As you prepare to go hiking, whether in the Rocky Mountains or through an Amazon jungle, you must first know where you’re headed. Without a map and a compass, your trip is doomed to aimless wandering at best, and death at worst.
As you seek to influence your campus, you will want to make sure you know the campus and its people. Otherwise, you may just run aimlessly from one activity to another without really changing things on your campus at all.
- You must know the basics about your school.
You may think you already know the school very well, but there are some valuable questions you can begin to answer that will help your ministry get started in the right direction:
- Who are some other people who know the school very well? If I didn’t know anything about the school, what would I want to learn?
- What do other people – adults and students – think of the school?
- Who are the most influential students?
- What groups are most influential on the campus?
- These are good starter questions for helping you get oriented to the school.
- Now that you’ve got the basics down, become an expert.
Like a private eye or a reporter in search of a story, dig a little deeper. To truly familiarize yourself with the campus, you need to find out more about the community and the school.
Here are some of the many things you can do to get familiar with the school:
Look through the most recent school yearbook. Notice students who appear often. Look for those in leadership of various groups. Try to use the yearbook to get a general impression of the school.
Next you could look through local newspapers and publications. Ask yourself, “What kind of reputation does the school seem to have? Is it mentioned often? Are the articles positive or negative?”
Also, find out who are the most influential students and teachers. Try to determine the key Christian students on your campus. Seek to meet them as soon as possible and share with them your desire to impact the campus. Meet supportive adults in the community. Talk with teachers, coaches, and administrators. Find out what makes the campus tick. What recurring problems are mentioned? What are the strong traditions?
Attend sporting events, plays, or other performing arts events. These are great ways to get a feel for the school and the student body.
- Finally, start meeting students.
Start with known Christian students, student leaders, and athletes. Your research of the campus will help you decide which students to go to first.
So, get to know the basics about the school; then become an expert on the school; and then you’ll be ready to meet the key students. When you’ve done these initial steps, you can confidently move ahead, trusting God to bring results through your ministry.