Monday, July 21, 2014

The Single Most Effective Freshmen Event

The single most effective, one time Freshmen event is Freshmen Survival. Freshmen Survival is an idea that a Campus Minister in Texas by the name of Dave Jobe developed. As it often happens, it developed out of a need and opportunity. The campus where Dave served as Baptist Campus Minister would open the dorms for freshmen a week before classes started, but they did not have many activites for the freshmen. So, Dave started a 3 day Freshmen Survival.

There were fun activities, small groups, seminars, etc. It was a huge hit. Dave's ministry grew. Some others in Texas picked up on it. A few years later a group of College Ministers met in Arkansas for 3 days to throw around ideas and learn from each other. Dave shared his Freshmen Survival. The room lit up. Several of us began to talk the possibilities. Out of that one idea came an event that was one of the two most significant ideas/events in growing our ministry in a significant way (the other was Freshmen Night).

There are two approaches to Freshmen Survival. Some do all weeekend and wind up on Sunday with the different Family groups attending one of the local churches together. Southern Mississippi where Lloyd Lunceford is the BSU Director for some years even had Freshmen Survival the first weekend and Transfer Survival the second weekend. The other approach many have used is the one day event ranging in time from 5 to 8 hours.

The single day event contains fun get acquainted events, survival seminars, and a meal. Some even conclude with a concert or brief worship time. Seminars have topics like "Dating ASU Style", "Spiritual Survival", "Cheap Eats and Discounts", "Pros and Cons of Joining a Greek Organization", "How to Make it in College". Family groups are a key part where students get to know each other and the Gospel is shared. Yes; students have made professions of faith at Survival events. Another key part is the meal (pizza of course) because we found that students tend to relax more and open up more during and following the meal. Yes; pizza works magic with college students. Another fun favorite is the Freshmen Olympics with wacky games with Family Groups competing against each other.

Some have a guest speaker for Survival who does the different topics such as Spiritual, Academic, and Social Survival. I personally lean toward the concept of those being done during the different seminars they get to choose. But, a huge key to Survival is your well trained upperclass students leading the the different events and connecting with them personally.

Should you be doing some version of Freshmen Survival this fall? Thanks to Dave Jobe many of the larger Baptist Collegiate Ministries use this key event. Yes; I still believe it is the single most effective Freshmen event!

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