AAEO helps church planters in college communities

As seniors across Alabama look forward to high school graduation, many are deciding which college campus will be their home for the next few years. 

For those who don’t know Christ, their college years may be their opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.

More than 200,000 students in Alabama do not have a relationship with Jesus, making college campuses the largest missions field in Alabama, according to Chris Mills, student missions mobilizer for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. 

Reach Every Student

That’s one reason the Alabama Baptist State Convention and One Mission Students launched Reach Every Student at the annual meeting in November. 

“We must not grow stagnant in our call to reach the next generation,” Mills wrote at OneMissionStudents.org.

Baptist Campus Ministries in Alabama reported 61 professions of faith during fall semester 2018, which means good things are happening on college campuses and in college communities throughout the state.

But it’s not just Alabama where missions and church planting efforts are seeing fruit. Efforts to reach college campuses with the gospel are expanding throughout North America.

The Salt Network is one such effort highlighted in the 2019 Week of Prayer for North American Missions. The Salt Network is a group of like-minded Southern Baptist churches with a mission to see churches planted near college campuses across the Midwest.

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) helps resource The Salt Network through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO). 

“When people give to North American missions, they’re literally giving to the future of reaching the next generation of North America,” said Rob Warren, a NAMB church planting missionary in Madison, Wisconsin.

Home to a population described by some reports as less religious than Los Angeles, Madison has become a hub of secularism in the United States. In the middle of the city lies the University of Wisconsin where 40,000 college students navigate a campus intertwined with the state’s capital.

Rob Warren and his wife, Lisa, who are 2019 Week of Prayer missionaries for the AAEO, recently uprooted their family and moved to Madison to start Doxa Church and reach the community in and around the university. 

“When we think about Madison,” Rob said, “we think about a place that, like so many other places, just needs the hope that only Jesus can bring.”

Before Rob grounded his life in the glory of God, he was a football player at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, seeking satisfaction in worldly pursuits. Then his best friend, Andy, became a Christian.

Sensed conviction

Andy shared the gospel with Rob, and he began to feel God working. It took three years for the lessons Rob learned about Jesus to sink in, but after one particularly rough night of partying, Rob sensed conviction of sin for the first time.

“Waking up after a terrible night I felt so bad but couldn’t explain it,” Rob remembered. “Not knowing what to do I decided to go to church for the first time.

“That night I gave my life to Jesus, and God began a fast and radical transformation of my life … which landed me in full-time ministry.”

The transformation that took place in Rob’s life is one the Warrens hope to see duplicated in the lives of countless college students.

“We’re super passionate about seeing young people meet Jesus and have that change the entire trajectory of their life and take it into their towns, new states and new countries,” said Lisa. “I can’t think of a more strategic group of people than college students to share Jesus with.”

Flourishing churches

Doxa Church is one among dozens of collegiate church plants that are flourishing. Gifts to the AAEO help to make that movement possible. 

To learn more visit www.AnnieArmstrong.com. (NAMB, TAB contributed)