BASIC Live - Free online ministry leadership training

Free Ministry Leadership Training

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

One of the biggest challenges in ministry, and especially college ministry, is the challenge of raising up solid leaders. In college ministry it’s an ongoing process because of the high rate of turnover. So, when you do find leaders how do you train them and get them prepared for ministry in the fall?

It’s because of these challenges that I’m really excited to tell you about our 5th annual leadership event, BASIC Live, coming up on April 22nd. This year we have an incredible lineup of speakers. The even better part is, this training is completely free and you can view it online from wherever you’d like or join a Hot Spot in your area to watch with other leaders!

If you can’t join us the day of, there’s a way to sign up to watch afterwards. On April 22nd, the broadcast starts at 1 PM eastern time and will run till about 4 PM with breaks in between sessions. The Hot Spots start at noon with lunch provided.

Throughout the day we’ll be hearing from speakers like Onterio Green, young adult pastor at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ church. We’ll also hear from life coach Cindy Scott who will share coaching tips for working in teams and about how God has designed us. And there are so many others who will speak on topics of worship, raising up student leaders, discipleship and general leadership principles. 

It’s going to be an incredible event! To learn more, find a Hot Spot near you and to register check out the BASIC Live page.

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.

Managing Momentum

Managing Momentum

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

Momentum is one of the most valuable forces in any organization. When you have individuals within who are connecting to your organizational vision and mission—then there is likely real movement happening. When you combine fervent prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, and some good ole fashion momentum—even better!

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines momentum as a “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” Ultimately, momentum is powerful. Imagine yourself standing at the top of a hill with a ball at your foot. With one small kick you can send the ball rolling down the hill, quickly gaining momentum. Suddenly, the ball is rolling faster and faster—with only a small amount of energy exerted. Now imagine standing at the bottom of this hill, trying to kick the ball upwards. You kick the ball upward only to have it continuously rolling back down again. You are now exerting tons of energy to try and get this ball up the hill—seemingly pointless.

In ministry, there are times when things seem to be going well and your efforts are easily met with reward. Then, there are other times where your efforts are met with resistance. Your actions and good intentions are like that ball rolling back down the hill over and over again. We want our ministries to make the best from momentum because it is the key to success. Let’s take a look at the three ways to manage momentum within your ministry.

Creating It

It makes sense that you have to build momentum in order to manage it. How do we build momentum in our ministry? Well, it is not always as easy as giving the ball a small nudge down the hill. Oftentimes, we may have to push a heavy stone ball inch by inch until momentum occurs.

Perhaps this manifests by continuously casting vision over your group. It isn’t uncommon for progress to be slow when sharing vision. Some members may not understand the vision or know how to practically latch onto it. One way to persevere through these challenges is to continue to share the vision. Our humanity often requires repetition for real change to happen.

You may wish to consider making the vision less ambiguous by providing practical ways your members can participate in the organizational vision. For example, if your group’s vision is to improve outreach then you should consider having a “Bring a Friend Along” night to give members a structured opportunity to practice living out the vision.

Lastly, it’s important to note that perseverance is key when trying to build momentum. Keep pushing that big boulder—with confidence that God is guiding you and directing you.

Maintaining It

How do you keep momentum going once you have it? It’s a good question, and the answer is passion. While all of our ministry work shouldn’t be driven by emotions, feelings of excitement can really break through the mundane. It’s important to note that, at this point, some individuals will have connected with the ministry’s vision. However, we must continue to cast and recast the vision over and over again to keep people inspired throughout the routines of ministry.

It’s easy to instill passion at the starting line of a race. It is harder to do this when runners are in the middle of a course. Continue to find ways to bring clarity and practicality to the group vision. As the group leader, it is also important to look at what your group members are currently passionate about. Is there a way to steer their current excitement towards the direction you feel the group should go?

Guiding It

By this point, the ball is rolling and you may be thinking “Thank God!” Remember that momentum is powerful, and if that ball hits a pebble or a groove it can easily get off track. The main point here is focus. You will want to create sturdy tracks to guide momentum and prevent wasting of momentum.

