Texas State Technical College
Seven miles north of Waco, TX, where former President George W. Bush used to land in Airforce One, is Texas State Technical College (TXTC). This is a campus community where 18-year old’s fresh out of high school and 60-year old’s well worn by life are training to be aircraft mechanics, welders, digital graphic animators, plumbers, chefs, dental assistants or any number things. In a nontraditional educational environment, where students come to class and leave to take care of families, or to work a second or third job, how can we find ways to connect with students? Where is church among such manifold and sundry changes of what student life looks like? Is it where it always has been? In the people? A few faculty members have reached out to me and are willing to open up a room, open their offices and invite me in; they are the church. These are the people who believe in Jesus and want to make him known. They are not super Christians, just folks who want students to be a part of the community of faith that transformed their lives by the grace of God.
We are going to start simply with a few students I’ve met in the community, a couple referrals, and some friends from church. Initially it may be only a small amount of people, but newness breeds excitement and with that comes the ability to adapt, change, grow and be flexible. We will meet students where we can, where they are, at a time when they can be present. Whether that comes in the form of handing out free coffee and donuts or by forming small groups, we will pray with each other, build trust, and show grace to one another like the disciples of Jesus did after Pentecost.
TXTC is a great place to learn and live; the former Connally Air Force Base offers campus housing and dorms, allowing space for community to grow and relationships to form. Though it is a small campus with less than 4,000 students, the students are committed to earning a degree improve their lives and the lives of their families. Many of the students that I have spoken with talk about how their life revolves around family, friends, and work. Some students are married, others are in relationships and some are young and want to be commercial pilots and travel the world. Each student has a different story to tell and I can see that all are in need of a community that will uplift, connect, and remind them of the love of Jesus.
Even though TXTC is a new mission field, the campus has a compelling history. The first time that I visited campus, I walked through the doors of the Col. James T. Connally Aerospace Center and saw the runway. Seeing the business jets taking off and landing and looking out at the enormous L3 industries hanger, I realized that history is being made here. These students are future aviators, flight technicians and global citizens, who will take the gospel to the ends of the earth from this runway. This experience reminded me about our work and our mission within campus ministry-sharing the love of Jesus with students of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences.
The Rev. Keith Pozzuto is a Campus Missioner in Waco and serves Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, McClennan Community College and University of Mary Harding Baylor.