College ministries work to find unique outreach tactics in midst of COVID-19


Grace Perrett, Staff Writer

College ministries have had to change their approach of outreach through the use of online platforms and CDC guidelines for their weekly gatherings in order to reach out and offer support to college students. 

Community is an essential part of a college ministry. The main objective of a student ministry is to serve as a place for students to come as they are and be a part of something bigger than themselves while equipping them with the knowledge and tools to do so. 

The focus of college ministry is to lead students to the word of God and provide them with encouragement and guidance. Despite the fact that students now have altered living situations and school plans, the focus has not shifted. 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted the way in which students live out their daily lives. For many, it has completely turned any sort of normalcy completely upside down.

College ministries’ traditional approach to the community has undoubtedly been diverted. The pandemic has caused them to find new ways to engage in the community. 

“Creativity is a necessity during this time, and breaking out of ‘tradition’ seems to be the most streamlined approach when facing this ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in,” said Ethan Jago, Pastor of College and Young Professionals at Olive Baptist Church. “The approach may change in how Crossroads approaches certain situations; however, the overall mission is how we at Olive Baptist wish to spread the news of Jesus Christ to everyone regardless of the extrinsic situations we all find ourselves in.”

The use of online platforms has become essential to many ministry organizations at this time.

“We normally meet in person at least twice a week, and now we cannot meet in person at all,” said Luke Selogy, president of Baptist Collegiate Ministry at The University of West Florida. “All leadership planning meetings are online. We are now creating family groups where 10 or fewer students meet over zoom to grow in fellowship and discuss God and the Bible.”

Online platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets have given organizations like that of BCM the opportunity to continue to build relationships while still ensuring the safety of their members. 

The health and well-being of not only college students but all people is a top priority for the collegiate ministries in Pensacola. 

Many tools and techniques have been provided by the ministries on how to stay safe while staying connected.

“We ensure hand sanitizer is readily available at all times,” said Nate Popejoy, leader of the young adult ministry team at Transformation Church. “We ask for everyone that comes to wear a mask and practice social distancing as much as possible.”

Olive Baptist has allotted extra time in between services to allow the housekeeping staff plenty of time to properly disinfect the auditorium to offer a clean space for people to worship. 

“We have hydrostatic disinfected sprayers that we use for all areas that spray Oxivar, which is a hospital-grade disinfectant cleaner based on proprietary Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide technology to deliver fast, effective disinfection and cleaning performance,” Jago said. 

According to Jago, it is important for these ministries to produce a clean environment for their students to come to worship. By keeping the students’ physical health a priority, it allows ministries the ability to look out for students’ spiritual health as well.

Depression and anxiety are on the rise during COVID-19, according to the website of Massachusetts General Hospital, a hospital that has the largest based medical research program in the U.S. Life as we know it has been completely altered by COVID-19. As a result, this disease has left many wondering about what the future holds.

“I do not have the exact reason or purpose behind this time, but I have seen many positives coming out of this bad situation,” Jago said. 

As stated by Jago, more time has been allotted to family members and friends to spend quality time with each other–something we often forget to do because of the distractions.

There is always good that can come out of every situation. We just have to start looking for it.

“You may not be able to fully wrap your head around the idea of a God who loves you so much that he sent his only son to die on your behalf, but we also are not able to fully wrap our heads around what is going on around us with COVID-19,” Jago said. 

The individuals involved in the college ministries around Pensacola have a hope that is greater than themselves and has given them a peace that surpasses all understanding. 

“Don’t stay locked away in your house or dorm without contacting your friends or being involved in a club,” Selogy said. “If you are alone, it is easy for stress and depression to set in. Remember that God loves you and he will help you through these tough times. He is ultimately satisfying in all circumstances, even during this pandemic. So reach out to him, you will not regret it.”

If you are looking to get involved in a college ministry group, there are many options.

Transformation Church, Legacy House, Crossroads at Olive Baptist, Image at Hillcrest, and Baptist Collegiate Ministry are just a few of the many college ministries located in Pensacola. 

They can be reached via their websites or social media accounts. 


Transformation Church:

Legacy House:



Baptist Collegiate Ministry: