Here at Wayland, one of the largest student organizations is the Baptist Student Ministry. The BSM is responsible for many of the functions that take place on campus, and it sponsors many of the ministries that students have off campus as well. Donnie Brown is the director of the BSM and he oversees the ministries that are coordinated through the BSM, as well as leading the BSM student leadership team.
Donnie was born in Odessa, TX, where he lived with his parents, his two half brothers, two half sisters, and his biological sister. While Donnie was growing up, his dad worked in an oil field and his mom was a homemaker. Donnie graduated from Odessa High School, where he was on the track team his freshman year. For the rest of his high school years, Donnie played on the football team and was what most people would affectionately call a “bench warmer.”
Although Donnie came to know the Lord when he was ten years old, it was not until his freshman year of college that he began sacrificially following after Christ. Throughout high school, Donnie’s relationship with the Lord was inconsistent. During the week and on weekend nights, Donnie would spend his time partying with friends that he now realizes were not a good influence for his relationship with the Lord. But every Sunday morning, Donnie could be found at church with his family, worshipping God.
This is a cycle that characterizes much of Donnie’s high school experience. Once Donnie reached his freshman year of college, he knew that this cycle needed to end and that, as a Christian, he needed to have a lifestyle that reflected the life of Jesus. Upon entering college, God showed Donnie that there were some things that needed to be sacrificed in his life in order to follow Christ completely. In response to God’s conviction, Donnie prayed for God to provide new friends to encourage him spiritually as he sacrificed the relationships that were hindering his growth in Christ. And God was faithful in upholding His end of the bargain. Donnie’s freshman year at Odessa College, he entered the BSU room and was embraced by people who wanted to strengthen him in Jesus and love him.
During the summer after Donnie’s freshman year at Odessa College, he worked as a team leader for Super Summer, a Christian summer camp for high schoolers. While Donnie was working at this camp, he surrendered his life to serving Christ through church ministry. At this time, Donnie was also serving as the BSU vice president at Odessa College, and then eventually served as the BSU president.
After his experience at Super Summer, Donnie served as a youth minister for his church in Odessa, and thought that youth ministry would be his venue of service. However, in the years to come, Donnie was also given opportunities to serve as a senior pastor, and is now the interim pastor at First Baptist in Earth, TX. Right now, Donnie is in his third year of ministry as the BSM director here at Wayland, and he loves serving God in this way.
“My favorite things about my job are seeing students grow and watching them develop as their faith is challenged,” Donnie said. “I love to see students develop as their faith becomes their own, and I like watching them struggle through the hard questions that lead them to maturity and a greater handle on their faith.”
As the BSM director, Donnie has the privilege of putting students in different ministries and walking students through times of making choices about how they will serve in the future.
“I love sending students on summer mission trips and challenging students to answer the call to serve and be missionaries throughout the world and where they are every single day,” said Donnie.
Another venue of Donnie’s ministry is his family. Donnie and his wife Laurie have been married for nine years, and Donnie often brings Laurie to BSM activities to share in his service here on campus. Donnie and Laurie have two children, Joshua, who is five, and Hannah, who is 3. Donnie first saw Laurie at a wedding they both attended, and after working up the nerve for two months after first seeing her, Donnie called her and asked if he could take her on a date. Laurie contacted the references that Donnie gave her since they did not know one another, and then agreed to go out with him. You can be sure the date went well.
Because family is such an important part of his life, faithfully balancing his time with them and his time at work can be a challenge. Donnie believes that, for him, it would be easy to become a workaholic if he didn’t make a conscious effort every day to invest in his family as his first priority. Another challenge that Donnie faces is staying fresh enough in his relationship with the Lord to have enough to offer the students at Wayland. Dealing with these challenges takes daily dependence on the Lord and often requires sacrifice.
As the Bible says, Donnie believes that he has a responsibility of serving the Lord in everything that he is involved in. Although Donnie is involved in student ministry as his vocation, to him, it is no special calling, simply the venue that he serves God through. And although his job demands a lot of him emotionally, Donnie is thankful that God uses the position He has placed him in to challenge him spiritually. College ministry is where Donnie’s heart is, and he knows God has blessed him through his experiences at Wayland so far, and expects God’s continued work for his experiences in the future.