My two oldest boys are part of their Campus Crusade for Christ ministries. Rick graduated in the Spring and raised support this summer to intern with us at the University of Florida. Will is a junior at Florida State University. Both made plans to get to campus in time to be a part of welcoming incoming freshmen to campus. From their own experience, they know the value of reaching freshmen early and developing relationships with them. That’s why I like what Dan Allan, St. Louis Metro Director, sent out to his leaders a couple of years ago. Certainly there is a lot to do this time of year. But don’t miss his heart about making friends.
Well, there is inevitably a moment of relief when all of the kits are distributed and you think–“Whew, that was a big job! Glad we’re done!”
Actually, the work has just begun–take a moment to realize what you have when you are holding that stack of survey cards that thousands of students across our area have filled out–each one of those cards represents a life–a person for whom Christ died. We handed them a bag with multiple pathways to the gospel and many of them have requested in one way or another that we contact them with more information. That is an incredible entrustment!
Our staff spent some time thinking [through a simple plan] You will probably talk more about this in your campus leadership meetings, but let me summarize so that you can get started. Day 1Hand out Freshman Survival Kits–Ask students to fill out a brief 5 or less question survey that includes their name and a means by which we can contact them if they indicate an interest. Days 2-14 “Making Friends” WeekThis is my favorite time of the year. This is what I call the follow-up. It is our chance to make friends with all of these new people who have indicated that they would like to get together–what could be better?
During “making friends” week, your mission is to meet the new students and get to know them. Some of you can stop by a dorm room to visit. Others of you may have to do this on the phone. Some of you will call to set up times to grab a coke in the cafeteria. Be creative–the point here is that we make a human contact of some type to welcome them, to share our stories of what God has done and to hear their stories.
It may seem really simple to some of you and overwhelming to others–this idea of going to meet people to make friends. Let me suggest some questions that you might ask as you are making friends.
1. What is your name?
2. Where are you from? (Make appropriate connections)
3. Why did you choose to come here to school?
4. Why are you interested in a Bible study or getting information about Campus Crusade for Christ?
5. What has God been doing in your life in the last six months?
6. How about those Cardinals?
7. Music? Interests?
8. You get the picture. . .
At some point, it is reasonable to think that you will be able to launch into your testimony.What elements should you try to include as you share your spiritual journey? Consider Acts 22:3-10 and 26:10-18 as examples where Paul specifically described his life before Christ, how he came to faith in Christ, and how his life changed. His story wasn’t littered with “happy talk” or “Christianese”, but rather Paul simply described his experience in language that was meaningful to the hearer.We are praying for you all. I look forward to hearing what God has done and sharing some of these stories with you in the weeks to come.
Rick’s first newsletter to his new support team featured the the first week’s activities on campus and a freshmen Bible study that he is helping one of his disciples form. He shared how he was looking forward to developing relationships with the guys. Quite honestly, Rick is where he is today because of the friends he made his first few weeks as a freshman on campus. Making friends is one of the things that makes a student’s involvement with our ministry such a rewarding experience.