Beach Reach: “This Whole Thing is Crazy — “But God!”

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It’s almost time for collegiate spring break!! For most college students, spring break is a time to get away from the stress of classes and schoolwork and often go somewhere warm and sunny to get into all the “fun” things that college students like to do. But that’s not the case for all of them!

In 2023, a sixteen-person UMCP BCM team hit the Florida beaches, offering free shuttle service to spring breakers with the goal of sharing the gospel. (photo courtesy of BCM)

The staff and students involved on their campuses in Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and other Christian campus groups, instead choose to spend their spring breaks doing missions. And for the last 40 plus years, BCM students have been going to Panama City Beach, FL and South Padre Island, TX, two popular spring break destinations, to share the gospel with their fellow college students through a program called Beach Reach.

Beach Reach exists to bring the gospel to college students who are on spring break looking for literally anything else. The main goal is to create opportunities for gospel conversations and then to be brave and start them! This is done through gospel sharing on the beach during the day and free shuttle rides, free pancakes, and street teams at night.

Every evening after dinner and worship together, the Beach Reach students head out in vans to hit the streets where their fellow college students are out to party and hook up. Students are sent out on the streets in mixed-gender teams to prayer walk and start conversations with students who are out and about or in line at bars and clubs. Other students stay in the vans to provide free shuttle rides to students and to engage the students that they pick up in gospel conversations. Lastly, other students stay back on site in the prayer room, where they intercede for the students out doing ministry and for the prayer requests that come in live over text.

One of my favorite things about Beach Reach is that it makes absolutely no sense unless the gospel is really true. Who would think that 1:00 am would be the best time to try to talk to partying college students about Jesus??? But God… Every year, the Holy Spirit shows up and moves in the lives of students so that dozens of them give their lives to Christ! And each of these students is then followed up with by a church or college ministry back home so that they can continue their walk with Christ.

This year, Beach Reach will kick off on March 1, with hundreds of students from across the country making their way to Panama City Beach and South Padre Island to share and serve. Each week, on Sunday-Thursday nights, our BCM students will be out on the streets praying, sharing the gospel, and seeing lives changed for eternity.

Students from the Naval Academy BCM will be headed to Panama City Beach March 8-15, and students from the University of Maryland College Park, Towson University, Salisbury University, and Morgan State University will be going March 15-22.

Would you pray with us for God to use our students in a mighty way and for MANY college students to come to faith this March? And would you pray for how God will change our BCM students so that they come back to their campuses equipped and excited to share the gospel? This whole thing really is crazy… But God.

Jessica Senasack serves as BCM/D Collegiate Ministries Minister.

Feature Photo: Adriana Alonzo, a BCM intern, prepares the van (provided by Jessup Baptist Church) for the free late-night shuttle service. (2023 photo)