BSM program putting students to work in community

PLAINVIEW – It’s one thing for students at Wayland Baptist University to learn about ministry and to hear lectures about mission work and service. It’s something entirely different, however, for those students to put their lessons into action and get involved in service.

One outlet for that at Wayland is working through the Baptist Student Ministries program, under the direction of Donnie Brown. Aside from its weekly worship service for students and other outreach programs on campus, the BSM also offers students resources and connections to get them working in the community and ministering to others.

Brown points out that the ministry groups are entirely student-led, with students serving as ministry chairmen and students doing the work. Many of the ministries being offered are there because students approached him about wanting to use a specific gift or talent for ministry. Four ministries are currently being offered for students: apartment ministry, prison ministry, senior adult ministry and Samaritans.

A favorite among many students, the apartment ministry features students leading Kid’s Club at three different complexes in Plainview, the Date Street Apartments, the Central Apartments and the Stonebriar Apartments. Once each week, a team of students visits the complex and leads children in recreation, refreshments and a Bible story. A partnership with a women’s service sorority at Wayland, Alpha Delta Kappa, has their members taking one of the complexes each week.

“We’re basically just hanging out with kids, loving on them and sharing God’s love,” Brown said. “The apartment complexes are good to work with us and let us work with the kids.”

The prison ministry involves leading chapel services for inmates at the Wheeler and Formby units in Plainview one Sunday each month. The ministry team leads in worship, does drama skits and preaches for all three services during the day, reaching hundreds of inmates.

The group works closely with Chaplain Wilson of the prison units, and the volunteers must be trained and certified in order to work in the prisons regularly. In previous years, students have also led a weekly Bible study in the prison, and Brown said he hopes they can do the same this year.

“We go in and study a specific book of the Bible, then give the guys a certificate at the end,” Brown said, adding that 6-8 students are involved in the ministry.

“The students get a lot out of the prison ministry,” he said. “Here are these men in prison who have nothing and can do nothing but yet they’re there worshipping the Lord. That has tremendous impact on students. They realize how much they take for granted as far as ministry and just being able to go to church. It really challenges them.”

Brown said one ministry is being reprised this year due to student interest. Senior Adult Ministries involves students visiting local and area nursing homes simply to visit with residents and spend time with them. The students often take coloring books or other items to interact with residents and just spend one-on-one time.

A new ministry added this year is the Samaritans group.

“This is a group of students who said they don’t feel gifted to stand in front of a group or teach but they want to minister by meeting physical needs,” Brown said. “They mow lawns, do painting, moving furniture and light construction work.”

Brown added that he wants the community to contact him about needs that might be present, especially for elderly residents or those who cannot do this type of work themselves.

The variety of offerings means most every student can get plugged in to service, something Brown encourages heavily.

“Students have different gifts, abilities and interests, so we want to offer plenty for them to choose from,” Brown said.

For information on student ministries or to report a need, contact Brown at 291-3595.