This past year was uniquely filled with challenges and uncertainties. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions such as limited in-person gatherings, mask wearing and social distancing were implemented to prevent the spread of disease across the nation. In spite of these restrictions, the Corpus Christi Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) was able to find creative ways to engage with students and help them grow in their relationships with the Lord.
Corpus Christi BSM is a collegiate ministry seeking to build community, discipleship and growth in Christ among students through the outreach of institutions such as Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Del Mar College. It is one of more than 130 BSMs across the state through Texas Baptists Center for Collegiate Ministry.
Stephen Galarza, director of Corpus Christi BSM, explained that, “The mission of Corpus Christi BSM is to engage college students to follow Christ and transform the world.”
This past semester, due to school closures and visitor restrictions, it became difficult for the Corpus Christi BSM to reach out to students through their usual, in-person events. However, this did not stop them from reaching out and connecting to students through different means.
“Although we struggled with several COVID restrictions from the college campuses we serve, we did a lot of online ministry, using Instagram to connect with over 150 freshman students,” Galarza shared.
After connecting with these students, Galarza or another member of the BSM team would set up Gospel appointments in order to get to know the student, their needs and their journey with the Lord.
“We were able to meet up with them, have a meal or coffee, find out if they were connected to a church and share the Gospel with them,” he said. “We ended up having 40 students sign up for those Gospel appointments.”
In addition to online witnessing and Gospel appointments, Corpus Christi BSM held three different Bible study groups, one online and two in-person. While complying with all necessary COVID-19 regulations, students were able to share in community and discipleship with one another through the different activities done in each group.
Easing anxiety and stress
“Since institutions like Del Mar College went completely online, it has been really hard for students to be engaged in online courses. Some students don’t get to have a lot of interaction with other people, so we thought having some community outside their apartments and dorms would help ease feelings of isolation or anxiousness,” Galarza explained.
Del Mar freshman Caroline Miller shared how Corpus Christi BSM helped her finish her first semester in college.
“Getting involved with the BSM was like a break,” Miller said. “I would just walk in, see everyone and learn more about God; it was my time away from school and stress.”
For Miller, being involved with the Corpus Christi BSM enabled her to grow and be challenged in her faith.
“During my time with the BSM, I really just grew in my relationship with the Lord,” she said “I just loved being there, the environment and the people. It was a great experience!”
During the spring semester, Corpus Christi BSM leaders will continue reaching out to students through social media and setting up Gospel appointments. However, the focus of the ministry will be directed more towards teaching students how to disciple fellow students.
“We want students to be ready and fully equipped to share the Gospel with their coworkers and peers in order to build discipleship and community within college campuses,” shared Galarza.
This resolution is reflected on Miller’s testimony about her spiritual growth due to the discipleship she received from Corpus Christi BSM.
“I learned I needed to be more open about myself and my faith,” she said. “I’m definitely not as nervous to talk about the Lord to others.”
To learn more about Texas BSM across the state, visit txb.org/college.