Glenville State: A Modern-Day Marketplace

Written by Lance Linden, associate at Glenville State University

Not all revival meetings happen the way we plan them.  What started out as a couple guys chatting about God moving on the campus of Glenville State College (GSC) became a reality.  

I’d like to share a story about what happened earlier this semester on the campus of GSC.   After spending a weekend with some of our key student leaders, God orchestrated a plan that reminded me of something that you read about in the Book of Acts.  It was a revival type meeting that was in a modern-day market place: a campus weight room. 

I’d like to give a little background on this before I go any further.  This event did not come about because of our great human wisdom combined with our great boldness and great event strategy.  It came about because of a problem that arose and the Providence of God.

In challenging our students to take the message of the gospel to the campus instead of always asking the campus to come to us, a strategy was born. 

Our plan was to have a gifted student leader share a message, along with myself, on a topic that we had prayed about and planned for…You see, one of the students who was going to be speaking that night at BCM, along with myself, in our normal meeting place, was told he had to attend a basketball game on campus by his coach.  It appeared that he would not be able to speak with me at BCM.  But, God can do what He wants to do!   

The young man, feeling prompted to do so, asked his coach and other faculty if we could speak in the weight room between the two basketball games that were occurring.  The coaches and faculty said yes to his request and what happened next was powerful!  As we were aligning the weight benches for people to sit on, only a few students appeared.  We had about five or six weight benches pulled out and thought it might be too many.  But, a prodding occurred.  Students were asked to come down from the stands to attend our meeting.  And the next thing we know, people are filing into this modern-day marketplace venue like an army of ants.  I did not expect this kind of response. 

It brings to remembrance the following passage where the Apostle Paul is reasoning with people about spiritual truths: “Paul reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.” [Act 17:17 NKJV]

I really like how the New King James Version interprets the last part of that verse, “with those who happened to be there.”  I often like to remind our students that we have to take God’s Word to the campus and not just expect them to come looking for us.  We have to go look for them.   

We planned a joint message where two people would share and then gave our best rendition of a Paul & Barnabas sermon.  And it worked!   God spoke to hearts and some of the students, “who happened to be there”, have joined our ministry!

I’ve come to this conclusion:  It’s not just about planning.  It’s not just about promotion.  It’s about problems, prayer, planning, promptings, promotion, prodding, proclamation, production, people who just happen to be there, persecution and praise.

The above things are all a part of this great ministry we’ve been entrusted with.  To God be the Glory.  He is still in the business of changing lives that change the world. It took us going to them, but now they are coming to us! 

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