As you read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, you will notice the creativity that Jesus and the Holy Spirit used in building the Church. Jesus dealt with each person uniquely and individually. Those who needed healing found His healing touch came in different ways. God isn’t locked into one certain method or system. He is very creative and delights in leading His children in creative ways. He also wants to lead you creatively as you begin making an impact on your campus.
Here are a few ways God may reach your campus through you and your friends.
Every day you speak with many people about many things: sports, grades, parties, family, weekends, etc. Each of these conversations is a potential opportunity to share Christ with your classmates. Locker rooms hallways, and cafeterias provide tremendous witnessing opportunities. The person wanting to communicate Christ effectively must realize that all he has to work with are the everyday things that come up. Very few people will come up to you in school and ask, “How can I know God?” They may be thinking about those things, but they probably will never ask a question like that. It will usually be in the context of a casual conversation that you will have a chance to share Christ.
There are many opportunities for you to say something for the Lord in your classroom. Speech class is the most obvious example. When calling for impromptu speeches, the teacher may allow you to choose the subject. You could talk about something easy, such as violence in the NFL. Or you could talk about the most important thing to you, your relationship to Christ. Classroom discussion will frequently give you a chance to offer input with a Christian perspective. Topics like evolution, the future, and youth problems, such as suicide, abortion, alcoholism, drug addiction, and family problems, are great for introducing a Christian perspective.
Guest Class Speakers
Teachers enjoy having outside people come into the class and give fresh perspective. Many times your pastor, youth pastor, or adult youth sponsor could come to your classroom and speak about a Christian perspective on the topic the class is dealing with. Go over your classroom schedule with your youth pastor or adult sponsor. Discover together the classes and topics that he or she might address. Go to your teacher and ask if it is possible for this person to come and speak. It is extremely important that the person who comes to speak gives a very clear academic approach to the topic at hand, but it is permissible to tie in a Christian perspective and to have time for questions and answers at the end.
Many papers can be written from a Christian perspective throughout a school year. Students can often choose any topic, or at least tie in Christianity. Although the Bible is not considered a textbook, it does touch on every subject known to man. Even a class devoted to poetry can allow studies of the poetry in the Scriptures. When an assignment is given to write a poem, subjects like heaven, Jesus, and Christian friends will work well.
Unreached People Groups on Campus
People groups come in all kinds of shapes and sizes on your campus, and very campus has them. These groups are not necessarily cliques, but they are sociologically classified as a culture within the youth culture on campus. Some of these people groups are: Jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, geeks, skaters, head-bangers, surfers, ropers, hackers, preppies, and neo-hippies. Each of these people groups is a mission field within the mission field of the campus. They represent students struggling for identity and survival on campus by seeking acceptance by a well-defined group. These students must feel the acceptance of Christian students on campus. In fact, within these groups there may already be committed Christians who feel accepted by them. Christians within these groups may merely need encouragement to reach out to their peer group with the love of Christ. They would make excellent SWAT team members.
One of the most effective ways to witness is to let non-Christians see believers meeting together, relating to one another and to the Lord. The student meeting on campus provides this opportunity. If possible, have meetings on campus. Invite your friends, whether Christian or non-Christian. Many will see something there that they are missing and will want to know Christ. Acts 2:42-47 talks about this very thing happening in the lives of the Early Church members. Most high schools have several assemblies a year. They usually have money budgeted for this very purpose. As you develop a relationship the principal, you may be able to suggest singing groups, films, drama groups, or speakers that would do well on campus. Often the Student Council would welcome a youth leader to do a session on effective leadership for them.
There are a number of outstanding possibilities for each student who is involved in extracurricular activities. Through most of these activities, there is a real possibility to use your leadership in a way that will really help the cause of Christ. Many campus ministry members are becoming involved in the school newspaper, the yearbook, and student government, and are using their voices and influence in those positions. There are a number of other possibilities in athletics, National Honor Society, chess club, photography club, etc.
