What Will be Happening this Fall?
We're two weeks out from what is typically our craziest week of the school year: fall semester welcome week. This is when campuses usually throw big events to welcome the incoming freshman, and welcome back students who have gone away for the summer. Obviously, this is prime time for a ministry to be on campus to be visible and engaging with the new students. So many of the people we have throughout the year come from us meeting them during welcome week. This year, things are going to look different. So as you support campus ministry faithfully, let me tell you what we're going to be doing this year to still be faithful on our end to minister to college students.
Outreach: Reaching out and meeting new students is a vital part of our ministry, and because of COVID, the way in which we do that is going to have to look different. Not all of the students that normally attend classes are going to be in person on campus, so we can't expect to rely on holding in person campus events that attract students walking by, not to mention the health and safety issues of holding those events. So, we're looking a lot this year towards our student leaders engaging their classmates in their classes in order to meet them, and doing socially distanced conversations on campus with the people who are attending in person to meet them and invite them into community. This is going to be a trying year for outreach I think, but also could be really fruitful. I have little doubt that many of the students we'll interact with in the student's classes or on campus will be experiencing a degree of loneliness and isolation that they wouldn't normally. Pray that this unique time will actually be an opportunity to share Jesus and menaingful relationships with those students! We're also going to be trying to use social media as a way to meet new people.
What are we inviting them into though? What is the ministry actually going to look like?
We're moving to a model of ministry for this time that we think is safe and hopefully still effective. We won't be able to have the 100+ people we normally have every week for worship and teaching. But we will still have our core small groups and our 1-1 discipleship. Cores are going to be smaller sized this year so that people can still meet in person and socially distance and wear masks while doing so. This wouldn't work with a large group, it would be hard to hear each other, but in groups of about 5, they can still engage in reading scripture, discussing their walk with Jesus, and living a Biblical life of accountability. Of course, 1-1 ministry can still work in this model too. Thankfully, our ministry model has always been much more focused on these small groups and 1-1's than the large group, (as important as that is) so we're prayerfully still expecting a fruitful year and God to be working through all of this.
Please pray for this time. Pray for us to be able to find ways to still connect with and bring in new students. Pray for these small groups and 1-1's, that they would be vibrant and life giving and inspiring faithfulness despite the challenges we are dealing with. We've never done this before, so pray for wisdom as our pastoral staff team seeks to lead this new chapter well. We need God's guidance and your prayer and support, so thank you for being a part of this.
Yours on the campus,