This has been one of our best startups ever, and that's saying a lot after last year. Our name change has done a lot of good. There is much more student interest now that we are no longer mistaken for a fraternity.
We were the hit of the first activities fair due to our glow-in-the-dark cups. This is the second year we have passed out unique cups (last year's changed color with temperature changes), and we found students all over campus using them all year. They are printed with our logo and Web address.
The downside was that we passed all 1,500 of our cups in one hour five minutes. We were down to our bookmarks, and they went in the next thirty minutes. But there was still over an hour to go. Our students did well. Armed with nothing more than sign up sheets and a mission from God, they continued to greet new students. It went very well, but next year we will have to print more supplies. Please consider helping us with this when next year rolls around.
We had a picnic right after the activities fair, and we were joined by students who had only just met us moments earlier. That was a first. All of those students have since visited our main meeting or our small groups.
We set up out doors in the middle of campus on the first Thursday of classes and held a Janga night. Janga, for the uninitiated, is a stacking game played with small pieces of wood. We had five game tables and a boatload of cookies. It was a bigger hit than we expected. Some new students joined us as we were setting up and stayed till we tore everything down. A large number stopped by to play on game, chat, and take off for a night class (a large number of students have them). Our students engaged a steady stream of students that stopped by throughout the night. It was a great visibility activity.
Fall is off to a great start. We have implemented some significant changes to our worship and teaching style, and they have been well received by the students.
We have expanded the content of our worship to include much more than choruses. Prayer, readings, testimonies, spiritual exercises, readings, and ministry of the gifts of the Spirit have assumed a greater role. The result is greater personal participation in the service and more opportunity to encounter God during a service.
The teaching style has become more interactive, allowing us to respond more directly to students’ concerns and questions. The students are involved in lectures all day, so we didn’t want to stick to the traditional lecture-style sermon. A more interactive style keeps everyone involved.
In addition, the students are taking greater ownership in their event planning. With the exception of a few staff planned events, the students are now in charge. They are a very responsible group and are doing a great job.