Wasted momentum refers to those well-intentioned, flashy, time-consuming projects or events that we often spend our organization’s energy and resources on, which unfortunately do little to accomplish the mission. Sure, it may feel like a great idea and energy well spent but does it bear good fruit? Does it move people towards the desired destination?

We need to create tracks or safeguards that guide our ministry. These tracks should pinpoint members to the mission and should fulfill the group’s purpose. It is the job of the leader to develop well-defined boundaries that keep the ministry moving along in the right direction.

Momentum can be stagnated by poor decisions, changes in leadership, or resistance from members. It is best to observe that things happen and we can oftentimes plan ahead for them. Take a second right now to observe what your group’s mission may be. If you don’t have a mission or vision, seek one out from the Lord! Then, find ways to develop momentum and guide your ministry towards achieving its purpose!

About the Author

Ryan Raflowski

Ryan is a school psychologist and co-advisor for the BASIC Chapter at SUNY Oswego. He desires to see a generation of young people recognize God's purpose and plan for their life. He tries to live "Kingdom-minded" and longs to see revival fire sweep across college campuses. You could probably find him walking around town playing Pokémon Go with his wife Kdee or indoors with their two cats Oliver and Lupin.

Learning More About Your Leadership Team

Learning About Your Leadership Team

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

Sometimes working on a team can be hard. When a group of people who have different ways of thinking and different personalities try to come together the result can be messy at times. But what if your team had a better understanding of how and why each person operates the way they do?

If you’ve ever thought things like, “why does John respond that way when I try to encourage him?” or “why can’t everyone just see the value of my ideas?” then a personality workshop could be perfect for you and your team. Back in January our staff participated in a personality workshop held by life coach Cindy Scott.

Cindy is an amazing leader who God has given great insight into how we’re wired and how we can work better together. God designed us all to be different. Often we see the way people differ from us as a negative instead of a positive. Or, on the other hand, we hold others in such a high regard that we try to be more like them instead of being who God created us to be.

It is so important for us to learn why God has created each person so unique and when we learn more about the unique ways He created us it also helps us better determine the purposes and callings He has for our lives. One thing Cindy said that stood out to me is that when you try to be someone you’re not it’s just as awkward as trying to write with the opposite hand.

As Cindy talked us through the different personality types and determining which personality traits each one of us has, it helped us start to better understand ourselves and each other. Not only was it helpful in improving how we work together, but it also helped us become more aware of ourselves and why we do what we do.

I’d encourage you to contact Cindy and plan a personality workshop for your team. She can do them in person or online via video conferencing. She has some other great resources as well like her Soul Care and Life on Purpose workshops. You can find out more information and get in touch with her by visiting her website.

I’m also excited that Cindy will be one of our speakers for BASIC Live this year. Cindy did a session a number of years back at one of our leadership events and everyone raved about it. For BASIC Live she’s going to do two teachings. One will teach us coaching techniques and the other will cover her Destiny By Design series. If you’re not familiar with BASIC Live, it’s our free leadership training event that is streamed online. You can go here to find out more information and get signed up.

I’m excited to hear all that God does as you take steps to learn more about yourself and the leaders He’s given you!

 

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.

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.

17 Books to Read for 2017

17 Books To Read In 2017

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 2 Comments

So, you made a New Year’s resolution to read more or to be more intentional about learning. Or maybe you didn’t make that resolution. I won’t hold it against you. Either way, I’ve found that reading is a great way to jump start my brain and help me learn from those with different experiences and perspectives. It’s like getting mentorship from a well known leader while never having to leave your couch.

There’s so many good books out there that I couldn’t possibly include them all, but here’s a list of 17 (chosen to fit the theme of 2017) that I think could help you as a ministry leader. These are not arranged in any particular order, but I have separated them into books that are specific to campus ministry and those that are on the topic of general leadership and personal development.

Campus Ministry Specific:

The Fuel and The Flame: 10 Keys to Ignite Your College Campus for Jesus Christ by Steve Shadrach

Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith. . . and How to Bring Them Back by Drew Dyck

God on Campus: Sacred Causes & Global Effects by Trent Sheppard and Pete Greig

College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture by Stephen Lutz

General Leadership & Personal Development:

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and Jon David Mann

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff

Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney by Lee Cockerell

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones

This list is by no means comprehensive, but these are some of the ones that I’ve found very helpful over the years. I hope that you find some good ones on this list that can help you too. Happy reading! 

