Last Wednesday we began our spring semester of witnessing out Richland College in Dallas. We plan to have an outreach there every Wednesday this spring. The location is great for sharing the Gospel with the students. We hand out bottles of water, tracts, books, Bibles and other resources. Plus we get to have many one on one conversations with the students.
Our table at Richland College
A little over three years ago, our group was spending one or two lunch hours per week Witnessing in local shopping malls. As we talked over lunch one day before doing some witnessing we thought about going to a local community college. I went by the college to check it out. As I walked around the campus I found a note about a Bible study pinned to a bulletin board. I connected with the leader of the study and he referred me to the Office of Student Life who provided me information on how to reserve the free speech area. I filed out the form to request the use of the free speech area. It took about ten days to get the request approved.
You always like to report that an outreach was a huge success and that many people received the Lord. However, as much as I’d like to report that, our first experience at Brookhaven College was pretty much of a flop. We were instructed that in order to use the free speech area we had to sit behind the table that was provided and we could only talk to those students that approached us. In an hour and a half, only a handful of students approached. Now, I don’t really consider it a flop because we did share the Gospel with some students. Christ was glorified. The Gospel was shared.
On top of that, we learned a valuable lesson that day. If you’re gonna go fishing, you need to bring bait.
When we went back to work that first day, we probably were disappointed that we did not get to talk to more of the students. But the lesson about bait was huge. We prayed and talked and the idea struck us. Free Water! That would be the bait. My wife went to FedEx/Kinko’s and ordered a five foot by 2 foot vinyl sign that said “FREE WATER” in big letters on the front. We went to Costco and bought a couple cases of water bottles. We reserved the free speech area again. This time we set up the table with the free water on it hung the sign in front of the table and we sat down behind the table as we were instructed.
The fish swam right up to the boat! Before long more students were coming up to us than we could talk to. We gave them free water along with a Gospel tract. They were asking great questions about eternity. We were sharing the Gospel with those that would stop long enough to talk to us. We have seen students repent and believe the Gospel right there by our table. We have made a couple of new signs that are easier to display, but still have the “FREE WATER” message. Our location is in a main passage way as students change between classes.
Over the years, the school has become less restrictive with us and they don’t enforce us staying behind the table now. In our time there, we have given out thousands of tracts. We even developed a Free Water tract to hand out with the water. Some months we will bring a special item to give away. We have given out Mark Cahill books and booklets, 180 Movies, Why Christianity booklets, New Testaments with our Bible bookmark and many other items.
It is impossible to recount every conversation, every face, every person that we have talked to. But, there are some that stay in your mind. On the day that we were handing out the New Testaments with the Bible bookmark, I had a chance to take a student through the ten Bible verses and ten questions on the back of the bookmark. He had never read a Bible before and was very interested in it. When we got to the last question and verse he said that he had repented and trusted Christ for salvation!
The Dallas County Community College system has seven campuses. So earlier this year we decided to start branching out to some of the other campuses. We picked two additional campuses and made “recon trips” to them. On those trips we were able to find the Office of Student Life and connect with the people in charge there. It is interesting that the three schools that we are working with all have different policies on how to reserve space for the outreach.
At Richland College we are able to reserve a space inside of the building where the Cafeteria is located. This is a great spot since the students are on their way to and from lunch. At North Lake College the location is outside and a little more out of the way of the traffic flow, but even on a slow day we still handed out 50 bottles of water in an hour.
As we move forward we plan to go to each of the three campuses at least one time per month. We are now getting acquainted with more of the students. We are able to build some relationships as we often see the same students month after month. We are also working on getting students involved in our outreaches. At our last outreach at Brookhaven we had two students helping us share the Gospel.
We have found that these college campuses are great venues for sharing the Gospel. I encourage you to check out the college campuses in your area. Many of them have strict policies regarding free speech. Other campuses are wide open to the Gospel. You might need to go to the campus and ask around to find out. Or just “go” and ask for forgiveness if they tell you that you can’t do what you are doing.
For more information on our college outreaches see the college category of this BLOG.