14 Things Not to Do this Valentine’s Day

Sarah Ball Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development 1 Comment

I love Valentine’s Day, and I really love LOVE. But there are some things that even I find too cliché for Valentine’s Day. Here is what NOT to do this year.

 

1. Don’t Complain that You’re Single

 

Relax. You’re single? So what. Please do not go around posting all over Instagram that you’re celebrating “Single’s Awareness Day,” and that you’re “forever alone.” You my friend, are not alone, but joined by millions of others in the world who lack a S.O. on VDay.

 

2. Don’t Brag About Your Relationship

 

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I do not need to be reminded that you are in a happy, committed relationship on February 14th when you’re consistently Instagramming your relationship daily. Instead of posting about how thankful you are for your S.O, how about you go tell them face-to-face.

 

3. Don’t Eat an Entire Box of Chocolate in One Sitting

 

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First, chocolate is way overpriced this time of year, so wait for the sales. Second, no one wants that post-dairy bloat after eating all of the milk chocolate in the world from emotional eating on Valentine’s Day.

 

4. Don’t Buy Your S.O a Useless Gift

 

Okay yes, giant teddy bears are cute on February 14th, however they get insanely creepy after the season is over. Don’t buy your S.O a gift that will be sitting around taking up (very limited) space in his or her home. No one wants heart-shaped decor all over their space.

 

5. Don’t Be Cheap

 

I’m all for saving money, shopping on sale, and looking for deals but please do not brag to your S.O about how CHEAP you got his or her gift because of a coupon you used.

 

6. Don’t Watch the Notebook

 

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Watching The Notebook on February 14th is the biggest cliche of all clichés, not to mention all of the false expectations of what a real and healthy relationship looks like.

 

7.  Don’t Take an Unrealistic Couple Photo

 

I just have so many questions when it comes to couples photos. Like who is there? Who is the third wheel, watching this happen, and not only watching but taking pictures? I will never understand.

 

8. Don’t Go Out to a Fancy Dinner

 

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Go out to dinner on February 13th or February 15th, because February 14th is crowded and most of the time booked. Good luck getting a reservation, because most people book weeks in advance.  Unless you go to Taco Bell.

 

9. Don’t Spend an Obscene Amount of Money on Roses

 

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Florists love Valentine’s Day because of the demand for flowers, specifically roses, which can easily add up to $100+ for a solid bouquet. You can find so many other options for a beautiful bouquet of flowers where you won’t break the bank.

 

10. Don’t Expect a Proposal

 

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It’s easy to have high exceptions on Valentine’s Day, but please do not expect a proposal from your S.O (I hope he wouldn’t propose on  VDay because again, cliché). Enjoy your time with each other and throw expectations out the window so you won’t be disappointed and can enjoy the evening.

 

11. Don’t Celebrate Solo

 

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Even if you’re single, you shouldn’t be alone on Valentine’s Day. Grab a group of friends and go bowling, celebrate “Galentine’s Day” Leslie Knope style, or have a movie marathon with your close group of friends. Don’t wallow in self-pity for not having a date, but go out and have a great time.

 

12. Don’t Be Glued to Your Phone

 

Enjoy the person/people you’re with. Don’t be checking social media every five minutes. You can scroll through your feed at the end of the night. Be in the moment, take a few pictures, and enjoy whatever plans you have.

 

13. Don’t Stalk Your Ex

 

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Please, please, please do not stalk your ex on facebook to see what he or she may be up to today. It’s creepy, it’s unhealthy, and you’re preventing yourself from enjoying your time with friends.

 

14. Don’t Dwell on the Past

 

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Sometimes we can dwell on past relationships especially on the international day of “love.” Don’t dwell on the past because you’re not able to change anything, but focus on being in the moment and look forward to the future.

About the Author

Sarah Ball

Sarah Ball graduated from Elim Bible Institute and College with a degree in Theological and Biblical Studies with a focus in ministry. It was at Elim where Sarah knew she had a passion for ministry and college students through the exposure of BASIC. In June of 2017 Sarah joined on staff with BASIC along with her husband, Elijah.

