Outreach is a command—a command to every believer found in Matthew 28:19.
Bob Jones University provides many outreach opportunities.
However, some students are not familiar with the variety of outreach connections or how to choose one that best suits them.
Many students are involved in a community service outlet. Some may wonder if there is a difference between community service and outreach.
Mark Vowels, director of the Center for Global Opportunities said that although community service and outreach have much in common, there is a difference.
Outreach is “anything that extends the Gospel,” Vowels said.
Community service focuses on projects that extend the recognition of the University.
“Not every community service activity advances the Gospel,” Vowels said.
However, there is a connection. Community service often paves the way for future Gospel conversations.
Vowels said that outreach is not better than community service—outreach and community service are simply different.
One way BJU is making outreaches more accessible to the student body is through the Center for Global Opportunities.
Vowels said this is now the primary way students are introduced to various outreach opportunities.
The CGO’s goal focuses on outreach, specifically, as opposed to simply community service.
BJU will host its annual Community Outreach Fair on Monday.
Previously, this event took place during the first week of classes but has been moved to a later date in order to enable more students to attend.
The Community Outreach Fair gives students a time to interact with and ask questions of both church organizations and non-church organizations.
Students will have the opportunity to discover avenues from around the community in which they can promote the Gospel.
“[The Community Outreach Fair is] a great way for students to connect with outreach opportunities,” Vowels said.
When students are looking for an outreach, Vowels said, they should consider their interests.
“We are always trying to connect people with areas of their major or areas of interest,” he said.
As an example, Vowels referenced the Juvenile Detention Center outreach.
The delinquent teens have places for exercise, such as basketball courts, but do not have anyone to teach them how to exercise properly.
So the CGO contacted students from the health sciences department to see if a group would be available to work with these teens.
The CGO is always looking for ways to plug students into outreaches that coincide with their abilities and talents in order to share the Gospel.
“That’s the kind of thing we want to develop more and more,” Vowels said.
Many students feel they do not have time to participate in an outreach. However, not every outreach requires the same time commitment.
Vowels said some outreaches need students who will participate regularly, such as after-school tutoring.
But other opportunities are available for students who can participate a few times each semester, including the GO Greenville outreach.
The Center for Global Opportunities is open to suggestions.
“The CGO is not a bunch of old guys saying, ‘You should do this,’” Vowels said. “The CGO is students coming to us and saying, ‘We want to do this. Can you help us?’ That’s what we want to be,” he said.
Whether students have lots of time or not, the Center for Global Opportunities is confident that there is an outreach for everyone.