Pioneering on a Snow Day

  • It’s 15 below…again…
  • Just got another 16 inches of snow…
  • Have you seen the sheet of ice on those roads?!..
  • School has been called again…
  • Just got a call from someone on a campus 90 minutes away who wants to start Cru. Really?! Isn’t there something I can do without driving there?…

You sure can. In fact, you can do a LOT!

Read on to find out how to pioneer a movement on a snow day.

Decoding the Campus

The first thing you can do is to do some decoding of that campus. Go to www.Peterson’s.com. I prefer the Colleges by State page.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 9.36.08 PMYou can click on the state and see all the schools listed. Once you select a school, you will get an overview of the campus, as well as see its location, majors and degrees, learn about admissions, what it costs to go there, learn something about the student body and life on campus. There is a lot you can learn just from looking at this page and going to the campus’s website.

As you read through this info, be praying for a “Person of Peace” to connect with. Ask God also what the first approach to the campus should be. Ask Him for an open door. We know that He loves every person on that campus and we can believe that He wants to work in hearts. Our asking for open doors and having a desire to pioneer there is instrumental in seeing the Gospel touch lives.

Decoding is not about sounding like an insider or making you look good. It is about building trust and a connection with students who can potentially reach their campus for Christ. There is nothing that communicates your heart for a campus to a prospective student or faculty leader than to have done some decoding of that campus beforehand and to share what you are praying God would do on that campus.

Why not make a team day of it and draw a circle 50, 100, or 200 miles around your initial context and decode all the campuses inside that circle? Where do you want to trust God to pioneer first? Is there a Gospel choir that could be an in or is there a faculty member interested in doing something?

Conduct a Telephone Interview

The second thing is to call the contact and take some time to get to know them and hear their heart for ministry. I strongly suggest using something like our Telephone Interview.

Besides asking basic contact info and some details about the campus, the questions on page two help you get to know your prospective leader. We start with building the relationship. We don’t want them to feel like they are accomplishing our goals. We want to hear about their vision that God has given them for their campus.

Here are the questions we use in this first phone conversation.

Background Information

  • Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities on campus?
  • Do you work along with going to school/How many hours?
  • How many classes/credits are you taking this semester/quarter?
  • Do you live on or off campus?
  • What church do you attend at school/home?
  • Are you involved in any other Christian group on campus?

Spiritual Maturity

  • How long have you been a Christian?  How did it happen?
  • How would you describe your Christian life thus far? Consistent? Growing? Up & Down?

Ministry Experience

  • To what extent are you familiar with Cru?
  • (I’d like to read something to you): Cru’s approach to evangelism can be described as intentional/relational. By that we mean, taking the initiative to build bridges to the lost by forming networks of common ground relationships that create opportunities for evangelism. We use this approach rather then ‘friendship’ evangelism’ because there are many non-Christians who do not have a close Christian friend. We continually meet new people in order to create opportunities to share the gospel in the context of a relationship.
  • Have you heard of this approach?  _____ Yes _____ No
  • What has been your experience with this kind of evangelism? Are you open to learn how to do it?

Campus Demographics

  • Describe the campus you want to help reach.
  • What is the general attitude on campus toward spiritual issues?  Open?  Indifferent?  Opposed?
  • Are there any Christian groups on campus?

The main reason I like using the telephone interview instead of sitting down with them face to face, is the way it communicates the leadership role they must take. If you show up, you are immediately viewed as the leader. If you don’t, and you tell them they are the leader, it is easier for them to assume that responsibility. Sometime you will want to meet them face to face. But for this first conversation, the distance actually helps you communicate the need for them to lead.

Take a virtual tour of the campus

Finally, my friend, Tom Virtue, recommends something that he does, using the street view of Google maps to actually see what a campus looks like before going. You will be amazed how much of a feel you can get for the campus even if you don’t go. But if you do, it can save time figuring things out on the ground.

So, on your next snow day, why not give that contact a call? It just might warm their heart, too!

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