Some schools have had a week-long “blitz” on the campus. Jesus Week may feature several activities including a school assembly, literature distribution, posters, a “Fifth Quarter,” etc. One principal even worked with a group to set up a Jesus Week in which there were five voluntary assemblies one week.
Questionnaires can create spiritual awareness and interest. They may be done as a project in which you mobilize the entire student group or just get interested Christians to conduct questionnaires. In order to discover students who are interested in receiving the gospel, ask questions like:
- Do you ever feel lonely even though you are in a crowd?
- Do you ever feel guilty about things you have done in your past?
- Do you ever wonder what your purpose is in life?
- If a way of life existed that would help you answer these questions, would you be interested in knowing about it?
Questionnaires use one important lesson in witnessing; people love their own opinions. People are not too interested in what you have to say, but they love to hear themselves talk and be able to express their thoughts to others. If you will take time to listen to them, they will often take time to listen to you. Anyone who listens to them has a good chance of being their friend. So, the art of asking questions can be a great place to begin your witnessing encounter.
The most unpopular thing for a teenager to do after a football or basketball game is to go home. Nobody does it. Everybody goes somewhere. This is a great time for your Youth Alive group to sponsor a big get-together for everyone. You may want to have it at a church or at some “neutral” site such as a roller rink or a hayride location. You may also want to provide free pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, etc. Often, people in the church will be willing to help pay for the costs of an evening like this. Following a long period of games and recreation, everyone should be invited to stay for a film, musical entertainment, speaker, etc.
The key to making this night a success is getting the word out. Nothing works better than “word of mouth,” but do not overlook posters, newspaper ads, school announcements, etc. Many schools have seen over half the student body show up for events like this. For many campus ministries, this has proven to be the greatest evangelistic outreach that they have as a group.
Every group has its share of highly intelligent students. By forming a tutor service utilizing these students, the campus group receives good comments from faculty and students alike.
Teacher Appreciation Week
Unfortunately, teachers are seldom in the limelight unless they have failed or are retiring. Student groups can help overcome this deficit. Doughnuts could be provided for faculty each day in the lounge. A luncheon in the cafeteria or an all-school assembly should be held in honor of the teachers. Skits, awards, and a special speaker who works with youth (that’s right, the youth leader!) should all take part.
National Christian T-Shirt Day
Eleven days before Easter (on a Wednesday), Christian students across America are encouraged to wear a Christian T-shirt to school. This will increase awareness and curiosity about Jesus. It will also serve as a reminder of what Easter is all about. Christian students can take advantage of this opportunity and invite their friends to church on Easter Sunday to hear a clear presentation of who Jesus is.
See You At The Pole Prayer Meeting
At the beginning of each school year, Christian students across America join together for an annual prayer meeting. Well over a million students participate each year. The event is usually held the third Wednesday in September. Get together with other Christians from your campus to pray for your school and others.
Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week
Make the campus aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. This will encourage kids to take a stand for what they believe is right. These are teens addressing and solving teen problems. It will also give a chance to testify why they do not need these to have a fulfilled life. It will open the door for them to reveal what Jesus has done in their lives.
Citywide Fun Activity
Your campus ministry could sponsor citywide activities that would give kids an opportunity to have good clean fun and create a release from boredom. These activities can become a tool for future evangelism.
In a 1990 Gallup poll, teens were asked: “Who influences your decisions most of the time?” Eighty-seven percent say their friends influenced their decisions, which was 36 percent higher than their parents. Nine out of 10 young people feel the affects of peer pressure and 80 percent of the time they give into it. With this in mind, Christians involved in a campus ministry can create a positive peer pressure at school through meaningful friendships with other students. The art of peer counseling is to be a good listener and a good student of the Bible, which is full of wisdom for anyone facing difficulties in life.
What outreach could you and your friends participate in effectively now?
How will you accomplish this?