Boston International Students Ministry

Bill & Laurel Coolbaugh


TCC Background: 

Bill and Laurel Coolbaugh were members of TCC for many years. Bill served on the Board of Deacons and worked with Boys Brigade with their son Gethin. Laurel was active in the music program while working in the office as the church administrator and has since completed her Masters of Divinity at Gordon –Conwell Seminary.

What is your ministry?

My ministry with Boston International Student Ministry affiliated with Emmanuel Gospel Center’s Intercultural Ministry.

What is your role in that ministry?

My role is the direct evangelism of unbelievers, training and administrative director

What religious groups do you serve?

All, we are a multi-cultural, multi-religion ministry

What age groups do you serve?

College/University ages on to adults

What is the country and location of your ministry?

United States, Greater Boston Area

What is the geographic area you serve?

Greater Boston area, Metro West and Central Mass.

Briefly describe your current ministry

Boston International Student Ministry is a Non-Governmental Organization that builds the Kingdom of God in international communities that God has brought to the Greater Boston area by serving their leaders and potential leaders – whether students, scholars, or otherwise.   Through mutual training and collaborating with the wider Church (cross-culturally and -geographically), BISM helps each community build its own culturally relevant, holistic, and self-replicating church.  I am the administrative director and metro west & central Mass area ministry director.

Tell us one brief story of how God is working in peoples’ lives through your ministry.

A Clark graduate school Chinese male came to the Lord through my Clark University bible study.  He invited his wife here for his last year, she a non-believer, I had met her via the internet at one of our bible studies.  She came, attend our bible study and had lots of questions on Christianity which we worked through.  Praise the Lord she became a Christian as well.  They were both handicapped and involved in a Chinese ministry for Autism, studying running nonprofit at Clark. The bible study group really became a community for the Clark students. Upon returning to China this couple adopted a child and continued working in the Autism for children nonprofit.  Several of the students in the bible study amazingly sent help in the form of foods and supplies to this couple, something not typically done in China!  The couple continues in their Christian faith and work to help others in China – China does not have much in the way for helping disadvantaged children.

The students returning home regularly keep in touch with each other and many of them have led others back home to the Lord!  Praise the Lord!!

List the three specific goals you had for the past year and describe the degree to which they were reached

  1. WPI ministry. Continue to pray and work towards a WPI ministry Bible study and conversational English on or near campus.

This past year saw the 5-year relationship with the Worcester Chinese church grow, their church is very close to the WPI campus and have some Chinese WPI students attend their church.  I was able to officially partner with them allowing my ministry (10 volunteers came) to attend and engage students at their August welcome dinner for international students as well as be Introduced to all the students at the welcome.  This helps us engage more WPI internationals.  As well I have two more volunteers interested in helping with this ministry.  Discussions are still underway to use the church that sits bordering the WPI campus, this can allow a conversational English class to start which can lead to bible studies and even greater WPI outreach. Also worked on engaging the student led Christian ministry on the WPI campus

  1. Continue lay ground work on reaching UMass Medical school international students. Work with the Chinese church to engage more students there in preparation for a ministry start there in 2018.

This has seen some progress, working with the Southern Baptist American campus ministry & a church, finding the receptive entry points for internationals at the school.

  1. Find mentors to do more day to day ministry at Clark & WSU, freeing me up to build ministry at UMass Medical WPI.

This saw some progress this past year but has been slow in getting full buy in by volunteer students.  One WSU student shows great promise for this and I am still seeking a Clark student.

Please update your children’s (thru High School) activities, school / college plans, ages (birth dates), etc.  

My family is well.  My wife Laurel continued to pastors at Woodville Baptist Church (WBC), and directing the now 3.5-year-old ministry at WBC using the facility as a spiritual formation and retreat center called the Sanctuary at Woodville (a name given to her in a vision by God). She continues as an active trained certified spiritual director, contracted with two churches to do spiritual direction as well as directing several other individuals.   Laurel is in final process of writing her thesis for her Doctoral of Ministry at Gordon Conwell.  Our son Gethin, now 26, lives with us and has been blessed with continued sports journalism work this year, a result of relationships built from his faithful sports work efforts over several years now.  He is writing sports now for the AP, doing AP radio and writing for the Sports Exchange and covered PGA golf tournaments.   He continues as a great help to me in many ministry events and Laurel at the Sanctuary.   Laurel and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary this year.  We appreciate TCC’s support very much.