“This was something that started in the living room of my mom’s house,” said Olayinka Obasanya before he began his sermon Thursday night.
FaceTime with God is a student-led ministry that has been recently chartered on Baylor’s campus. The ministry was founded by Obasanya, a student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Obasanya began his journey at Baylor as a pre-med student until he became a Christian his junior year.
“After that I just had a desire for all my friends to know Jesus,” Obasanya said. “I had naturally started sharing Scripture with people and reading the Bible and helping people understand what it means to follow Jesus.”
During the summer of 2013, Obasanya began inviting friends over to his mother’s house for a weekly Bible study. The weekly gathering was affecting people in an unexpected way.
“People’s lives were being transformed in that small gathering,” Obasanya said.
As he prepared to return to campus for the fall semester, he wanted to continue seeing the transformation of people’s lives by bringing the Bible study to Baylor.
“We got started on campus out of a desire to see a lot of people who didn’t feel at home with the ministries that are already on campus,” Obasanya said.
Obasanya began to invite people to FaceTime with God on campus but he did not receive a lot of support.
“Everybody told him he was crazy,” said Fort Worth junior Christian Broussard. “Everybody told him it would never work.”
In spite of the lack of support, Obasanya continued to pursue the establishment of the ministry. Now, the group has grown to more than 30 members that gather at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays in Elliston Chapel. Meetings comprise praise and worship led by students, a sermon by Obasanya and a time of prayer led by student leaders.
“It’s bringing people to find their own relationship with God, especially during college,” said Houston sophomore Maryse Bombito.
Although the ministry is made up of students from various backgrounds and religious beliefs, members say it has a way of making everyone feel at home.
“I feel like even if you’re not a minority, you can come here and still sense the loving presence of not being judged or not being looked at weird because you’re not the same color,” said Cypress sophomore Onyinechi Ogomaka, a member of the group.
It covers practical topics that are applicable to students’ lives such as sex, relationships and other pressures that they encounter.
“We speak about real topics that a lot of people don’t want to bring up,” said San Antonio sophomore Nneka Okoro.
Students also enjoy the gatherings because it does not include the formality of a Sunday service.
“You have a community of people who know what you’re going through on a bunch of different levels in ways that your 50-year-old pastor at your church isn’t going to understand,” Broussard said.
Student leaders hope the ministry will continue to grow. Dr. Burt Burleson, university chaplain, encouraged Obasanya to consider the future of the ministry once he leaves campus. This resulted in the ministry becoming a chapter of Intervarsity, a nationwide collegiate ministry. There is also a FaceTime with God ministry at Texas Tech University.
“I think there had to be time for us to prove to him that this ministry is not one of those ministries that comes on campus then kind of fades away until leadership graduates,” Obasanya said. “This is actually something that is here to stay and make an impact for the future.”