More than 100 students were commissioned for summer missions at One Mission Students’ annual Student Missions Commissioning Service held April 13 at Liberty Baptist Church, Chelsea.
“This service is a highlight for me every year and this year was no exception,” said Chris Mills, student missions mobilizer for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM). “I’m expecting great things as these students serve this summer.”
Hundreds of family members and friends joined Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) directors from around the state and other SBOM personnel for the service, which included music led by the Troy University BCM worship band.
Tim Cox, pastor of Liberty Baptist, brought the missions challenge to the students.
One by one the students introduced themselves and shared their destination. Some will serve June 8 during Crossover Birmingham, an annual event held each year in the host city of the Southern Baptist Convention. One team will serve in ministries of the Shelby Baptist Association.
Everywhere in between
Other teams and individuals will serve from a week to the entire summer in the U.S. — from Georgia to Alaska, Hawaii, and everywhere in between. And still others will travel to countries across the globe, some of which are among the most difficult places in the world to be a follower of Christ.
As part of missions prep weekend, which precedes the commissioning service, students participate in security training and learn tips for protecting themselves while they are traveling. They also learn various ways to engage others with the gospel and how to work safely with children, Mills said.
Assignments for students are based on the needs of missionaries in the field and missions organizations in various locations, as well as on student availability and preference.
Giving through the Cooperative Program helps subsidize the cost for students, noted Cox, who serves as president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention.
“Know that we are able to commission you today to this exciting endeavor and to send you out this summer because of faithful Alabama Baptists who have given through the local church and through the Cooperative Program,” Cox said.
He also emphasized the importance of the work students will be doing for the Kingdom.
“Remember as you live life on mission this summer you have one mission and that is the Great Commission — to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples,” he said. “That one mission doesn’t change in Chelsea or in Prattville or whatever part of the state you represent. It stays the same.”
Cox encouraged the students to be flexible, throughout their summer missions experience and in life. The call to missions is one of sacrifice, he said.
“I can promise you when you are on mission this summer, no matter where you are from Shelby County to across the ocean, you’re going to be called to sacrifice,” Cox said. “May your life be spent in self-sacrifice for the glory of God.”
Lindsey Ward, a student at the University of Montevallo who will be serving in Birmingham and San Francisco this summer, said after the service she is looking forward to a great summer.
“I’m overwhelmed with excitement and joy,” she said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had through college to grow in my faith, and I’m so excited to have one more summer as a One Mission student.”
Ward, who one day hopes to serve in college ministry, is an example of the impact summer missions and opportunities through campus ministries can have on students, Mills said.
‘Step of obedience’
“A summer missions experience opens a student’s eyes to the possibilities that exist beyond that week, month, summer and even college,” he said. “Over and over again we are seeing students seek to take that step of obedience to go beyond a short-term missions experience and truly live life on mission. Sometimes it is back to the location they served one summer, but in other cases it’s taking that experience and applying it here in Alabama or somewhere else in the world.”
Mills said Alabama Baptists can help by praying for student missionaries. Now is a good time to start praying for the students as they prepare physically, mentally and spiritually to go and for the senders who are supporting them, he said.
One Mission Students also will post weekly prayer reminders on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information about summer missions go to onemissionstudents.org.
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