In the spirit of thankfulness, I want to tell you a little bit about one important place that contributed to a lot of my growth over these past four and a half years.
When I was making plans to come to UGA, my parents pushed me to get involved in a campus ministry. I chose the Baptist Collegiate Ministries because… I was baptist. Scarlett and I came in looking for friends so we showed up for one of the first events in August 2010. We were welcomed by friendly faces that I still know today.
When I think back to all of the high points of college, many of them are connected to BCM. What I didn’t know before college is that a great part of spiritual growth is having a strong community around you. I found that in mission trips to New Orleans and NYC. I found the community in the first small group I had ever been in. I found it in the hours between classes spent on the old couches, getting no work done at all. I especially found a strong community in Dinner Theater when I chose to get involved in that the last two years.
I think one important thing I had to learn is that BCM is far from perfect. I believe God led me there to not only show me what I had been lacking in my faith, but to also teach me how to grow in an imperfect ministry. I also learned that a student ministry is not church! I’m thankful that I had friends there who helped me get connected to different churches in Athens where I could explore and also learn that–surprise–no church is perfect either!
I stuck with BCM because it didn’t take long for me to feel like it was home. Through my experiences there, I gained a stronger relationship with Christ and a desire to continue growing, friends that I love, mentors that I trust, and also a future husband. That doesn’t hurt. 🙂
I’ll always be thankful for the welcoming arms of the people there who made me want to come back. For the upperclassmen who invited me to their apartments and showed me hospitality. That spirit of invitation led us to have an apartment where people were always encouraged to stop by. I’ll always be thankful for movie nights, tailgating, paint wars, long van rides, and delicious dinners cooked by Mr. Lee.