Approximately 150,000 college students are enrolled at 13 campuses in San Antonio. The Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry team estimates that less than 1% of those students are actively engaged with the Gospel. This summer, Texas BSM efforts have expanded to focus efforts in San Antonio, with the goal of reaching every campus in the city for Christ.
“I want to see San Antonio become a sending city. There’s so much opportunity there. We want to be a part of what God is doing and be a part of leading college students to Him,” said Mark Jones, director of Texas Baptists Collegiate Ministry.
To launch these efforts, Reid Burkett and Meg Craig are relocating to San Antonio to become the directors of Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) at The University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) and San Antonio College (SAC), respectively. Both Burkett and Craig have rich backgrounds in BSM and understand the importance of strong ministries on collegiate campuses, Jones explained, and he is excited for them to engage their new campuses with zeal.
Burkett to lead UTSA
Burkett knows firsthand the importance of college ministry, as he became a believer while he was a student at Howard Payne University. The BSM gave him his first opportunity to do ministry and also helped him get his first job at a church. He later returned to BSM to be the director at Wayland Baptist University, and now he will serve as the new BSM director at UTSA.
“I feel like everything that’s happened in my time in ministry has prepared me for this challenge. There’s so much work, planning, strategy, prayer and miracles that have to go into reaching just one campus, and so I’m just excited to be taking on something that I know without God and without the Holy Spirit leading would be impossible,” Burkett said.
The UTSA BSM is the only pre-existing BSM in San Antonio. Israel Mendez, the former director, built up a strong ministry and will continue to advocate for the importance of BSMs as he begins a new ministry role at Alamo Community Church. Burkett is excited to continue the work that Mendez has put in place and to expand into new areas of ministry.
Craig to relaunch efforts at SAC
Craig will be restarting the BSM at SAC, which has not had an active BSM since the 1990s. Craig felt called to serve at SAC after she prayer-walked the campus during her time as a full-time staff member at the Tarleton State University BSM.
“While I was there I prayed that God would raise up a laborer for that campus. And then, about a week later I was reading Acts 13 where it talks about Paul and Barnabas being set apart, and I felt like God was setting me apart for San Antonio,” she explained.
SAC is the largest single-campus community college in Texas, with over 20,000 students enrolled. It is a two-year college, so students often transfer to another college to complete their degree. As students go out, it offers a unique chance for BSM to form roots on their new campuses.
Since the time Craig knew she would begin work to relaunch the BSM, she has been devoted to connecting with SAC’s administration in order to understand what being a student organization looks like on campus. In order to be registered, the BSM will need five committed students and a faculty advisor. For the first year, Craig’s strategy revolves around connecting with students and understanding their needs. This will be done through free coffee, spiritual surveys and other ministries focused on creating relationships.
The vision is much bigger than reaching SAC though, Craig said. It is about creating a movement that will impact all college campuses in San Antonio.
“The vision is that we would create multiplying movements on college campuses in San Antonio so that every student has the chance to hear the Gospel from a friend. And that’s a really big vision and goal, but we know that our God is big and faithful and so we’re going to ask big and pray much,” she said.
Collaboration with churches
The San Antonio BSMs will be a collaborative effort, with Burkett and Craig combining resources often in order to make the strongest impact. Their goal goes beyond their respective campuses and extends to the entire city. Two interns will also join the San Antonio BSM team in the fall to help Burkett and Craig begin their ministry.
The collaboration also extends to local churches and the San Antonio Baptist Association (SABA). Darrell Horn, executive director of SABA, and the rest of the association have valuable connections and resources that will help BSM reach more students, Jones explained. Collegiate ministry is by its nature transient, as students go through college and then graduate, so the steady presence of the church and association provides a solid foundation for the ministry. Local churches are essential to BSMs, as they provide resources, manpower and prayer.
“We want to work in partnership with our churches there. A lot of what Reid and Meg will do is meet with these churches and see how we can multiply these efforts,” Jones explained.
Furthermore, BSM acts as a connector between students on campus and churches in the community. By integrating itself into the campus, BSM is able to meet the students where they are and connect them with churches who can pour into them. Burkett, Craig and all those involved in the San Antonio BSM efforts hope that this revitalization of collegiate ministry in San Antonio will be the beginning of an awakening in colleges across the city.
“It’s important that the BSM lands there so that we can be the arm of the local church in San Antonio to the college students there,” Craig said. “We want San Antonio to be a place of hope and to be a light in Texas.”
To learn more about Texas BSM, visit txbsm.org. For information about how your church can get involved with the San Antonio BSM, contact Reid Burkett at Reid.Burkett@txb.org.