Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Never underestimate the power of a free hot dog." ...Pete Wilson

Pete Wilson, well known Nashville pastor and conference speaker, while speaking at the National Collegiate Summit said, "Never underestimate the power of a free hot dog.". He was describing how a cute girl had invited him to go to a BCM Welcome party Cookout his freshmen year.

The three top reasons students say they attended a religious event the first time are:
3. Free food
2. An appealing event
1. Someone invited me.

So, as this school year goes into the books, it is a good time to begin to think about, brainstorm how you will start the fall. I have an axiom for the start of the fall semester, "Spend wisely extravagantly". What events will you do at the beginning of the semester? I have tried different things through the years. For some years, we did a big Luau. But, I began to feel that students had a great time, but when it was over had no sense of who we were and why we were there. In more recent years, our ministry tried to combine the serious and the fun event.

If you know me at all, you know I am a huge proponent of Freshmen Survival events which contain both fun and serious parts. Remember, the two things Freshmen come to school looking for are Friends and Fun. Your ministry can help them.

So, what do you do for a fun Welcome Event? Here are some different "Idea Starters":

-Mark Whitt, while at Murray State, had a big pizza tasting event. Students sampled all the different pizzas available in Murray and then voted on the best which became the "Official Pizza of the BCM" for the year.

-Several Christian groups at Florida State go together to host a campus Luau on a large scale. Zac Allen is one of the leaders of that.

-Texas Tech BSM has done a huge 99 cent Steak Dinner for years. Several years ago the Texas A&M BSM would block off the street in front of their Center to do a huge steak cookout.

-Midnight Pancake Suppers in the middle of campus or in campus centers have been a big finals event....what about a Welcome Party event?

-The Million Dollar Shot-Someone told me of a Christian group who set up a basketball goal with a shot line 50 feet away. A ticket to shoot was a completed Info Card. If anyone made it, their name was placed in a drawing at the end of the day for some grand prize. There could be several variations of this.

Some events are tied to the first large worship event of the year and others are stand alone events with individual follow-up being the key. Paul Worcester at Chico State is a great example of how to do follow up individually with Gospel Appointments.

But, if you want your students to invite students to an event, are you giving them an attractive event to invite others to attend? Now is the time to plan to, "Spend Wisely Extravagantly".

Let me know your Welcome Event ideas and I will share them in later weeks.


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