How to Gather Students

Have you ever been in a club that was trying to recruit new members? You may have had a party and invited other students to come check out your club, or you may have had a sign-up table at a student event. Gathering students to your ministry is like this. You want to meet students, let them know about your ministry, and get them involved. This can be really fun. You can be as creative as you want to be. Gathering lets you find a group of students who want to grow in Christ and reach others with His love and forgiveness. As long as you keep gathering new students into your ministry, it will continue to grow and reach more and more students for Christ.

There are four basic action steps that will be your guide as you seek to gather students: pray, meet students, share Christ, and then evaluate.


Your best preparation for gathering students is seeking God. Get some friends together and pray for direction for your gathering plans. Ask God to show you the best way to do it. Pray for students to come to Christ, specifically pray for students you know. Ask God to introduce you to students you would not normally have contact with and ones whom He has already made hungry for truth.

Meet Students

You cannot gather students without meeting them. There is no right way to gather students, but here are some principles that you should keep in mind as you attempt to meet students:

The Key Is Relationships
The key to gathering students is relationships. Go out of your way to meet people and get to know them. People are starved for others who care about them. The more people you meet, the more of a chance they will be involved in your campus ministry.

Go to the Campus
When it comes to meeting students, we often use the phrase, “When in doubt, go to the campus.” This means get to campus events as often as you can. Go to sporting events and band concerts. Look for opportunities to hang out after school and meet students you do not know. If you cannot get on campus, find out where kids hang out after school and go there. Being there is half the battle in meeting new students.

Meet People through Other Students
Your best connections might just be friends of your existing students. Ask your students whom they know who might be interested in getting involved with Cru or growing spiritually. Invite and connect with those students.

Follow-up Comment Cards
Whether you have comment cards from an outreach you did or a club table you set up, follow up those names soon after you get them. If a student expresses an interest on a card, do not let that card sit for two weeks before you connect with them. Text them or reach out by social media within 24 hours and see how they want to be involved. If they are interested, meet up and tell them more about how they can be involved in your ministry.

Try Different Things
There are several ways you can create opportunities to talk to students. Host a table at a school fair for student clubs. Make it fun with candy or a game. Have students write down their contact information on a sheet so you can contact them later [Link to “How to Set Up a Personal Appointment”]. If you have an Instagram or Twitter account for the ministry, make sure the students know how to follow you so they can check out the ministry on their own.

Ask Good Questions
Being strategic about your specific campus can be helpful. Every campus is different so think through these questions about your campus:

  • Whom do I know that might attend an event because I ask them?
  • Whom do I already know that might want to invite a friend to get involved?
  • Who are some of the leaders on campus, and how can we get them involved?
  • What would make these people feel comfortable (welcome) in our ministry?

The key to gathering students is relationships.

Share Christ

While we seek to help students build relationships with each other and become healthy adults, we know that a personal relationship with Jesus is what truly changes a person’s life. Look for opportunities to talk about Jesus when appropriate. Your ministry should be known for being a place where people can have loving, non-judgmental conversations about God. Take the first good opportunity to share your faith in these relationships.

As you share Jesus and people respond, help them connect to a small group of other students who are studying the Bible and growing in their faith. Many people will not respond the way you would like, but will still be interested in learning more about Cru. Help them stay connected with texts or social media so they can continue to be involved at their own pace.

There are many tools that can help you share Christ and everyone has their own favorite one. Check out some of our digital tools that can help you share your faith using the phone in your pocket. Choose one and become familiar with it. Use it often and train students how to use the tool(s).


It is wise to evaluate your progress. If involving new students in your ministry is foundational for success, then you should measure whether you are accomplishing that goal. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Are new students becoming involved in our activities? In discipleship groups? In leadership?
    • Am I building relationships with new students regularly? If not, why not?
    • Is the entire campus being represented in our ministry? If not, why not?
    • What changes are needed?
    • What is needed to increase the desire of the students to gather other students?

Gathering new students in the ministry is one of the most important parts of your campus ministry. It takes planning to make sure it is taking place. Pray, develop your plan, and go for it!

Next Step

Talk to a student you know and decide on a plan to creatively gather students. A fun outreach might be just the thing. For help in considering the details, 8 Questions to Ask before your Next Outreach will be helpful.

8 Questions to Ask before your Next Outreach


Cru Promo Videos

It was once said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, if that’s true, a video is worth a million. As we talk about Cru with students, administration, donors, volunteers, parents, and others, having a video can sometimes help them get the feel of what we do.

Below you’ll find a few videos that do just that. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, check our YouTube channels at Cru High School and Gotothecampus. If we’ve got it, it’ll be there.

Cru Promo Video – 3 Minute Version

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Cru Promo Video – 1 Minute Version

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Cru Promo Video – 1 Minute Version (vertical)

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