For most college ministries our large groups swell in size with many new visitors at the beginning of each semester!
Unfortunately, usually in a few weeks that number splits in half. This happens for a many reasons, but one reason is that many of us don’t have good systems to follow up new students.
One tool that we have used to help connect new students with Jesus and with our group is called a “Connection Meeting.” (Click the link to see the sheet we use for it.)
The goal for our ministry is to meet personally for a connection meeting with EVERY new person!
We believe that in this ministry principle,
“The more personal, the more powerful.”
We have discovered that no matter how awesome your large group is, people probably won’t come back unless they have connected with someone personally.
Over the years our ministry has seen around 100 people receive Christ and the vast majority has been in meetings similar to the one I will describe. Here’s how to do it!
Get The Meeting
At your large group or info table get the persons contact info and text them something like this,
“Hey Joe it’s David with Challenge, thanks for coming last night! Want to get lunch or coffee tomorrow or thurs and I could tell you more about what Challenge is all about?”
You can also ask them in person and confirm via text. Be sure and remind them about the meeting the day of! They are college students after all!
Connect With Them
Obviously, an important part of a connection meeting is CONNECTING! Pretty much every leadership guru says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Ask them about their hobbies, interests and background with God. You can ask,
“Growing up did you go to church or anything like that?”
Connect Them To Jesus
Once the topic of God has come up you can say,
“I wanted to tell you more about Challenge, and the most important thing we emphasize is how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I have a sheet that explains more about that. Do you want to read it together?”
On the first page of the sheet there is a very clear gospel presentation that gives them an opportunity to receive Christ.
It is amazing! When we actually share the gospel people actually get saved!
Some people will already be Christians and that’s okay. Many of them need to be reminded about the truth of the gospel and what it means to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.
Connect Them With Your Ministry
The second page of the sheet is where the “Connection Meeting” is different from the “Gospel Appointment.” On this page, we explain the Biblical reasons for community and briefly explain all the ways they can connect with our ministry. We ask them which of the opportunities they can commit to being a part of.
Clearly explaining what our ministry does helps the student decide if they are going to plug in. At the end of the sheet we explain baptism and the importance of Bible study as well.
One reason this tool is effective is because anyone who can read can do it!
It is heartbreaking that so many of our ministries spend so much time gathering crowds, but are not intentional about getting to know the people! I believe that the ministries that start using “Connection Meetings” will start seeing more people stick to their ministries and more people coming to Christ, and become disciples who make disciples! That’s what it’s all about right?
My brother Paul Worcester has written serval very helpful articles about a similar tool called “Gospel Appointments.” Read those for more advice on how to make these types of meetings successful!