FRESH 10: The Importance of Reaching Freshmen within their First 10 Days on Campus

Wes Smith, College Pastor Summit Church, Raleigh, NC

What is Fresh 10?

It is a freshmen engagement strategy that calls for collegiate ministries to invest heavily and sacrificially in engaging incoming freshmen for their first 10 days on campus. Fresh 10 requires ministries to plan one key event every day in order to:

  1. Befriend as many non-Christian freshmen as possible
  2. Invite those freshmen into community
  3. Take an opportunity to share the gospel with each freshman with whom you connect

Why Reach Freshmen?

Freshmen are reachable, trainable and sendable. When they arrive on campus, freshmen are all looking to belong.

  1. They are most open to new relationships
  2. They are (generally) more open to the gospel
  3. They most often live on campus and in concentrated locations
  4. They have the most time available to connect and to be trained
  5. Ultimately, if we reach freshmen, we reach the campus, and eventually the world

Why the “First 10 Days”?

  1. It is a unique opportunity when freshmen are eager for a place to belong
  2. Arriving freshmen want a community to belong to and a message to believe in
  3. Within this window most students find the community they are going to belong to throughout college and beyond
  4. This 10-day window sets up your ministry for the rest of the year and a ministry trajectory for the following four years

Objectives of FRESH 10

  1. Prepare all current students how to meet people well, invite them into community and share the gospel
  2. Challenge every student leader to befriend 2 non-Christian freshmen
  3. Coach every student leader to read through the book of John with one student

Tips for FRESH 10 Activities and Events

  1. Give clear vision and training for leaders the day before freshmen move-in
  2. Capitalize on move-in asking for “all hands-on deck” for helping and connection
  3. Daily events (with multiple people involved) are most helpful to build relationships
  4. Have a variety of events in different places and times (small, informal, big, fun, etc.)
  5. Don’t compete with university events, instead engage in Week of Welcome events.
  6. Give leaders and small groups specific dorms on which to focus
  7. Devote a significant portion of your budget to FRESH 10 activities
  8. Help everyone in your ministry see how FRESH 10 sets up the whole ministry year

 Examples of Events:


Dodgeball Tournament Puppies and Popsicles  Ice Cream

on the Quad/Grill Out

Breakfast for Dinner in the Dorm
House Parties Glow in Dark

Capture the Flag

Movie Night

on Campus

Game Night

How might this impact your ministry?

  1. Dramatically improve the number of applications for summer projects
  2. Significantly increase the size of your freshman class
  3. A higher number of conversions

Student Stories

  1. She got connected to another girl through Fresh 10 events and started reading the Bible with her. She came to Christ and later went to Nepal to share the gospel with people who had never heard.
  2. He met another Tanner at an event and came to Christ on the first day of school. He eventually led both his mom and brother to Christ, and went to Malaysia to share the gospel.
  3. He met another guy during a Freshmen 10 event and has been meeting up with him for 2 years reading Bible.


  1. Clear vision and training for leaders the day before move-in
    1. Brainstorm how they are going to use the first 10 days
    2. Set clear goals
    3. Strive for multiple connections with many students
    4. Initially prioritize friendship-building over gospel-sharing
  2. Capitalize on move-in
    1. It is often more helpful to walk the dorms and meet people than move in
    2. Have something to invite them to that first weekend
  3. Daily events are helpful to build relationships
  4. A variety of events is crucial
    1. Events that connect with a lot of people
    2. Smaller events that require less setup and more time to hangout
    3. Larger events for fun or worship
  5. Don’t compete with the campus
    1. Participate with freshmen at campus events and build friendships
  6. Focus on specific dorms
    1. A high degree of presence in a few places is better than a lower presence in every potential place
  7. Budget
    1. Amounts have ranged from zero to $3000 or more.

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