When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes. Numbers 13:17-20 CSB
God commanded Moses to send out spies to scout out the Promised Land before the people went in. They were to collect valuable information about the land and the people they would encounter there. And they were to be courageous. You're not occupying a foreign land, but sending out some "scouts" from your group can help you be ready to engage the campus.
Your strategy for reaching students in your area should involve the students in your church. They are already engaged in your ministry, and they are already connected to local campuses and other students. It's possible that they have never seen their campus as a mission field.
Be specific in asking them to share their insights about their campus.
- On your campus, what does an average student's week look like? Are they commuting? Hanging out on campus? Leaving quickly?
- If you were to describe the students on your campus to an outsider what would you say about them?
- In your opinion, what do you think are the greatest needs that students on your campus have?
- What is one thing that we could do as a college ministry to serve the students on your campus?
Give them specific tasks to do at the beginning of the year to get a better idea of what is happening on campus. Find out what student organizations are on campus and if they are planning any events. Encourage them to volunteer to serve at of the beginning of the year activities. They might go to the student activities office and ask if they could help with new student orientations or welcome week events. Have them download a campus map and be intentional about helping new students that might be lost and looking for a classroom.
Help them be courageous by giving them a place to start. Asking specific questions and scouting out the campus can build confidence to do more. They can lead to building relationships with new students and seeing their campus, not just as where they go to class, but as the mission field that God has given them for this season of life.