We are mid-way through March, which means that now is a great time to gather your student leaders and begin planning for the fall semester. The most important factor to keep in mind is that the first week of classes in the fall, is the most important week of the entire year. Why is that?
1. Students come to campus with wide open interest in new ideas.
2. Students have not yet committed themselves to any club or activity yet and many are looking to get involved somewhere.
3. Spiritually, the interest seems to be the highest among incoming freshman.
4. Students have not yet had a chance to be impacted by the potentially negative peer pressure and activities that come with campus life.
5. When students get involved in your ministry the first week of classes, a certain percentage them will be involved the rest of the year. That means that you’ll get the highest level of interest and involvement among incoming freshman more then any other time of the year.
6. If you’re the first Christian club to connect with incoming believers, you may have leadership quality students getting involved right away that will have an impact in your ministry all year long.
Bottom line, you want to be ready for the first week of classes and pull out all the stops to meet new students. What can you plan for?
1. A lunch line survey on two or three days of the first week of classes is one of the easiest and most productive ways to meet with and gather the names of interested students. http://www.godsquad.com/pdfs/00000047623.pdf or http://www.godsquad.com/pdfs/00000046044.pdf
2. Plan a big social event and invite everyone on campus to come. Play volleyball, have a band, serve food, have a party or something creative.
3. If you have the existing manpower, offer to help students get settled into the dorms by helping them move their stuff into their rooms.
4. Give away water bottles if the weather is hot and ask students to fill out a survey.
5. Use chalk and write on sidewalks and chalkboards all over campus, when your meetings are being held.
6. Put up banners, posters and flyers all over campus telling people where your meetings are. The first two weeks of classes are the most important because some students may be coming to campus specifically looking for a Christian group. If they see your banner first, they will check you out first.
For more creative ideas and perspectives, check this out: http://godsquad.com/leading/getstarted.htm
What To Be Aware Of
1. Is your status as a recognized club on campus, solid? Do you need to take steps to be sure there are no issues here?
2. Do you have a weekly meeting room reserved for the fall?
3. If you do surveys the first week of classes (highly recommended), do you have the spots reserved on campus? Do you need tables, chairs and have your surveys printed with lots of pencils available?
4. Can you print the banners, posters and flyers now if you have your rooming situation confirmed for the fall?
5. Can you approach a church(s), business or families who may want to help fund your ministry expenses?
6. If you have a big party or social activity the first week of classes, can you reserve anything now?
7. Be sure to reconsider the weekly tip from two weeks ago titled, “The Most Important Thing To Plan For As You Look To Your Fall Term”.
8. Start a Facebook community so students can go there and find all the latest information and announcements for your club.
9. Is there anything else? I’m sure there is – do some brainstorming with your leadership students.
Anyway, you get the picture. Is there absolutely anything you need to be on top of so that when the first week of classes arrive, you’re totally hitting the ground running with no slow downs. Careful planning is the key.
Let’s make the 2011-2012 school year a great year. Go for it!
Talk to you next week,
Ben Rivera/The GodSquad Team