STATE COLLEGE (BRN) – Over the last few years, the Baptist Resource Network (BRN) has tossed around the idea of adding to its BRN Next Gen team, specifically incorporating an Associate Next Gen Director to assist the BRN Next Gen Director.
Within the last year, these conversations came into fruition as the BRN and Stanley Williams, BRN Next Gen Director, commissioned Eric Reiber, Penn State University collegiate missionary, to be the first official BRN Associate Next Gen Director.
Since 2015, Reiber has served as a collegiate missionary at Penn State, officially taking over the New Life campus ministry there in 2017. His years of ministry at Penn State, which consists of students from all across Pennsylvania and well beyond, has set Reiber up well for this new position.
“Because I’m at Penn State I’m expected to understand and connect with churches statewide because our campus pulls from statewide. So, I have a vested interest in thinking beyond just my own Centre County/Central Pennsylvania concepts,” said Reiber.
A large part of Reiber’s new role is to, first and foremost, assist Williams in jump starting college ministries on campuses across Pennsylvania and South Jersey, mostly on those that do not already have a ministry presence.
“Our biggest thing is we just want to see God’s Kingdom [and] the light of the Kingdom continue to expand on college campuses, because the college campus is one of the best mission fields and we as campus ministers love it…we feel blessed to be called to it,” said Reiber.
Additionally, Reiber is responsible for partnering with BRN churches, primarily across Pennsylvania, and aiding them in assessing their capability to reach college students in their community.
“[I’m to] be another person working with pastors to recognize that they might have a campus four miles down the road from them – so let’s have that conversation. Let’s go prayer walking on your campus. Let’s talk about are you college friendly,” explained Reiber.
Reiber also shared that he is here to help resource churches that are already reaching a nearby campus or supporting a collegiate missionary.
Outside of statewide responsibilities, Reiber is working to build partnerships with other state conventions and their Next Gen teams.
“As the associate state director, most of the guys and girls with my job title in other states are the mobilization piece of their college ministry work. They’re the mobilizers and I want them to mobilize and bring mission teams to Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Reiber.
He continued: “At the exact same time, we want partnerships to be two-way streets and don’t expect to only be receivers of that as well, but where we are in our state we have a lot more campuses that are just sitting vacant [and are] ready to go. So, we would love to bring in and continue to introduce this amazing area we live in to people that might have a really deep passion for the emerging region.”
Between Pennsylvania and South Jersey, there are roughly a dozen established collegiate missionaries and campus pastors serving on over 20 different universities/colleges. With few workers and much land to be toiled, churches also have a very important role in pursuing this unique mission field.
“We need churches to be passionate about reaching the next generation. We need churches that want to be welcoming to college students; we want churches that want to go to the campuses and we want churches to be actively praying for the college students,” said Reiber.
To learn more about the Next Gen ministry the BRN does or how you can support a collegiate missionary in your area, visit brnunited.org/cm.
How you can be praying for Eric Reiber and his family:
- The role of Associate Next Gen Director requires Eric to do quite a bit of traveling. Please pray for safety in his travels and for his family as he is on the road.
- Pray for the partnerships he is establishing and the relationships he is building with churches, other state conventions and fellow collegiate missionaries.
- Pray for wisdom and God’s protection as he continues to pour into the next generation and make the gospel known to college students at Penn State and across Pennsylvania/South Jersey.
- Pray for his wife, Kate, and their three children as they adjust to Eric being in this new position and as they come alongside him in college ministry.