At The University of Texas, the Longhorn Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) is ministering to lost students in an unconventional way. Upperclassmen are making themselves available to new students by staying somewhere most students can’t wait to get out of - the dorms. Through what are called “missional communities,” these BSM students are engaging the campus with the Gospel, while discipling students that live in the dorms with them. Because of this ministry, lives have been transformed as the love of Christ has been shared.
Jessica Escalante, Original Jester Missionary: I knew that going back to the dorm meant you are very exposed. There’s no way of putting really a wall up because everyone sees all of who you are. The proximity and availability is just all there. You can’t even fake “I’m not in my room,” because everyone knows you’re in your room.
It was a leap of faith. I felt His calling in my life to telling me to just give more and at that moment it felt like it was where I lived and just my life.
Cody Shouse, Longhorn BSM Director: Missional communities are our strategy here at the BSM to engage the campus with the Gospel. So missional community is us training and engaging students to go back where they already are, where they live, where they study or where they play, and live as missionaries among those other groups of students.
Mayzie Mayfield, Original Jester Missionary: So for us as upperclassmen to say, “we think that it’s better to live in the dorm because you have more access to people,” is just really weird. I mean, people look at you funny, people want to know why you’re making this decision. It’s just not something that’s done around here, ever.
Cody: Victor and Zaya came to faith their freshman year, within the first six weeks even of moving onto campus who were engaged by two of our upperclassmen living in jester dorm. That year, they were discipled by those same students who lead them to Christ. They were taught how to pray, taught how to read the Bible, taught how to share their faith, and they were the first to sign up to remain in Jester to continue the ministry that brought them Jesus.
Zayahary Ortiz, New Jester Missionary: I had to go back to the dorms. There was no way I could move out. One of the main reasons was because my life changed at the dorms. I never saw this coming and because of this I got to know who Jesus is.
Victor Castillo, New Jester Missionary: Without the BSM, I wouldn’t have known Jesus Christ as soon as I did my freshman year. And without the ministry being here, I think there would have been a lot of people that wouldn’t have heard the Gospel. BSM definitely encourages us to share with as many people as we can. My salvation wouldn’t be there and my ability to share with others wouldn’t be there either.
Jessica: So it wasn’t until coming into college that I started figuring out what it was to be a believer and I had absolutely no idea what that meant, what it looked like, how to read the Bible. And the BSM was the first place and the only place that did guide me through that through college. And this missional community it just taught me that the more I did this the more I saw that my weaknesses were shown to just glorify God more and people to see Jesus that this broken person still needs Jesus as much as I do.
Cody: Support from the Cooperative Program makes day-to-day ministry possible here at The University of Texas. It allows us to physically put people on campus in the lives of students every single day of the year.
Sometimes UT gets assumed to be a godless place, but the reality is every day Jesus is engaging one of the 45,000 lost students with His Gospel and we get to watch that happen and we get to watch what people assume to be godless be incredibly glorifying.
Last year Texas Baptists CP invested $3.9 Million in 117 BSMs and reached 145,000 college students.