By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
LAKE CHARLES – Baptist Collegiate Ministry officials at McNeese State University have scheduled an open house for its new building.
Scheduled from 2 to 4 pm on Aug. 15, with a dedication service at 2:30 pm, the open house will showcase a building nearly seven years in the making.
“It’s been a long process,” said Keith Cating, director of the McNeese BCM. “This gives us an opportunity to reach out to a larger group of students, build relationships with them and hopefully lead some of them accepting Christ.”
The new 10,000-sq.-ft. building is nearly double the size of its former structure, which was demolished before construction on the new structure began in late 2013. Among the features of the building is an office suite with four offices, reception area, game room, library, great room, prayer room, kitchen, pantry and a room for its weekly lunch and worship services.
Cating said the lunches held once a week are their biggest outreach tool. He estimates they will be able to serve many more than the 250 who showed up in its former structure that was 60 years old.
“Over half of those folks who came usually were not believers, so it offered a chance to connect with them,” he said.
Operations out of the new building began in May. Cating and BCM leaders had used Emmanuel Baptist Church in Lake Charles for its offices and met for worship services at the church, on campus and other locations.
“Our new building gives us a base of operation,” Cating said. “Whereas before, when we were scattered throughout all parts of campus and we were hard to track down at times, this building we are in now gives us a physical presence on campus which is huge.”
Among the students excited to have a new BCM building is Morgan Miller, a member of Trinity Baptist Church is Lake Charles.
Miller is anticipating how the additional space for the free lunches, worship services and study space will turn into opportunities to witness to her fellow students.
“I think the newness of the building will be a draw for people to come and check it out,” Miller said. “Personally, I’m excited to answer when students ask, so what goes on at the BCM?”
Nick Brewer, a member of First Baptist Church in Westlake, said the excitement has been building around the McNeese and Lake Charles community as the project neared its end.
“There has been a multitude of people that have invested so much time and effort and planning to construct this building and I’m fully convinced that this project is another demonstration of Christ’s heart being made obvious through His people,” Brewer said. “For all of their contributions, we are immensely thankful. There’s a new building, but like the decades before, Christ and His gospel remains at the foundation of what the McNeese BCM is all about.”