On-campus Bible study breaks 10,000 student mark
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 02:08
Nearly one in every five A&M students descended upon Reed Arena to attend the first Breakaway gathering of the semester Tuesday night. Students began lining up outside the Reed’s doors an hour and half before the start of the event.
Breakaway began in 1989 when twelve Texas A&M students gathered in an apartment to pray together. Since its inception, Breakaway has grown from hundreds to thousands of students, now meeting at Reed Arena and Kyle Field. Breakaway is an official student organization of Texas A&M and one of the largest weekly non-sports related gathering of college students in the country.
“Our goals would be for more students than ever on campus to come to hear and know Jesus Christ and trust that he’s going to move in a powerful way on campus,” said Brent Monogue, Class of 2009 and the production and volunteer coordinator for Breakaway Ministries.
By promoting fellowship among students, Breakaway helps to ease the transition to college life. The highest percentage of Breakaway attendees is freshmen and sophomores.
“Absolutely I feel that many times freshmen show up and feel like they’re the only ones from their town, or the only Christian,” said Jeremy McCasland, Breakaway Ministries director of operations. “Then they show up to Breakaway and they have a ‘wow’ moment where they realize that they’re not alone and have other people they can identify with. Many freshmen will be extremely encouraged to know this happens weekly.”
Another one of Breakaway’s goals is to help students connect with local churches.
“We want to be good stewards with what God has blessed us with,” Monogue said. “It’s not just about what happens on Tuesday night. We want them to get plugged into churches in the area.”
In spite of its small staff, Breakaway is able to organize its weekly large-scale gatherings with aid of several student volunteers. Currently, Breakaway employs the use of more than 170 student volunteers, who are divided into various teams.
“The volunteers run Breakaway,” McCasland said. “They are vital to keeping Breakaway running year after year.”
In addition to being attended by thousands of A&M students every Tuesday, Breakaway also has an audio and video podcast downloaded by people around the world.
“Over a hundred countries listen in weekly,” McCasland said. “Over 20,000 people listen to the podcast.”
For one student volunteer, Breakaway serves as a unique and fulfilling experience.
“It’s really rewarding to be able to serve the guests of Breakaway but in turn, the students of A&M,” said Jenna Harrison, senior recreation parks and tourism sciences major and Breakaway volunteer. “It’s humbling to see how many students come together to put on Breakaway.”
Breakaway Ministries operates under the supervision of a board of directors. These individuals provide insight to the director of Breakaway, Ben Stuart, and oversee all the ministry's major decisions. This board is comprised of five men, some of whom are pastors in the community and professors at Texas A&M.
Ben Stuart has been the Executive Director for Breakaway since the summer of 2005. After graduating from Texas A&M in 1998, Stuart served as a youth pastor, a teacher at Houston's Metro Bible Study and as a speaker at youth camps and conferences. In May of 2012, Stuart graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. His wife, Donna, is a worship leader, playing for various events around the state. They live in College Station and have one daughter.
Breakaway Ministries is a non-denominational, weekly Bible study on the campus of Texas A&M University. According to the ministry’s mission statement, tt exists to introduce college students to Christianity and walk with them throughout their time at Texas A&M, teaching them from the Bible and worshipping together. This goal is accomplished through Bible study, worship, conferences and the creation of other student resources. Breakaway is not affiliated with any one church, but works to connect students to local, Bible-believing churches.