I've enjoyed reading and listening to some material on how American uni ministries have made the most of new contacts in the first few weeks of the uni year – it comes from the blog of a guy named Tim Casteel:

Some things that stood out to me because they differend in various ways from how we've done things here:

  1. Involve lots of local church people to volunteer to help increase your O Week workforce
  2. Have LIVE data entry – so that some people are plugging in details at the same moment that others are making contacts.
  3. Chase a new contact SEVEN times, over the course of a week before giving up.
  4. Hold social nights on campus each night you do contacting during the day – so there is something to invite people to straight away – with free pizza, brief explanation about the Christian group, a testimony etc.
  5. Invite people BACK to the place where you held the social night the following week – and run first year small groups in that context for the first few weeks of semester.
  6. Aim to meet with every new contact face to face in the first few weeks of semester.
  7. Have multiple contact tables all over the campus.
  8. Create a really festive 'party' fun vibe for students and staff who are doing the immediate phone/SMS/email follow up of new contacts.
  9. The role of the staff is especially to go between all the teams and boost morale – reminding them why it's worth it.
  10. Use a brief, simple survey of people's 'Spiritual interest' so that you get Christians, non-Christians, interested and non-interested to fill them out.
  11. Ask 'Would you like to join a group?' and give options Yes, No and Maybe so students don't have to commit then and there.
  12. Have little incentives for people to fill out the surveys – something decently attractive and free!
  13. Ask those who fill out each form to write their name on it afterwards, too.
  14. Provide free snacks and drinks for all those doing the work, during the day.

Mikey Lynch is one of the directors of Geneva Push and regularly sharing his thoughts here on this Christian Reflections blog.

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