The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 16, 2024

Texas A&M baseball sophomore RF Jace LaViolette is known for his bat — and for good reason. LaViolette ranks sixth in the country in home...

Advertisement
Destination Bryan
Destination Bryan
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life writer • June 17, 2024

Editor's note: This article is sponsored content. All photos were provided by Visit Bryan. For the history buffs, there’s a story to why...

Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Destination Bryan
Destination Bryan
June 17, 2024
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

‘Like a sideshow at a fair or an amusement park’

During the first few weeks of every spring semester, it’s not uncommon to see crowds of people lingering around Academic Plaza. Terms like “Brother Jed Bingo” and “Everyone is a sinner” are thrown to the crowds like candy, but this unconventional kind of ministry work has sparked a debate at college campuses nationwide.
Since 1974, George Edward “Jed” Smock, Jr., or Brother Jed as he is known across the nation, has traveled to hundreds of college campuses across the country to preach his word to current students. Every year, he spends at least one week at Texas A&M, where students have coined his time on campus as “JedFest.”
“College students are the future leaders of America and will be in positions of influence after they finish their higher education,” Smock said. “It is important to reach them while they are still searching before they take on the concerns and preoccupation of a career, marriage, family and a mortgage.”
Known for his loud and often accusatory approach to spreading the Gospel, Smock said what sets him apart from other ministries across campus is his inability to fear confrontation.
“We boldly confront sin and call students to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by public preaching out where the sinners are,” Smock said. “Most other ministries primarily practice friendship or relational evangelism.”
Videos of Smock’s unconventional way of preaching have gone viral on popular social media platforms, including Twitter and TikTok, capturing the attention of millions of viewers. Because of this, a number of students across campus, such as society, ethics and law junior Gary Frankel, refuse to take Smock and his ministry seriously.
“It’s almost like a sideshow at a fair or an amusement park,” Frankel said. “You always hear about these kinds of people existing, but you rarely get a chance to actually interact with them. I think it’s the absurdity of it all that really attracts people.”
With a mission to spread the message that “sin is bad, and God is good,” Smock said local church support is a key factor in choosing which colleges and universities he travels to, as well as choosing the right time of year to travel to certain campuses.
“In the winter months, I travel the sun-belt since we are preaching out in the elements,” Smock said. “If I have a local church in which I can speak, I am given a generous offering to help with expenses and sometimes some of the church folks come out to stand with me and witness the students on the sidelines.”
Not only is Smock and his ministry work reaching America’s youth, whether that be through his campus work or the videography skills of onlookers, but his reputation has spread to a number of foreign countries as well.
“Foreign nations send their best and brightest to America to study at our universities,” Smock said. “They will hear the word of God from me and hopefully take it back to their native countries. Years ago a group of Iranian students informed me that I was very well known in Iran because my preaching was a common experience they had when studying at U.S. institutions. They said to me, ‘Brother Jed we talk about you in the cafes of Iran.’”
For aerospace engineering sophomore Amy John, JedFest provides the entertainment she feels the spring semester lacks.
“Spring semester doesn’t really have much going on except spring break,” John said. “JedFest is that in-between thing that really gets people hyped in all honesty. It’s worth swinging by when everyone’s into it in the beginning. The memes, the content with no background. It’s the best damn tradition at this school.”
No matter the backlash he and his followers receive, Smock said A&M is by far his favorite campus and generally where he ministers the longest.
“I’ve been preaching at Texas A&M virtually annually since the late ‘80s and usually spend at least a week on campus,” Smock said. “My favorite is Texas A&M, which relatively speaking, is the most conservative public university in America with a stronger Christian influence than any other.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *