Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

Bigger and Better

During a March Spring Break week in the early 1970s a small group of university students from then, Pan American University, made their way to South Padre Island, where several hundred fellow college students had gathered.  There was a difference in their purposes.  The hundreds were there for the S’s – sun, surf, sand, suds, sex. The group from Pan Am was there to minister.  Complete with a mobile medical clinic, they cared for 150 persons – mostly sunburn, Jellyfish stings, and overdoses – and they shared the Gospel.  They continued to return each spring break, until leaders in other campus ministry groups decided to join.  I personally travelled to numerous campuses, teaching beach ministry methods and recruiting students.  Soon there were hundreds of ministering students for thousands of others.  My pastor-father once told me, “No matter what you do, someday, someone will come along and do it bigger and better.”  Sure enough, as the years went by, the ministry opportunity took on a name – “Beach Reach” and gained participants.  This month, 1256 committed students from thirty-five Texas campuses plus five out-of-state campuses made their way to South Padre Island to minister to the multiple needs of several thousand others – and eventually shared the Gospel with 11,795 others.  Two hundred seventy-six students went to the beach seeking something that started with a S, and found Salvation. Seventy-nine were baptized in the Gulf waters. I remain so very proud of those few Pan American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) students who in the early 1970s began something that so many others have continued to do.  Do your best, then cheer on those who are doing it bigger and better.

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