North Texas Daily

Baptist Student Ministry awaits new building

Baptist Student Ministry awaits new building

April 14
00:14 2015

Jordan Ottoway / Staff Writer

Behind the developing union sits an empty plot where the Baptist Students Ministry building once stood. But construction is not stopping its staff from spreading the teachings of Christianity to as many college students as possible.

“The ministry may look a little different because of location, but we are still doing the same things as when we had a building,” BSM director Stephanie Gates said.

This semester the BSM temporarily moved CRAVE, its weekly worship service held on Thursday evenings, to The Village Church located on West Oak Street. Many BSM staff members are also members of The Village.

“They have taken good care of the chapel,” The Village Church spiritual formation pastor John Warren said. “We feel it is a privilege to steward the resources of our church for the preaching of the gospel to college students.” 

Gates, who has been involved with the BSM for eight years, said the talk of renovation is nothing new. The ministry started raising money for a new building six years ago, and has since raised about $2 million.

Built in 1960, the building could no longer accommodate the nearly 300 students in the organization for events like CRAVE and Free Lunch, a free meal served to students on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. Gates said the members were starting to have issues with the roof and foundation, so it was time to move forward and make the necessary changes.

“It was the perfect time because the old building was leaking,” BSM intern Stephanie Pickens said. “But through it all the Lord has been so good to bless this ministry.”

Other funding came from the Mabee Foundation based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, giving a $400,000 match gift. That meant BSM had to raise $400,000 on its own for Mabee to match that amount.

Due to the recent rain and ice, the initial August completion date was pushed back to the end of September. Gates said she expects to start having events in the new building in early October.

The new building will feature a bigger floor plan that allows around 400 students to sit at tables for Free Lunch and will have meeting rooms for Bible studies on Monday and Friday nights.

“We want to share the Gospel and share about Jesus Christ on our campus,” Gates said. “A building is more of a tool that helps us engage our campus in a little bit of a different way.”

Without a building currently, students haven’t been able to congregate with their friends between classes. It also means Free Lunch isn’t held as often.

“It’s been more challenging because it was really convenient [last semester],” elementary education freshman Kendal Jameson said. “So that is why I can’t go to as many Bible studies this semester.” 

That doesn’t mean the outreach has slowed down. The BSM increased its campus outreach times from once to three times a week.

“We are still sending our students out to engage our campus when we had a building and we are still doing that now,” Gates said.

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