Each semester, scores of Oklahoma Baptist University students travel to churches across Oklahoma to preach, lead worship and give their testimonies. Partnering in the annual OBU Day in the Churches, the students represent the university in every region of the state.
A longstanding tradition for churches in the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, OBU Day lets church members see first-hand what they are supporting at the university. Oklahoma Baptists founded OBU in 1910 and the churches within the convention send OBU the majority of its students. They also provide approximately $2.8 million in annual operating support for the university.
Along with helping the churches interact with OBU students, OBU Day offers additional benefits according to student organizers.
"It gets the word out about OBU to prospective students, OBU has the opportunity to care for local and small churches, and students get practice in the ministry," junior Corey DeGiacomo said.
DeGiacomo works with Campus Ministry as co-chair of the church relations committee, along with senior Josh Siemens. The Church Relations Committee contacts churches in Oklahoma and requests their participation in OBU Day in the Churches.
Once the churches respond, the committee assigns students to different churches. This year, the committee concentrated on Oklahoma Baptist churches in the Lawton and Altus areas.
"Even students who are not ministry majors can participate by sharing their testimonies - how they became a Christian and why they like OBU," DeGiacomo said.
Senior Jason Stein, a Bible major, has participated in OBU Day in the Churches since his freshman year. Each year he goes to a different church in a different town and delivers a sermon.
"People love to see what the next generation of church leaders are looking like, and what OBU is producing," Stein said.
Stein appreciates the opportunity to gain experience inside a local church. He has two prepared traveling messages; one is about radical abandonment for God's glory and the other about discipleship.
"Every situation is different, and for me going in there with a prepared message I have to alter and change it on the spot to fit those people's needs and life experiences to best minster to them," Stein said.