- 1st Three Weeks: The first three weeks of school are “solid gold.” They are so important! In those first three weeks, students subconsciously set their patterns for the next four years. If we hold that reaching freshmen during this time is so important then the response has to be big and multifaceted.
- Collect Contact Info: We start in the summer by collecting contact info from students at orientations, state convention sponsored camps, and letters sent to local churches. We also ask the school for contact information for every freshman. Some years we receive mailing addresses and some years they only give emails.
- Welcome Week Events: Have several freshmen events and everybody events the first week of school. Our BCM does a one-day “Freshmen Survival” where we teach students how to survive college and connect them with a small group.
- Connect Students to Students: The number one factor in why students stay is they made a personal connection with another person. We have a lot more students than staff, so if we can mobilize students to be freshmen disciple-makers then we have made a deeper and wider inroad with freshmen.
Our rules for one-on-one discipleship relationship are they must be consistent, personal, biblical, and end in multiplication.
Get contacts via giveaways and surveys, do Gospel Appointments. We believe the relational approach of Gospel Appointments sets students up to build relationships and share the Gospel in their future workplace.
Freshmen groups, upperclassmen groups, International Conversation Club, lunch program, worship service
If we could only keep one program, then it would be Freshmen Groups, because if we don’t reach freshmen the other programs suffer for 3-5 years.
- We have a time of worship through music led by our student band. Then we have a conversational large group Bible study. We supplement these two foundational pieces with student testimonies and weekly emphases like missions, service, community, etc.
- We strive to not be super heavy because we want to let our churches shape students’ core theology.
- Instead, we speak to students’ daily life struggles, give students a voice, and help anyone who might walk in off the street hear the Gospel and something applicable.
- We try to incorporate students into everything to give them ownership and prepare them as the future leaders of the Church.
Our freshmen family groups are designed with conversation and community building in mind.
- Conversational – students come to meet people and they often do better at explaining the Bible to a friend than the leader
- Biblical – We study the Bible and want to teach students how to interact with God’s Word in a helpful way. Biblical illiteracy is one of the big struggles we face.
- Practical – We are a campus ministry and we want to minister to campus needs. We even throw in a service project.
- Fun – Activities outside Bible Study (hangouts, bowling, going for ice cream) are required of our leaders.
Publicize long term opportunities, take short term trips for exposure with the aim of sending long term, have students share testimonies of past experiences, and have special nights focused on sending and multiplication.
We hold this loosely and change up our leadership structure every few years. This helps us to refocus on things that are important and creates some positive energy.
- Current organization: president and four teams: Programs, Outreach, Missions, and Freshmen Groups.
- Our leaders are the backbone of our ministry. Our staff points the direction and our students chart the course and are the means that help us reach our campus.
- Currently funded 50% by churches, 25% by alumni and individuals, and 25% through endowments or reserve money raised in the past.
- The goal is for funding to be 60% churches and 40% alumni and individuals in five years.
- Improving Church Relationships
- We are working to tell our story better
- Be in churches more with students
- Mobilize our area support team to build our profile with local churches
- Improving Alumni/Individual Relationships
- Keep better track of people and contact info
- Develop relationships
- Communicate our story and needs
- Find nonfinancial ways to partner
- Build a monthly giving system instead of annual giving.
- All Assistant Campus Ministers and Interns are beginning support raising.
We pray that students who graduate from our ministry are prepared to make disciples and serve God’s Church in whatever place God calls them whether that is across the street or across the world.