STARTING A STUDENT GROUP

STARTING A STUDENT GROUP

CAMPUS MINISTRY

You can have a campus ministry without a registered student organization. The organization is there in order for the students to use the facilities of the university.  Described below are some basic components of starting a registered student organization. They include leadership, members, filing paperwork with the university, and finding a faculty advisor.

LEADERSHIP

Though the basic requirements for a university usually include a president, vice president, and treasurer; we must remember there are spiritual needs of the group which the university does not take into consideration. Therefore choose people who love Jesus and who are teachable. When beginning a group a common temptation is to just put a name there to meet the universities requirements. Resist this temptation as much as possible. Pray, asking God to move the hearts of the Adventists on campus to accept the call the serve in leadership. Any leader that accepts an officer’s position should see it as a calling. This principle should set the precedents in how future leaders are chosen.  After you have prayed, approach the people individually, sharing the need and purpose of the group. Articulate clearly the position and role they need to fill. Then ask them for a commitment. Below are suggested descriptions for the officer’s responsibilities.

MEMBERS

Each university will have a minimum requirement for membership. One of the best ways to find Adventist is to pray. [not sure if this is appropriate here]

When students were first starting a campus ministry at Eastern Michigan University, they decided to flier campus inviting people to a weekly Bible study. There were only two known Adventist on campus at that time; therefore they were praying that God would lead them to find others. The day they went to flier, they prayed specifically that God would lead them to at least one Adventist. It was nearing the lunch hour, so they decided to flier in one of the main places where students eat. As they walked through one of the students standing tapped on the Adventist shoulder asking their name. The eastern student was an Adventist.

God has a way of sending students to your campus. Pray specifically for students who are laborers (LK 10:3). In addition to prayer you can act upon your prayer.  Universities often have a list of students to identify themselves with a certain religious preference. Under this situation the students would have filled out a questionnaire at orientation. Your local pastor can request this information by giving the university a letter printed on the Adventist letterhead. The letter should state the pastor is a recognized representative of the Adventist Church and request for a list of parishioners, i.e. students who identify themselves as Adventist.  

Another way to find Adventist is to let people know that you are Adventist in a Christ-like way. Students have sat next to fellow Adventist in their classes and not known until one Sabbath they happen to attend the same church. Depending on how your campus receives information, fliers with the name Adventist written on it with your contact information.

In addition to these things, you can visit the local churches in your area. If there are many churches in your area, work with the local churches to plan a special campus ministry focused Sabbath. The purpose would be to galvanize the students and place before them the need for missionaries to reach out to their own campuses. Then call for commitment. As with the leaders, make sure you communicate clearly what they are committing too.

Another really easy way to find Adventist is facebook.  Search for Adventist who attend your university.

UNIVERSITY PAPERWORK

Registering as a student organization is one of the easier steps in campus ministry. On every campus there will be an office that is responsible for all the student organizations on your campus.  The name of the office e will be similar to Dean of Student Affairs or Office of Student Activities.  If you are not able to find the office ask questions.  Asking questions is a really good way to make friends and open the door for divine appointments.  

Once at the office, request for information for starting a student organization.  Some universities may call it a RSO, i.e. registered student organization. The basic requirements for every university is a faculty or staff advisor, minimum number of students (ranging from 2 to 20), and a constitution.  CAMPUS has provided a general constitution. 

Choosing a name for your organization is important. Understanding your purpose will help to choose a name. Some questions to ask are “What will this name tell the campus about God?” “What will this name tell the campus about who we are?” One principle to remember is God has given the name Adventist to us for a reason. The name is to call people to know about His soon coming. Therefore, do not be afraid of identifying yourself as an Adventist, whether in name or in practice.

FACULTY ADVISOR

Finding a faculty or staff advisor will require lots of prayer.  Sometimes there is already an Adventist who is a professor or staff. Even in this case prayerfully consider and seek for God’s leading. Your first choice should be an Adventist, but know that sometimes they Identify professors or staff that you already know.  Often your faithful conduct in classes will grant you favor from the professor. Pray and ask God whom He would have to be the adviser. Then approach them sharing with them what you need. This conversation will be very different then if you were talking to an Adventist. Pray for wisdom and tact. God will help you and touch the person heart. It may take a few try’s before you find the adviser.

