By Sharon Mager, BaptistLIFE Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—Mike McQuitty, strategist for collegiate ministries, reporting to the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network’s General Mission Board on Dec. 2 at the Network Center, told members almost half a million students attend colleges in Maryland, Delaware and Washington D.C. That number represents significant diversity, including 5,000 international students from 133 different countries.
McQuitty said those students are facing incredible challenges. School costs are increasing student debt as well as influencing the choice to commute or attend community colleges first.
They’re also facing spiritual challenges. “Temptations abound. A study published this summer from a major Maryland university indicated that over 90 percent of students consumed alcohol with 54 percent acknowledging binge drinking,” McQuitty said.
Forty-four percent used marijuana and 79 percent engaged in sex last year. Most of these students are not attending church nor are they involved in any Christian ministry.
However, in the midst of the temptations and life struggles, students are coming to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord through the ministries of Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM).
Recent highlights include:
- Ninety-one volunteers participated in a collegiate Crossover event in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Baltimore in June. There were 340 in estimated attendance; 187 participant response cards completed and two professions of faith
- Towson University BCM students manned registration booths at the SBC June meeting. Two church planters are helping with the campus ministry and they hope to include students in their planting efforts as part of a core team.
- Fifty students attended the first service of the newly launched Alethia Church at University of Maryland-College Park (UMCP). The BCM at UMCP has been instrumental in assisting the launch of this congregation.
- At Frostburg State University, a second church-based ministry has launched. Welsh Memorial Baptist Church now has 40 students attending a regular campus gathering. They join Cumberland Community Church, which directs another campus group that has averaged 80 students this fall.