My Story Part 2: My Life and Ministry Foundations

When I graduated from high school I decided to attend Elim Bible Institute. The church I attended was pastored by an Elim graduate and many high school students I helped lead to Christ and church volunteers I knew also eventually attended EBI. My time at EBI served as a season of spiritual formation. My first 18 months were all about me dying to myself. I wanted to give up every week. I felt like a mess who could never get anything right. Then during a Week of Prayer event at the school God met me and gave me a life changing revelation of His Grace. It was like I got saved again. I gave up on my effort and found that Jesus was enough, and that God would finish what He had started in me. I will always be deeply in debt to the people at Elim who believed in me.

I also met the most beautiful girl during that time. Her name was Terri Davis. A year after I graduated we were married and have walked out this daring adventure of following Christ together since. She has wholeheartedly stood with me in every ministry I’ve been involved in birthing or developing; but her greatest accomplishment is the incredible investment she made in our three children through home schooling and dedicated parental commitment. Today, I am so proud to see each of my children wholeheartedly serving the Lord. My oldest son, Toby, co-founded and currently directs a ministry that mobilizes young adults for ministry in Asia called Campus Target. My son, Todd, after serving for 5 years as the director of Basic College Ministry became an entrepreneur starting his own training company called Project Management Pros. And my daughter Traci has served as a missionary in two countries and now serves as mobilization director at Campus Target.

Upon graduating from Bible School we moved to Oswego, NY and I got a job at a clothing store while serving in a local church. The pastor regularly gave me opportunities to preach, lead worship and follow my dream of developing a ministry to college students. Eventually, I took a leap of faith and with my pastor’s sacrificial support quit my job to raise support and dedicate all of my time to college ministry. Those humble beginnings eventually led to the birth of BASIC College Ministries. Today, after over 40 years BASIC is still alive and strong and reaches hundreds of students each year. You can learn more about this ministry by checking out their website at

Author: Mike Cavanaugh
Mike Cavanaugh serves as the founder and director of Not Many Fathers, a ministry dedicated to mentoring emerging Christian leaders in how to make wise decisions, preach dynamically, and boldly initiate their visions so they can reach their God-given potential.

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