Ministry is only possible when you have the tools and supports necessary for ministering to your public campus! Not every club needs the exact same resource, but ensuring access to resources ensures innovation and creative are alive in the way our local chapters go about ministering to the needs of their campus. Please enjoy these free resources that can be downloaded and adapted for your ministry's specific needs.
Devotionals & Discussion Guides
Mental Health Supports
How To Guides
Bible Study Basics
A Bible study should:
Be a study of the Bible—not a study of another book or other resource. Those are fine. But if they are the main source being used, don’t call it a Bible study. Honesty is good.
Be Christ Centered—this will help you be relational not just factual. Whether the passage is from the Old or New Testament, Christ should be central so that people are connected to Him not to ideas. John 5:39-40; 8:25-29; Luke 24:27. Christ-centered means the revelation of God’s character and His will for His children, whether explicitly through the person of Jesus (the expressed image of God) or otherwise.
Focus on God’s Love for us out of which comes the rest of the study.
Intertwine study with at least two of your recent Personal Stories, allowing others to see Christ in you—a living witness. It’s important for your hearers to know that what you’re saying is actually real for you, not just for those in the text.
Have an Application—how does this passage apply to my life?
Have a Decision—what am I going to do or how am I going to be as a result of applying this to my life?
Begin & end with Prayer—ask God to be present, to convict, and to transform.
Be Conversational—a key difference between a great Bible study, and a lecture, is how the leader facilitates shared learning and personal engagement with the text. This doesn’t mean the simple, “What does this text mean to you”? But rather questions like, “What is this text saying?” “Who is speaking?” “What’s the therefore there for?” etc. This kind of guided conversation still leads to the main points of the text, but is the difference between memorable Bible study with lots of “A ha” moments and a study that ends with, “I’ll agree with whatever you say, just let it end!”
Be Simple—much can be gleaned from studying a single passage than from using many passages to get a point across. Of course, there are appropriate times to use multiple passages in a study. When that is the case, I recommend no more than 10-12 verses aside from your key passage. Otherwise the hearers lose interest.
Be Time-Conscious—you can’t always plan in advance but when given the opportunity, stick to healthy times. As my dad told me years ago, no one’s processing really well at 11pm. The later the hour, the more prone we may be to mishandling God’s Word.
Interpreting Ellen G. White's Writings
Here are some very helpful principles. Reading them for yourself and then reading and discussing them with others is probably an effective plan. That way you've already rustled up your own questions on the principles and can engage in more fruitful dialogue.
Neither these principles, nor the writings of Ellen G. White are to replace Bible study. Where relevant, they can accompany Bible study. But all Bible studies should be first and foremost a study of the Bible as we've come to know it via 66 books from Genesis to Revelation.
Recognize Ellen White's Understanding of the Ideal and the Real
Realize That Prophets Are Not Verbally Inspired, Nor Are They Infallible or Inerrant
Avoid Making the Counsels "Prove" Things They Were Never Intended to Prove
Don’t force it.
Establish common ground.
Affirm them for how you see God using them.
Affirm that the choices you have made regarding the belief, practice, mission, and message of the Adventist Church are based on the central fact that you have chosen to make Jesus the Lord of your life—you do what you do, because of what He has done for you.
Adapted from Kay Lindahl, The Listening Center
WHEN YOU ARE LISTENING, SUSPEND ASSUMPTIONS—What we assume is often invisible to us. We assume that others have had the same experiences that we have, and that is how we listen to them. Learn to recognize assumptions by noticing when you get upset or annoyed by something someone else is saying. You may be making an assumption. Let it be—suspend it—and resume listening for understanding of the other.
WHEN YOU ARE SPEAKING, EXPRESS YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSE informed by your tradition, beliefs and practices as you have interpreted them in your life. Speak for yourself. Use “I” language. Take ownership of what you say. Speak from your heart. Notice how often the phrases “We all”, “of course”, “everyone says”, “you know”, come into your conversation. The only person you can truly speak for is yourself.
LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGMENT—The purpose of dialogue is to come to an understanding of the other, not to determine whether they are good, bad, right or wrong. If you are sitting there thinking: “That’s good”, “That’s bad”, “I like that”, “I don’t like that”, then you are having a conversation in your own mind, rather than listening to the speaker. Simply notice when you do this, and return to being present with the speaker.
SUSPEND STATUS—Everyone is an equal partner in the inquiry. There is no seniority or hierarchy. All are colleagues with a mutual quest for insight and clarity. You are each an expert in your life. That is what you bring to the dialogue process.
