SHELBYVILLE, Ky.—Students from nine colleges and universities in the state have committed to be the feet of Jesus this summer and share the gospel in Kentucky and “to the ends of the earth.” Baptist Collegiate Ministries celebrated the faithfulness of 29 students with an Experience 1:8 commissioning service Monday, June 2, at First Baptist Church of Shelbyville.
After several days of training, students will be divided into three teams and sent to their assigned mission fields at Cedarcrest, Murray and Shelbyville. Toward the end of the summer, teams will board international flights bound for the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and South Africa.
“We are excited about what God is going to do in them, and through, them this summer as they help people encounter Jesus,” said Brian Combs, Kentucky Baptist Convention Collegiate Evangelism Strategist. “Be proud of them parents. You’ve raised them well.”
Before the commissioning prayer, Paul Chitwood also spoke directly to parents thanking them for being supportive of their young adults answering the call to serve.
“And we are thankful for 2,400 Kentucky Baptist churches who help provide experiences like this to ensure the next generation of the Lord’s servants will have the equipment they need to take the gospel to Kentucky, to North America and to the ends of the world,” said the KBC executive director.
Chitwood emphasized the gravity of the task ahead by quoting Romans 10: 14-15: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Experience 1:8 is modeled after Acts 1:8, said Cedarcrest/South Africa team coordinator Noah Polk. “The great thing about this summer is we are literally living out this verse.”
That’s something for which college student Allison Whaley is excitedly anticipating.
“I’m looking forward to putting my faith into action,” she said, and using the knowledge gained through Morehead University’s BCM.
For Northern Kentucky University student Brandi Cunningham, Experience 1:8 may prove to be the first steps of a life-long commitment to Christian service.
“My prayer is that she will get more of a direction from God this summer,” said her mother Elaine Cunningham. “She already feels His call.”
First Baptist Shelbyville pastor Maurice Hollingsworth commended students for their choices leading up to Experience 1:8.
“You have the potential to make an eternal impact,” Hollingsworth said. “You made the choice to let Jesus into your life. You made the choice to give Jesus your time, your energy and your talents this summer. You’ve made the choice to be bold and overt with your testimony. You have made the choice not to be silent. You’ve made the choice to be compassionate and to look upon the cities where you are being called.
“What can you accomplish in a few weeks?” the pastor asked. “You can introduce them to Jesus Christ, and when you do the seed that you plant can bear fruit through eternity.”
The following are the three Experience 1:8 teams, their members and leaders.
Cedarcrest/South Africa team: M.J. Fleming (EKU), Brodhead, Wisc,; Lydia Hall (WKU), Lexington; Robbie Gray (WKU), Vine Grove; Zachary Hudspeth (UK), Paducah; Molly Lydick (Morehead), Huntington, W.V.; Lucas Taylor (Morehead), Meta; Kianna Collins (KSU), Lima, Ohio; Faith Williams (Morehead), New Richmond, Ohio; Caitlin Ellis (NKU), Lexington; and Jessica Stacy (Morehead), Hager Hill. Team director: Gene Parr. Team coordinator: Noah and Robin Polk.
First Baptist Church Murray/Dominican Republic team: Ali Rich (Morehead), Williamstown; Allison Goodlett (EKU), Lawrenceburg; Brandi Cunningham (NKU), Henderson; Brittany Couch (Morehead), Lawrenceburg; Brad Clardy (WKU), Bowling Green; Darian Ditto (UK), Elizabethtown; Dylan Jones (UK), Whitley City; Emily Sherlock (EKU), Richmond; Matt Wallin (NKU); Harrison, Ohio; Sidney Tencza (UK), Florence; Lauren Barr (Campbellsville), Ekron. Team director: Susan Harris. Team coordinators: Hannah Parker.
Shelbyville First Baptist/Guatemala team: Hayley Davis (Univ. of the Cumberlands ) Berea; Jonah Pack (NKU), Cold Spring; Chelsea Turner (Morehead), Ashland; Megan Gabbard (EKU), Richmond; Jonny Thiede (UK), Murray; Hannah Sadler (Campbellsville), Campbellsville; Allison Whaley (Morehead), Demossville; Matt McKirahan (EKU), Bellefontaine, Ohio; and Taylor Jones (UL), Fort Thomas. Team director: Paul Gibson. Team coordinator: Rachel Shannon.
To learn more about Experience 1:8, visit kybcm.org/experience18. Follow Experience 1:8 teams on Twitter with the hastags #Exp18MurrayDR, #Exp18ShelbyGT and #Exp18CedarcrestSA.