Archives For Outreach

When it comes to the fall in college ministry, as Paul Worcester has said – It’s All About the Contacts!

Because of that, a lot of thought and time has gone into crafting a perfect spiritual interest survey: how to throw the net broadly but not so broadly so as to become useless.

We aim to survey about 3,000 students in the first two days of school.

The problem we run into, with our team of 4 staff and several dozen student leaders= we can’t get to all 3,000 contacts immediately.

A good survey can go a long way to helping you filter through thousands of contacts and find the students who are most spiritually interested.

For our campus – we are aiming to follow up with spiritually interested non-Christians. On a campus in the buckle of the Bible belt, that can be a bit of a challenge.

Here’s our card (here’s the photoshop-editable pdf file so you can edit it and make it your own; after you download it, right click and select “open with Photoshop”):

We will text all students who indicated interest (a ‘maybe’ or ‘yes’ on their card).

But we want to get face to face with all 3-‘maybes’. Why? Because those are typically spiritually interested non-Christians. We took off “Maybe” for years. But recently put it back on to try to hit that spiritually-indecisive-but-curious student.

A couple years ago we ditched “email” and “dorm address” – both came across creepy. And we never email anyway.


At Cleveland Cru, Brian Metzer and his team recently changed their survey:

We simplified our survey a lot. We wanted to be less “survey-y,” more “we’d like to get to know you,” more positive filtering, less transactional, and tell us less so we went in with fewer preconceived ideas on the first appt.

Did you see an increase in the number of follow up appts?

About the same, and maybe even a little less. But qualitatively better. The non-believers we met with were more open. It felt less like we were tricking people into an appt. and we could genuinely get to know them. This also meant that we felt more likelihood of connecting again so less pressure to push ahead through the gospel on the first (and only) appt.

I think our goal shifted too. In our metro context [city-wide; focused on multiple campuses] we needed to surface not just people to meet with but hungry people to meet with. This has helped.

Cleveland Cru’s Survey:

At Michigan Cru, they’ve made some contextualized adaptations to their survey:

This is our card for Fraternity Pledge talks:

Katie Smith (Cru Team Leader in Eastern Iowa) on one change they’re making this year:

We are adding a place for their Snapchat username (student leaders said students are more quick to give that out & to respond that way for follow up – it’ll be the first time trying it, so we’ll see how it works!)

On a similar topic- on the Collegiate Collective discussion on Facebook (highly recommend joining that group, btw), someone asked what methods of communication students prefer. In these college ministers’s (very reputable) opinions:

  • not email
  • text is still king for reaching new people
  • snapchat and instagram for ministry-wide communication
  • groupme for internal communication with leaders

We have found all of that to be true on our campus.

The main idea from all these surveys:

  • Tailor your survey for the
    • audience you are trying to reach. Is it predominantly secular? Bible belt?
    • how many people you want to meet with. Do you want a really tight filter because you don’t have the capacity to follow up that many people (you just want to meet face to face with the “fish ready to jump in the boat”?) Or do you want a really broad filter that will leave the door open for you to contact as many people as possible?

Would love to see what surveys your team uses – link to them in the comments!

The best new outreach idea we’re trying for the fall is Facebook. You may have heard of it.

Outreach by definition is an effort by an organization to connect its ideas to the general public.

You take your ideas to the audience.

And where is our audience?  On Facebook!

We’ve done quite a bit with Facebook in the past – advertising, Cru group, events, etc.

But a Facebook Fan Page is a whole ‘nother deal.

First off – you should subscribe to Brian Barela’s blog (click here for an explanation of the life-changing discovery of how to subscribe to blogs).  You would know all this stuff already if you read his blog and another blog he contributes to:

This is our strategy this fall as we meet freshmen (courtesy of Brian Barela):

  • Add them as a friend on Facebook
  • Click the “add a message” box
  • Write something like this: “Hi this is Tim from Cru – you filled a card expressing interest and I just wanted to invite you to come to Cru on Tuesday at 8:30.  Please also join our fan page:”

Before I start, let me shoot down your main excuse (at least it was mine):

  • “I don’t know anything about setting stuff up on Facebook and I don’t have time right now to learn” – I had a student set it up (I attached below the email I sent out to solicit help- just copy and paste!).  I guarantee you have a student who would be willing and able to do it.

First the Why’s, then the How’s:

  • Facebook is where students live.  Go where students are.
  • It’s free.  We all know advertising isn’t cheap.  But thru a Facebook Fan Page you can “advertise” your events on a site where 99% of your target audience spends hours every day
  • It’s interactive – students can comment and ask questions.
  • You can get a custom URL for free (website name):
  • Fan Pages are way more “viral” than Groups.  So we’re shifting from a Facebook Group to a Fan Page.  Check out this informative video explaining why from Brian Barela.

And best of all: It’s pretty easy to work the system (by “liking” the fan page, commenting on it, etc) to where your Cru Fan Page will show up on the News Feed of anyone your students are friends with.

How do you set one up?

  • Here’s a step by step video on how to do it (from Brian Barela again!).

We watched this video in staff meeting yesterday – it builds a great case for why we HAVE to engage in social media:

Here’s an email you can adapt to solicit help from students.

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