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BPC opens doors in Berlin with alumnus and his congregation

By Kelley M. Arnold
Interim Director of Marketing

MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s Division of Religion & Philosophy is expanding its outreach in international missions thanks to new partnerships with former students.

BPC student Jonathon Smith prepares to give his testimony at one of the evangelical Christian churches in Berlin this summer.
BPC student Jonathon Smith prepares to give his testimony at one of the evangelical Christian churches in Berlin this summer. (Photo provided)

This June, two BPC professors, a BPC student and a BPC graduate traveled to Berlin, Germany for an eleven-day ministry opportunity with members of Cross Point Baptist Church of Perry, Ga.

For BPC student Jonathan Smith, the trip was more than just a mission trip, or his first trip out of the United States. He was able to advance his college career earning three college credit hours for Apologetics Practicum, which will count towards his bachelor’s degree.

For 2004 graduate Jeremy Morton, who now serves as senior pastor of Cross Point Baptist, it was a chance for his congregation to fulfill a long-time pursuit.

“Our church has wanted to do a mission trip overseas for some time,” explains Morton. “We are a young church – a little over six years old – and we made a commitment to do something overseas. This trip was phenomenal. Our church loved it. From the folks who went, to the folks who gave, or prayed, or kept children, it was everyone working and serving together to make it happen.”

Through a friendship with semi-retired missionary to Europe, Randy Dodd, based out of Atlanta, the BPC contingent traveled with 12-13 people from Morton’s church, and two other independent professors to lead seminars in Christian life and service for five churches in Berlin. The largest of these churches was the International Baptist Church.

“Every continent, except for Antarctica, with 30 different nationalities is represented in that church,” said Dr. Bryan Cribb, assistant professor of Christian studies at BPC.

“People in Berlin are open to talking about spiritual things, so there is a lot of opportunity to share the gospel,” adds Cribb. “They are actually kind of curious to talk to this ‘strange person who might believe in God’.

Dr. Bryan Cribb stands at the church door where Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” were posted beginning the Protestant Reformation.
Dr. Bryan Cribb stands at the church door where Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” were posted beginning the Protestant Reformation. (Photo provided)

Germany has state-supported religion where “people are forced to pay a tithe like a tax,” explains Morton. These state-supported churches are kept like museums, and their pastors act as curators, he adds, “giving tours, leading simple teachings and dealing most with old widows and tourists.” This was the not the type of church Morton and his congregation sought to witness and edify, however.

“The country is 80 percent atheist,” Morton continues. “It’s fallow ground that needs to be broken up. There are so many atheists and agnostics in Europe. The sub-group of Christians in contrast is very devoted. They have very little exposure, if any, to other Christians though. We wanted to build them up. After each of our seminars, no one wanted it to end. Their desire to learn was just pleasantly surprising and we have an open invitation to come back.”

Morton hopes the partnership between his former BPC professors and his current congregation will continue with additional trips, if not to Berlin, but other countries. Dr. Hal Ostrander, BPC chair of the Division of Religion & Philosophy, who also represented BPC in Berlin, hopes these trips will also benefit future and current BPC students.

“Experience overseas tells me that first-time students in particular go through three phases when they surrender themselves to an international mission project,” said Dr. Ostrander. “First, there’s shock and awe that a culture and people group could be so different from what they’re accustomed to. Second, they discover that God has His people everywhere, even before they arrive on location. And third, they ease gently into an awareness of the fact that God can in fact use them to minister wisely to Christians they’ll encounter and, perhaps more importantly, He can use them effectively to share the good news of Jesus Christ with folks who have perhaps never seriously considered God’s claim upon their lives and nation.”

Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college in South Georgia. To learn more about mission opportunities at BPC, contact Dr. Ostrander at hostrander@bpc.edu or call 912-583-3116.

Dr. Hal Ostrander, chair of the Division of Religion & Philosophy at Brewton-Parker College, and 2004 BPC graduate Jeremy Morton, stand in front of the remains of the Berlin Wall. Dr. Ostrander and Morton were part of a combined BPC and Perry church mission trip to Berlin this summer.
Dr. Hal Ostrander, chair of the Division of Religion & Philosophy at Brewton-Parker College, and 2004 BPC graduate Jeremy Morton, stand in front of the remains of the Berlin Wall. Dr. Ostrander and Morton were part of a combined BPC and Perry church mission trip to Berlin this summer. (Photo provided)

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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
 
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
 
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM