Strategic in Outreach

posted Jul 19, 2016, 5:18 PM by Ginger Bowman
A voice from the cornfield says, "if you build it, they will come." Or, if you're doing college ministry, "if you feed them, they will come." But these days, it's just not that simple.  In our current culture, it takes more than good signs and free pizza to draw in a crowd of college students.  Before the students will come to the church, the church must go to the students.  Here's why:

Most students are cultural outsiders to the church.  They have not grown up in the church context. According to Barna Research, more than half of Millenials/Mosaics are unchurched.* The vocabulary, customs and social norms of church life are foreign and strange to them. In most cases, when we invite them to come to church, we are asking them to cross significant cultural barriers.          


Your invitation is one of many. Students are surrounded with invitations to be part of groups on campus, events to attend, causes to champion. It is not that they are uninterested. It is simply that they must filter out what is worth their time and what isn't. In this landscape our invitation to follow Jesus must be clear and to the point.  

 They need you to keep it simple. With so many things competing for their time and attention, so many different directions they could go, students need to hear the message clearly and simply. Most likely, they will not just come on their own out of curiosity. They need to hear what you are about, who Jesus is and why it matters. They need to know that following Jesus doesn't require allegiance to a particular political party, or a certain percentage of attendance at meetings or events. Inviting new students is a good thing, but we need to be intentional in our invitation and follow up.  We are inviting them into relationship with Jesus Christ; why wouldn't we want our message to be clear? 

In light of these things, how will you reach out to students more directly on your local campus or in your community?  Next week we will dive into some strategies.  In the mean time, we would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives. 
What's your plan for outreach? Encourage others who are just getting started by telling us about it on our
 Facebook page.  
*Churchless, Barna.org. 
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