A new chapter in the decades-old Baptist Collegiate Ministry at The University of Oklahoma will begin next fall with the expected completed of a new on-campus building.
It is a ministry with a legacy that has touched thousands of lives.
The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention states there are more missionaries serving from The University of Oklahoma than from any state school in the nation.
This ministry had been centered in the old Baptist Student Union building across the street from the campus.
That facility was sold to the university (it was just west of the OU President’s House) and it has been torn down. Since that happened, the BCM has been in temporary facilities.
Once the BCM got permission from the university to purchase a site on campus, a campaign to raise $10,270,000 began. That would include construction of a new state-of-the-art building and two endowment funds – one for building maintenance and repair and another to supplement the insurance and retirement costs for OU-BCM staff members (who individually raise their own support).
A $4.2 million gift toward the OU BCM capital campaign was announced on Sept. 14, to hundreds of OU BSU/BCM alumni and supporters at a celebration dinner at the Oklahoma City Civic Center’s banquet hall. Kirk Humphreys, former mayor of Oklahoma City and an alumnus of the OU BSU (now BCM), emceed the event and has served as co-chair of the “Sowing A Legacy” capital campaign. The $10.3 million will construct a new two-story, 28,400 square-foot building on the OU campus in Norman.
Former OU BCM director Max Barnett (who served from 1967-2004) announced the major donation, which was made by Steve Trice, founder and chairman of the board of Jasco Products, an Oklahoma City-based company, founded in 1975, that produces consumer electronics and electronics accessories.
“I do not attend a Baptist Church. I did not come to Christ until I was 43 years old,” Trice, an OU alumnus, said. “And I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for two Baptist men who poured into my life for more than 15 years, teaching me how to hear, read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s Word every day of my life. God used those men to make a tremendous change in my life.
“Whether it is Baptist or Presbyterian, it’s about Jesus Christ and discipling young people, and we are just thrilled and so thankful to be a part of supporting the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. God bless you all.”
Enough has been raised to start and finish construction but about another $4 million is needed to finish the campaign.
Here are some facts about OU and college students in general:
- Over 2,000 international students from over 100 countries come to OU.
- OU has more national merit scholars than any university in the nation.
- Pew Research indicates 67 percent of college students with a church background never connect with a church or Christian group after leaving home.
This new building will be adjacent to the dormitories, most of the fraternity and sorority houses, and within blocks of student apartments. The Baptist leadership sees this as an ideal location.
The new BCM building will provide easy access to more than 6,000 students: where they live, where they eat, and where they study.
This building will provide space for prayer, Bible study, worship, training, friendship, mobilization, and fun. The large open meeting space can be configured into smaller rooms for breakout sessions. The entry will feature a coffee shop where students and alumni can gather for fellowship. An outdoor patio can provide music and other opportunities will to host to the university community.
The majority of BCM staff members at OU raise their own financial support. An objective of this campaign is to help these staff members by establishing a significant endowment to provide assistance with health insurance and retirement. Funds provided for this endowment will never be spent, only the annual interest earnings will be used for staff assistance.
The Baptist Collegiate Ministry has locations on almost 40 campuses across Oklahoma.
New BCM buildings are also planned for Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. Funding efforts for those facilities will begin before the end of the year.
For more information, call 405-416-4868 or go to bgco.org/ou-bcm.