ATLANTA – Georgia Tech is known for its elite Engineering College and continues to be one of the top public institutions in the nation. Based on information dated September 18, 2021, only 21% of applicants were admitted to Georgia Tech. Out of 40,852 who applied, only 8,719 were accepted. When leading academics become Christians their influence for good and God can be significant.
Eric Swenson is a great fit for his role as the Campus Minister at Georgia Tech. “The Baptist Campus Ministry has a special place in my heart," he explained. "I basically majored in it while I was in college. That is where my faith grew and matured. That is where I first heard God’s call to collegiate ministry; and where I met my future wife.”
Swenson, a native of Hiram, Ga., grew up in a Christian home with parents who loved the Lord and greatly influenced Eric’s life. He described his upbringing, “My parents were always intentional in sharing the Gospel with us and encouraging us to be active in our local church. They taught me the Word of God very clearly from a young age, but it was not until I was in high school that I began to seek out what it meant to truly place my faith in Jesus and follow Him.
“We began attending New Canaan Baptist Church in Dallas, Georgia, when I was in high school and through the church’s youth ministry, I became aware of the depth and seriousness of my sins and the importance of what salvation in Jesus truly means.”
After graduating from high school, Swenson continued his education at Valdosta State University and became involved in the BCM there. Through the campus ministry at Valdosta State, Swenson was discipled and began to experience incredible growth in his faith, particularly through the ministry of Jeff Ford, who was the BCM campus minister at that time.
While at Valdosta State, Eric began to sense that God was calling him into the Gospel ministry. After graduating the door opened for him to become an intern at Georgia Tech’s BCM and work on his Master of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary online at the same time. Before that first semester was over God made it clear to Eric that He was indeed calling him into a collegiate ministry.
Swenson’s internship at Georgia Tech was under the leadership of veteran collegiate minister, Warren Skinner. Eric recalled, “It was an incredible experience and I credit Warren’s mentorship to my understanding of my role and service today. I could not be the minister I am today without the guidance and encouragement Warren provided; and he did not stop mentoring me after he retired and continues to help me navigate through certain issues that arise today.”
Eric’s wife, Kaitlin, not only supports his ministry, but is intricately involved in nurturing and discipling the students. Kaitlin and Eric met at the BCM at Valdosta State in the fall semester of Swenson’s second year. He explained, “We hit it off right away and by God’s grace she was willing to date me even though I was incredibly awkward around her. The fact that I met her through the VSU Baptist Campus Ministry greatly contributes to the place it has in my heart. It is all a reminder of all the things God does through Baptists’ collegiate ministry. Today she is a godly woman who is mightily invested in our ministry at Georgia Tech.
One of the greatest outreach events at Georgia Tech is the “Great Exchange.” Periodically through the year a tent is set up on the campus and the students conduct spiritual surveys which provide the opportunity to have gospel conversations with the students and often result in the salvation of those who are encountered.
Swenson remarked, “I have seen countless students come to faith through the Great Exchange as well as observing an even larger number of BCM students become bolder and more efficient in terms of sharing their faith. I love that the Great Exchange allows for the opportunity to teach our students how to share the gospel in real-time. It grows them in their confidence, and they are now consistently sharing the gospel daily and not just at Great Exchange events.”
Swenson is using his ministry platform at Georgia Tech to touch the world for the Savior. “My goal," he said, "is for us to advance the Gospel on our campus and subsequently to the world by training our students to become lifelong disciple-makers. My hope and prayer are that the Gospel spreads like wildfire on our property here in the middle of Atlanta to a point where it is impossible to step foot on the campus of Georgia Tech without hearing the gospel. Tech is known for many good things, but I pray that our institute becomes known as a place where people come to know the Lord and follow Him.
“Tech students typically go on to be leaders in their vocations all around the world. I long to see those who become Christ followers here make disciples on the continents and in the countries and the great metropolises where God takes them after they graduate.”