What do we do after we’ve begun? This week, I’m discussing ways you can use early weeks of the semester to maximize your ministry’s impact. For the rationale, read the intro post; for the whole What You Do in Week Two series, click here.

observe the actual first impressions

WEEK 1 of your campus ministry’s “front door”: You were a little frantic, a little stressed, and in last-minute-detail mode. Your hospitality team of students had been assembled, so it was their job to welcome all the newbies.

WEEK 2: Now, spend some time purposely observing your ministry’s actual first impressions. If you can, do the same walk-up to your ministry that guests will – across campus, through a building, down a long hallway, whatever. Looking through a new student’s lens, what do you notice?

  • Are there students or volunteers out in front, ready to greet?
  • Is there a “way in,” or is everybody clumped up and talking to each other, making it seem like everybody’s already friends (and therefore not interested in befriending a new person)?
  • Is it actually easy to find your group? How’s the signage?
  • What do you hear as you approach?
  • If you’re an extroverted student, do you feel like you could fit in here?
  • If you’re an introverted student, do you feel like you could fit in here?
  • Is information on the ministry readily accessible?
  • Is the ministry’s first impression even attractive to an outsider?
  • What else do you see?

Don’t think about what the ministry or greeters are trying to do; think about what new students – especially scared ones – might think.

find out where new people came from

WEEK 1: You were lucky even to meet (or hear about) the visitors who came to your Large Group, small groups, or a first-week event.

WEEK 2: Now’s the time not only to start meeting new people, but to find out how they discovered your ministry. Remember, it makes sense to maximize the forms of advertising and recruitment that are already proving to work best.

  • Did the lawn signs get them there? Print 50 more.
  • Was it mostly word-of-mouth? Send an email out to all your longtime students to encourage them to keep it up.
  • Did an early event draw their attention? If you can, tie later recruitment to that event. (“If you loved our snowball fight, you should see what we do every week!”)
  • Was it Facebook Check-Ins? Keep pushing that and other social media avenues.

I think you get the picture. The point is, your recruitment’s returns are diminishing as the semester moves along. So the more quickly you can maximize what’s working, the better. Find out what’s actually, specifically working, and then put more eggs in that basket.

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