Engaging Your Campus-Interactive Tabling

Sam DiStefano Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

Sometimes we all need a little help when it comes to the area of creativity, especially when trying to think of how to interact with students on campus. With a new semester under way, tabling is a great way to engage with new and returning students. Some schools even host a student activities fair which is a perfect opportunity to REPRESENT. I wrote a blog just a few months ago on how to make tabling a regular part of what you do as a club (read it here).

This week I want to share with you a super creative idea that Long Island University used at their student fair this past week. Advisor Selina Oquendo reported that not only did they get a bunch of new sign ups, their table was the MOST popular table at the whole fair! Leverage your opportunities and watch how God uses you to reach people on your campus. This idea takes minimal effort but makes BIG impact.

Games are always a great way to draw people to your table. We have written and talked about other interactive games (watch it here) but this one uses Jenga! The first step is to buy a Jenga game and use different colored markers to write questions on each block. As a group you can decide what kind of questions you want to ask. It’s usually good to have a mix of personal, silly, and spiritual. If you want to make it a little more interesting, you can also add “dares” on some blocks (i.e high five a stranger, do 5 push ups, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) Here are a few sample questions:

-What is your favorite color?

-Describe your mom or dad

-What are you good at?

-What is your favorite song?

-What is one thing you love about yourself?

-What do you think about God?

-What is your favorite holiday? Why?

-Who is someone special in your life? Why?

-Who do you consider role models in your life?

-What is your experience with church?

-If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would you go? Who would you take?

-What are some good habits you have?

-What do you think happens after you die?

-What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

-What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

-What does love mean to you?

-Describe yourself in three words.

The purpose of this outreach is to get conversations started and make real connections with students. Make sure you have volunteers at the table who are ready and willing to listen and engage. I’d also like to remind you to not forget the reason for playing these kind of games! You want people to learn about your club and join it! It is important to have a sign up sheet for students who are interested in learning more. Think through next steps and how you are going to follow up with the people who signed up and that you met.

At LIU, they played that people could pull and answer as many blocks as they would like. If they knocked over the tower, they would have to do a “dare”. Their sponsoring church was able to support this outreach by buying $200 worth of $5 Starbucks gift cards that they can hand out to people who participated. Make this idea your own by thinking through what you could add or give away that would work for your campus! Hope this encourages and inspires you to get creative and reach your school!

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Escaping the Holy Huddle

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

For those of you who don’t know, the term Holy Huddle is defined as, “the tendency for Christians to surround themselves with other believers. It occurs when believers isolate themselves from non-Christians, developing relationships only with other believers. They end up having very few deep friendships (if any) with unbelievers.”

Houston, we have a problem.

Getting saved in college ministry, going to Bible school and then coming on staff with a Christian ministry, I get it. Without even realizing it, I can fill my days with tons of “good, Christian” activity but never once step out to engage with someone who isn’t in the family of God. It starts off well meaning. We meet for small group here, a prayer meeting there, and next thing we know our calendar is filled with activity that does nothing good for anyone other then ourselves.

In campus ministry, we must guard against this toxic mindset that operates in exact opposition to the heart of Christ. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and he calls His followers to do the same. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

-How do I spend most of my time?

-Who do I spend most of my time with?

-When was the last time I talked about Jesus with someone who didn’t believe?

-How often do I make an effort to make relationships with people who don’t know God?

Now hear me out. Community amongst other believers IS important and fruitful and necessary for the maturing believer. Meeting with others to be encouraged, refreshed and challenged is important. But a weekly BASIC meeting, a bible study and an occasional worship night was never meant to be the epitome of your christian experience.

You were saved to save. Forgiven to forgive. Loved to love. You are the light of the world. The living breathing testimony that God is real and His love is powerful. Everything that we have been given was always meant to be given away.

God has placed you perfectly into a certain context. Whether it’s in your lab, in your residence hall, with the student government, or the school dance team, God has placed you amongst people who don’t know Him yet. Believe it or not, His plan to save them is YOU.

In Romans 10:13-15 Paul shares this sentiment:

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Here is the truth. The way someone far from God draws close to Him, is if someone close to God goes far to reach them. The people on our campuses and in our life aren’t going to ever hear about Jesus if we don’t have the boldness to leave our comfort zone to tell them!

