An ASU student helps a Tuskegee student move into her dorm at the beginning of the fall semester.
Courtesy of Zach Beasley

ASU students help campus minister start BCM at Tuskegee University

When Zach Beasley took on the task of starting a Baptist Campus Ministry at Alabama State University in 2019, he started with one student who showed up for the first Bible study.

“For some reason, I wasn’t discouraged. I was like, ‘God, this means you’re about to do something amazing,” Beasley said.

Two years later, ASU has a thriving BCM, and Beasley also started one this semester at Tuskegee University, another campus that hasn’t had a group in a while.

He did so with the help of student ministry leaders from ASU.

It’s a huge step for multiple reasons, Beasley noted. For one, ASU and Tuskegee are big rivals, so the cooperation and unity between the two schools’ students is not something he takes for granted.

‘Seeing fruit’

Second, where ASU started with one student, Tuskegee started with 13 who committed to participate. That number quickly grew to 20.

“We’re brand new, but we’re already seeing much fruit,” Beasley said. 

Third, he’s seeing the growth of students at ASU to not only understand their Bibles and reach their friends but also to get a heart for missions beyond their own campus

“We want to orient our leaders with their heart bent toward leadership and the Great Commission,” Beasley said. “We’re training our students to be missionally minded as they pursue school.”

That goes for Tuskegee too, where he plans to hold Bible “boot camps” in the summer like he’s been doing at ASU. He also plans to continue involving students from both campuses in missions work in Clarkston, Georgia, and in Kenya.

‘Cycle continues’

And he wants to keep disciple making going at home too, with older students mentoring younger students.

“Those who are now juniors and seniors are now investing in sophomores and freshmen. The cycle continues for the glory of the Lord,” Beasley said. “We are definitely about making disciples. Pray that the Lord will raise up more younger people, freshmen and sophomores, to keep that going.”

For Beasley, starting a BCM at Tuskegee always was the plan. When his pastor — Terrence Jones at Strong Tower at Washington Park in Montgomery — first reached out to him about the campus minister role, it was to serve at both ASU and Tuskegee.

For Beasley and his wife — and Jones — planning to go to Tuskegee was like planning to go to their “Nazareth,” Beasley said — they are all Tuskegee alumni.

He wondered how it would go — if he would be accepted. He also felt like they were running behind on getting started — they had planned for 2020 but had to step back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s clear God has opened the doors wide for ministry now, Beasley said.

‘Fruitful ministry’

Before students moved in for the fall semester, Beasley, along with Auburn University’s campus ministers Steve Thompson and Sean Thornton, prayer walked the campus. While they were walking, Beasley crossed paths with professors he knew, one of whom told him he could use her department’s auditorium for Bible studies.

Mike Nuss, director of the office of collegiate and student ministries for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said he is “excited about what God is already doing and is going to do” through the Tuskegee BCM.

“It has long been our intention to restart ministry on this important campus, and the addition of Zach Beasley to our staff gave us the perfect opportunity to move forward with those plans,” Nuss said. “Pandemic-related restrictions at Tuskegee delayed us for a year, but we are already seeing students respond to the ministry there and are looking forward to fruitful ministry in the days ahead.”

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