Dave Short

Chicago, Illinois

National director of Campus Alpha, part of the Alpha Course



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Understanding Campus Outreach

Those in our “spheres of influence” are the first to notice the changes in our lives as God works on us.  That creates a hunger in those friends for what we have. Evangelism is hard to avoid here.  We need to see that we reach the masses one person at a time. 

Many people may have been given wrong concepts of evangelism. 

The word can conjure up many negative ideas for many young people: “Bible bashing.” “being a holy Joe” and, at the end of the day, losing their friends! On the face of it, it could be regarded as a bad deal—but, on the contrary, evangelism is about making friends, not losing them!  This does not minimize the many thousands of people who have come to Christ through contact evangelism or big events. However, we must tap into the potential of friendship.

There are often three stages of understanding that many pre-Christians need to go through before they are ready to become Christians.  The first stage is...

God is good and Christians are okay

If you ask the average pre-Christian what he thought of God or the church, you would get some colorful answers. 

If you ask him what he thinks Christians are like, probably one of his nicer replies will be, “Boring!” To ask such people to give their lives to Jesus would seem to actually be saying, “Give your life to an uncaring monster and join the most boring club in the world!” 

They need to be convinced that God is good and Christians are okay.

"A person must get to know 5 believers before they become                                           open to the claims of Christ."

—Laurence Singlehurst,  Cell UKMinistries

That happens in normal social contact, having fun together—not just having bible-study sessions.


• Plan a “friendship dinner” or “friendship picnic” and invite your unchurched friends to join you.

• Invite your friends to come with you if you are going out with others from the campus ministry or church. Through that, they will become a natural part of the group.

• Plan an event that strategically targets a specific segment of the campus (i.e. internationals, athletes, your T.A.s, etc.).

• Use movies or television events like the "Grammy's" to bring Christians and pre-Christians together.

Try to do two to three intentional activities that include five to seven people outside your normal friendship circle.  This could include a hiking trip, game night, concerts).

In this kind of atmosphere, wrong beliefs our friends have can come out, and lies the enemy has sown can be challenged as we talk. Our friends are being discipled before they ever become Christians.

Be listening for opportunities to pray for our non-Christian friends over the concerns they tell us about.   As our friends ask more questions about God, we must be ready and alert for a chance to share the Gospel.

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