Small Alabama Church Ministers to College Students

Thomas Fletcher said he knew something was different about First Baptist Church in Livingston, Ala., from the Sunday he preached in view of a call.

“They told me I was going to meet with the deacons, the staff and the search committee — and also the college students,” Fletcher said.

It was then he learned that the small church, in Bigbee Baptist Association, located about a mile from the University of West Alabama (UWA), gets about a third of its congregation from college students.


“We average 100 on Sundays, and probably 30 of those are college students,” said Fletcher, who became the church’s pastor in September 2017. “We lean heavily on them to help lead the church.”

It hasn’t always been that way though, Fletcher said. The church doesn’t have a college minister, and the year before Fletcher arrived, a lot of the college ministry’s leaders graduated.

That’s what it was like when Stephanie Metzler came back for her sophomore year at UWA.

“It was a rebuilding year for us,” said Metzler, now a senior.

Brady Gaither agreed. When he first showed up at First, Livingston, only five college students were attending. Metzler was one of them.

“We knew we needed a revival around here,” he said. “So we started praying and God really began to work.”

The church’s college committee gave Metzler, Gaither and other student leaders the keys to the church and offered them the freedom to dream.

“That committee has had such great dedication to the college ministry and really believed in what they do,” Fletcher said.

And with the committee’s support and blessing the students prayed for weeks about what to do.

They changed the name of their college ministry to The Awakening, named after the Great Awakening, the revival that swept through the country in the 1730s and 1740s.

Metzler said they wanted to see that kind of fresh wind sweep their town.

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Source: Baptist Press