If you are attempting to start a ministry on a campus or you are a new part-time or volunteer College Minister just starting, your first thought may be, “How do I connect with some students…any students…and particularly students who might be interested in attending a Christian event?”. Here are some methods commonly used on a variety of campuses.
1. If your group, ministry, or Christian club is not a recognized student organization (sometimes called RSO), find out what it would take to become one. This recognition can provide privileges otherwise not available. RSO’s can schedule meeting places, have a table at orientation events, and can sometimes even receive a religious preference list of students.
2. Get permission to set up an information table in the student center area or other place where students congregate or pass by. Besides having handouts about your ministry, try to have some “goodie” to give away. These do not have to be expensive. It can be three different kinds of gum. College students like gum. It could be to sign up to win a gift card to a popular student eating place.
3. Always popular with students is any kind of event involving food. Is it possible to have free food available and have a Bible study during the noon hour?
4. Ask churches in your area to tell you the names of any of their students attending that college.
5. After being on campus a few times, you will quickly discover what the “campus hot spot” is. It is that place that students pass by continually. It may be a sidewalk intersection on campus or it could be the hallway in the student center. That is a good place to plan to be at “rush hour”. You will see students you have met previously and they can introduce you to friends and roommates who are walking with them.
6. At your first few events ask students to fill out an “info card” with contact information on it. The card could even have a blank for them to list a friend who might be interested in attending the next Christian event.
7. If the school has intramural sports, that is a great place to hang out and meet students who are participating or cheering on friends. Handing out bottles of cold water at sporting events is always popular. You can even print the time and place of your meeting or Bible study on a mailing label and then stick it on the water bottles you will be giving away.
8. Many campuses have a calendar or newsletter that is sent by email or text that tells of different events happening on campus. Check to see if your organization could turn in announcements.
9. Set up a portable basketball goal on campus and have “the million dollar shot”. Set up a free throw line 50 feet away. Any student who can make it from that distance will have his or her name placed in a drawing for a fabulous prize. The fabulous prize can be anything from a restaurant gift card to cash. The cost for getting to try is to fill out one of your info (contact) cards.
10. Many Christian groups do a survey with four or five general and spiritual questions that allows students a chance to have “gospel conversations”.
11. One College Minister starting a ministry on a campus had a neatly lettered sign that said, “The Chaplain Is In” and would place on the table where he was sitting in the student center area. He found there were people wanting to talk to a spiritual advisor who would come to him at that time.
12. One campus sponsored a pizza election to pick the favorite pizza in town. They had samples available and students would cast their vote for the best pizza.
After reading this list, hopefully it has helped you see that one or more of these might work in your situation. OR, it has caused you to think of a totally different and creative way that would work on your campus. Go for it!