A ministry that began with one student on the campus of Alabama State University in September 2019 has grown into more than 50 students on two historically black university campuses, even amid pandemic lockdowns.
Bringing the final Christ-centered testimony during the 2021 annual meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, Zachary Beasley said the only explanation for the 50-fold campus ministry growth over two years is, “We teach Christ. We teach the supremacy of Christ, the nature of Christ and the love of Christ.”
Beasley, Baptist campus minister at ASU and Tuskegee University, described how the ASU campus ministry began with one student, quickly grew to 40 students, and as COVID-19 forced shutdowns, dropped to four students in “a matter of days.”
“I remember thinking, ‘Lord, You are going to do something amazing because these four love you and desire to grow,'” he said. “And He did! God used the ministry to train them to be disciples that make disciples.”
Supremacy of Christ
In the summer of 2020, when a planned mission trip was canceled, the four students participated in Bible Boot Camp, an “intense” five-day, 40-hour commitment. There, Beasley said, the students learned how to study the Bible, pray and evangelize.
Three of those students, he said, now serve as leaders for the RealTalk College Ministry (Baptist Campus Ministry), “where they strategically engage other students for Christ.” They do this, he noted, because Christ is at the center of their lives, as taught in Colossians 1:17–18.
“When others see that He is at the center of your life, they are more likely to place Him at the center of theirs,” Beasley said. “This is how we teach people to live Christ-centered lives in a counter-cultured context. We teach the supremacy of Christ and let Him be the center of our lives,”
Nature of Christ
“It’s not enough to believe that Jesus was just man. We must accept that He is fully God and fully man. And, through His sacrifice, we live again!” Beasley said, drawing focus to John 1:1–3, 14.
Beasley described a student who believed Jesus was a man, but not God. He led her through Scripture that described Jesus’ divine and human nature. After the student wrestled with the Scriptures for about a month, she made a profession of faith. Beasley baptized the new believer at his home church, Strong Tower at Washington Park in Montgomery, where she is now a church member and youth leader.
Love of Christ
What would compel ASU college students to drive 45 minutes to Tuskegee, a rival school, to teach others how to live for Jesus?
“The only explanation for this generosity is Christ! And this kindness can only be fueled by one thing — love for Christ,” Beasley said, focusing on 1 John 4:9.
Freshman students at Tuskegee experienced Christ’s love this September when Beasley and some of his friends, including one ASU student, helped them move into their dormitories, just as RealTalk was being launched there.
Within two months, several Tuskegee students have become Christians and entered into discipleship relationships with ASU students.
More than 200,000 unreached students on Alabama’s college and university campuses are “waiting to hear about Jesus,” Beasley said, “but how are they to believe if no one teaches them? What are you waiting for?”