If I had a dollar for every time I heard a youth pastor say that they can’t get on school campuses I would be rich! We all know the public school system is not a welcoming place for religion and it is only getting worse. But most of us also know that the schools are the best place to reach students because that is where they all are. So, how do we get on campuses?
1. Change your mind-set.
Let me start by addressing the “I can’t get on campus” objection. I would guess that what you are really saying is “The school won’t let me start a Bible study” OR “the school is against me just coming and hanging out at lunch time”. While Bible studies are cool, and hanging out at lunch is awesome that needs to stop being the standard for campus ministry. We need to change our mind-set about what ‘getting on campus’ means and how we actually do campus ministry. There are plenty of ways to get involved and get on campus. We just need to change what we are looking for.
Schools are looking for volunteers. They need people to help them out and be part of what they are doing. Look for ways to volunteer and serve the school. Choose opportunities that will give you that exposure and you will be able to meet lots of students.
-A ticket taker at a sporting event, fee and photo day, classroom aid, tutor, career day, mentoring, clubs, lunch server, dance or trip chaperone, etc.
Those are all areas schools are regularly looking for people to be part of. Be a volunteer. Not only will you meet tons of students you will also build your reputation and relationship with the schools.
Coach a sport or help out with the band. This is a great way to “get on campus” and do amazing ministry. Use the talent God has given you. Some may have athletic talent, some musical, some theater, and some have neither but would be an awesome ‘team parent’.
4. Be present
Attend sporting events. Those are open to anyone and you will have no opposition for coming on campus, you don’t even need to ask! Go to plays, musicals, choir and band concerts. Again, open to everyone and you don’t even need to ask if you can be there. Be present at the school during their events, not just on your agenda.
5. Play by their rules
Remember getting on campus is not an excuse to stand on a lunch table and start preaching. The schools do have rules and whether or not you agree with them you still need to abide by them. Respect their rules and you will earn their respect in return.
Those are a few tips for doing campus ministry but let me leave you with this…
The biggest barrier we face with getting on school campuses is this…
“Man, the schools just won’t let me in so I can do my ministry” “The schools are closed off to me coming on campus” “The schools won’t let me do _________”
The problem with all of these statements is that the motives are completely wrong. We need to learn to Quit asking what the school can do for us, and start asking what we can do for the schools. We are here to serve and to reach people for Christ, not to check off something on our job descriptions. So, find ways to get involved and do awesome campus ministry!