It was John’s first week of school, and as he walked into the dorm cafeteria he passed a table where an upperclassmen with Cru offered, “Free Chick-fil-A if you fill out a quick survey!”
John took a minute to fill out the spiritual interest survey and went about his day.
A few days later a couple upperclassmen knocked on his door: They shared the gospel with John and ended with – “we lead a Bible study here in the Quads and would love for you to come tonight”. John started going to the study, went on Fall Retreat and started going to the bi-monthly Cru Leadership.
As he started the spring semester, John found himself again in front of the dorm cafeteria at a survey table. This time, he was on the other side of the table asking his fellow freshmen to fill out a quick survey (and later that week following up with them, sharing the gospel with them, and inviting them to the Bible study he was in).
[side note: we don’t usually do surveys in the spring but did in this case because they were trying to relaunch a struggling dorm Bible study]
John made the comment to one of the Cru leaders — “it’s crazy how just a semester ago I was the one being reached and now I am the one reaching out.”
Since that comment “getting freshmen to move behind the table” has become our mantra.
We want freshmen to quickly move from being reached to reaching others.
A few ways we do that:
- Immediately involving them in follow up:
- As you meet with a freshman during the first week of school and discover that they are a solid, missional believer challenge them to go do follow-ups with you.
- They can just watch the first few appointments and then start owning more and more of the gospel conversation.
- On our campus you cannot go into the dorms without a resident escort. Having a freshman resident go do follow ups with you is a door opener.
- Use Biblical content (we use Gospel Centered Life) in their freshmen Bible study that helps them:
- Understand, for themselves, the radical message of the gospel (usually for the first time)
- Understand the Great Commission and their role in it
- Talk often about your Community Group being a missional community, placed in the dorm to reach the dorm.
- Challenge freshmen to invite their roommates, classmates, students on their hall.
- As a study, brainstorm together how to reach more freshmen.
- Giving them early opportunities to lead:
- Every fall we have a Barn Dance outreach that is exclusively planned by a team of freshmen
- We encourage them to lead on our “Cru Serves” team and to lead prayer movements.
- By late fall start talking to them about leading a Freshman Bible Study next fall (so they start looking for opportunities to get experience as a leader — like leading content one week in their own Study)
What are some ways that you help Freshmen move behind the table?