Updated: Mar 30
Preston serves as the Campus Minister of Reach Movement at the University of Alabama. He and his team want to start a Disciple Making Movement among 11,000 women and men in U of A Greek fraternities and sororities. Here’s Preston’s story from September 2020!
All Movement is Rooted in Prayer Our team of 15 leaders focus heavily on maintaining daily, weekly and monthly prayer and fasting rhythms. We gather for prayer every month from 8pm to midnight. At the start of 2020, our student leaders prayed and fasted for 12 weeks. We asked God to fight for us and give us the campus for Him.
God laid the foundation before us and prepared the way for everything that is happening now with Discovery Groups and movement.
The first week, we hosted two gatherings at different houses. Despite the discouragement we felt from the road- blocks that COVID-19 set for us, I connected with a young man named Caleb who attended one of the gatherings.
A few days later, my wife and I had dinner with Caleb. I told him, “God wants to reach the University of Alabama - and the world - through you. You can do it!” He caught the vision and immediately sent a GroupMe message to the guys in his fraternity and invited them to read the Bible with him the following Tuesday.
I thought maybe 3 or 4 guys would show. However, when Tuesday night rolled around, 28 guys showed up!
Student Leadership in the First Meeting
Caleb took charge of the first meeting and lead the group incredibly well. The only advice I gave him was, “Here’s a simple way to read the Bible. Ask them, ‘What does this say about God and people? How are you going to obey? And, with whom are you going to share the story?’”
Several Discovery Groups sprouted from that initial meeting, answering months of prayer and fasting!
Three Wanted to Get Baptized in a Beer Trough
Out of the group of 28, 3 guys wanted to be baptized. As we thought about strategies to reach this tight-knit fraternity, I was hesitant to tell them they had to be baptized in an institutional building by me, the trained pastor. Instead, I asked the young men, “Where could y’all get baptized and who could baptize y’all?”
Amidst suggestions of a pool or a lake, one of the guys said, “What if we got baptized in the trough where we keep the beer in the frat house?” The three young men were baptized in the beer trough!
Praise God for these three young men’s desire to be baptized! We believe that God will use them to reach all 11,000 Greeks at the University of Alabama!
Lessons Learned from Preston’s Story Prayer and fasting is crucial in the Kingdom of God. God fulfilled the prayers of the student leaders by letting them find Caleb.
Empowering local, insider leaders is an incredibly effective principle. The men in the fraternity would have been less likely to accept a Bible study invitation from an unknown pastor like Preston. However, Caleb was in a fraternity just like them. All it took was a simple text and they showed up because of their trust in Caleb!
Preston let Caleb lead the group himself - an important strategic element of a Disciple Making Movement. If Preston facilitated the Discovery Group, the possibility of multiplication would decrease due to reliance on an outsider rather than an insider.
Finally, Preston let the young men to choose where and by whom they were baptized. This teaches the principle of the Priesthood of Believers. A new disciple is just as worthy to baptize others as a pastor. In fact, having a pastor do all the baptisms can halt multiplication!