The role of the faculty adviser should be just that: adviser. They should be autonomous, but you should keep them informed. The faculty or staff adviser should see you more then when paperwork needs to be signed.

WORKING WITH OTHERS

The Christian groups on smaller campuses tend to be more protective and suspicious of new religious groups.  If you are a smaller campus it will be helpful to contact the other Christian group leaders. The purpose would be to let them know about your group.

Ecumenical efforts on campus are becoming more common. These efforts range from joining all Christian denominations to joining all religious entities. Often these efforts seek for Christians and or religious entities to lay aside that which divide and focus on that which unites. For this reason it is important for Adventist to understand and know how to respond to such requests to join.  

There are at least three principles that will help guide your Adventist group in knowing how to answer such requests.  We are without apology Seventh-day Adventist; therefore any request that would cause us to compromise this distinction must be declined. Prayer groups organized to pray for unity of faith on campus would fall in to this category.  

However, there are other groups and events that do not fall under this category. There are groups or events that exists or the purpose of serving the campus community and its respective spheres. Meaning they seek for representatives from each group in order to minister to that group on campus. In the case of ARC (association of Religious Counselors) at the University of Michigan they have feminist in their association so they can represent the needs of the feminist on campus.

Simply, spend time where it is needed the most. These organization can easily get you side tracked and disillusioned. Prayerfully consider your involvement. The best events are ones that we initiate and plan.

MASSAGE

Not every campus will be able to have a massage ministry. However, there are principles to be learned from setting up such a ministry. This ministry on campus would fall under the category of friendship evangelism. The purpose of the massage is to create an avenue for the University and students to know your ministry cares about the whole person.

The principle is exemplified in how the client is treated from the moment the walk in the door. They need to know they are a priority because you care. Put yourself in their shoes: what information would you need when you come in, what are their needs, how can Jesus meet their needs.  Build a friendship with them, build trust. Some students [not sure if this is the best place]

One girl came to massage faithfully every week. She was quite and never said very much. As the weeks went by she would say a little more but only on the surface.  Then one week she began to share about her family. She shared how her family did not really show affection. As she shared more I realized the reason she came to massage was to be touched by another human being.

Another girl was so touched by the ministry at Christmas time she made a card for all the missionaries with a gift. The message was so touching.

Other students would schedule their week around the massage.  They would ask why are you doing this, our answer was the same, this organization wants to provide something for the campus community. This is when we could share who we are: Seventh-day Adventist.

Though we do not know the end of these stories, they knew we were Adventist and they knew we cared. Prayerfully, every time they see the name Adventist they will remember the care given to them

The ministry is the massage. The massage communicates love and care. Each week builds a greater trust with the student. If you begin to preach the three angles message, Sabbath, or other religious heavy subjects, this communicates that the only reason I am giving you this massage is so I can preach at you.  Some outreaches on campuses need to be purely for their benefit for their good. ‘Christ mingled with men as one that desired their good.’ Let them know you care! If they ask why let them know it is because Jesus cared for you.

 

HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

 HOW TO GET INVOLVED AS A LOCAL CHURCH MEMBER

Adopt a student: At the beginning of the semester, give students a questionnaire with questions including birthday, favorite food, major, graduation year, whether they have transportation, if they are out of state or country, or anything that would help you know their needs. Then have families “adopt” a student.

Provide a meal once a week:  Churches have extended their potluck to every week. This provides a meal for the students, which for some will be the only hot meal.

Invite a student home for lunch: Keeping Sabbath while living on campus is difficult. Therefore, inviting a student to your home can mean a lot. If you are unsure what to talk about, consider reflecting on the message from church, exchanging personal testimonies, family traditions on Sabbath, relationships—how you and your spouse met, etc. Afternoon activities could include a walk, Bible study, or visiting another church member.

Pray for students: Ask a student each Sabbath if there is something they would like prayer for. Then call them during the week to see how things are going and ask them about the prayer request.

Provide snacks: Having snacks at the student weekly meetings can be a nice gesture and help to fill empty tummies. Student schedules are often very demanding and food is usually the last priority.

