six itty bitty ways to energize evangelism

Evangelism is one of the topics that college ministers think about – even worry about – the most. And there are certainly comprehensive or structural approaches to college ministry evangelism worth considering: evangelistic special events, regular evangelistic activities, evangelistic small groups, teaching regularly on evangelism, starting an Outreach ministry team, putting a heavy evangelistic emphasis in your “front door,” and so on.

BUT, some of the “moves” that will most help your college ministry be more evangelistic may be much more simple. Here are some of those small ideas that could increase a college ministry’s evangelistic oomph:

1. Count conversions. Each week or each month, take a moment to register how many people came to Christ. This might be something you talk about among your student leaders, or even with fellow college ministers on that campus. [Somebody made a great comment on this one – be sure to check out the comments for some clarification here.]

2. Commemorate spiritual birthdays (the first one and later ones). If we believe that there really was a moment in every Christian’s life when he or she went from death to life, then that’s a big deal! So yes, celebrate when people come to Christ, but it’s also quite fitting to celebrate the date people came to Christ – last year or last decade! [See several ideas for doing this here!]

3. Share testimonies of witnessing (whether conversion results or not).

4. Share testimonies of being witnessed to (by those who have now met Christ).

5. Make it clear that non-Christians are welcome at your meeting. Saying that might be good; making specific references that make non-Christians feel at home within the context of your worship, message, etc., is even better.

6. Make baptism a big deal. Even if your ministry leaves it to a church to baptize (some do, some don’t), you can still watch the video. Or do as some do, and go baptize in the campus fountain. Whatever the case, baptism is a big deal.

Many of these simple methods connect with the idea that you will cultivate what you honor. While we honor God for converting people, we also honor people for being used in that process AND “honor” the process of conversion itself. As we do, we’re cultivating a campus ministry in which conversion matters… and, by extension, sharing our faith is a community-celebrated activity.

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5 Comments

  1. Cary

    Benson – absolutely love your blog and think it is one of the richest resources of great insights to campus ministry that exists.

    I agree with each one of these moves except for number one. Keeping running counts of conversions is one of the best ways to try to get your ministry and leadership ahead of God’s work. Yes, we must desire for people to come to Christ through the mission of your ministry. But it may look like this: maybe God delivers 24 converted hearts in a given year. In another year, he may give 2, 1, or none. But this alone does not speak to the effectiveness of the ministry’s work that year. The counting game simply does not measure of the work of God in a ministry. It’s artificial. Numbers should never be the goal – faithfulness to the mission of developing disciples should be. Should God bring along converts in the midst of that, much like he did with our ministry last year, then all praises to Him. We always look for the opportunities to bring people into the Kingdom, but we don’t measure ourselves by the quantity that come.

    Keep up the outstanding blog! I am encouraged by and learn much from it.

  2. Thanks for that, Cary (and for the encouragement)! I honestly do appreciate the chance to clarify – because I actually generally agree with you. (In fact, at the conference last week, I specifically noted that a certain number of conversions is a BAD goal for a college ministry to set, for the very reason you indicated: We can’t cause that goal to be reached.)

    Here’s the difference in what I meant in the post versus what you (very naturally) inferred: I’m not encouraging counting conversions here as a measure of effectiveness (but see below). Here, I meant reporting conversions as measures of fruitfulness – like what Luke does throughout Acts, listing numbers or quantities (“whole household”) as a way of, like you said, praising God.

    Measuring something – anything – is one way to “honor” that something, like I talked about at the end of the post. If you’re constantly recognizing the conversions that take place (ANY conversions that take place), it will keep that hope in front of the ministry. And when that hope is kept in front of the ministry, its members are more likely to engage in things that help bring that hope to fruition.

    I do believe that seeing people come to Christ is one thing worth noticing as we evaluate our own ministries, though. It’s valuable to weigh, not as a legalistic evaluation tool that, like you said, gets ahead of what God actually desires, but as simply something to notice along with numerous other things. As we weigh those things, we may realize that our evangelistic efforts have been less than ideal; we may instead discern that our evangelism is where it needs to be (despite few or no conversions). What you said is certainly true: Numerous conversions or few (or no) conversions are not in-and-of-themselves identifiers of a ministry’s effectiveness.

  3. Cary

    Thanks for the clarification. I can get on board with that.

    I especially like your #2 suggestion. I’m going to think a lot more about that now.

  4. Pingback: celebrating the new creation « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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