By Ken Reyes, BCM Intern
Though the word “unprecedented” has likely been over-used to describe the past year, it continues to characterize the experiences that college students face today. Our students at BCM O‘ahu and Hilo BCM are no strangers to it either. Thus, helping them navigate through the emotional and spiritual toil of the pandemic has become one of the primary ministry points in the last twelve months. As a result, we have seen God open many doors to help us connect with students in fresh, new ways.
At BCM O‘ahu, we decided to focus on small-group communities as a way to both respect statewide pandemic guidelines and still provide opportunities for connection and growth. Our Tuesday nights are now called IRL (Intentional, Relatable, Livable)—groups of 5-10 students and staff meet together in different houses and tune in together on Zoom for worship, talk, story, and a time to discuss life and the Bible. Our staff also meet regularly with student leaders to create events that focus on inviting friends to dun outings that still allow for adequate distancing. These include planned coffee tours, a farmer’s market outing, and beach/hike days. Discipleship groups have also been crucial during this time, becoming an avenue for deeper spiritual engagement with both new believers and seasoned students in our ministry.
Hilo BCM has also taken advantage of the 10-person gathering limits by focusing on small group activities. Anita Bice, their director, notes that campus is deserted and students would otherwise feel lost without BCM. As a result, they have also opened up their building so that students can choose to do their classes or homework with others in the facility. Talk story and hang-out time have become vital for students who crave community as well. Aside from that, their group also does Bible studies and leadership trainings, as well as a Thursday evening worship service that meets at Ohana Church.