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.

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.

Ministry Midterm

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

Around this time of the semester, college students all over the country are studying, cramming and procrastinating through their midterms, projects, and presentations. As much as we don’t enjoy it, tests are given as a way to evaluate our understanding and progress. They are a helpful tool as the professor must decide what needs to be changed (or what is working) so that the students can get the best and most effective education.

In much the same way, it is important for us to regularly and intentionally evaluate our ministries. By taking time to “score” our ministry helps us understand which areas need improvement and which areas we are excelling at. Sometimes, evaluation helps us see our blind spots or helps us start dreaming in an area we might have otherwise forgotten about. Evaluations usually come at the end of a season, but I believe checking progress in the middle gives us opportunity to implement quick (but sometimes powerful) changes now and enable us to finish well.

I have gathered some questions that will help you and your leadership team evaluate effectively. We wanted to ask questions that would get to the heart of your ministry and not just the external appearances. We have borrowed this exercise from CRU and adapted some of their questions. Take time with each one and answer honestly. This is meant to be a tool to help grow your group stronger and healthier!

Evaluate Direction

-If we can continue in the same direction, where will we be next semester? Next year?

-Are we putting our efforts into the most important things?

-Do we have a healthy momentum building?

Evaluate Health

-Do students enjoy coming to your BASIC group and participate regularly?

-Are students spontaneously initiating outreach? Is there a desire to know God better?

-About how many students would you estimate have a regular quiet/reading time?

Evaluate Growth

-Has the number of students involved grown over the semester/year?

-Do students commit and attend BASIC regularly?

-How many students participate in missions trip/outreach/BASICCON?

-Are we reaching new and different groups on our campus? (International, Sports, Greek Life)

-How many of each class is involved? (Fresh, Soph, Junior, Senior)? Do we have any gaps?

Evaluate Maturity

-Are there currently small groups happening on campus? How many students are leading small groups?

-How many students would you estimate are actively sharing their faith?

-How many students are actively being discipled?

Evaluate Strategy

-Do we have clear goals that we are moving towards?

-Do our programs and outreaches serve to accomplish our goals?

-What areas can we plan more effectively?

Evaluate Faithfulness & Heart

-Have we faithfully communicated the truth?

-Have we been given over to what God has called us to do?

-Are we broken over the lost on our campus?

-Are we being faithful to “Love God & Love others”?

These are just a few questions to get the ball rolling! I encourage you to take some time, go through these questions and pray with your leadership team! We may may be halfway through the semester but there is a lot God still wants to do in you and through you!

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.

How anyone can do great graphic design for free

How Anyone Can Do Great Graphic Design For Free

Chris Zeigler Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Resources, Social Media, Technology 0 Comments

It’s back to school time and you need to get the word out about your meetings and events as soon as possible. But you don’t want your posters or other advertising to blend in with everyone else’s and you definitely don’t want it to stand out because it looks like something a sixth grader designed (no offense to the sixth graders out there). When you have terrible graphics it can feel discouraging, but when you have amazing graphics you can feel like you’re on top of the world!

Great graphic design is hard to come by and often costs a lot of money. But it doesn’t have to. I’ve come across several resources that can help anyone create trendy and stylish designs for free. Whether you’re looking to put together social media graphics, posters, touch cards or powerpoint slides for your announcements, these tools will help you design something that looks great.

Your first stop is a website called Canva. You have to set up a free account and then you should take a quick tour to make sure you understand how to use it. This website provides tons of free templates specific to the size you need your graphics to be and it’s all done online.

There’s no software to download or buy and you can learn how to use it in 10 minutes. Just for fun I created the graphic for this post using Canva and it took me 15 minutes. There are some templates you need to pay for, but there are plenty available for free.

Just remember some simple rules for creating great graphics. No overtly Christian images (crosses, doves, flames, etc.) or cheesy Christian phrases (like “do life together”). And definitely no clip art. Stick to the fonts that Canva has put in the templates (no Curlz or Papyrus here) and keep your text to a minimum. Include the day, time and location with a short phrase that describes who you are. We often use “Do College Differently.”

