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

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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

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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.

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.