Start with the WHY

The first two weeks of school at the University of Vermont (UVM), 150+ student groups work especially hard trying to recruit new students to join their club, cause, and/or community. We give away a lot of “free” stuff. We organize a bunch of social events. We answer a barrage of questions. We stay up late into the evening writing emails, sending texts and making posts to Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes we look foolish. Oftentimes we suffer rejection. We want students to join our club, so this is WHAT we do.

But WHY do we do this? WHY am I doing this? Here are some reasons WHY you should not do student outreach:
• You think a lot of recruits proves to your donors, family and friends, and/or yourself that you are competent, likeable, successful...significant.
• You want to “beat” other campus ministries. How many students you recruit is simply the way you keep score.
• You think Jesus loves bigger ministries more than smaller ones.

On the contrary, here are some reasons WHY you should do student outreach:
• Jesus loves these students. His extraordinary care for students is manifested in the most ordinary of ways (e.g., inviting someone to a BBQ).
• For every freshman that is excited to be at college there’s another who is feeling lost, alone, afraid and looking for a friend.
• The good news of the Gospel is powerful, life-giving, life-altering news. Students have a right to hear it.
• Many of the decisions that college students make “today” will inform who they will be and where they will end up “tomorrow.” They need help articulating their questions, and they need help considering the implications of their answers. Learning is not a one-man sport.
• Students do not need to hit the “pause” button on spiritual growth simply because they’re at college; on the contrary, college is the time to be asking the big questions.

These are some of the reasons WHY we do WHAT we do. These are some of the reasons WHY RUF is at UVM.

John Meinen, Campus Minister at Vermont
September 13, 2014 • 610-691-0988 • 631 Fourth Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018