Posters, flyers, surveys, rent a blimp if you need to, but use every avenue of promotion available to make your ministry as visible as possible in the first few weeks on campus.
No, publicity is probably not going to get a hardened atheist to show up at your meeting but it will alert any and all Christians on campus and perhaps those spiritually open or questioning.
What follows is an article describing some of the many venues and promotional options available for getting the word out about your ministry.
In the Meetings and Small Groups section of this site you’ll find a wide assortment of promotional materials for your ministry, Small Groups, and Weekly Meeting.
As you seek to plant a ministry on campus it’s best not to think in such broad terms. A ministry is your goal but the building block of that goal is getting a Small Group started. A Small Group that seeks to Win people to Christ, Build them up in their faith, and Train them in the ministry is in fact a ministry—albeit a small one.
And so the most critical, and most difficult, phase of planting a ministry is gathering enough interested people to launch a Small Group. You’re in search of the critical mass neccessary to start a spiritual chain reaction on campus. The primary audience for finding this critical mass, are the Christians who are already on campus. The challenge is finding them.
Introvert or Extrovert – it doesn’t matter. In this phase of planting the ministry your posture needs to be that of an Energetic Undaunted Entrepreneur. An EUE – that’s you.
Your goal: Initiate! Initiate! Initiate! And cast vision for a spiritual movement with everyone you meet who’s remotely related to the campus. Network through contacts to find a potential Small Group facilitator. There seem to be four basic categories of discovery tools: face to face, online, advertising, and general networking. Always ask people, “do you know someone who might want to hear about this new spiritual movement?”
As you choose discovery methods be careful to choose methods that are economical in terms of your most valuable resource – your time. And, try very hard not to work alone on campus. It is often emotionally exhausting and you’re wasting a great opportunity to build relationships and skills into future leaders.
1. Facebook – 90% of our students are on this social networking site. It is very likely that the key leaders you are hoping to meet are there too.
2. Viral Emails – enter the wonderful world of writing forwardable emails. Cast a short compelling vision about the new spiritual movement and STRONGLY URGE Christians to forward it on to 5 of their friends who might be even vaguely interested. You’ll feel dirty afterwards, but it works.
3. Prayer Update Emails - send twice a week to your yahoogroup with updates and requests. Only run it for a short time - 5 weeks. The email should be short – less than 5 lines, have color text, and be positive, visionary, and a little christianeezy
1. Targeted Posters - Post posters targeted toward the specific movement with an opportunity to respond specifically to your yahoogroup or to you.
2. Guerilla Marketing – Poster on a stick, business card pocket posters, banners advertising a party, networking plus phone bank of volunteers, chalk stencils, poster on balloons, postcards with vision and info. As soon as you have any interested people ask them to go post up 5-10 posters. When they’ve done that, give them more.
3. Big Banners - With paper ads, there’s nothing better than a butcher paper banner. Make em simple advertising a free lunch in a public area like the cafeteria. You probably dont need to bother getting them authorized.
1. Go To Gathering Points and Introduce Yourself – Go on campus, ask people in the social network if they know someone who might be interested in seeing a Christian outreach group started. (including any ethnic studies center).This can be scary at first, but a lot of fun after you break through. It helps to take a survey along.
2. Table – Have a table on campus for Club Rush or for any good reason! Even hitchhike onto a big campus event.
3. Surveys – As you are doing evangelism on campus, ask the non-Christians you meet what Christians they know on campus who would be interested in an outreach group.
4. Visit a Local Church – Make an announcement in the college or young adult class about the new movement.
1. Through Existing Movement – Ask an existing movement on campus if any of them know people who would have a heart to launch the new movement.
2. Through Churches – Call 5 nearby churches and ask if there are students / lay people who have a heart to see something happen. Then call them up.
3. Survey Classes/Clubs – Talk with classes / clubs on campus to find interested people.
4. Network Through Involved Students – Ask students involved on other campuses who they know where you are.
5. Network Through ASO – Network with the Associated Students Organization
6. Network To Professors Through Department Secretaries – Contact 5 Department secretaries to find Christian faculty who know Christian students. A great tried-and-true Cru option is to make a classroom announcement in a Religious Studies class and pass out www.quickipodsurvey.com surveys. Many of the kids in there grew up going to church and are trying to figure out their faith.
Now, from the pool of contacts and relationships that God has provided through all of your networking, you need to attempt to launch a first Small Group meeting.
Out of those who seemed to be most interested see if you can find a time where everyone can meet – if not – when most everyone can meet.
Set the date, pray, show up, and see what God does. That’s it. Your next step will be determined by who and by how many turn out to this first meeting.
Chip Scivicque, Ron Sanders, and Jay Lorenzen discuss how to build movements characterized by passionate gospel proclamation and compassionate gospel demonstration.
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