Now is a great time to plan some fellowships for your college group. The holidays, semester break and students coming home are all great reasons to plan some informal time for building relationships, the primary goal of planning these events. How do we know these ideas really work? We heard them from college leaders in churches around our state last week at the Church College Ministry Retreat. Here are some of the great ideas they shared:
- Progressive dinner. Valley Grove Baptist Church in Stephenville hosts a progressive dinner in the homes of several church members. Mark Boucher shared that they start with appetizers at the church, which gives students a little extra time to get there before they leave for the first home. Everyone goes together, which means each home hosts 50+ students for the course they serve. Some have had to set tables up in the yard or the garage, but students love it. They also get the chance to interact with some families in the church they might not know otherwise.
- Game Night. It's a simple concept, but a family hosts students in their home to play games, board games, outdoor games, etc. Provide snacks, or have students bring a favorite snack to share. Friday night has been the night of choice for Valley Grove because students have more time to hang out, and it provides a positive alternative for Friday night. Game night is a great opportunity to invite new friends.
- Barn dance. Several groups have used barns or other event venues to host a special night. Square dancing, line dancing, or just a special banquet where students can dress up make a great special occasion event that is different and fun. It's another great invite for new students. Involve students in the planning and preparation so that they take ownership and pride in the event.
- Cooking. Students love to eat and they need to know how to cook. One group combines cooking lessons with their mid-week Bible study time, teaching students how to cook different types of food. Bobby Smith at FBC Nacogdoches also shared that some of the culinary students involved in their ministry have been cooking for their college group. They love using their gifts and contributing to the college ministry.
- Dinner & A Movie. Grant Rainey from Northside Baptist Church in Corsicana hosts students in his home for dinner and a blockbuster movie. At the end of the movie, they discuss the spiritual themes presented in the film.
- Tailgate. Got some barbecue enthusiasts in your church? Recruit them to help you host a tailgate on campus before the big game. Cook extra food so that you can invite students passing by to join you. University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville has been using this as an opportunity to meet new students on campus. Tailgating can also be an opportunity to help your regular attenders to see the need to engage their own campus for Christ.
So many great ideas! And most of them involve food, once again proving the age old rule of college ministry, if you feed them they will come!
What other fellowship events have worked well in your college ministry? Share with us on our Facebook page!