Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Up Your Attendance by 200...Or, The Importance of Titles!

I have long believed that giving good attractive titles to your college student talks is huge. My friend, Austin Wadlow at FBC,Denton, demonstrated that this fall. He opened the semester with a six week series entitled, "How to Date, Mate, and Procreate".

In a survey previously quoted and listed at this blog site, "The 7 Top Reasons Students Attend the First Time", number 2 is "An appealing event" and number 1 is "Someone invited me". An appealing title makes an appealing event. An appealing title makes it easier...and more likely that your students will invite other students. Now, here is the crazy part of this story.....his attendance jumped by 200! Now, obviously he had a strong and large ministry going already AND he did a good job each week with the topics. With titles we have to beware of over promising and under delivering....if anything, that will cause our ministry to decline. But, a jump of 200!!

One way to think about titles is, what are the heart felt needs of students on your campus? Do your titles show you are speaking to those needs? Some students will come to an event with a "Bible Study". But, does your title give a reason for someone who has never come to consider coming? Is it a title that your students will tell friends about? For several years, I spoke once a year using the title, "How to Have a Marriage Better than Your Parents". I did not do the same talk, but used the same title. It was always one of the largest attended. Lots of students' parents were divorcing, struggling, etc. It spoke to a heartfelt need.

Your campus messages may be on a book of the Bible.....have you thought about titling each talk? Pick out one truth from that chapter and use that in the title.

Ok; for those of you who are ready to up your attendance by 200, here by Austin's permission, are the titles for each week and the scripture:
Week 1. "How to Fail in Love" IJohn 3:16
Week 2. "How to Date, Court, or Whatever it's Called" Matthew 7:13-14
Week 3. "How to Find Mr/Mrs Right", Proverbs 31:30
Week 4. "How to Have Good Sex", Proverbs 5:1-23
Week 5. "How to Recover from Bad Sex", Romans 5:6-10; 6:1-5
Week 6. "How to Have a Marriage that Counts for Something", I Corinthians 7:28-31

Some might say these topics could be short on Gospel, but I disagree. You can talk about God's love and forgiveness. You can talk about how God used a "man after his own heart" who had not behaved that way. I find lots of students who feel they have done something that has put them outside God's love....and lots of time it involves sexual behavior. Sit down with a group of your students and talk about some of the talks you are planning. They can help you with the titles.

Titles won't suddenly make a ministry, but well thought out titles with good, practical messages to back themm up and well advertised help students to consider coming and, and make it easier for your students to invite friends

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