During Drexel’s Welcome Week in Fall 2021, Baptist Campus Ministries coordinated six outreach events to connect with incoming freshmen and new students: FIND-A-CHURCH (two times), Mad Lib Movie Quote Rap Battle, Mind Your Faith Christian Faculty Panel, SRL Meet & Greet, and Campus Wide Worship.
Out of these six events we generated 130 student contacts. Baptist Campus Ministries also developed a list of about 60 faculty and staff contacts. Each of these contacts were added to a weekly email list detailing multiple ways to get connected to the Christian community at Drexel. Baptist Campus Ministries through Jon Rice and Brian Musser individually emailed all 190 of these contacts inviting them to meet one-on-one (or in some cases a small group) for what we refer to as Gospel Appointments. The BRN evangelism grant allowed these meetings to include coffee and/or lunch.
Twenty-six individuals accepted our invitation, including 11 faculty/staff members and 15 students. Of these 26 individuals, five of the faculty members were already known as Christians. The 21 others were shared the basic story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the context of the initial conversation. Through this conversation, 15 of the 21 confirmed themselves as Christians expressing a previous personal commitment to the Gospel. This is a higher percentage than I was expecting, but naturally Christian students are more willing to accept an invitation to have a conversation with campus ministers than non-Christians.
Arthur was an interesting example of these Christian students. He came to Christ through the internet the previous year during the pandemic lockdown which gave him time to research questions about the Christian faith. Now at Drexel, he was actively searching for a Christian church and student fellowship to engage with in person for the first time. There were several stories like this from the Christian students about them coming to faith during the pandemic.
This is always an interesting part of the job. Many of the students we come into contact with at the beginning of the year will identify as Christians, but they come from so many different backgrounds that we have to be careful to intentionally discuss what they actually mean when they say they are a Christian. These one-on-one conversations have been a good way to confirm that students identifying as Christian have actually heard and responded to the gospel in a way that would align with what we mean when we use the term Christian.
Amazingly, two of the students I connected with this term were contacts sent to me from IMB missionary personnel, one from India and one from Kazakhstan. This is the first time I have students connect with me at Drexel because of our missionary presence in their country. I was able to share the gospel with both of them. The student from India, a Ph.D. student in engineering, confirmed that he had trusted Christ while in his home country and is now actively involved in our graduate student Christian fellowship, while the student from Kazakhstan did not give me a definitive response when I asked if he had trusted Christ. This might be due to language, cultural, or just relational issues. He might not trust me enough yet. But it could mean that, while he is connected with our IMB missionary, he has not personally accepted Christ. Please pray for this student.
Six of these individuals (including one faculty member) with whom we shared the gospel did not profess to have faith in Christ. Please pray that our conversations have planted a seed; that they will consider accepting the grace available in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and that we will be able to maintain a connection with them.