The Importance of Baptist Campus Ministries to marshall university's campus

What is Baptist Campus Ministries?

As a freshman, coming to college can be very scary. College is full of new experiences, new friends, and even harder school work. It is usually the first time that students are on their own, making life decisions without their parents approval or say. These decisions range from friend groups, majors, and what to get involved in on the college campus as well as many others. Every college experience is different for every person, and the experience starts with the student deciding who they want to be during those four years.

These were all of the things that scared me coming to Marshall University as a freshman, until I got involved with Baptist Campus Ministries. Coming to college I knew I wanted to be involved in a campus ministry, but had no idea how this one in particular would effect my life forever. So what exactly is Baptist Campus Ministries? Baptist Campus Ministries, commonly known as BCM, is a campus ministry located on 7 different college campuses in the state of West Virginia. They are supported by the West Virginia Baptist Convention, and their mission and slogan is "changing lives that change the world". They accomplish this through their events, teachings, iTeams (small group study), worship, and the tight knit community that it provides students. I particularly am apart of the Marshall University division. Many on the outside don't see the importance of campus ministries, like BCM, on Marshall University's campus. The students that encompass BCM, however, show the benefits they receive. These include but are not limited to: a higher GPA, reduced risk of substance abuse, strengthened spirituality, and lifelong encouraging friendships.

Grade Point Average

One of the most important things to a college is their students' grade point average. College's give scholarships to students with higher GPA's and ACT scores because they want the smartest students coming into their university and leaving with more knowledge to be successful in their chosen career path. Having more students graduate with higher GPA's and jobs laid out for them, looks better on their university.

Many studies have been done that correlate higher grades with higher church attendance. One in particular, found that "if students increased their involvement in church life over the high school years, their grades..tended to go up". High school students in this aspect are very similar to college students. If a student cares about their grades in high school, chances are they will continue to care the rest of their lives. It is very common for students to want to get involved in extra-curricular activities because "not only will your participation lead to more satisfaction, but it will not cost you in grades". This is great news for universities like Marshall University because the more students involved in campus ministries like BCM, the more students that may have higher GPA's. It is beneficial for students individually because with higher GPA's and a head on their shoulders, they will be successful in their career. Baptist Campus Ministries is important on Marshall University's campus because these campus ministries help students' GPA.

Substance Abuse

Many perceive college as a place to get drunk, go to parties, and get involved with drugs. During college, lots of students suffer from substance abuse that may even last after graduation. Campus ministries help to give students a place to go, have fun, without getting involved in alcohol and drugs. During a study done by Tiffanie Sim, Lisa Jordan-Green, and Jade Wolfman, they found that "parents identified church involvement and one’s own spirituality as protective factors in deterring adolescent substance use. Parents mentioned that church allowed for greater opportunities for positive activity involvement, interactions with role models and prosocial peers" (294). This simply means that the positive events Baptist Campus Ministries has, helps students to stay away from the negative events happening involving drugs and alcohol. It also provides students great role models and friends to help along the way.

Another study suggested the same thing, and found that "when adolescents believe religion is important, frequent church attendance further strengthens their moral beliefs". This is beneficial for Marshall University because the more students are attending BCM services, the more religion is meaning something to them. In return, they will have better morals. Colleges that have well rounded students with morals look better on the college itself. Students benefit from this because future employers are looking for well rounded people. Baptist Campus Ministries shows its importance on Marshall University's campus by reducing the number of students that suffer from substance abuse.

Spirituality

One of the most important things to the leaders of BCM is that students will grow stronger in the Lord during their time at Marshall University, and spread the love of Christ to others. One of the ways they accomplish this is through small group study. Since BCM averages about 200 people during every service, they created something called iTeams. iTeams are gender based small groups that meet every week. The purpose of these small groups is to grow in the Lord and share life with one another. According to Mary Rynsburger and Mark A. Lamport, "many churches believe the small group educational strategy has greater potential to produce Christian maturity than do large group class formats or even one-on-one mentoring" (116). This could be for many reasons. Small groups tend to be more focused since there are less people in the group. Rob Ely explains in his interview that iTeams challenge students. They give students a place to show their emotion. A part of growing spiritually is admitting their faults to others, and iTeams are a perfect place to do that.

Another way BCM helps students to grow stronger in their faith is by giving them the opportunity to use their gifts. This could be through the worship band, leading an iTeam, missions, and many other ways. Ely mentions earlier in the interview that "it gives students the opportunity to own your faith for the first time". Before college, students follow their parents guidance and go to church. Once college begins, it is up to the student to decide if they really want to follow Jesus. Baptist Campus Ministries is important in order to support and build Christian's spirituality on Marshall University's campus.

