How likely is it you would recommend your XA to a new college student?
We need to see XA in the eyes of incoming students, especially first-year students and transfer students. One person in speaking of comparisons, explained that “the competition is anyone the customer (in this case, the college student) compares you with.” New students are looking for relationships and a group to belong to. They are seeking the truth. Students want to know what life is all about. They desire to have a meaningful campus experience.
What does XA offer students? What do leaders and XA students need to know and do to attract fellow students to XA?
Here’s three questions you might consider when planning XA meetings:
Will my friend feel welcomed? The atmosphere, nomenclature, and style of meeting should invite and not intimidate college students. Students without a faith experience may not understand your Christian vocabulary or may not understand your worship style. Do some up front explaining when you speak and worship. Create an environment where it is safe to ask questions.
Will my friend fit in. Understand the differences between three things–absolutes, cultural differences, and preferences. Appreciate diversity. Respect the spiritual journey of every person in the room.
Will my friend get something out of this? Trust the Holy Spirit to lead people into the lifestyle changes they need to make. Can everything that happens in the gathering be explained through Scripture?
Michael F. Gleason in When God Walked On Campus challenges students and campus leaders to “imagine that an outsider requested to spend several months at your college or university [campus ministry] to evaluate the school (ministry) based upon the criteria outlined below.” He proposed that the Christian students and fellowship group rate on a scale of 1–5 (one being poor, 5 being outstanding) in the following categories. To what extent have we as students and as a campus group.
- practiced disciplined, sustained prayer
- responded to conviction and earnest in confession
- studied, practiced and when applicable, shared the Scriptures
- represented a strong student involvement within the meetings and related ministries
- engaged in service through short-term and vocational missions/ ministry
- cultivated an inter-denominational focus
When we grow in these spiritual dimensions as students and as a campus ministry, we will be the people of God—a community that attracts students. Creating a welcoming, loving, and spiritual gathering is a powerful way to draw students to Jesus. As we look back over the school year, ask ourselves, have we reached new students, met the worship and fellowship needs, deliberately proclaimed the good news in a variety of venues, and discipled students, who have begun to disciple other students?
Photos from Washington State U XA E-letter.