By Beth Masters, Special to the Message
LAFAYETTE – In the car and on the way home from a conference, a college senior told her BCM director that she wanted to serve as a missionary after graduation, and from the back seat of the car came the voice of a sophomore saying “Me too, well – at least for the summer!”
As the BCM director asked questions about where they wanted to serve and why they wanted to go, many of the answers pointed back to God’s work in their lives, and to Ignite.
Ignite is a conference for college students that took place in September. It is designed to get students ignited for Jesus as they start a new school year and to stir a passion in their hearts for missions.
As Ignite began and about 200 students gathered on Friday night at East Bayou Baptist Church, you could hear the squeals as students saw friends from other campuses; some students were running to greet each other, and overall a spirit of joy was present as the door opened.
From that point on, students were challenged in worship, pushed to consider missions, and given time to fellowship with others.
For students from New Orleans, the two most impactful times of the weekend were the Saturday afternoon session – where mission opportunities were presented – and the campus time, where students were able to verbalize and process what God was doing in their lives.
Saturday afternoon, students learned about the GOLA – Go Louisiana – Mission Teams, Christmas in China, opportunities in Baltimore and New York, as well as international missions locations. Students from New Orleans were excited about the GOLA teams that travel the state of Louisiana assisting churches with Vacation Bible School and encouraging members as they serve their communities along with a few of the international opportunities.
The second aspect of Ignite that students raved about was the campus time, where they were able to dream about reaching their campus for Christ, while growing closer as a group. Many of the conversations flowed out of the main sessions and helped to connect the dots between what they were hearing and how they could engage their campus with the gospel and love of Jesus.
The students gathered after breakfast for a time of connecting and focusing on the Lord before heading to the conference. Saturday night was set aside for groups to process all God was doing in their midst. This was the time when students shared how they were being challenged and what God was calling them to do.
“I have to get on campus more and I have to share my faith,” said one UNO student. Another student from NOBTS expressed that he had begun praying for God to show him how to intersect with UNO students and how to show them God’s love. Another UNO student answered the challenge to disciple someone else, but in the process realized she had never been discipled. Her first response was to ask to be discipled by her campus minister.
There is evidence that God was work in the lives of students through Ignite.
This same group of students were in the car on their way home, when the two girls expressed interest in summer and semester missions. Currently, they are looking for the right place to serve, filling out applications, and raising funds to go.