Friends

When entering college as a freshman with no friends, it may be scary. Not making the right friends or any friends can cause a student to drop out, or get involved with the substance abuse mentioned earlier. Friends are essential to make good life decisions. According to Great Plains United Methodists, "More significant life choices, like vocation, lifestyle, relationships and the role of faith, are made during college than any other stage of life". Because all of these decisions are being made, it is essential the right friends are made to guide a student to make the right decisions. Rob Ely mentions in his interview that BCM is a place where students can feel safe and loved. He also says that it is a "safe place to exhibit faith and not worry about the world. But, worry about the world so that students can change the world". Nothing is better than feeling accepted. Baptist Campus Ministry's is important to the students of Marshall University's campus because students can make the right friends that will push them to do well with their education and the rest of their lives.

The Importance

As stated above, BCM benefits the students at Marshall University as well as the college in many ways. Students who are involved in church activities are more likely to have higher GPA's, which looks great on Marshall University. BCM's events helps students to stay away from alcohol and drugs. By implementing small group study though iTeams, students grow in the Lord while being able to defend their faith for the first time. Marshall University students make great, life long friends through Baptist Campus Ministry's that will benefit them in college as well as well into the future. The importance of Baptist Campus Ministries and the benefits that it gives is evident to Marshall University students.

Works Cited

“GPA Quotes Like Success.” Like Success, likesuccess.com/topics/15336/gpa.

Rynsburger, Mary, and Mark A Lamport. “All the Rage: How Small Groups Are Really Educating Christian Adults Part 1: Assessing Small Group Ministry Practice: A....” Christian Education Journal, no. 1, 1 Apr. 2008, p. 116 http://muezproxy.marshall.edu:2224/elibweb/elib/do/document?set=pbsissue&searchType=&dictionaryClick=&secondaryNav=&groupid=1&requestid=issue_docs&resultid=4&edition=&ts=52A82E58E65DE1863DCA27209B1EE1F4_1479499887177&start=1&publicationId=PB004850&urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B151889598#citation

Sim, Tiffanie et al. “Parents’ Perception of the Effects of Church Involvement on Adolescent Substance Use.” Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 44, no. 3, 2005, pp. 291–301. doi:10.1007/s10943-005-5465-y

“Substance Abuse &Amp; Estate Planning.” Thompson Legacy Law, 25 Oct. 2016, www.thompsonlegacylaw.com/blog/2016/10/25/substance-abuse-estate-planning/.

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Annotated Bibliography

Desmond, Scott A., and Rachel Kraus. “The Effects of Importance of Religion and Church Attendance on Adolescents' Moral Beliefs.” Sociological Focus, vol. 47, no. 1, Feb. 2014, pp. 11–31. Taylor &Amp; Francis Online, doi:10.1080/00380237.2014.853282.

Desmond and Kraus formulate a study regarding the effects of church attendance and importance of religion on adolescent’s moral behaviors. They find evidence that church attendance with importance of religion on positive moral beliefs all correlate together. The authors mentions that “When adolescents believe religion is important, frequent church attendance further strengthens their moral beliefs”. This is important because as students start to mature, society wishes that their moral behaviors do also. Colleges as well as future careers want well rounded students and workers. Christian ministries substitute church attendance during the week and help students to stay on track. Desmond and Kraus mention other studies and how their study correlates with the results of others. This helps the credibility of the article. This article works for my essay because church attendance at Christian ministries and the importance of religion in students’ lives make well rounded people.

Francis, Kaitlin N, and Rob Ely. “Importance of Baptist Campus Ministries.” 30 Nov. 2016.

Rob Ely has worked for the West Virginia Baptist Convention for nearly 20 years. During the summer he oversees all of the camps at Camp Cowen. Rob has been the Director of Baptist Campus Ministries for a year and a half, and oversees Marshall’s division. Because he has worked with youth and young adults for so many years, he is an expert in his field. He sees the importance that Baptist Campus Ministries has had on students directly. During the interview he answered many of my questions about the impact that BCM has on students at Marshall University. He mentions that BCM helps students grow spiritually because “it gives students the opportunity to own your faith for the first time”. This is because it is the first time students are away from their parents to make their own decisions. By doing this, their relationship with Christ becomes their own.

“Importance of Campus Ministry.” GP: Home, www.greatplainsumc.org/importanceofcampusministry.

The authors of the Great Plains United Methodist website stress the importance that college ministries have on college students. The point of view of this website is that of the United Methodist churches. They explain that “More significant life choices, like vocation, lifestyle, relationships and the role of faith, are made during college than any other stage of life”. College ministries are there to help with these decisions along the way. The author mentions three reasons why campus ministries are important: to invite, equip, and send. College ministries are there to not only help those that already know the Lord, but to also bring unbelievers to the Lord. College ministries equip Christians to enter the real world after college is over. Students grow through worship, small groups, and service to the community and college. College ministries also send students out to all areas of the world to serve and be helpful where

Isbell, Roy S. Campus Ministry: How to Reach Your Campus for Christ. Bloomington, IN, Authorhouse, 2011.

