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Collegiate Students: Can We Reach, Baptize, and Disciple Them?

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There are an estimated 22 million college students in the United States. The ethnicities of the world dwell on our college campuses. Few places in America have greater life, potential, and strategic importance than a college campus.

Last April, I walked into our Fayetteville Campus on a Wednesday night and spoke to over 500 college students. It was not a special emphasis in which I was asked to attend, but a Wednesday night worship and Bible teaching venue led by our church. Students were reached for Christ that night, willingly responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When Jeana and I were in college, we were both impacted in our spiritual growth through what was called then, Baptist Student Union. In fact, Jeana served as a BSU Missionary for an entire summer. This is one reason that we have had a heart for reaching and ministering to college students.

80% of Our Churches Baptized Zero to One Person Age 18-29, Which Includes College Students

In our recent Baptism study conducted by pastors, we learned that of the 46,125 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, 80% baptized zero to one person age 18-29. This statistic includes college students. Just recently, I wrote about this deplorable reality relating to young adults. While most relate this to the millennial generation, it is seldom equated to the young adults on our collegiate campuses.

It is amazing to me how different people look at a collegiate campus. Most never think about the spiritual nature of campuses because they are usually caught up in the mascot of the university. At times, it seems the spiritual condition of a college campus gets a pass because of this or the ages of the students.

This I do not understand. I love the enthusiasm of college campuses, as well as the sports life. There is nothing like it at all. Yet, I cannot and will not ignore the spiritual condition of the students. Each student either has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or they do not. As Christ-followers and members of Jesus’ church, it is incumbent upon us to insure that each college student in the United States is presented the gospel of Jesus Christ.

College Students are one of the Most Lost and Unchurched People Groups in the United States

Within the last five years, I did a non-scientific study, finding how many college students attend church in our region weekly. Unsurprising to me, college students are not being reached by churches in great numbers. This is not only true in Northwest Arkansas, it is true in pretty well every region where a college campus exists. Much of this has to do with a lack of passion for evangelizing college students, but also due to churches not being an effective and attractive experience for this generation.

When we began our Fayetteville Campus, we intentionally located it five to seven minutes from the University of Arkansas. While we do not desire to have a church comprised of only college students, we do desire and do have a church that is intentionally reaching college students for Christ. We are reaching them, baptizing them, and discipling them in their faith. This past school year, 77 students came to Christ and 55 were baptized. As well, over 50 of our college students gave their complete summer to missions. By the way, we are also connecting them to the church. Yes, this people group can be penetrated by the gospel of Christ.

4 Suggestions to See More College Students Reached, Baptized, and Discipled

1. Churches must rise up and reach college students!

Many Christians believe that this is the role of various campus ministries rather than the church. I choose to believe Jesus has called and anointed His church to reach all people, including students. Therefore, every pastor and every Southern Baptist church needs to answer:

  • How many college students attend the college or colleges in our region?
  • What is our intentional strategy to reach, baptize, and disciple college students?

We must know the answer to these questions and get the job done.

2. Collegiate ministries must accelerate their intentionality to see students reached, baptized, and discipled for Christ.

After reaching students for Christ, one of the greatest things these collegiate ministries must do is to see them connected to a local church. Students need to be baptized and discipled in these churches. This is a partnership with the collegiate ministry and the church.

Through your gifts to the Southern Baptist Convention, we have an estimated 775+ ministry units through our Baptist Collegiate Ministries or collegiate church plants located around the nation. To my understanding, according to the most recent statistics, we have an estimated 85,000 students connected through these ministries, mostly in the south. To God’s glory, their impact is beyond this through their ministries. I am so thankful for these ministers and ministries. I humbly appeal to our campus leaders: please prioritize reaching, baptizing, and discipling these students, connecting them to churches effectively.

3. Collegiate ministries need to be connected to local churches.

While our Southern Baptist Collegiate Ministries are connected to our churches due to gifts given through the Cooperative Program and offerings,

I think the connection needs to become even more personal and direct relationally.

I pray that one day, each collegiate minister or missionary on a collegiate campus is connected to a local church directly much like what we saw in the Louisiana State BCM story shared at the Baltimore Convention this summer. A fresh look at partnership in this mission could enhance the work on the college campus as well as through the church. This is important not only for the students who will be reached and more effectively connected to the church if this happens, but it is also important for the church. Churches must be involved in this mission of reaching college students. If we do not connect them once reached, we may never connect them to our churches.

Additionally, I pray that our collegiate ministries will impart to college students a biblical understanding of the church, encouraging them to connect in membership and ministry during the years they are in college.