Here is my challenge to you friend. What can you do to intentionally love the people in your context? What friendships can you pour into, what groups can you spend time with, what habits can you set up, so that you are regularly seeking out and loving on the lost?  What would it look like to reshape and prioritize your life to spend MORE time with those that don’t know Him yet and LESS time with those who do? What would it look like to make sacrifices to make sure you were around the people that need the gospel the most? Escape the holy huddle and start living like the light that you are!

 

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Ministry outreach ideas

Optimum Outreach

Sam DiStefano Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Event Ideas, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

Whether you have been an advisor or student leader for ages or you have just started, it is always helpful to get new ideas to spark creativity and bring fresh momentum to your ministry. Ultimately, you and your students know your campus best. Take a look at this list of outreach ideas and think of ways your group can adapt it or make it better for your school!

Our heart is to see students encountering and being forever changed by Jesus. You are the hope to your school and I believe God is going to use you to make a difference!

Hold a Campus Blitz

If you are finding a lull in attendance or that students just don’t know your group exists, consider doing a Campus Blitz. You can contact the BASIC office if you would like staff to come and do a focused time of outreach and advertising for your school.

If the staff can’t come, there is no reason you can’t put on one yourself! Get your team together and plan to do a two day event where all hands are on deck. Set up a table in a highly trafficked area, play music (if you can), hand out candy, play games, and most importantly invite people to your meeting!

Have other students handing out info cards throughout campus on this day. You can chalk, paint, set up flyers, make announcements, write on whiteboards, do whatever you can to get the word out about your group! It works best to do this the day before and the day of your meeting.

That night have pizza or snacks, a sign up sheet, and a clear gospel presentation. It is a surefire way to stir up interest and attention for your group, as well as get new people involved and invested!

Organize Major Events

Though this takes effort, pulling off a major event well speaks volumes about your group to your campus. To regularly attract students, consider doing a major event at least once a semester. Here are a few suggestions:

-Bonfire

-BBQ/Pizza Party/Taco Tuesday

-Ice Cream Social

-Hot Dog/Hot Chocolate/Lemonade Giveaway

-Coffeehouse Open Mic Night

-Evangelistic Concert (Check out Circuit Riders)

-Kickball/Volleyball Game

-Campus Wide Capture the Flag

-Campus Wide Scavenger Hunt

-Operation Christmas Child

-Host a Movie Night

-Host a Food Tour Around Local Coffee & Food Stops

-Host a Debate

-Partner with Another Ministry (Guitars for Glory, Ugandan Water Project, etc.)

Holiday & Everyday Hand Outs

College students love free stuff and free food. Think about ways you can work this into your group’s budget. There are many excuses to give out some encouragement and love. Christmas and the candy cane opportunity may have passed, but there are still plenty more.

Consider handing out Valentine’s with scripture on them, or candy with encouragement. Earth day and Easter also present themselves as opportunities. Every year finals come around and giving out granola bars or water bottles with a smile can really be the bright spot in someone’s day.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Feel free to comment or share any events or outreach ideas that you have seen to be successful! You are making a difference on your campus AND having fun! Keep pressing in and watch what God can do!

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Top 10 Posts Of 2016

Top 10 Posts Of 2016

Chris Zeigler Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Event Ideas, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning, Resources, Social Media, Technology 0 Comments

With a new year right around the corner we like to take a look back at the top posts from this year. We appreciate you taking the time to read the blog this year. We know that there are plenty of resources available to leaders and we’re honored that you have chosen us. Our goal is to empower you to take your ministry to the next level and we hope that what our team shares has helped you do that.

Before we close out 2016 here’s a look back at the top 10 posts from this past year determined by how many times they were viewed.

  1. Fun Idea For Meetings: Interactive Trivia Games

    This idea incorporates a fun trivia game that anyone can set up and run for free. You could have it be a fun activity leading up to your meeting or as a way to break up the night.

  2. Why Everyone Should Pray To Be Baptized In The Holy Spirit

    There’s a lot of different perspectives on the third member of the Trinity and His role today. This post breaks down misconceptions about the Holy Spirit and explains why having Him in our lives is so important.

  3. Intentional Leadership Education & Training

    This was a guest post from Ryan Raflowski, a leader at the SUNY Oswego BASIC group. He shares about a workshop series they put together to communicate more intentionally with their group leading up to the election of student leaders.