Roy Isbell was in the college ministry service for forty-five years. His goal for the book is to inspire others to go out and be leaders in Christian ministry groups. He explains that “the goal and Biblical command for campus ministry is to make disciples and to develop Christian leaders who know Jesus Christ as Lord of their life and are able to make Him known to others”. His writing emphasizes the importance of college ministries on the future of students. Isbell stresses the importance that a lot of major life decisions happen within the college years, and Christian ministries have a great impact on making those decisions. Since Isbell has been in the ministry for years, he has witnessed the impact on students from his own eyes. Isbell also mentions that a successful Christian ministry is done through “prayer and a daily intimate conversation with Jesus”.

Keller, Bess. “Rural Education.” Education Week, vol. 20, no. 40, 13 June 2001, p. 10. Academic Search Premier, muezproxy.marshall.edu:2059/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=4867336&site=ehost-live.

Bess Keller examined 450 families in the north central Iowa area. Her findings concluded that high school students that attended church activities tended to get better grades than those that did not. They also tended to be more liked by their peers. Keller also uses studies done by others to back up her findings, which makes her writing more reputable. She mentions that researchers “found that if students increased their involvement in church life over the higher school years, their grades... tended to go up”. This is relevant to my paper because high school students are very similar to those students at Marshall University. The article does not contain much information from the study, since it is relatively short. An important part of why college ministries are so important to college campuses, especially Marshall University, is that the GPA’s students earn may go up by participating in these communities.

Roberts, Andrew Lawrence. The Thinking Student's Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education (Chicago Guides to Academic Life). University of Chicago Press, 2010, Ebsco Host, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=336780&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_Front_Cover

Andrew Roberts is a professor that wrote his book to give upcoming college students tips on how to make the most out of their education. In the seventh chapter of his book, he mentions that students should get involved in extracurricular activities. This is a great way to make the most out of your education. He mentions that “Students involved in extracurriculars (including paid work) do not appear to get lower grades than others” which is a plus. Spending time outside of your studies actually does not affect student’s grades. Later on in the same chapter he recommends to get to know foreign students. By doing this you learn about other countries and the way that they live. This is relevant to my essay because Marshall’s campus ministry called Baptist Campus Ministries is very involved with the foreign students. Roberts mentions that “most foreign students are alone in America and grateful for any sort of guidance”. Being involved in campus ministries’ helps to learn more about other countries and befriend foreign students who may need a friend.

Rynsburger, Mary, and Mark A Lamport. “All the Rage: How Small Groups Are Really Educating Christian Adults Part 1: Assessing Small Group Ministry Practice: A....” Christian Education Journal, no. 1, 1 Apr. 2008, p. 116 http://muezproxy.marshall.edu:2224/elibweb/elib/do/document?set=pbsissue&searchType=&dictionaryClick=&secondaryNav=&groupid=1&requestid=issue_docs&resultid=4&edition=&ts=52A82E58E65DE1863DCA27209B1EE1F4_1479499887177&start=1&publicationId=PB004850&urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B151889598#citation.

Rynsburger and Lamport discuss the idea that small groups are an important part in church today. They mention several times the benefits of small groups, and why they are so beneficial. The authors use many other sources in order to back up their opinion. They mention that “many churches believe the small group educational strategy has greater potential to produce Christian maturity than do large group class formats or even one-on-one mentoring.” This is relevant to my essay because most of the Christian ministries at Marshall incorporate small groups. This is one of the many benefits of the ministries on campus. The authors incorporate many models into their work. They also mention that “Such an approach to Christian education seems to imply that if a group of sincere Christians-no matter what their levels of maturity and understanding of the Christian life may be-simply covenant together to be a loving and intimate community, then spiritual maturity will inevitably result”. This is very relevant to essay because one of the main purposes of Christian ministries is to help students grow in the Lord.

Schubmehl, J., Cubbellotti, S., & Van Ornum, W. (2009). THE EFFECT OF SPIRITUALITY AND CAMPUS MINISTRY ON ACADEMIC ACCOMPLISHMENT IN COLLEGE STUDENTS. Adolescence, 44(174), 499-502. http://muezproxy.marshall.edu:2074/docview/195939162?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12281

Schubmehl, Cubbellotti, and Ornum hypothesized that students who were more spiritual and attended college campus ministries would have a higher GPA than those that do not. They tested their hypothesis by using the INPSPIRIT test to test their level of spirituality. They also asked other questions about their GPA, gender, graduation year, and specify which college ministries they are a part of. The authors include many other findings that have done regarding college ministries and grade point average. This makes the work very reputable and believable. They also mention other advantages to college ministries such as that “religion may help college and high school students have a sense of inner control over their life and surroundings”. At the end of the study, they found that there was no correlation between GPA and religiousness in their study, but mentions many reason why this may have happened.