4. Southern Baptists, we must prioritize reaching college students.

As a denomination, we have to elevate the importance of reaching this unreached segment of our nation located on our college campuses. This is a vision beyond our nation itself, but reaching the multiple nations represented on each campus in the United States. In our vision of reaching the world for Christ, we cannot reach the world without reaching the collegiate campuses in our own nation. These are the future leaders that will one day influence the culture of our nation and the entire world. Therefore, our churches, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, associations, state conventions, and national entities must cooperate in order to increase our effectiveness in penetrating this collegiate population of 22 million people with the power of the gospel.

This is Why I Appeal to You to JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Southern Baptists, over this next year, we must move into a major season of extraordinary prayer for a major spiritual awakening. Lead now, enlist today, and spread the word to people across the world. If we want to reach these college campuses, we need the power of God upon us.

1,000 College Students will be at Our 2015 Southern Baptist Convention

It is only right that in Columbus, Ohio, the home of THE Ohio State University, which has over 50,000 college students, 1,000 Southern Baptist College Students will join us from across the nation for the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention. This is another reason I appeal to you to Join the Movement. The time is now for Southern Baptists to rise up like never before.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd


Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email
Visit our website at
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd

Join the Movement






I am convinced that our greatest need in America is another Great Awakening. By His grace, I pray that our Sovereign Lord will bestow such mercy upon His people and our nation, that we would experience the next Great Awakening. No great movement of God ever occurs that is not first preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.

This is why I feel compelled to ask you to Join the Movement by praying daily with me and inviting your friends and church to Join the Movement and pray along with us. This prayer movement is extraordinary for these four important things:

JOIN THE MOVEMENT, Praying Daily For:


A Great Awakening is a season in time when unprecedented numbers of people come to Christ in a region or all over the country. It has been over 100 years since the last great move of God in our land. We need another Great Awakening. We must pray for it daily.

While this world is experiencing multiple crises and our own nation has a few of its own, our greatest crisis is spiritual. Each born again, evangelical believer should be praying daily for our nation to experience a spiritual awakening. Join the Movement by praying for this, beginning today.

Personally, we need to experience a spiritual revival. We need the mighty manifested presence of God in our lives. Corporately, the church needs to experience a spiritual revival. I spoke to this in my first press conference. We need the mighty manifested presence of God and His glory all over the church. When we are experiencing these moments with God, by His Sovereign grace, we pray our Lord gives our nation a Great Awakening.


Daily, we need to appeal to God to give us the resources, the people, and the strategy to reach the world for Christ. This is why we need a Great Awakening in America. As Great Commission Christians and as a denomination that believes this is our last hope for this world, we need to pray daily for the world to be reached for Christ.

Each of us must find our part in reaching the world for Christ. Yes, if God wakes up America with a spiritual awakening, we will be much more prepared and ready to do all we can to reach the world for Christ.

Join the Movement to pray with us daily to see the world reached for Christ. All of this begins with reaching our own town, community, village, or city for Christ.

Therefore, we will pray for the next Great Awakening in America and for us to reach the world for Christ, but also for…


From my opening press conference as President, I began to issue the call to each pastor, church leader, and lay person to join us in Columbus, Ohio, for our next Southern Baptist Convention, June 16-17, 2015. I appealed for the same through my first blog as President. We must begin to pray for our gathering now.

I recently visited Columbus, Ohio. I was highly impressed and blessed by the city and convention arrangements; however, I was more encouraged and blessed by a luncheon with approximately 180 pastors and leaders. God is doing some major things in Columbus and after observing this for one day, NOW I KNOW why God has us in Columbus, Ohio, June 16-17, 2015. It is HIS place for the Southern Baptist Family to meet.

Don’t miss praying daily for our annual meeting and surely don’t miss what God will do among us. Can you imagine what God may do when thousands of Southern Baptists pray daily for months in advance for the next Great Awakening, to reach the world for Christ, and our gathering in Columbus?

Get ready. Do not miss it. Join us there and even if you will not be able to attend, Join The Movement of extraordinary prayer.


Humbly, I request that you pray for me daily. I have never felt more in need of prayer in my life than today. The burden upon me is heavy and the task is overwhelming. But hope is rising in me, especially when I know that people are praying for me daily.

I am doing things I have never done before and am being asked about things that are beyond me. I am also speaking more than ever and conduct interviews frequently. This is why I need you to pray for me daily.

Additionally, please ask your church to pray for me. I need God’s wisdom, understanding, and power.

Sign up to JOIN THE MOVEMENT and stay informed with weekly emails. The four items of prayer are clear.

  • Sign up personally
  • Invite friends to sign up using the social media buttons at the end of this article
  • Ask members of your church to Join the Movement

Please sign up now! Together, we can pray in this extraordinary manner. May our Lord open the heavens!

“If only You would tear the heavens open and come down….” (Isaiah 64:1)

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd


Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email
Visit our website at
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd