BCM at Potomac State

      In the Spring of 2019, Baptist Campus Ministry extended its outreach to WVU Potomac State College in Keyser, WV. Freshman Marissa Earle, with the assistance of her father, Pastor Shannon Earle of First Baptist Church in Petersburg, began the application process through Potomac State College to establish the new club. Flyers were approved by the school to be posted throughout campus to advertise the weekly meeting time and place. The first meeting was attended by approximately 10 people. The club continued to grow and averaged about 15 weekly attendees and about 25 members. In the Fall of 2019, with the beginning of the new school year, the club held more outreach activities to attract more members. There was a club outreach held by the school where leaders and 7 different club members managed a booth to provide information to students about the club. This was a great success for the new year and several new members attended the next meeting at the school. The club members also delivered flyers and candy to dorm rooms to promote the club.

      In 2019-2020, the club met regularly with Bible Study, refreshments, and some type of activity. Weekly attendance averaged between 15 -20 and total membership was around 25. In addition to weekly meetings the club also held activities such as movie and bowling nights. Fifteen students attended a Tenth Avenue North and Austin French concert in Williamsport, MD in November 2019 and had an amazing time.  Further, the club held a fall retreat in Wardensville, WV with about 12 members attending. During the 3-day retreat, the members held Bible Studies, played indoor and outdoor games and enjoyed the hot tub. Members also enjoyed an evening campfire and just talking with others. While at the retreat the group provided 3 hours of community service with cleanup at a new youth center in Wardensville. The group helped with painting and cleanup to the property. In return, the center provided pizza for them as a thank you. In December 2019, the group rode on the North Pole Express Christmas train ride from Moorefield to Petersburg, WV. This was a fun filled evening as the group included both PSC BCM, First Baptist Church Youth and the young at heart from First Baptist Church.

      When the pandemic hit in March and students did not return to school after spring break, PSC BCM held weekly zoom meetings with members. This helped the group to keep in touch but we certainly missed our in-person meetings. While Potomac State College is a division of WVU, most students attend for just 2 years and then transfer to a different university. However, Potomac State has expanded its degree programs and they now offer multiple 4-year degrees as well. Further, as we have many student athletes who participate in our group, several who should have transferred this semester are coming back to PSC to complete their sports eligibility. This has helped us to keep several of our members from last year and will help with recruiting members for the new year as well.

      For the current school year, the club is planning to begin by holding weekly virtual meetings and small group meetings.  We will rely on our current members to lead sessions and reach out to potential new members. We are planning some type of outreach to provide information to new students as allowed by the college.

-Melissa Earle

Baptist Campus Ministries is a ministry of the West Virginia Baptist Convention