Sim, Tiffanie et al. “Parents’ Perception of the Effects of Church Involvement on Adolescent Substance Use.” Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 44, no. 3, 2005, pp. 291–301. doi:10.1007/s10943-005-5465-y.

This article includes the results from a study on the effects of church and substance abuse. Parents were put into focus groups to discuss the importance and results that church and church activities have on children staying away from alcohol. The authors mention that “Parents identified church involvement and one’s own spirituality as protective factors in deterring adolescent substance use. Parents mentioned that church allowed for greater opportunities for positive activity involvement, interactions with role models and prosocial peers”. This explains that having positive activities to do helps people to stay away from bad temptations. Good influences in peers can also help to stay away from temptations such as alcohol abuse. These positive activities help students to get involved in a positive way instead of getting involved in a negative way. This is relevant to my essay because it is widely known the temptation of alcohol on college campus’. Having positive activities to be a part of, like college ministries, help students to steer away from bad influences and alcohol.

Todd, N. R., McConnell, E. A., Odahl-Ruan, C., & Houston-Kolnik, J. (2016). Christian campus-ministry groups at public universities and opposition to same-sex marriage. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, http://muezproxy.marshall.edu:2074/docview/1784752264?pq-origsite=summon

The authors of this article conducted a study on Christian ministry groups at public universities to see how different groups associate with the idea of same sex marriage. The study consisted of “292 students from 30 such groups” in which they filled out a survey based on their campus ministry, same sex marriage beliefs, participation in their ministry, etc. The study found that “the association between student religious beliefs and opposition to gay marriage may be different depending on the type of campus-ministry group a student attends”. Although this article has some interesting information about Christian ministries, it does not fit within the goals of my essay. The article does not mention any importance in Christian ministries, but only the way they see same sex marriage. The authors use many sources and contains a works cited which makes the article very trust worthy and scholarly.

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Picture Essay

Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) is a campus ministry from the West Virginia Baptist Convention. BCM is located on seven college campuses in West Virginia, but I am specifically apart of Marshall University's division. This community is important to me because it will be what I remember most about my college experience. BCM has given me a huge community of friends that are encouraging as well as supportive. One of the most special things about BCM is something called iTeams. Because BCM is so big, they incorporate small groups called iTeams that help students grow in the Lord as well as make lifelong friendships. The pictures below are from BCM events and iTeams that I have participated in. These events have strengthened friendships, and helped to break away from the stress of college. Without this community I would not have made the lifelong friendships that I have, and would not be in the place that I am with the Lord.

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Reflection Piece

By putting together this Advocacy Project, I have fulfilled a lot of the course objectives required for this course. One of the course objectives I have used during this project is the “ability to position themselves within public conversations and to compose a logical argument supported by research”. Throughout my essay I use multiple sources to back up my overall argument. Specifically, I used multiple quotes from my interview with Rob Ely to back up my opinion that Baptist Campus Ministries is important to grow students’ faith at Marshall University. Another course objective I fulfilled was the “ability to work with different texts as researchers, to mine for information, and to effectively use research sources, including online sources, in their writing”. Throughout my Advocacy Essay, I use multiple types of sources including online sources. I use multiple online journals like “Parents’ Perception of the Effects of Church Involvement on Adolescent Substance Use” for instance. I used a book called “The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education”, and also a website created by Great Plains United Methodist. Using many types of sources helps to get educated opinions from many types of views.

There are some course objectives that are still difficult for me to do, or I tend to overlook them. The course objective “ability to understand the importance of grammar, mechanics, and careful proofreading in the process of effective communication” is one of which I tend to overlook and am weak in. After writing the essay, I tend to get lazy about checking for grammar errors. I completely see the importance of checking for these things, but it tends to be something I overlook in order to spend more time in other areas of the essay. Another course objective that I still have trouble doing is the “ability to analyze the stylistic conventions and rhetorical patterns of selected texts and to recognize the different stakeholders in an argument”. I am not very good at recognizing stylistic and rhetorical things in writing. I tend to look more on the outside of a writing instead of taking the time to dig deeper. Something I think I do pretty well especially in this essay is the course objective: “ability to work with different texts as researchers, to mine for information, and to effectively use research sources, including online sources, in their writing”. I did a good job at including different types of sources into my Advocacy Essay. I also did very well at using sources that don’t necessarily match the topic one hundred percent, but making inferences about how it can relate instead. I used the online journal “Parents’ Perception of the Effects of Church Involvement on Adolescent Substance Use” and made inferences that young teens are similar to college aged adults. They are both peer pressured and tempted in the same ways. Although I still have some course objectives to get better at, continuing to write will enhance my skills more and more.

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