Over the years that I was on campus, the main source for finding interested folks to share Christ with was dinner line surveys. We would start off almost every semester conducting such surveys. That usually gave us enough students to talk to throughout the semester.
As we start the Spring semester or a new quarter this would be a great time to do some kind of Spiritual Interest Questionnaires (SIQ) if you don’t normally. Chuck Schwaninger has been using this questionnaire in classrooms on campus in Chicago.
First, he finds large classes like Psychology 101 or Sociology 101 even Business 100 that can have as many a few to several hundred students in attendance.
Chuck and his team arrive at the classroom 15 minutes before the start. He makes sure to have people at all doors to distribute the questionnaires, asking “Could you help us out by taking this questionnaire? I’ll be in to pick it up from you in about 5 minutes. Thanks”.
About three to five minutes before the class starts, they walk into the class and collect the questionnaires. Their experience is that they get most back with about half filled out. About 10 % of the SIQ’s will have a name, phone or email address for follow up. They don’t call uninterested students.
Then they sort out contacts and get back with students in the next few days. Naturally, if you wait too long, students won’t remember taking the SIQ.
You can modify this tool to help your upper classmen reach out to folks in their classes by making it more specific. You can also modify the tool to reach out to fraternities, athletes, or ethnic groups. You can find classes where these folks meet. To keep up good campus relations, Chuck says to be sure to finish before the instructor walks in and class starts.
In the emails that some of us had in our back and forth discussions on this topic, Keith Davy, Executive Director, Research and Development, commented,
I have heard from some MTLs alter the question about “talk to someone about God” (or “informal conversation about faith”, in this case) to something along the lines of “I would be willing to meet with someone to share more fully my thoughts and experiences to a 12 (or whatever) question Spiritual Interest Questionnaire.” I’ve been told it significantly increases the number of spiritual conversations, if one is seeking gospel conversations as opposed to just finding interested Christians. I suspect that one could substitute some other Explorer conversational tools, like Soularium or Perspective cards, for Spiritual Interest Questionnaire. Although I don’t think I have heard that done.
The health of your evangelistic efforts is indicative of the spiritual health of your movements. Seeing students come to Christ and having our own involved students experience others making faith decisions creates momentum and brings spiritual vibrancy to our movements. Whatever instrument you use, do consider how you can periodically survey a large number of students so that you can continue to meet students’ spiritual hunger.