BCM Alumni Spotlight

Cole Linder, Marshall University (2014-2018)

BCM has been more than just a Wednesday night thing I did during college. I am thankful that God used BCM to grant me a chance to have the best college experiences where I could find my identity in Christ instead of what the world had been pouring into me all throughout high school. The best part about BCM was that it didn’t stop. Yes, we had our Wednesday night meetings, but we also had iTeams and other events where I could continue to be poured into.

Almost all my favorite college moments came through BCM. iTeams grew me closer together with a group of brothers, teaching me the importance of fellowship and accountability – something I was never taught growing up in church. I also learned how to serve, spending my Wednesday evenings setting up the sound system, running the audio, and then tearing everything back down. I remember some long nights serving in this way, but they were all worth it since it gave me the chance to grow and serve in the background.

However, God knew that there was something more that He was planning for me to do.

It was after serving as an iTeam leader and being on the Marshall BCM leadership team that I was given the opportunity to serve as an intern at Parchment Valley Baptist Church, working as their youth pastor. That experience not only grew my faith, but it also challenged me to consider how God might want to use me more with youth ministry. None of that would have been possible without BCM.

After four great years, there was one special opportunity that arose: an opportunity to go to Japan for a 3-week mission trip. Of the five of us that went, four were from Marshall’s BCM.  Again, this would never have been possible for me without BCM.

Looking back, God has used those four years in powerful ways to lead me to where I am today.  After graduating, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a cybersecurity contractor before moving back to West Virginia where I now work for the Department of Treasury.  Also when I moved back, I married my wife, Katie, who I met in college, and we now serve together at Lubeck Community Baptist Church. In the midst of all those transitions, I also had to face the biggest tragedy of my life: the unexpected loss of my mother.  But, once again, God used those who I grew close to through BCM and my internship to help me through that tough time.

I now serve as the youth pastor for Lubeck Community Baptist Church, where I have the privilege of serving with my wife. We have a young group, but we have big plans!  Without BCM, I never would have had the tools or the passion to be where I am today. Glory be to God for reaching the lost and growing the found on college campuses around the state through Baptist Campus Ministries!

Are you a BCM alumni?  How did BCM change your life to lead you to where you are today?  Share your story with us and be featured in a future alumni spotlight!

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