Youth workers constantly ask me, “How do I get on-campus at a public school?”
In my Connect workshops I always ask youth workers this question: “How many of you go on campus regularly and try to get to know unchurched kids?” “How many have ever done this?”
A few hands trickle up… usually less than 10 percent of the crowd.
As we talk about the subject more in the workshop, I find that this fact isn’t necessarily because youth workers don’t want to… a lot of it is they don’t know how.
In my book GETTING STUDENTS TO SHOW UP I devote a whole chapter to campus minsitry, and in my book CONNECT I spend quite a few chapters walking through the process of meeting “unchurched kids” on their turf. We provide a few articles and podcasts on the subject as well on our website- talking about the process. Even still, we are asked the question frequently: “How can I get on campus?”
Todd Pearage, one of our THE SOURCE team members, answered that question in an email recently and I wanted to share one of his stories with you:
Four years ago I arrived at a new church in a new area and one of the first things I did was make an appointment with the school superintendent. I went in dressed professionally and introduced myself. After a few minutes of small talk he asked what he could do for me. (He was a bottom line kind of guy – most administrators are because of their busy schedules). At that point I said, “Absolutely nothing, I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself and let you know if there is anything I or my church can ever do for you or the district, please let me know”.
I expected him to give me the ol’ thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you speech. But something amazing happened. He sat there, looking at me. Then he leaned back in his chair looked me right in the eyes and said, “Todd I’ve been doing this job for over 35 years and you are the first youth pastor, pastor, priest or clergymen that has ever walked in here and NOT asked for something”. With that he shook my hand and said, “I’m looking forward to getting to know you”
That conversation was the first of many. So as you go in to that meeting think about how you can serve the school, not how they can serve you.
I hope that’s a small help.
Keep up the good work!