Representatives of local outreach organizations Piedmont Women’s Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Switch, Prisma Health and Miracle Hill will attend tomorrow’s Beyond forum, sponsored by the Community Service Council, to offer students a view of what ministry looks like after college.
The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will begin with a brunch in the student mall, during which the opening segment of the forum will allow students to visit booths for each of the visiting organizations. After the introduction, attendees can visit two breakout sessions with presentations by representatives from each group.
The theme of this year’s forum is “Ministering during COVID” and aims to present students with specific ways they can reach others as the pandemic continues. The CSC hopes the event will demonstrate the continuing need for local ministry and outreach.
“I feel like a lot of ministry has stopped because people are scared of what to do or just worried about offending other people, but there really are opportunities out there,” Abbie Rocha, the event organizer and CSC director, said.
The forum particularly focuses on ministry options available to students after they graduate. “[The goal is] just raising awareness of what you can do once you leave college, especially in the Greenville community, because a lot of students stay here,” Rocha said.
The event serves as a way to connect students with the visiting organizations, which are focused on outreach, especially in the Greenville area. Rocha said taking advantage of the opportunities provided by these organizations will help students grow in Christ.
The forum originally began in 2018 as the brainchild of Bradley Shepard, a 2019 BJU graduate and former CSC member, who wanted a way to get the student body involved in community service. “I thought we had kind of lost that during COVID,” Rocha said. “So that’s why I wanted to bring [the forum] back and re-emphasize service because a lot of us are really egocentric . . . especially in college.”
This year’s Beyond forum is the third, following the cancellation of last year’s event because of COVID. Although the forum is returning, some aspects of the event have been altered to address safety concerns. “We won’t be able to do it on as large of a scale as we did in the past,” Rocha said. “We’re also going to have the breakout sessions in larger rooms instead of smaller rooms, which might make it feel a little bit less intimate.”
Sam Tyrell, another CSC member, said another change was some outside organizations are unable to attend because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The CSC encourages students to attend and find out more about the service opportunities around them. “I would say that people who are Christians are going to imitate Christ, and they are going to want to serve,” Tyrell said. “A large part of that is in the community. So, if [students] want to represent Christ in the community, they should come and meet some of these organizations and find opportunities to serve others.”x