More than 20 years ago, Olan Stubbs was trying to share his faith with two guys in his freshman class at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. It wasn’t working.
One sat on the dorm steps outside and smoked weed. When Stubbs attempted to explain verses to him, he said he didn’t believe the Bible. The other was a football player “who could articulate the gospel better than I could. But he was often coming in late at night, drunk. Obviously there was some kind of disconnect.”
Stubbs didn’t know what to say or do. Then he heard about two RAs on the second floor who were leading a Bible study. They’d led someone he knew to Christ.
Campus Outreach staff and volunteers have discipled 15,000 students over weekly Bible studies and worship times—1,447 of them have gone on to serve in ministry or missions.
“I’d love to learn how to share my faith like you guys are doing,” he told them. They handed him a booklet by Navigators founder Dawson Trotman and told him to “get involved in Campus Outreach.”
Campus Outreach was famous for its evangelism, founded by a church famous for its evangelism, planted by a man famous for his evangelism.
Stubbs was hooked. Today, he’s one of nearly 750 Campus Outreach staff serving on 122 campuses in 11 countries. In its 40 years, Campus Outreach has seen 55,000 students at evangelistic events. Staff and volunteers have discipled 15,000 students over weekly Bible studies and worship times—1,447 of them have gone on to serve in ministry or missions. Over the last 12 months alone, 712 students have professed their faith in Christ.
Stubbs works at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, where Campus Outreach began. The church was planted in 1960 and grew to 4,000 members largely on the strength of personal evangelism. “The Great Commission has been our heartbeat,” the website says, and it’s not kidding: Briarwood partners with more than 100 mission boards and organizations and more than 300 ministry staff.
Briarwood got that heartbeat from its founder.
“If you meet a Christian in Birmingham who is 60 or older, and you ask them how they came to Christ, I’d bet my money that at some point they’ll mention Frank Barker,” Stubbs said.