BCM at Naval Academy Participate in Missions

Source: Baptist Press

For Justin Woods, serving his country in the United States Navy is not enough because a relationship with Christ requires more.

“The military isn’t sufficient to satisfy restoration and peace with God,” Woods said.

“It’s not designed to satisfy our deepest needs. It can never actually satisfy our soul. We ultimately find our peace and purpose in relationship with Jesus.”

Woods, an Air Force Reserves chaplain and collegiate military catalyst for the North American Mission Board, has been BCM director at the Naval Academy since 2010 where he leads an approximate community of 150 cadets.

“During the school year I am there to make disciples who make disciples,” Woods said. “We serve as a missional outreach for local churches.”

“My goal is to set people on fire for the glory of God and launch them into the farthest corners of the Navy and Marine Corps,” Woods continued. “The ones I started with in 2010 would just now be hitting majors in the Marines, lieutenant commanders in the Navy.”

During the two-week mission trip, the BCM midshipmen in San Diego spend their time cultivating spiritual discipline and volunteering in local food pantries at Southern Baptist congregations.

“There is a large military presence in San Diego so in all likelihood the students will find themselves here at some point in their career,” Woods said. “So having mentors and local church connections accelerates discipleship. … A lot of military officers who are former [BCM] students share their experiences and stories.”

Arriving in June, the cadets on mission immediately got to work. During a respite, they ventured to Anaheim to attend the SBC’s Annual Meeting.

Commenting on the midshipmen’s experience at the SBC Annual Meeting, Woods said, “That was a real different experience for them. It spawned lots of conversation.”

Upon their return to San Diego the team assisted the Old Town Community Church with their refugee program which is currently hosting 80 Ukrainian refugees for two weeks.

“They did a lot for us,” Executive Pastor Don Biadog Jr. of Old Town Community Church. “They’re aggressive in sharing the gospel.”

Reflecting on her experience, Emma Peck, one of the student missionaries said, “It was incredible, life-changing. It taught me how to live out my faith in my day-to-day life…I didn’t know you could interact with the world in a Christian manner.

“I used to think faith was only reading and praying,” Peck continued. “Now I’ve learned how to bring Christianity into all my decision-making. It’s not only a habit change; it’s a behavior change.”

Source: Baptist Press