That phrase doesn’t fully describe what BASIC is, but really the best way for someone to figure it out is by visiting your group any way. Most people aren’t going to stop in the hall to read your entire poster. They just need to catch the gist of it as they walk by on their way to class, so make sure you can read it from about 10 feet away. And if you include the BASIC logo on all your stuff it helps people make the connection. You can download the logo on our Leaders page.

Now, what often helps make a great design is having engaging images. You could go to Google search and just rip off anything you see, but often the images are too small to look good and most of them are subject to copyright. I’m pretty sure no one goes into college thinking they’ll end up in prison because they created a poster for their college ministry. Enter Unsplash.

This website has high quality, high resolution and professional looking photos all under a creative commons zero license (meaning you can do whatever you want with them without paying a dime). Once you start searching this site you’ll probably recognize many of the pictures we use for blog posts here.

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve put together some new poster templates for you to use to advertise your BASIC chapter. These are custom designs put together by the BASIC staff that you won’t find anywhere else. Just download the file, open in Microsoft Word and change the text with your information. It’s even simpler than Canva!

And don’t forget that there are plenty of other free resources for your group that can always be found on that same Leaders page. Happy designing!

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.

Welcome Week- Pt. II

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

So you’ve prayed, you prepared and you promoted, what comes next when gearing up for new and returning students? Glad you asked! We will be continuing our discussion from last week about the most crucial time for campus ministers, the first two weeks!

Like I mentioned last week, students are more open to everything in these first few weeks of school than any other time afterward. We have a special window of opportunity to make the biggest impact. What you do with this time will lay the foundation for the rest of your semester. If this sounds like a lot of work, well, it is! The extra time you take to work hard in the beginning will garner great fruit later. Today, I’d like to focus on two very important components to your welcome strategy.

1. First Night

Have you ever been to an open house? Usually you will find the house is clean, there is no clutter to be found, and sometimes even the sweet smell of cookies in the oven. When you are inviting people in your home in the hopes to sell it, you want to put your very best foot forward.

The same rings true of college ministry. Though we aren’t trying to sell anything, we are trying to make people feel comfortable in the hopes that they will want to return. Your first meeting is an opportunity to put out a good first impression. I think it is important to say, be authentic! Your group has something AMAZING to offer the campus, and that is the reality of the Gospel! Be yourselves and watch how God uses you to reach the students. Obviously, for each group this will look different. Start by considering these questions:

-Are we creating a warm and friendly atmosphere?

-Do people have multiple opportunities to connect?

-Do we have food or games that bring an element of fun?

-Are we communicating effectively?

-Is our purpose clear?

These are good questions to constantly be asking your leadership team, not just on first night! Each week is an opportunity for you to care for and love on the students that walk through your door.

2. Follow Up

This is perhaps the most forgotten and most important component of the first two weeks. Picture it: you’ve planned and prayed and worked your tush off to put on an incredible first two weeks! You are even surprised by the positive response and the dozen new students that walked in your door on the first night. You are looking forward to preaching tonight about God’s love when you walk in the door only to find one new student has returned. Do not fret! This campus minister’s nightmare is easily avoidable by having a plan for follow up.

When you table on your campus during these first few weeks, have a very simple sheet for people interested to fill out. On this sheet, include name, number, and email address. You can find a nicely designed template on our leader’s resource page. You can use this information to invite students to your events throughout the week. Encourage students to connect personally with new people so that the invite can be more natural. If that can’t happen, don’t worry, students are always looking for something to do and ways to make friends in the beginning. Taking the initiative makes a HUGE impact.

On your first meeting, be prepared with more in depth contact cards that ask for more information. Ask things like year in school, major and perhaps their birthday! This information will be very useful to you in the future when planning events. Most importantly, these cards represent people. As a leadership team you can pray over every student and devise a system to contact each new person. This can be through email, text, or coffee date! Taking the time to connect with students outside your regular meeting time means a lot and makes new students feel wanted and welcomed! Not to mention it is a great way to model friendship evangelism to student leaders.

Hope these tips helped and gave you some ideas for the first few weeks! I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite go-to welcome week activities? What things have you seen be really successful on your campus?

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.