Who are the least connected, most excited (and nervous) and most open to the gospel each year at your school? Generally, with very few exceptions, it is the freshmen. Think about it: the new freshmen are now in the largest pool of schoolmates of their school experience. This can be the most difficult time emotionally or physically – new braces, beginning dating and all that comes with high school. Statistically, the older we get the less interested we are in responding to Christ. All of this leads to the importance of creating the most contact with as many freshmen as you can at the earliest part of the school year.
Now that I have your attention, it is critical for us to come up with a plan to make it happen! We can be well on the road to impacting the school if we do a good job of engaging as much of the freshman class as we can in the first month of their high school experience. So take some time to think through your goals and unique positioning with this group. Here are a few questions to aid you in your evaluation.
What are we trying to accomplish at this point in the year? How can we help the freshmen feel like they belong? What do we have to offer them? What do they most need? What could entice them to come and get it? How can we develop trust with them? How can we move beyond a simple sales pitch to a relationship?
Next we want to determine our best path for getting in front of them. A Kick-off event might work well in your community, here are some we have seen work in the past.
Frosh kits – There is nothing better than free. Put together a gift of interest to incoming freshmen. Pass them out to the freshmen class and make their day! Cru has already done most of the shopping for you, check this site out to see which items you might wish to purchase for your Frosh kit. Talk with Jane Stump, Cru staff, and she will help you purchase them!
Grand prize drawing – At an event you plan, give away an item that would be of interest to students iPhone or a tablet, free pizza party for a school club or team sport or something else you think appealing). Ask the students who attend to fill out a comment card at the end of the content from your meeting, and randomly select the winner from the entrants.
50 foot banana split – purchase, rent or borrow 5 sections of guttering. Line it with aluminum foil and fill it with ice cream and banana split items. After your meeting content, provide each student with a spoon and bowl and dish them up a portion. Details provided on our Future Freshmen Outreach
Frisbee Golf event or Ultimate Frisbee game – choose sides and play for fun or prizes. Make sure the freshmen are connecting and enjoying themselves. This relational event will make it much easier to invite them to a more ministry focused meeting later.
You might be able to use a couple of these ideas together in your kick-off event. The bottom line is we want to meet freshmen early and create a situation that will bless them. Whether you share Christ in that first event or not, we want to make sure that eventually we introduce the gospel to them. If we can help you create a ministry of evangelism and discipleship with students at your school, please contact us at The Coaching Center.