By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Justin Woods has a clear cut vision as the new Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) director at the U.S. Naval Academy—to see souls saved, to facilitate their growth and to connect the new believers to the body, the local church, where they can serve.
“I am a missionary on behalf of Southern Baptist churches,” Woods said.
Churches cannot go on the base, Woods explained, and the Midshipmen cannot leave during the week, so Woods works to provide mid-week ministries such as Bible studies and personal discipleship.
On Sundays though, he encourages the Midshipmen to use their free time to attend local churches and get involved. “The key thing to understand is that God established the local church as a place for worship, teaching and community – it’s critical to our spiritual lives.”
Woods is excited to minister in Annapolis. “Six new believers were baptized on Easter Sunday. It was just fabulous!” Woods exclaimed. Two of those baptized were involved with the BSM.
Justin accepted Christ at a summer camp when he was in middle school after seeing a reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion. The young Woods felt that for the first time in his life he understood the Gospel message clearly. “I was washed, made clean and forgiven,” he said. Woods was baptized at the First Church of Texarkana.
After graduation, Woods attended Texas A&M University where he joined the Corp of Cadets and worked at a Christian camp where he grew and learned about ministry. The time in college, Woods said, was a formative season and he felt God leading him into full-time military ministry. He graduated from Southwestern Seminary. Woods said seminary was “…a wonderful experience of knowledge and a wonderful time of deep growth.”
Woods, who is also a reserve Air Force Chaplain, is married to Tera and the couple has an 18-month-old daughter, Anna. They’re expecting a second child, a son, in September.
“Pray for us, that the Lord will work and move among the students and bring them to Himself,” Woods asked.
Woods said he is seeking churches that want to partner with the BSM and that want to be a place Midshipmen can go to be full-functioning members.
“Its’ such a priority to be connected and involved in a local church,” he said.