Conway BCM serves four campuses: The University of Central Arkansas (UCA), Central Baptist College (CBC), Hendrix College (HDX), and The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM). Between the four schools, there’s a total student population of 15,000 students. UCA is the largest, with nearly 12,000 students. The 2018-2019 school year will be Conway BCM’s 90th year serving the University of Central Arkansas, which was founded as a teacher’s college in the state. Conway is known as the City of Colleges.
We asked Conway BCM’s campus minister Ryan Scantling to share some of the highlights, challenges, and opportunities involved with his ministry role to the Conway BCM students. Here’s what Ryan had to say, as well as some ways you can pray for him, Conway BCM, and the students at these four universities.
BCMLife: Tell us about your campus ministry and mission.
Ryan Scantling:Conway BCM shares a mission statement with all other BCMs across Arkansas: Exalting God through Growing in Christ, Connecting to His Church, and Serving His world. Each Monday night throughout the semester, we host BCM Collective at a local church in downtown Conway. BCM Collective is a weekly worship night with small groups for students from all our college campuses. BCM Collective averages a little over 100 students. There are approximately 200 students who are consistently involved with us across our campuses. Each week, we host two lunches/Bible Studies at UACCM, with around 65 students in attendance.
We have three missions partnerships to which we consistently send students: East Asia (entering our 2nd year of partnership), Poland (entering our 5th year of partnership), and Winnipeg, Canada (entering our 7th year of partnership). In addition to this, we have sent over 140 students on 5 Disaster Relief Deployments to Vidor, TX, Pocahontas, AR, Denham Springs, LA (2), and Puerto Rico since 2016.
We have a staff team of 4 (I serve full-time, with three part-time folks who serve alongside me).
BCMLife: What do you sense are the challenges facing today’s college students?
RS:Three major things would rise to the top of my list: The financial burden of college, a lack of mentorship from older generations, and divisiveness (which is the new normal in our culture).
BCMLife: Are there any prayer needs for your ministry that others in the network could pray about?
RS: We are praying diligently for an additional full-time staff person, and we’re also praying for more churches in our community to engage well with collegians. We’ve had several new college pastors at partnering churches begin their work within the last year. Pray that God would use them in significant ways to impact college students.
BCMLife: As a college ministry leader, what is the most rewarding part of your role?
RS:As rewarding as leading students to Christ is and ministering directly to students, enabling churches to minister to college students is one of the greatest joys for me. College students are such agents of church revitalization. Reaching students and connecting them with local churches changes students and churches for the better.
BCMLife: What have been some great opportunities for outreach with your college ministry either on your campus and/or in your community?
RS:A few years ago, we began hosting a steak night. Students involved in our ministry are sold steak dinner tickets and are encouraged to buy one for them and one for a lost friend they’ve been praying for (in fact, we don’t let students buy only one ticket). Leading up to the dinner, we do a lot of evangelism training. We encourage students to pray for their friend(s), invite them to dinner, and share the gospel with them over dinner. (Shout-out to NOBTS for helping to pay for that first event through their collegiate evangelism scholarship).