North Carolina Baptist churches are encouraged to name one Sunday during February as “Baptist College Day” and to use this day to celebrate how God is at work on the campuses of the five educational institutions affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
One way churches can celebrate Baptist College Day is by scheduling a speaker from one of the affiliated institutions: Campbell University, Chowan University, Gardner-Webb University, Mars Hill College and Wingate University.
Churches may also consider inviting college students to speak, distributing bulletin inserts related to Baptist College Day, or hosting a special prayer time for faculty, staff and administration serving these institutions.
Baptist College Day is also an opportunity to make students aware of the North Carolina Baptist Scholarship Program. Each year, the BSC awards scholarships to students from cooperating churches who are enrolled as full-time undergraduate students on the main campus of a BSC affiliated school. Nearly 700 Baptist scholarships were awarded for the 2011-2012 academic year, totaling more than $800,000.
Samantha Redman, seen here with her father David at Gardner-Webb University’s homecoming game, is thankful for her N.C. Baptist scholarship. A nursing major, Redman said GWU has challenged her academically and spiritually.
The scholarship is renewable for a maximum of four years. Students must apply each year and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to be eligible for the scholarship. As part of the application process, students also answer essay questions about their personal testimony, the Cooperative Program, and their involvement in campus ministry.
Justin Giersbrook, a junior social studies education major at Wingate University, is a scholarship recipient from Chapel Hill. Giersbrook said the North Carolina Baptist Scholarship Program is an answered prayer that has allowed him to continue his college education at a school that is teaching him the importance of growing closer to God.
“This scholarship has been huge in the way that it has provided me a way to remain at Wingate to learn more about what His demand on my life is and to be used for His purposes,” he said.
Giersbrook’s experience at a Baptist university has been invaluable to his growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Being away from the daily influence of his parents and his home church has allowed him time at Wingate to learn what it means to take ownership of his faith.
Giersbrook’s fellowship with other believers on campus and the instruction gleaned from time in the classroom has taught him how to seek God’s glory each day. “My walk with God is different. I no longer see God as a Sunday or Wednesday activity, but my entire life was made to worship Him every day and in every situation,” he said.
Samantha Redman also values the education and fellowship she receives at a Christian university. Redman is a junior nursing major at Gardner-Webb University. She chose Gardner-Webb over other schools because she thought it would allow her to grow academically, socially and spiritually. “It was one of the few colleges where I could do all of those things,” she said.
At Gardner-Webb Redman has developed friendships with people from a variety of backgrounds. She has enjoyed being challenged academically and spiritually by professors and campus staff who do not just teach academics, but who also model what it means to honor Christ in every situation. These combined experiences have been made possible with the help of the scholarship she received through the BSC. “This scholarship has helped me and my family tremendously,” Redman said. “By taking some financial stress away, I am able to focus on school a lot more.”
Applications for the 2012-2013 school year are available at ncbaptist.org/scholarships and are due by April 1.