  4. Rejoice In The Middle

    In life, we can allow ourselves to be disappointed with the process of becoming. Sometimes we need help to refocus our gaze from the struggle and circumstances we are in to the greatness and faithfulness of Him who called us.

  5. 16 Inspirational Quotes for 2016

    This post is exactly as advertised – 16 quick quotes that we gave you to kick off 2016. If you keep an eye out you might pick up on a theme next week.

  6. How Anyone Can Do Great Graphic Design For Free

    Great graphic design is hard to come by and often costs a lot of money. But it doesn’t have to. Here are some free resources that can take the headache and hassle out of designing something for your ministry.

  7. Authenticity In The Age Of Duplicity

    Students have been taught to question everything and they do. In this ever changing time, students long for some stability and authenticity. Let’s lead them to the most authentic love they will ever encounter.

  8. The Why Behind What We Do

    This short post from Sam DiStefano is a great reminder of the effect campus ministry has had on history and why it’s so important.

  9. 3 Practical Ways To Activate Your Prayer Life

    Prayer is something we all know we should do more of, but often it gets overlooked. Most of us have a desire to pray more, but saying it and actually doing it are two different things. Here are some practical ways to increase your prayer life.

  10. How To Be A Leader Amal Zeidan shares about how the secular leadership principles from the book The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership have a Biblical foundation that can also apply to those leading in a Christian context.

So, those are the top 10 posts from 2016 all collected in one place so you can easily catch up on anything you missed. Thanks for reading and have a happy New Year!

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.

How To Reach Mid-Termers

How To Reach Mid-Termers

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Planning 0 Comments

Every year we work hard and put in many hours to recruit freshmen to our group. There are the club fairs, opening week events, hours that go into tabling and everything else those first few weeks of the fall semester entail. And it’s definitely important that we spend that time and energy, but we often ignore students who are new to our campus in the spring semester – mid-termers.

I remember my first year working to start a college ministry at SUNY Geneseo. We had a group of 6-8 students and we could see momentum starting to build. One of our students knew of a girl from his high school who was going to transfer to Geneseo in the spring and he talked to us about getting her involved in the ministry.

We were able to connect with her early on, and even though she was still a fairly new Christian, she got plugged in and eventually became a student leader. Years later she came to work for BASIC and is now influencing students of her own on a campus in the Syracuse, NY area. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy for most students who come in the middle of the year.

Every year there is a number of students who choose to start somewhere new in the spring, but they don’t get the same experience as those who came in the fall. Less attention is paid to transfer orientation, rooming them with someone who is a good fit or putting on opening week events that will help them feel welcome.

With that in mind here are a couple ways that you can work to reach mid-termers come January.

Transfer student reception

See if your ministry can somehow be represented at the transfer student reception. Most colleges want to encourage students to connect with something and get involved. If you can’t have a physical presence maybe you can provide a small gift that can get in the hands of each student.

If neither of those ideas work out, then you could still look to table near events planned for transfer students. Which brings me to my next point…

Recommit yourself to tabling

You may have tabled regularly to start the fall semester, but as life got crazy and students got busy your tabling trailed off. Make yourself visible outside of dining halls during mealtimes, at the gym or in the student union. If transfer students can’t see you, it’s possible they won’t even know you exist.

Create a welcome kit

You may have done something like this before for freshman move in. Put together kits with menus to local restaurants, snacks (bags of popcorn and granola bars work well) and things for laundry like a roll of quarters and detergent. Then ask the student life office if you can get a list of all transfer students and deliver it to them somehow.

Be a friend

In many ways, the experience of transfer students is probably like that of the kid who joined your fourth grade class in January when their parents moved to the area for work. If you weren’t a transfer student, just think back to how alone you might have felt at the beginning of college and then consider that mid-termers come in after a lot of friendships have already been established.

I’ve read before that to be in a place where you don’t have friends is like being on a deserted island. That’s a lonely place to be and unfortunately, it’s what many experience when they first come to college. It can be hard to make new friends, and yet, friendship is an easy way to make someone feel cared for and opens the door for you to share the Gospel.

So, I want to encourage you as January approaches to look for ways you can serve a new group of people in your ministry this year. You have a great opportunity to make someone feel welcome in a new place and to be a friend to those who are in need of one.

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.

