with some of the BSM leaders and learn more about evangelism. Several times during the semester, Morgan would go out on campus with her friend Ricky Ho, a campus missionary through the BSM, to share the gospel, and each time she found herself sitting and listening while he took the lead in telling others about Jesus.
“I was still unsure that I knew enough to actually tell anyone else about salvation,” Morgan said. “But God was working on my heart and He showed me that He had already given me the words and prepared the way.“
Armed with scripture, prayers and excitement, Morgan set out on the UTA campus on Oct. 10, to join with her friends in the BSM for Engage24.
“As I walked from my apartment, I felt ready, I know I could do it,” she shared.
The BSM set up a table in the middle of campus and handed out 50 dozen donuts to students during the day as they passed by on the way to class, hoping to start up spiritual conversations along the way.
Morgan met a girl named Van that morning. As she began talking with her, Van admitted that she had heard of Christ, but as Morgan began sharing the Gospel, it became clear that Van had never given her heart to Him.
“She thought it was all about works and what we did to make us a good person, but as I shared with her about God’s grace, she got so excited,” Morgan said. “I prayed with her to receive Christ and the second we finished, she jumped up and hugged me. That was the spark of my evangelism.“
“It was a really life-changing experience,” she continued. “I am considering mission work now. I told the Lord, 'If this is what you want from me, I will go wherever, do whatever.’ This is definitely Him working in my life.“
Van was one of six students who accepted Christ as her Savior on the UTA campus that day and Morgan was one of thousands of college students who shared their faith with those around them through participating in Engage24. The second year to host the event across the U.S., Engage24 is a vision from the Baptist College Network to help students truly engage in sharing the gospel with their peers.
Nationwide at least 158 students made professions of faith during Engage24 with more than 1640 students participating in at least 4630 spiritual conversations.
“We are still working on the best way to collect reports, so we feel confident that there are even more out there that we do not know of,” said Christi Matthews, associate BSM director at University of Texas at Arlington who serves on the Baptist Collegiate Network evangelism committee. “It’s so important that Christian college students learn how to share their faith during their college years. While Engage24 is intensely focused on a single day of evangelism, our mission is to promote a lifestyle of evangelism and engagement with the gospel.“
Texas BSMs hosted a variety of events, each with the goal of reaching out to students on campus. From coffee and conversations to concerts and skits, each BSM found unique ways to reach out to their campus, empowering student leaders to share their faith with their classmates.
As they began planning for the day at Kilgore College, BSM Director Shelly Webb was approached by a freshman named Kelsey with the idea of performing an evangelism skit in the Student Center to share the gospel. Kelsey quickly created a plan, assigned roles and organized practices.
“Our ministry is small and to have a student with leadership ability, drive and excitement step forward to lead was really great,” Webb said. As a result, at least 40 students on campus saw the skit performed during the day.
“Many times the students involved in the skit are the ones most changed and that day one our students began to talk to her friend about Christ and she recommitted her life to Him that day,” she shared.
H20 Church, a college church in Bowling Green, Ohio, also saw a tremendous impact through this outreach effort, resulting in 55 professions of faith on and around the event.
“On Engage24 we challenged students to share wherever they were and with someone around them,” said Rob Warren, pastor and campus director of H20 Church. “We saw around 5 people become Christians on the day of Engage24. The Sunday after Engage24, which was our 'Invite Sunday,’ where students invited people during Engage24, we had around 30 people come to Jesus at our morning service and around 15-20 in our evening service. Our baptism is coming up and after our first interest meeting we have about 30 signed up.“
It is clear that Christian college students were bold in sharing their faith on their campuses through Engage24, according to Matthews.
“Stories like this have been coming in from all of the country,” said Matthews. “Williams Baptist College joined with FCA to intentionally impact athletes on their campus which resulted in 11 professions of faith. One student from University of South Florida was able to share Christ with Hindus, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and agnostics – all in one day.“
The Baptist College Network has seen tremendous results through the focus on evangelism with college students and plans are already underway for the next Engage24 on October 14, 2014. Fore more information, visit www.Engage24.org.