Food and faith: How Baptist Campus Ministries helps NKU students explore Christianity
February 11, 2022
“To know God and to make Him known on our campus,” said Paul Miller, the student president of Baptist Campus Ministries. This is the mission statement of BCM.
On Tuesday, over 50 people gathered in the Baptist Student Center on Northern Kentucky University’s campus to share a meal and a night of worship. This is a weekly event held by BCM that provides students with a free dinner and a chance to explore Christianity.
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church donated the meal this week and provided students and advisors alike with beef tacos, chicken tacos, chips, salsa, brownies, cupcakes, soft drinks and more. Local churches, all a part of the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association, take turns donating food to the campus ministry.
Following the meal, students enter a worship service. The service opens with two songs of praise. The congregation was broken into smaller groups that went off separately to discuss their faith. To conclude, the groups reunited, sang two more worship songs, and prayed before they were dismissed. Even after the service was officially over, students lingered to converse with one another.
To BCM, sharing a meal before service is important. “We open up to each other when we’re able to share something as intimate as a meal,” said Julia Bottoms, a junior organizational leadership major.
Matt Wallin, Associate Campus Administrator for BCM, adds that walking into a new student organization can be intimidating and that food helps to break down that barrier. “When people eat together, they become friends,” he said.
Additionally, BCM sees the benefit of college students having the opportunity to worship together. “Before coming to the BCM I rarely saw people who were on fire for God in this massive quantity, in the same place,” Bottoms said.
To Miller, the great thing about worshiping Christ with people his age is the common ground they are able to find. He said college-aged students are able to build a “closer connection because [they] share a lot of the same experiences.”
To the folks at BCM, faith, however, goes far beyond a free dinner and a weekly worship service; to them, it weighs heavily on the rest of their lives.
Wallin said that college is the time when people begin to make decisions about what they want to do in life moving forward and he said that their Christian faith is a large part of that. “To be able to work through that with people who are asking the same questions, who are in the same stage of life, and who you can grow with is really cool,” he said.
“We never try to hide what our purpose is,” Miller said. He said their goal is to grow in their faith and encourage others to do the same, regardless of their religious affiliations, experience and/or knowledge.
Wallin said that Christianity is “the craziest, most wild adventure you could ever hope to be on, but it’s so worth it, because the more I look at Jesus, the more I fall in love with Him.” He comforts others, reminding them that they do not have to have it all figured out but that they should “take the time to get to know Him and I think you’ll be surprised about how you fall in love with Him.”
Bottoms agrees that Christianity is worth learning about. “Chasing after Christ and following Christ has been the best decision I have ever made,” she said.
To participate in BCM, it is as simple as walking through the doors of the Baptist Student Centeron campus. “You can just walk in our doors and we’ll have smiling faces ready to welcome any new students,” Bottoms said.
BCM hosts a free dinner and worship service on Tuesdays and family groups, an extended worship program, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so those interested can stop in throughout the week to learn more. The building is situated between the Boothe Residential Village dorms and Landrum Academic Center on Carroll Drive.
To contact BCM email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-572-5955.
If you feel your spiritual needs are not being served by NKU, contact Sarah Aikman, unit director for Student Union Operations and Student Engagement at email@example.com to learn how you can create your own spiritual group on campus, or follow this link to read about the steps you can take to create a student organization.