Today’s my spiritual birthday. It’s always a neat day to remember what Christ has done in my life (both before and after I acknowledged it!). I realize theologies differ on exactly when conversion happens, but as best I can figure, it was on August 25th many years ago that I entered a personal relationship with God through Jesus.
In light of my own lil’ holiday AND as you face a new school year, I wanted to repost one of six ways I suggested we could energize evangelism in our campus ministries:
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 the other five suggestions here.)
I later expanded on this idea (including 12 ways to accomplish this celebration!):
In my family, my parents would treat my spiritual birthday (like my sister’s) like another holiday in our year. So every August 25th, I’d get a card and a congrats. Later on, I have often taken that day as a special day to seek the Lord, review His work in my life over the past year, and celebrate His salvation.
I s’pose our attention on “spiritual birthdays” as a family made me think about celebrating them within my first college ministry experience. So as I made the info forms for our Upstream Freshman Bible Study group, I (1) put a “Spiritual Birthday” line on those forms. (I either did it then or later, in my second Freshman Bible study. Either way…)
Not only did that provide a helpful gauge for whether or not people claimed to be Christians, but it gave us something to celebrate within the year! This is a very easy way to get this info; you could, of course, (2) simply ask individuals you’re discipling. Or perhaps you could (3) encourage your students to put it on their Facebook pages – that could actually be a phenomenal witness, couldn’t it?
Then what do we do with the info? Honestly, whatever you do for physical birthdays could probably be done for spiritual birthdays, too: Perhaps (4) an announcement, (5) birthday treats or a cake, (6) listing it in the weekly email, (7) sending a Facebook message, (8) putting it in the “program,” (9) giving a little present in Large Group.
You might consider (10) something special for the first anniversary of people’s conversions, too. That highlights students coming to Christ at this age, and I bet it’s pretty encouraging for those newer believers.
And for everybody, you might indeed (11) encourage them to make that day a personal spiritual holiday. Take it from me, that can be pretty awesome.
Lastly, it’s important to (12) realize that not all Christian students will know their spiritual birthdays. So we gotta work that in somehow. You can find some thoughts on doing that here.