FAU’s BCM leader spearheads spiritual engagement amid campus challenges

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BOCA RATON – At the bustling Florida Atlantic University campus, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, under the leadership of director Colin Rhodes, is making strides in fostering spiritual growth and community engagement among students. Launched just this past fall, the ministry is actively countering the challenges of campus life with faith, fellowship and outreach.

Rhodes, a steadfast figure in the campus religious community, was drawn into the campus ministry during his own college years, initially attracted by social events and free meals. “God had other plans, though,” Rhodes reflects. “Every passing year, I got more involved. Today, much of my day-to-day involves witnessing on campus, leading investigative Bible studies, similar to my personal ministry as a college student.”

“Colin is the type of leader you want to have on your team; he is a self-starter with a resolve to see vision become reality,” said Nathan Schneider, next generation ministry lead catalyst. “His hunger to see people know Jesus has led him to make significant contacts on campus and share the gospel with many students. Colin has been a consistent presence at FAU for Florida Baptist churches in Boca Raton and beyond.”

Connection Group geared towards commuter students meets Wednesday afternoons in the food court.

The ministry’s presence is crucial at Florida Atlantic University, where it faces unique challenges, including the existence of another group misleadingly using the BCM acronym. “Tabling is big here, so we set up on the main thoroughfare as often as we can, meeting people and getting our name out there,” Rhodes explained. This strategy helps establish the ministry’s presence and clarify its mission amid confusion.

One significant issue Rhodes and his team address is the widespread problem of pornography on campus, which he describes as a “veritable epidemic.” Citing statistics, Rhodes said that at least 80% of Christian students regularly view pornography, a habit that shortens attention spans and fuels immense shame, thereby hindering their ability to share the gospel effectively. “I had one student who, after confessing an addiction, said he felt like a 100-pound weight had been lifted off his shoulders,” shared Rhodes.

“FAU has become a premier state university that students from all over the Florida and the nation are coming to,” said Al Fernandez, regional catalyst for Florida Baptists’ Southeast region. “Having a Baptist Campus Ministries presence on campus is vital in sharing the gospel with students and connecting them to local Florida Baptist churches.”

Partnership with local churches

The efforts by Baptist Campus Ministries leaders extend beyond personal transformation. The ministry recently celebrated its first student baptism in partnership with a local church, underscoring the collaborative efforts with area congregations to nurture faith among students. “We just celebrated our first BCM student getting baptized in her local church, which I think is a beautiful picture of this partnership,” Rhodes said.

A creative tabling effort on campus leads to many conversations about the gospel.

Additionally, Rhodes is keen on bridging the gap between church attendance and campus ministry, recognizing that many students do not regularly attend church. “Only half of our students regularly attend church …  probably because the other half aren’t Christians yet!” he stated.

Baptist Campus Ministries not only serves as a spiritual haven but also trains its members to reach out to non-Christians. “We’re big on training Christians to reach non-Christians, win them to Christ and then train them in turn,” said Rhodes, who extends an open invitation to pastors: “I’d love to take you witnessing on campus one day!”

Off campus, Rhodes and his wife, Coral, who works at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Jupiter, are active in their local church- Family Church in West Palm Beach. Coral’s dedication at work and her stand for faith in a secular setting complement the couple’s ministry efforts.

As the campus ministry at Florida Atlantic University continues to grow, its impact resonates through the personal stories of students and the broader community engagement, promising a stronger spiritual foundation amid the diverse challenges of university life.

1 Comment
  1. Virginia Hansen says

    So good to see Collin Rhodes and Steve Thomas with newly baptized believers at the beach.
    I always enjoy Kelia’s articles.

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