A&M faith culture inspires Breakaway leader
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 02:01
Ben Stuart has become something of a celebrity on campus.
Known for his inspirational talks and witty sense of humor, Stuart’s ministry has attracted thousands of students to Breakaway every week, furthering both his message and work in the college world.
A former youth pastor and student at Dallas Theological Seminary, Stuart became the executive director of Breakaway in 2005. Since then, his talks and ministry have become a mainstay at A&M, with Breakaway recently hitting the 10,000 mark for attendees.
Though it is a huge part of his life now, Stuart admitted that he initially declined the position at Breakaway. He said coming to the A&M campus and visiting with students changed his mind.
“I would come [to campus] and fill in to speak,” Stuart said. “Every time I came down and met with students and saw what was happening [at A&M], I saw that God was moving and that it would be crazy to not get involved.”
Stuart said the position wasn’t easy to fill and it presented difficulties with finances and working facilities. However, he said being in the position has been a positive experience, advancing his faith and love of working with college students.
“It’s provided some of the greatest challenges in my life and some of the greatest joys too,” Stuart said. “Seeing God provide has been really building to my faith.”
Breakaway, a weekly service that’s is held at both Kyle Field and Reed Arena, includes worship by an instrumental band and Stuart’s messages. Stuart said he spends a lot of time preparing for each Breakaway and working on how he can relate his messages to college students.
“I spend a lot of time studying the text of scripture and asking myself if I understand it,” Stuart said. “I think about who I’m speaking to and how it applies to their lives.”
Laura Rose Nieman, sophomore recreation park and tourism sciences major, said she likes how Stuart’s messages are so relatable and how Breakaway offers a retreat from an otherwise busy schedule.
“I like going to Breakaway because it’s an hour and a half set aside for worship and hearing the gospel in a way that’s applicable to my life,” Nieman said.
Although Stuart is known for being entertaining, his talks also hold deep meanings and messages. Stuart said the purpose of his talks is to introduce students to Christianity and to provide them with the knowledge to further that acquaintance.
“We really want to equip students with what they need to know so that they can leave college with confidence in their faith,” Stuart said.
Michael Sobolik, international affairs graduate student, said going to Breakaway and hearing Ben was affirming for his faith.
“I felt like I was finally hearing someone who understood where I was in life,” Sobolik said. “I just felt like he was preaching the word to my age group.”
Stuart said he hopes Breakaway’s message spreads to more and more people in the future, as it already has begun to do. He said the ministry is expanding and evolving with new online features and various conferences.
“I want more people to know Jesus personally,” Stuart said. “We’re getting a voice that’s going further out, even to multiple countries. It’s very encouraging.”
Stuart said he wants to continue his work with college students and ministry, both spreading his message to more students and his impact on the A&M campus.