Last week I mentioned Fezzik, in The Princess Bride, realizing the difference between fighting one and fighting many. I mentioned wanting to both work to meet and involve as many incoming freshmen as possible, as well as learn how to connect with each person within the God-ordained oikos’ He has placed us.
Let me suggest some ways to minister to each and every.
I was a resident of sixth floor Geary Hall in East Halls all four of my years at Penn State, We surveyed students every year and followed up those interested. I can only remember one or two students who ever filled out a survey on my floor.
When I talked with them…hmmm…umm…nah… they guessed they really weren’t that interested after all. So I found myself following up those interested on other floors and in other dorms. I needed a plan for helping to create interest in those I saw everyday on my floor, my oikos. Instead, most of my ministry occurred elsewhere.
I wish I knew then about the five common thresholds everyone wrestles with in coming to faith mentioned in “I Once was Lost” by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. The first threshold is trusting a Christian. Moving from distrust to trust. If they don’t trust me, will they listen to what I have to say?
Kevin Kneeshaw, LMD for Montana, Idaho, and Utah, lists several things we can do to build trust.
- Ask good questions. Take time to really get to know someone.
- Ask to hear their life journey, their story. Just listen!
- Pray! Remember that this is a spiritual venture. God is the only One who can change a person’s life. It’s not about how slick you are or how good you are at building relationships.
- Look for a way you can meet a real need that they have in their life. You will only be able to do this if you have been a good listener.
- Acknowledge their barriers to the Gospel/Christ as real and legitimate. Don’t act surprised by the things that keep them from embracing Christ. Remember that all of us at some point had barriers to the Gospel and Jesus.
- Invite them into community. Let them see you having a good time with other Christ followers.
That first column on the Missional Map asks if each one in our oikos trusts us?
But at the same time you want your students to see their living situation as a significant place of ministry their help is crucial in the overall development of your movement by following up students they wouldn’t otherwise have a relationship with.
You want to equip them to engage with others. Eric Dellaire, now with Grad Resources had a great tool for helping students connect with those they are following up. He used the FARM acrostic.
- Family. Where they are from, do they have any siblings, what do their parents do for a living, how is their relationship with their siblings or parents. Family works well when talking with ethnic students as they very much value family.
- Academics. What is their major, year in school, what do they hope to do with their major when the graduate.
- Religion. What is your religious background, would you consider yourself a person of faith, what do you believe in, how do you view Christ and/or Christians.
- Message. Here you can introduce your testimonies, or intro into the gospel or KGP booklet. Ask if they wouldn’t mind if we shared what we believe in or can we get their opinion on the KGP.
It’s important to build the relationship, not just inviting to any event or activity.
Hopefully, these ideas will help your students see the value of the each and the every.