A Legacy of Faith at Lander BCM
“I’ve been here at Lander for 38 years, and when you spend that long at one place, you get to see a lot of things happen,” Scott Smith said.
Smith is the Collegiate Minister of Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at Lander University (LU). His journey at LU began on June 1st, 1985, and was one marked by challenges, resilience, and the unwavering faith that has seen him through.
Initially, Smith’s arrival faced skepticism and resistance from both students and faculty. “There were some students here who said, ‘What are you doing here? Why are Baptists putting money into this institution?'” Smith said. He also experienced faculty members telling him his efforts were a waste of time. “It was tougher than I ever imagined,” Smith said.
During his early days at LU, he made a list of 26 accomplishments he hoped to see come to fruition. “The paper is tattered and falling apart in my desk,” he said, “but God has been faithful, and some of those aspirations have now become realities.”
A Life-Altering Call
However, among the many events that have shaped his journey at Lander, one stands out as a pivotal moment. On June 26th, 1996, Smith received a life-altering phone call. “I got a telephone call about 10 o’clock that morning that said, ‘You need to come to the hospital immediately; your family has been in an automobile accident,'” Smith said. His wife’s life hung in the balance.
Smith rushed to the hospital, where the scene was chaotic, but he managed to reach his wife. The prognosis was grim—she might not survive, and if she did, she might never be the same again. It was a moment of unimaginable pain and uncertainty.
Faith Amid Grief
But as Smith dealt with his grief, faith carried him through the darkest of times. “We began making plans and said, ‘Okay, God, whatever you have given us, whatever this life is going to be, we want to serve you as best we can,'” Smith said. His journey had taken an unforeseen turn, but his faith remained unshaken.
He credits God for sending people into his life during those trying times. “God used the accident in order for us to be able to open doors. I just never dreamed that some things would happen and that he would open up doors that he’s opened up,” he said.
Smith came to realize that God can use even the most tragic circumstances to bring about change and growth. “The God that I know loves us,” he said.
As Smith reflects on this journey at LU, he expresses his gratitude, saying, “It has been a journey that I just feel like sometimes I’m so blessed to be a part of. I’m so blessed to be a part of.” In 2021, Smith was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lander University. He is likely the first BCM Director in the country to receive an honorary doctorate at a secular university.
Chad Stillwell, Share Team Leader, said that “after 40 years of campus ministry, Scott’s commitment to sharing the Gospel is as strong as ever. He has been and continues to exemplify what it means to be a faithful witness of Christ.”