Telling Your Story

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Personal Development 0 Comments

I love stories. One of my favorite questions to ask a new friend is, “What is your story?” We all have a story to tell and our stories are powerful. They are proof that we have existed, conquered, stumbled and survived. Eugene Peterson once wrote,

“ The reason that story is so basic to us is that life itself has a narrative shape – a beginning and an end, plot and characters, conflict and resolution. Life isn’t an accumulation of abstractions such as love and truth, sin and salvation, atonement and holiness; life is the realization of details that all connect organically, personally, and specifically.”

We all can identify with and enjoy a good story.

This is how Jesus operated as well. While there are MANY examples of transformational stories in the Bible, John 4 recounts the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Her experience with Jesus left her changed, so much so that she ran immediately back to town to tell everyone. She was not embarrassed by her story, she told them honestly, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.” Jesus had called her out on her junk but she was no longer ashamed. In verse 39 it says, “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” One woman’s story about her encounter with Jesus impacted an entire town!

Why is it then, that so many students struggle with telling their own story? Why, when asked to tell their testimony, do many students hang their head low and explain they don’t really have one? Why are some students embarrassed to be real about their struggle? I believe we need to empower students to share in a way that is different than we have in the past.

You all know what I mean. In an effort to make sharing practical and simple, we have boiled it down to three main questions: What were you like before Christ? How did you meet Christ? What is your life like after receiving Christ? While this is a good basic outline, some students don’t fit in that neat little box. It’s a good story, but not the only one. For some people their journey was long and gradual, for others they knew the Lord once, ran away a time or two and have made their way back. If we teach students this is the only way to tell their story, it might keep them from wanting to tell their story at all.

Instead of a script to follow, encourage your students to reflect on the times they were transformed by an encounter with Jesus. This doesn’t always have to be a conversion story, it can be a time when Jesus dealt with pride, lust, or un-forgiveness in their heart. When we live this life with God, there will be many moments in our journey where we are changed, gain better understanding and mature. Every trial or circumstance that they have walked through is an opportunity to share about the goodness of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Revelation 12, when Christ comes again the scripture says the enemy was defeated “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” We have to encourage students that their testimony is one of the singular most powerful tools they have for sharing the gospel. In our society and culture today, people are more often drawn to a compelling story than a logical breakdown of facts. People just can’t argue with your own personal experience.

Rich Richardson, author of ReImagining Evangelism, wrote, “ Your transformation stories are your greatest personal asset for sharing your faith. If you have any tales of transformation, you can be a great witness to the love and power of God.” Helping students to tell their story is important and incredibly powerful.

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Go The Extra Mile

Go The Extra Mile

Chris Zeigler Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Event Ideas, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

We’ve all heard the phrase “go the extra mile,” but did you know it comes from the Bible? It actually comes from the most famous sermon in the Bible when Jesus is preaching His sermon on the mount. In Matthew 5, Jesus talks about how to treat our enemies or anyone who wrongs us and then He goes on to say this:

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.Matthew 5:41

That’s a powerful statement. Especially considering that He says this in the context of how we approach those who disagree with us or want to do us harm. It’s something good to remember with the current cultural context we live in, but I think there’s another application we can take from this that applies specifically to campus ministry.

When students come to campus they are bombarded by activities, events and opportunities. There’s so much available to them that it can be hard to get their attention. Every day people pass each other in the hallway and miss opportunities to form new friendships. Students might stop by your table and then never visit a meeting. They may check out your meeting one week and then you never see them again.

How many people would come to your meetings if students started getting intentional about forming relationships? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get people to do more than just stop by or visit once? How much would your group change if every person who came to your ministry came back? Now, to get a 100% return rate is unrealistic, but I believe that if you implement the principle of going the extra mile you’ll be surprised by the growth you see.

Let me explain a little more what I mean by going the extra mile. I’m talking about doing something so nice and unexpected that it makes a lasting impression. Sometimes it’s about putting on a big event and other times it’s about meeting a need. It could be a big or small gesture, as long as it’s memorable. This is the wow factor that makes your table stand out at the club fair or makes reputation of your meetings spread all over campus.

For example, years ago we helped the Binghamton BASIC group table at their college’s club fair. The leaders had ordered collapsible water bottles with the BASIC logo printed on them to hand out for free. They were very cheap and the idea didn’t take much to implement, but they stood out from what everyone else was doing. This small concept generated a lot of buzz and students kept coming to the table to hear about BASIC all because they had heard about these water bottles.

