Almost 20 years ago, Jen and I were officially challenged by our regional leaders to move to Davis and pioneer a new Cru ministry on the campus there. We excitedly said yes and moved to Davis the following summer of 1998. We were there for 10 years and it was an exciting time of tremendous fruit for us.
When we walked on campus that very first day, we had exactly ZERO students involved. By the end of the first year, we had 10 committed students involved. When we evaluated the makeup of those 10 students who were involved, we asked ourselves, “where did these students come from?” We wanted to know which of our events and activities were the most effective in attracting students.
What we realized is that our students came from everywhere. We met one student as the result of a spiritual interest questionnaire we conducted during orientation week. Another student came up to a table where we were passing out Freshman Survival Kits. Another student saw our info table during the first week of school. Two students saw a flier and came to a weekly meeting on campus later in the year. Another student was invited by a friend.
The reality for us in starting and building the ministry at UC Davis is that no one event drew all of the students who got connected to us. Each event & each activity yielded small results, which, when added together over time, developed into a growing core of committed student leaders.
When we transitioned to working with Young Professionals, we would often be asked, “How will you find Millennials?”
It’s a fair question and we wondered ourselves how things might develop.
One thing we learned from our campus days that we’ve applied to our current situation is that building anything of significance takes time. The work is long and hard and progress is often incremental. But after a while, when a solid core foundation is established, you eventually reach a point of critical mass, where things begin to take on a life of their own and you’re struggling just to keep up with all that’s happening.
For the last year or so, we’ve been working to build our foundational core group.
Just like our first year in Davis, we’re evaluating where our group members have come from. One guy is a former student from Davis who lives in the area. Another Young Professional contacted us through our website. We connected with one of the women in our group from a Cru conference last fall. Another gal was urged to contact us by her parents who are friends of our ministry.
The entry points are varied, but we know that at some point, our network will get to the point where things will begin to grow exponentially because of the combined relational networks of those involved.
Last month, we had the opportunity to host a booth at FishFest. FishFest is a large all day concert hosted by 95.9, The Fish – Southern California’s largest Christian radio station.
We thought an event like this might draw a lot of young people whom we might not encounter otherwise.
It was a fun event to do together. It was long and very busy at times, with a lot of people approaching our table to take a spin of our prize wheel.
In the end, we met a few Young Professionals, but not nearly as many as we had hoped we might. But that seems to be how things work. No one event is the silver bullet that magically transforms the ministry into a massive movement.
Our hope though is that next year, when we’re evaluating our group’s makeup, we’ll have a few people connected to us whom we met through FishFest.
In the mean-time, we’ll continue to press forward in meeting Young Professionals in any way we can and seeking to connect them to our network, while helping them to thrive spiritually and live missionally.
Thanks for your continued prayers for us and for being a part of our building process.
And as a reminder, if you know a Young Professional who is living and/or working in Orange County or the surrounding area, let us know. We’d love to meet them for coffee or lunch, tell them about who we are and what we’re doing and see what happens!
P.S. Check out this One minute video highlighting some of the action at our FishFest 2017 booth!