“Local youth workers are finding other creative ways to be visible on campus. They are volunteering with a purpose… providing hallway supervision, or working at school activities such as field trips or the annual college fair.” Marshall Snider, Network City Coordinator – Dallas, Oregon
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14 (NIV)
Rather than shouting His message of hope from a distance, Jesus modeled “incarnational” ministry. He came and “pitched His tent” among us. We can and must do the same thing among students within the school environment if we are going to impact them for Christ.
HOW TO BEGIN
Build the Foundation for a BridgeTo penetrate a campus community, prayer must be the foundation of our approach. Through prayer and observation, we can gain insights about a specific school and discern ways He is already working there. Ask Him to send other workers along with you into that specific field of harvest. Pray for a good personal connection with a school staff person who is already an insider on the campus.
Build the Bridge: Know the SchoolKnowing a school’s culture and unique student groups is invaluable for maximum impact. Start by interviewing students from your own ministry. Read the school newspaper and annual yearbook as well as the local section of your community newspaper. Go to sporting events. Start by getting to know school administration and other school gatekeepers. Meet the principal and other school leaders informally at events, games, etc. Ask parents to introduce you.
Cross the Bridge: Begin with Relationships.Campus Alliance does not have a political agenda. The goals are eternal and spiritual in nature. Long-term spiritual fruitfulness will grow out of trust built with school authorities far more than stirring conflict or public confrontation. Start by getting to know school administration and other school gatekeepers. Meet the principal and other school leaders informally at events, games, etc. Ask parents to introduce you. Write a note of encouragement. When appropriate, seek to have a formal appointment. Keep it brief. Communicate your availability to assist with their needs.
Keep the Bridge Open: Serve the SchoolFind a point of need where your interest, effort or experience is needed. You or your local ministry may have the expertise, a facility or the equipment that your school cannot afford but needs. Each school is different, but you might consider coaching, tutoring, using your technical/video/photography skills, support help, and chaperoning of events. The list goes on. Prayerfully brainstorm with other youth leaders and concerned adults about how the body of Christ can serve the schools.
Widen the Bridge: Personal Contact with Student GroupsAs you serve within the school, students will begin to recognize you as an insider. Identify what sports team, music group or student subgroup you are running into most regularly. Learn from the example of Jesus in John 4. as He encountered the woman at the well. Show interest by asking good questions and listening well. Pick up on students’ needs and offer hope. By asking the “5 Ws” (who, what, where, when, and why questions), you can talk to almost any student for 10 minutes or more.
Mobilize Other Adult LeadersYou cannot penetrate every student group by yourself. Recruit and link with other Christian adult youth leaders to find at least one way that they can penetrate the campus as well. Even on a very busy and limited schedule, being at the right place at the right time will open doors for ministry. Try athletic events, evening activities, and other carefully selected opportunities.
Equip and Motivate Your StudentsYou might picture yourself and other adult leaders as the point of a spear going to the campus, and students like the shaft. As you set the pace, model compassion, meet needs, and share the gospel, students will have an example they can follow. Help them shape their own personal plan for evangelism among their friends and others on their campus.