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Student ministries offer students chances for growth

The Association of Baptist Students and the Baptist Student Ministry hold activities on campus on a weekly basis to nurture the spiritual life of students.

The Association for Baptist Students, supported by the East Texas Missions District of the Baptist Missionary Association of America, holds Bible Studies 6:30 p.m. every Monday in the ABS’ Building. Students who are a part of the ministry are offered a free lunch at 12:30 p.m. on Mondays.

The ministry opens its doors to any student who wants to stop by, use the kitchen, rest in between classes, or sleep. 

“It’s great for commuters, who, you know, they got a layover between their classes,” said Keith Brown, director of the ABS. “I think that’s always a big offer that we have a place that somebody can feel at home, they can feel safe, they can know that the environment that they’re in is going to be respectable.”

Brown explained the ABS, whose two-fold mission is sharing the Gospel and helping Christian students mature in their faith, is a “true safe space,” where students can express their ideas and discuss them with respect. 

Justin Wright, senior UT Tyler student, has been part of ABS for more than seven years. Now he assists Brown with the ministry. Here, Wright has found “a second home.”  

“I have grown my faith and sharpened my faith. And I’ve been discipled and molded to a point as a Christian, where now I’m doctrinally sound enough to teach other people. So it’s really helped me in my Christian walk,” Wright said.

Tori Bouse, TJC sophomore, related how ABS helped her improve an anger problem she had carried since childhood. 

“This place has helped me grow my patience and my tolerance for people,” Bouse said. 

Bouse explained she feels more ready to face difficult situations now.

“Come and explore the true claims of Christianity because,” Brown said, “they stand on their own.” 

Currently, ABS does not send students to the Student Senate, which makes it ineligible to be a student organization. The ministry is nonetheless on campus and continues to reach out to college students. Brown said the association is open to sending students to the senate if they want to go but maintains that it is “not essential” for them.

The ABS is located at 1232 E Lake St. For more information about ABS, visit tjc.edu. 

The Baptist Student Ministry is a student organization with ties with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Its mission, intern Garret Johnson said, is to teach students who God is.

“We want to equip them to let others know who God is, who Jesus is,” Johnson said. “We want them to know Christ Jesus because we believe that Christ is everything to us.”

The ministry offers various activities both on and off campus directed to students. The BSM offers a free lunch open to all students, faculty and staff at noon on Wednesdays. A worship service is held by the BSM at 8 p.m. on Thursdays. This service includes music, scripture reading, discussions and an end-of-the-night breakfast of pancakes and bacon. 

“It’s a place to find community,” Johnson said. “Obviously, it’s going to be community centered on Christ because that’s just, that’s who we are.”

A Bible study is held at 7 p.m. on Mondays in the Ornelas Residential Complex.

Students involved in the BSM travel off-campus for activities such as ministry retreats and mission trips. 

The BSM also sometimes hosts meetings from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus.

Johnson said “it’s a place where hopefully, if you come here, you would get to know that one, the love of God and just know that people care for you.”

The BSM is located at 1333 S Baxter Ave. For more information about the BSM, go to tjc.edu, or visit the BSM at tjcbsm.com for a full calendar of events. 

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