College Students Share Jesus on Spring Break

What could be better than Spring Break at the beach? Spring Break at the beach spent carrying out the Great Commission. Creatively taking the love of Christ to the masses who flock to Panama City's sandy shores, BeachReach provides a platform for students to speak out to their peers who may not know the Good Shepherd.

Three-time attendee and Hannibal-LaGrange College graduate Kelli Boling discovered a lot about herself and her walk with the Lord through her BeachReach experiences. "How cool is it to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people who were like me before I became a Christian?" she exclaims.

"It's about reaching people where they are, and opportunities to share your faith boldly."

Through free van rides, pancake breakfasts, beach games, and a variety of other activities, students who attend a BeachReach week are challenged to express their faith and proclaim the good news. Stretching and growing is part of the process, and the lessons learned under the sunny Florida skies go back with them to their campuses. But there's more than just evangelism at work.

Kelli says, "I went [one] year with intentions of getting a tan but met the keynote speaker and his wife and connected with them." After developing a friendship and going for a visit to their home in Arlington, Texas, Kelli made a decision to move there. And she hasn't looked back.

"The Lord is so good," she says. "I'm where I'm supposed to be." She acknowledges that BeachReach was and is a major part of her journey of faith.

"It isn't just a week at the beach; it's a life-changing ministry," notes the Arlington resident. "You get a chance to minister and be ministered to. The greatest blessing is to show those girls, to tell them about their Heavenly Father who loves them. Many of them have never heard that before, and it's so incredible to share it.

Jeff Jones, Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) campus minister at the University of Memphis, took 12 students for the first time in 2008. They were all challenged and pushed outside of their comfort zones as they shared the Gospel, and fell in love with Spring Breakers.

"We had students who had never verbally shared the gospel do so with great boldness and great power for the first time," says Jones. Each year since their student participation has grown. "The BeachReach experience has been so instrumental in moving our students toward a lifestyle of making disciples and openly sharing their faith," he says.

In 2010, a University of Memphis BCM student shared the gospel with a Spring Breaker from Michigan. Even though the young man's purpose for being in Panama City Beach was to experience the party atmosphere of Spring Break, the young man became a Christian. Over the next year, the BCM student kept in contact with the student from Michigan, discipling him, and helping him find a church home and plug into a campus ministry.

The next Spring Break the Michigan student returned to Panama City Beach. But this time it was with his campus ministry and he was sharing the gospel. "The ministry of BeachReach has lasting impact [on] those who come to serve and those who are exposed to the Light of Jesus in the midst of the darkness of Spring Break," says Jones.

Threads' BeachReach event takes place each year during Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Fla. Register your college group here

This article courtesy of Collegiate magazine.

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