Local Church Impact
The local church is God’s method of carrying out God’s ministry in this dispensation. Maranatha since its founding has been local church focused. Students partner with local churches and develop their leadership abilities while at Maranatha. As a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, I have the privilege of watching college students develop their leadership skills, and their faith, as they serve in the local church.
One recent student, Dan, has been a great addition to the church, and a blessing to serve alongside. His journey to Maranatha began when his parents took him on a college trip during his sophomore year of high school. He was impressed with the “excellence” of Maranatha. Having known since he was a young boy that God had called him to pastoral ministry, he was looking for a college with doctrinal fidelity and a warm atmosphere. He found both at Maranatha.
Once he arrived on campus, Dan asked the question that all students ask: Where will I go to church? Accessibility was important to Dan, as well as a solid doctrinal and philosophical foundation. That’s when he came here to Calvary Baptist Church. It is a big scary thing for a college student to decide where to serve, but from his first Sunday, Dan felt that Calvary could become his home. He said, “It was very similar to my home church and I was impressed.”
Dan prayed about where he should serve for several weeks and then joined the student watch-care program at Calvary which allows students to retain their membership at their home church while joining and serving as a student. Dan saw that there were multiple ministry needs and opportunities at Calvary; he noted, “They wanted me!”
Soon after, an upper-classmen approached Dan and asked if he would like to help with Jr. High boys, and Dan began serving in the youth group. Pastor Dwayne Morris, the Youth and Family Pastor said, “The day Dan joined the youth staff he took the initiative and immediately made friends with the junior high boys. Now the boys gravitate to him.”
Scores of freshmen from across the United States and the world come to the Maranatha campus every fall. They are excited about college life and often overwhelmed with the multitude of opportunities set before them. But Maranatha maintains that involvement in local churches, churches like Calvary, is the most important activity in a student’s life.
One key distinguishing characteristic of MBU is the commitment of its leadership to local church ministry. Dr. Cedarholm regularly said, “Your Bible should automatically open to Matthew 16:18.” This passion for the local church has continued for over 50 years!
Maranatha students make a tremendous impact on churches in Watertown and the surrounding communities. Students find opportunities to take what they have learned in the classroom and put that knowledge to practice as they serve in Sunday school classes, on youth staffs, in choirs and orchestras, bus ministries, children’s ministries, pulpit supply and many more areas of ministry.
Many students just like Dan serve faithfully. I have observed that many MBU students are willing to serve in any capacity needed. Sometimes such service is very public, but often it is behind the scenes at the sound board, behind a camera, or on the floor in the nursery.
As a pastor of a partnering church, I am excited about having MBU students as part of our church family. Many of the ministries our churches provide could not be accomplished as efficiently without the active participation of these dedicated students. Their enthusiasm and love for the Lord is contagious!
Pastor Bob Loggans is a graduate and current board member of Maranatha Baptist University. He has served as senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, WI since 2000. This article first appeared in the 2020 Maranatha Advantage.