To meet a need and form relationships you could organize and advertise free tutoring with students from your group providing the instruction in subjects they are strong in. 

If you’re looking to do something more unexpected you could implement the idea my friend came up with for his youth group. Every time a new person visits they have them write down a Chipotle order and then they buy it for them if they come to the group the following week. If you’re like me, nothing beats a free burrito and that’s something I wouldn’t be expecting when I visit a club for the first time.

On a bigger scale, you could plan an event that really stands out and gets attention on campus. A number of years back I suggested this Love is coming. Love is here. event that I think would be amazing to put on around Valentine’s Day. 

That’s just a few ideas to get you thinking, but you get the picture. It’s not so much about using one of my specific ideas as it is about looking for ways to go the extra mile in a way that leaves a lasting impression and makes someone feel welcomed and cared for.

So, what are some ways you could implement that concept as you plan for the spring semester? How could you do this personally as you interact with people during the Christmas season and beyond? How can you go the extra mile?

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.

Reaching your campus context

Reaching Your Campus Context

Chris Zeigler Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Planning 0 Comments

When I began working with BASIC in 2009, my wife and I were tasked with starting a college ministry at SUNY Geneseo and Monroe Community College (MCC). These two colleges couldn’t be more different. SUNY Geneseo is set among corn fields in a small rural town, while MCC is positioned on the south side of Rochester and boasts an enrollment twice the size of the entire city of Geneseo.

It didn’t take us long to figure out that what worked on one of those campuses didn’t always work on the other. The apostle Paul gave us an incredible strategy for evangelism when he wrote to the Corinthian church saying,

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

Paul realized the importance of studying your current context and tailoring your message in a way that will reach that context. Missionaries do the same thing when they go to a new country. They must learn the culture and the people; the tribe they want to reach. Since your college campus is a mission field, and knowing that campuses can vary widely from one to another, how can you best reach your campus context? Let’s look at it in three steps.

Experience Your “Tribe”

Observation is the first step in determining your campus context. Walk around campus to see where students are hanging out. Eat meals with students on campus and spend time in the dorms. Go to athletic events. Work out with students at the campus gym and attend events at the college. Observing the culture firsthand is always the best way to pick up on what’s going on and what the student body is like.

Learn Your “Tribe”

As you spend time with students on campus start asking questions that will help you learn more about them. Here’s a bunch of good questions to get you started:

  • How many students live in dorms/commute?
  • What are the most common majors?
  • What are the most popular activities/events with students?
  • Do students spend a lot of time studying?
  • What groups are the most influential on campus?
  • What is the overarching perspective of Christianity on the campus?
  • What percentage of each ethnicity is represented?
  • How many international students are there?
  • What are the biggest struggles people deal with (ask counseling services)?
  • What are other clubs/ministries doing on your campus that are successful and what can you learn from them?

If possible, you could also go on the freshman or incoming students tour to learn more about the campus. You can also put together brief surveys to do among students that will help you gather information so you can better serve the campus.

Reach Your “Tribe”

This is when you take what you’ve learned and apply it. Look at the current context of your group and what you’ve learned about your campus context to decide how to plan events/activities and advertising that will reach that context.

For example, when I was at Oswego I came across an event put on by the Black Student Union called Casino Night. The place was packed and people were having a great time. I happened to walk through a couple hours later and not only was the event still going, but many of the same people were there.

Now, I’m not advocating that you do a casino night, but people loved this event because they got to hang out, play fun games and they had the chance of winning big prizes. You can easily take away ideas from an event like this and implement them into your own activities.

Before I wrap this up let me offer two more words of advice on studying your context. First, make sure that you don’t let your personal background inform your observations of the campus. You can’t avoid this entirely, but as much as possible try to view the campus through fresh eyes.

Second, remember that you can’t reach every people group on campus at the same time. If there are other Christian groups on campus it could be helpful to see who they’re targeting and then find your niche based on what you’ve learned. Your group might be best positioned to attract the intellectuals or the international students. It’s also likely that the audience you attract will change as time goes on and the campus climate adapts.

Now I want to hear from you! What are some things you’ve already observed about your campus context?

 

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

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Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.