How will you reach out to the students in your community, on your local campus? If most students in our communities are outsiders to the church (see last week's article here), how will we connect with them? We must plan to reach them, and re-plan.
Do a study of your local students. Begin with the students you know, students in your church and their acquaintances. Even if you've been ministering to students for a while, ask again. Traffic patterns change. Ask questions about where they spend free time. Do they spend it on campus? At a local coffeehouse, or sporting events? Ask them how they think the church can connect with them. What needs do they see among their friends?
Create a plan for regular outreach. Find ways to be in the traffic patterns of students. Meet with students in your group at the local coffeehouse where they are. Start an after hours Bible study at the workplace of an active student and invite others to join in. Find ways to be on campus. Start a student organization or ask the BSM to co-sponsor a table or giveaway on campus at a time when most students are on campus. Be creative! Students are busy. How will you catch their attention?
Assume nothing. As you spend time with new students don't assume they know church culture. Be direct. Let them know what you're about and what you are asking them to be a part of. Odds are they will appreciate your honesty. Simple surveys, and intentional gospel conversations are great ways to connect with interested students. For more ideas check out the article from Paul Worcester, "It's all about the contacts!" on Collegiate Collective.
Revisit your plan. It's easy for a group to grow inward. Even students get comfortable with their established group. If you're going to impact students in your community, you must continue to go back to the drawing board. Be sure you are still reaching out to new students, still going to where they are.
What's your plan? How are you reaching students in your community? Encourage others who are just getting started by telling us about it on ourFacebook page.