Sharing the gospel on campus is always a scary thought, but every time I’ve taken someone out sharing they have said to me, “This is easy! People want to talk!” What are we doing that is making this so easy?
First, let me clarify what Initiative Evangelism is and isn’t.
It is: Following the example of Jesus (John 4:1-26) and the apostles (Acts 8:26-40) to take the initiative in approaching people with spiritual conversations.
It is not: Always the best or only form of evangelism in every situation. Friendship Evangelism (witnessing to friends, family and coworkers over time – John 4:28-30) can be move powerful because your steady relationship with them has given you permission to speak into each other’s lives. Body Evangelism (people seeing the gospel lived out as part of the church body, or hearing the gospel at an altar call or outreach event – Acts 2) can also be a powerful tool for the Lord.
Now then, Initiative Evangelism is actually very simple (though there is an art you can grow in as far as listening and responding with love).
Tools: Some people can wing it well, but we’ve found that bringing a stack of surveys and Knowing God Personally Booklets (along with blank sheets of paper, a pen) brings about the most encouraging results.
Where: Simply head out onto campus or a place where people are relaxed (in pairs is best). Don’t forget to get your own hearts in the right place and pray for those you will meet and for the words to say (much more important than anything you’ll learn here – Luke 12:12).
Greet: Ask people, “excuse me, do you have a minute to help us with something?” When they look at you, identify yourself and your goal. “We’re part of a Christian club on campus, and I’ve been asked to do a quick survey on what people think about stuff. It’s just 5 questions and would really be a help to us. Would you mind?”
Survey: Introduce yourself and write their name at the top of the survey. Don’t hand it to them, but ask them the questions. If they’re not in a rush, be curious about their answers without appearing judgmental. It’s okay to laugh about the awkwardness of the survey questions and let he conversation become natural, but at the same time honor their time and move deliberately through the questions. Here’s a video about that.
Gospel: Let them know that the survey has ended and thank them for their openness. If they’re not Christians but answered with a high desire to know God or seem to be enjoying the conversation without the need to rush off, say something like “if you have to go, I understand, but I noticed your interest in knowing God. Would it be alright if I shared this booklet with you on how the Bible says you can have a personal relationship with God?”
If they decline, hand them the booklet writing “EveryStudent.com” and your email on it and offer to connect anytime if they have questions. If they accept, though, take turns with them reading aloud the various parts and asking clarifying questions to make sure they are tracking with you. Be sure to ask the questions underneath the two circles in Part 4. If they want to move from the left to the right circle, offer to pray with them right away! If they decline, give them the booklet and text them your info, offering to continue the conversation after they’ve had a few days to consider. If they pray with you right then, do a little dance! Explain how the Bible says there’s a party in heaven for them happening right now (Luke 15:8-10) and be sure to exchange contact info, invite them to be a part of your Christian community and set up a time where you can show them more about what walking with the Lord looks like (discipleship).
Already a Christian?: Explain that your Christian club is part of a global missions organization called Cru and ask if they’d like to take a few minutes to hear about the mission of Cru on their campus. If they decline, exchange contact info and offer to invite them to hang out with the group or be a part of the next fun event. If they accept, though, pull out a blank sheet of paper and take them through the Key Volunteer Challenge.
That’s about everything! It may seem daunting, but it’s actually easy to get started. Keep at it, though, because you’ll be growing in this for a lifetime. Remember, we are 100% successful if the Lord is on the throne of our hearts, we’re sharing the truth in love and we leave the results to God.