By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
ARNOLD, Md.—At any given time, over 24,000 souls are in the midst of attending classes, finishing homework, buying books, or just enjoying free time in the school cafeteria at Anne Arundel Community College’s main campus in Arnold or at one of the school’s multiple campuses and offsite locations throughout the county.
Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Baptist Collegiate Minister Peggy Peek wants to reach those souls for Christ.
“Eric Reiber (the former campus minister) left a very good leadership team in place,” Peek said. There were already two weekly Bible studies at the main campus when Peek started her ministry. They recently started a third at the Arundel Mills Campus. The Bible studies reach over 30 students per week.
“The goal is to start a new Bible study each semester at a different AACC campus,” said Peek.
Students at the Arundel Mills Campus began a twice-monthly prayer meeting along with the Bible study. Peek is especially happy about that because it’s student driven. The students felt the need to spend more time in prayer and made it happen, without Peek.
“I am intentional in telling them we don’t have to be limited as to whether I can be there,” she said.
Having the students lead is part of their discipleship. It’s also important because Peek is bi-vocational. She works full time as a pharmaceutical company account manager.
Peek also has the help of Jerry Hiett, an AACC graduate and a North American Mission Board intern who works dually as a semester intern and as a church-planting intern.
A native of Texas, Peek came to Maryland to work with a Hanover church plant in 2007.
She felt called to vocational ministry while she was involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) during her college days at Texas A&M University, and after graduating seminary at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, she served as the Baptist Convention of New England chaplain at Boston and Harvard universities. Later she returned to Texas and served in family ministry positions in several churches. She began at AACC in October 2011 and is already planning to further expand the ministry.
While Peek is passionate about reaching college students, she is the first one to admit that it comes with its share of struggles. At a community college, nearly all students are on a one to two year track, meaning that the BCM has a very limited time to pour into their lives and to build strong Christian leaders before they move on.
Another difficult factor the ministry faces is the number of commuters. Since none of the students at the community college live there, many are in a rush to go home once their classes are over. Some, however, prefer to “hang out” between or after classes, and it’s often these curious students who visit the BCM. For many, this might be the first or only time they hear the message of the Gospel in the midst of conflicting and often anti-Christian messages from professors or fellow classmates.
The BCM is one of just two campus ministries at the college. And they’re open to all. Besides students from BCM/D churches, the ministry draws students from a variety of denominations.
Peek is pleased the college administration has been very supportive of the work the BCM has done. BCM has had a visibly positive influence on students.
“Faculty and administration want us to be present. They see we bring value to campus experience,” she said.
Peek is an active member of The Church at Severn Run where she volunteers with children. She is also the moderator for the Arundel Baptist Association. In addition, she works with the BCM/D Leadership Development team.
In her spare time she enjoys playing on the church softball team.