We are only a few weeks away from one of the most wonderful times of year; no silly, not Christmas, BACK TO SCHOOL! Ever since I was a little girl, I looked forward to the day when I could buy my new school clothes and supplies, lay out all my new notebooks, and sharpen my pencils. The love never really faded and now that I am a campus minister, I still look forward to the changing of the seasons from summer to school!
As a campus minister, we know that the first two weeks of school (and the preparation before and after) are perhaps the most important two weeks of our ministry. These two weeks lay the foundation for the rest of the semester. Why? Because students decided in those first two weeks quite a few things: Which side of their room they want, the best route to their 8am class, and most importantly, who they want to hang out with. In the span of those few days, students are more open then any other time to make friends, listen to opinions different than their own, and receive the gospel!
In this first post I wanted to talk about a few practical ways for you to utilize every second of those first two weeks!
Prayer is foundational to the success of your group. When I say pray, I don’t mean a rushed five minute prayer at the end of a meeting or when ever you happen to remember. I mean dedicating a solid amount of time to seeking after what God has for your campus. In these prayer times, ask for strategy, wisdom, vision, and most importantly a burden for those who are lost!
I also challenge you to ask God for specific and big things this year. In Matthew 7:7 he says, “Ask and you shall receive”. Most of the time we don’t even bother asking! Make it a point to gather your leadership team and pray into this year.
At this point in the summer, I’m sure some discussions and meetings have already taken place. Don’t wait until right before school starts to try to pull something together. Planning events, outreaches, and delegating roles to leaders early ensures that everyone is ready and prepared. You should ask questions like, “When do the freshman arrive? When do classes start? What events are already planned by the school?” These questions will help you as you lay out your first two weeks.
On my leadership team, we have a calendar print out and talk through time and details for each event. As the time approaches, more details are filled in and follow ups are made. When working with the school it is important to think about things like submitting budgets, putting in room requests, and getting permission to hang flyers.
3.PROMOTION & PRESENCE
Like I said previously, students make a lot of decisions in the first few weeks of school, and the group of people they want to hang out with is one of them. Each student is looking for friends and a place to belong. Our job is to make our friendly and welcoming presence known! Here is a short list of event ideas to get you noticed on your campus:
-Campus wide Capture the Flag (who doesn’t love capture the flag!)
-Ice Cream Social
-Frisbee/CanJam on the Green
-Tie Dye T-Shirt Making
Some events will require more planning and possibly funds from your supporting church or school. This is your time to get creative! BASIC has come up with a few resources that you can check out here:http://thebasicsite.org/leaders/ . Sometimes the most simple outreaches have the biggest impact. Think about what you would like or think was cool as a student and go from there. HINT: free food/stuff is always a win on campus!
Hope this was a helpful reminder and way to jumpstart your first two weeks! Check out next week’s blog where I will go into Part II of making the beginning of the year a success!