By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
NEWARK, Del.—A new Baptist collegiate ministry house at the University of Delaware campus will open to students for the fall semester and Collegiate Minister Blake Hardcastle is anticipating the new ministry opportunities the facility will provide.
Currently about 65 students meet weekly for Bible study and worship. They meet in classrooms on the campus. Hardcastle said he believes the numbers will increase when they move to the new house.
“The continuity of space will be helpful,” Hardcastle said. Now, students can only get into the rooms shortly before the meeting times and have to leave right afterwards. At the new house, the students can “hang” before and afterwards, spending time getting to know each other and the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) leaders.
The new building will also provide housing space for eight students, office space and a large multipurpose room that will accommodate 130 people.
Hardcastle explained how God provided the new house. In 2000, the Delaware Association purchased a house and property on campus. The association sold the rear half of the property to a developer. The association gave the money back to the developer, who agreed to build a new 5,000 square foot two-story Baptist student center building in the front of the property.
In addition to housing students, having worship space and providing a safe place to be, the house has office space and two downstairs bathrooms with showers. Hardcastle is praying for short-term staff or interns who can assist at the house and he envisions being able to house mission teams in partnership with local churches.
The Delaware Baptist Association annual meeting will be at the new building in October, giving Delaware pastors and leaders a glimpse of the facility.
Hardcastle said students are continuing to grow spiritually. He attributes the growth to time spent on a regular basis, one-on-one with about a dozen students over coffee or sandwiches.
“These are future leaders,” Hardcastle said. It’s a small price to pay for lunch or snacks to have a chance to sit and talk and pour into the young students, he shared.
Giving to the state missions offering provides funding for collegiate ministries like those at the University of Delaware.