Thursday, May 17, 2012

More Thoughts on Why Students Attend the First Time

One of my basics in reaching freshmen in a college ministry is that the summer is key. Good falls are made in the summer! I recently heard a college minister say he only ever had 3 or 4 freshmen tell him they liked his letter he had mailed out, so he quit doing summer mail outs to incoming freshmen. First, I think a "letter" is probably the poorest form of summer mailout, unless it is a personal letter. I believe personal notes/letters do make a connection. But, I believe cards, brochures, etc with pictures on them that tell a story make a huge difference. A picture communicates many different messages in just a glance. A few years back, the University of Nebraska in their attempt to communicate with potential incoming freshmen said they had determined it took 7 different mailings to communicate their message. Part of the truth here is that it is never one thing or one attempt. I completely agree that a personal, face to face invitation by a trusted acquaintance is the most likely to get a positive response. But, I believe that even that is affected by other contacts. They have seen publicity about them ministry or event. They received an attractive card/brochure about the ministry or event. Someone had already sent them a Facebook message. It will always be a combination of things. But, if our survey of 443 students is correct and I believe it is that 77% came because someone invited them, we must do a better and intentional job of teaching, training and encouraging our students to be "inviters.". Plus, at the first of the year, we must have events that are easy to invite students to attend. I conclude quoting Pete Wilson at the Collegiate Summit. He was invited as A freshmen by a cute girl to go to a BCM Welcome event and he said, "Never under-estimate the power of a free hot dog.".....and I would add promoted by a cute girl. God always has and always will use relationships.

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