Turning Lost College Students Into Christ-Centered Laborers
August is one of the busiest months of the year as family schedules are transitioning and students are returning to school and ministries like Cru, which focus on reaching college students and sharing the gospel with them. Brooklyn Babcock says, “Without God working through this ministry, I would be just as lost today as I was four years ago.” Born and raised in Charleston, SC, Brooklyn came from some tough family situations that left her feeling angry and seeking a place to feel like she belonged as she searched for a college to attend. Brooklyn viewed college as a fresh start from the troubles she has left behind in Charleston. At that point in her life, she wanted nothing to do with God as she felt that He was the cause of all the pain and hardship that she had experienced, yet God had a plan to radically change her life before ever stepping foot on USC Upstate’s campus four years ago. From the moment she learned about Cru, God began a work in her heart. He began to draw her to Himself, quickly began softening her calloused heart, and then the weight of her sin and brokenness became heavier and heavier. By the end of September her freshman year, which was only a month into her first year of college, she confessed her desperate need of a Savior and surrendered her life to the Lord.
During her junior year, the desires of her heart began to change and align with God’s. Although she was studying to become a nurse her heart for missions and ministry grew immensely. For about a year, she wrestled with God wondering what was next and what life after graduation would look like. She took the next year to saturate her life in prayer and truly seeking God in ways she never had before. She didn’t want to make a “Brooklyn decision” and didn’t want to choose Nursing just because it was the easiest route for her and made sense for her life. She didn’t want to choose comfort and complacency. Although she had many people encouraging her, she never had a moment of clarity from anyone on whether to do ministry or nursing. The people around her encouraged her to seek the Lord and be obedient to His will even if she didn’t understand or necessarily like it. Her greatest fear became that she would waste her life living for herself. Brooklyn wanted what the Lord wanted for her life so she kept seeking for what that was and made small steps of obedience. Those small steps of obedience lead her to filling out an application to intern with Cru and she quickly discovered her heart for college students because it is where she first found her faith and became completely transformed by God.
While listening to a podcast, she learned that people tend to come to Christ in trouble and transition. She says that,
“College is one of the greatest transitions you go through in life. Honestly, college students are just looking for friends and a place to belong. They need people to meet them where they are and lock arms with them and walk towards Christ-likeness. The college campus is fertile soil for both the believer and nonbeliever. What I mean by that is for the nonbeliever this can be the time where they encounter the Lord intimately, maybe for the first time. For the believer, this is where their faith becomes real and their own. College is where you make a lot of huge life-changing decisions, like what you are going to do with the rest of your life and possibly who you are going to spend the rest of your life with. There is no better time than now for college students to make the most important decision of their life and that is to make the decision to surrender and follow Christ. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. This is my mission field. I want to see the Kingdom of God take ground on college campuses in the Upstate! It’s happening! God is moving powerfully in the hearts and minds of college students.”
As Brooklyn answered her call to ministry, two questions kept popping in her head as she was searching for clarity and sitting with the Lord, “Brooklyn, do you trust me?” and “Am I enough for you?” Misconceptions of ministry came across her mind leaving her feeling unequipped as she had only been a follower for four years. She believed that she was the wrong person to be in college ministry. She thought there must be someone better equipped to do this job than me. The truth that she had to come to believe was that God doesn’t need her to have a lifetime’s worth of knowledge or have all the answers to questions people may ask. All He wants is for His people to have willing spirits and obedient hearts. Ultimately, it came down to small steps of obedience and she had to choose to trust and take another step of obedience when things were foggy. In seeking Him and His will, Brooklyn is confident that she is exactly where God wants her to be because He has been involved and led every decision she has made for her life. She will be the hands and feet of Jesus as she travels to local college campuses in the Upstate to submerge herself in the lives of college students who desperately need the gospel.
Brooklyn was connected with us during her sophomore year as she was seeking a church to attend and was invited to Church at The Mill by Mark and Katie Bouchiloin who are on staff with CRU. Brooke states, “It was very evident that CATM had a high view of scripture and didn’t shy away from the truth even if it’s hard for my heart of flesh to hear! I was hesitant in the beginning because of how large our church is, but once I started serving and plugged into eGroup it changed everything! It took more intentionality on my part but it was so worth it!” Brooke is currently in the process of becoming a church member. She is beginning to get more involved in the Young Adult Ministry and is currently serving in the Goodtree Cafe on Sunday mornings. Stop by and encourage Brooklyn! She asks for her church family to pray for the hearts and minds of college students as the first six weeks are vital on the college campus when it comes to reaching and connecting with them. To learn more about Cru or to get involved visit their website, www.upstatecru.com, or follow them on social media.