Involve them in the local church: Although students may be busy, they still have a desire to serve. Give them an opportunity to teach Sabbath school, give the scripture reading, assist or lead out in song service, etc. Some churches have made the campus ministry a department within the local church, allowing the students to serve on the church board. This is a great way to train the college students to be active church members.

Give welcome baskets: At the beginning of the semester, make the students know that they are welcome by recognizing them from the front of the church. Prepare a special welcome basket that might include snacks, travel size things, small devotional book, or anything you think a student might need. On first Sabbath of school beginning, have the students come up have the local pastor can say a special prayer of dedication for the coming school year and their studies.

Give students a ride to church: Some students do not have cars, but would like to attend church. Find out who has a car and who needs a ride to church.

Midterm or Finals stress- release: On Sabbath during midterms or finals, set aside a time in the church service to pray especially for the midterms and student ministry. Students often spend many hours in ministry, which is above the 40+ hours spent studying, going to classes and work.

Provide literature: Students are seeking to minister to their campus and their friends. Providing literature similar to Glow Tracks can be an easy way to help the student reach out to their campus.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED AS A PARENT

Sign up your college student on the CAMPUS email list: The email list will allow your student to know when events are held for public university students, as well as testimonies of other students who are attending campuses.

 Attend a CAMPUS retreat with your student: If your student is in their junior or senior year of high school, attend the CAMPUS retreat. This will allow them to meet other Adventist students that love the Lord and are active in sharing their faith.

 Contact the local campus ministry: Check the CAMPUS (www.campushope.org) or ACF  (acflink.org) website or the university website to see if there is an Adventist campus ministry. If you are out of state, you can visit the university student organization website or contact the student activities office for a list of student organizations.  

 Visit the local church: For the first Sabbath when they are at the university, attend church with your college student and make sure he/she meets the pastor and any other students.

 Pray for your student:  As a parent you probably already do a lot of this. Ask if he/she is facing any challenges in their classes, especially in regards to their faith.

 Being involved: Encourage your student to be involved the Adventist group or to establish a campus ministry on their campus. This will help them to grow in their faith and to succeed in their studies.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED AS UNIVERSITY STAFF 

Be a faculty/staff advisor: Every student organization must have a faculty/staff advisor to be registered with the university. The main responsibility that the university expects from the advisor is insuring the students are abiding by the university’s policies.

 Post the students’ flyers: If the university allows, post the fliers for the students’ events on your office door.

Visit or speak at a weekly meeting: Each week the local campus ministry will often have a group Bible study. Once during the year or semester, visit the meeting or give a Bible talk for the week.

 Pray with and for the leaders: Pray for the campus with the leaders. Invite them to your office to pray for the ministry and the leaders.

 Have lunch with the leaders: These informal settings can be a great time to mentor the student leaders, encouraging them to be both spiritually and academically excellent.

 Share your personal testimony: Hearing of your faith in Christ while still working in a secular environment can be a source of encouragement and strength. Share opportunities where God has allowed you to share your faith with your colleagues.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED AS A STUDENT

Pray laborers:  Begin to pray for God to send other converted seventh-day Adventists who have a desire to reach your campus with the everlasting gospel.

Contact your local church: Get in touch with you local pastor. Pastors  working in close proximity to your campus would love to hear from you. The Public Campus Ministry Department has a great team of pastors who would love to assist you on your academic and spiritual journey. 

 Contact your university: Many universities have a list students who have indicated they are a certain religion. You may be able to receive this list from admissions, student government, or a third-party organization. Do a little research beginning with your student government office. This will help you to know if there is already an Adventist group on campus, how you can find other Adventist, and what it will take to start an Adventist Student Organization.

 Get involved: Whether it is in the local church or local campus ministry, get involved doing something. Sometimes the first thing you do is just show up. As you are consistently present, needs will arise where you can help.  

 Start something: If you are the only one on your campus, begin by praying for someone to study with the Bible. Start a Friday night Bible study in your dorm. All you need is prayer, the Holy Spirit, and a desire to learn. As you begin to read, pray for God to teach you. He has not failed the sincere heart.

 

GET INVOLVED BY JOINING A LOCAL STUDENT GROUP TODAY

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