Pictured Above: BCF Students Ben Swain, Olivia Smith, and Senior Caleb Mcvay.
GRACEVILLE–To most people, family means a collection of individuals related by ancestry or by blood. At The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, being family has nothing to do with genes or DNA but everything to do with faith in Christ, acceptance, love, support and compassion.
“At BCF, we are family,” said Sandra Richards, the college’s director of Student Life and Marketing. “No matter who you are or where you came from, when you become a student at BCF, called to prepare for areas of ministry and service, you are family.”
BCF senior Caleb Mcvay has been preparing for ministry as a BCF student for the past three years. He is originally from Jackson, Ala., where he has three siblings, two brothers and one sister.
Mcvay said during his years at BCF, his life has changed dramatically. “I’ve definitely grown and matured. I have more of a love for God’s word and its authority and priority in my life. When I look at where I’ve come, I can see that the Bible shows me how to live, how to spend my money, how to date, and through God’s Word, I’ve learned how to treat people. It truly humbles me to know that I know who Jesus is and that I can now teach people about Him, making disciples.”
The senior put his education and training into practice over the summer while working in Utah for an association of network churches. He worked primarily in Ogden, Brim City and Logan, building relationships with church planters. Now after graduation, Mcvay plans to use his degree in ministry studies to plant churches in Utah.
BCF incoming freshman Oliva Smith is pursuing a double major in missions and elementary education. The Ozark, Ala. native has nine siblings ranging in ages from 4 to 21.
“I choose BCF because it’s close to home and initially I wasn’t planning to go into missions, I was just planning on becoming a teacher,” Smith said.
“However, a few months ago, I felt the call to go into an area of ministry and the best place to start that path was in a biblical setting at a Bible college. BCF kept appearing in my thoughts and so I felt that’s where I needed to be. And now, here I am.”
The young woman said she is excited to see where her journey at BCF will take her and how God can use her.
New BCF student Ben Swain is from Lake Asbury, where he has two younger siblings, Drew and Rachel. The son of Lake Asbury Baptist Church pastor Matt Swain plans to obtain a degree in biblical studies with a minor in missions.
Swain said what he loves most about BCF is the personal relationships within the campus family. “I feel more awake and closer to God since arriving at BCF,” he said. “Having chapel and Bible studies throughout the week have been so beneficial. I’m trying new churches now and hope to get connected to a local church. Living in the dorm is so much fun, not only does it feel like a summer camp 24/7, but it’s living with a group of people with the same Christian values as me.”
Will Mitchem, a transfer student to BCF studying ministry, is originally from Thomasville, Ga. Coming from a campus of more than 10,000 students, Mitchem said he appreciates the smaller atmosphere and opportunity for more personal relationships.
“One thing that has really grown since coming to BCF has been my love for the local church,” Mitchem said. “I’ve always loved the local church but focusing mainly on my call to evangelism, at BCF I’ve seen that the church plays a major role in evangelism. It’s not just my job to go tell people about Jesus, it’s a role that the church needs to do as well.”
The students added, “After BCF, I don’t know where the Lord will lead me, but feeling called to evangelism, I want to go to seminary and travel the world telling people about Jesus.”
When Mitchem was asked to give a piece of advice for students he said, “Never think that you’re too young or too old to be used by God. If you’re willing, God can work through you, you just have to be open.”
Mitchem continued, “Spend time with God every day, and spend time in the word every day so that your relationship with the Lord grows stronger.”
According to Richards, “BCF is not only teaching the next greatest generation in areas of elementary education, music, ministry, missions, business, psychology and leadership, but preparing Christian leaders to grow in their faith, strengthen their walk, and go into the world and “Change the World through the Unchanging Word.®”
For more information about The Baptist College of Florida, call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.