HONOUR CONFIDENTIALITY—Leave the names of participants in the room so if you share stories or ideas, no one’s identity will be revealed. Create a safe space for self-expression.
LISTEN FOR UNDERSTANDING, NOT TO AGREE WITH OR BELIEVE—You do not have to agree with or believe anything that is said. Your job is to listen for understanding.
ASK CLARIFYING OR OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS to assist your understanding and to explore assumptions.
HONOR SILENCE AND TIME FOR REFLECTION—Notice what wants to be said rather than what you want to say.
ONE PERSON SPEAKS AT A TIME—Pay attention to the flow of the conversation. Notice what patterns emerge from the group. Make sure that each person has an opportunity to speak, while knowing that no one is required to speak.
Jump Starting Ministry
Is your ACF chapter just starting or have you been around for a while but experiencing a rut? We hope these tips help to jumpstart or refresh your ministry.
BIBLE STUDY. Our tendency is to want to create an amazing Bible study that students flock to. We want that for just about everything we do. For Bible study in particular, let’s remember a couple of things: prayer and simplicity. As you consider what to study as a group, start with prayer. Ask God for His thoughts on the matter. And keep things simple. You’re on a college campus. Students keep very varied schedules. Instead of packing in two Bible studies a week that are both filled with tons of information, go with one per week and keep it to no longer than 90 minutes (which includes time for food and fellowship). Need a Bible study? Consider the Journey Bible Study that focuses on the book of John.
OUTREACH IDEAS. Outreach should (eventually) be a regular and major part of your on-campus activity. Again, keep it simple and practical for you and your fellow students to lead out in. Commit to hosting an annual outreach event and check into joining forces, from time to time, with other campus organizations. Possibilities include handing out snacks during midterms or finals week along with notes of encouragement; joining with your school in their community service days or asking the school to assign your group an area that you keep clean during the semester; leaving roses around campus with notes saying, “You’re worth the wait”; set up a prayer tent and pray with students; host a film night (with discussion following) that’s on a spiritual topic and is well presented.
USING CAMPUS RESOURCES. When your ACF chapter is a registered student organization on your campus, you’re then allowed to use a variety of spaces for free. So be sure to do what it takes to get registered. And more importantly, it’ll be easier for students to find you. Some of the resources you’ll receive are: access to classrooms for Bible study or other activities, webspace to give your chapter an online presence and make you easier to be found by students. As a registered student organization, you’ll also be able to set up a table during your school’s welcome week and clubs fair. The student union the may even have funds that you can get access to. One of the biggest pros to organizing is that your school may then grant you access to the list of students who have self-identified as Adventist. Now you can get into direct contact with them!
CONNECTING WITH A LOCAL CHURCH. You along with some of your ACF students may be away from your home church. Getting involved with a local Adventist church is a great way to feel more grounded while away at school. It provides you with a community that can nurture you spiritually and even feed you from time to time. The church will also be very open to you using your gifts during its weekly services. It may be hard initially but find a church and keep going.
WORKING WITH YOUR CAMPUS CULTURE. Is your campus a dorm community or a commuter school? Are most students still on campus at 8pm or are most off campus by that time? The answers to these simple questions can give you much needed information when you think about how to structure your campus activities. Knowing your campus culture will also help you figure out what sorts of activities will work and which won’t.
STAYING APPROACHABLE TO NEW MEMBERS. After a while of gathering together weekly, your group will become a wonderful community and these are friendships that will last a lifetime. However, there may come a time when even though you do outreach and invite others to join your fellowship, some may think you’re a clique and won’t feel comfortable sticking around. Do your best to keep inside jokes and reminiscing about times gone by to a minimum when new students are around and spend more time getting to genuinely discover who they are. Actively follow up with them (especially if they’re 1st or 2nd year students) after their first visit and check in “just because” so that they get a clear sense of your desire to have them make your space their home. Send them cards and add them to your weekly email, WhatsApp or Facebook group.
Here are a few ideas on what to think through when planning an event.
What’s the purpose?
Who’s the audience?
Does this date work? (for the audience)
Does this time work? (for the audience)
How much money do we need?
Does it require an RSVP?
Is lodging or transport needed (and will it cost)?
Is there a fee?
Will there be food?
If so, what kind?
Any dietary concerns?
Other resources…(games, tables, chairs…)
Word of mouth
People to Help
Spreading the word
What didn’t work?
Should we do it again?
How can next time be better?
Saying Thank You
Send cards/emails to those who helped
Where meaningful, share a short written or verbal report and include high-res pics!
Know Your Campus
It’s important to know the culture of your campus. If you’re at a commuter school, students will probably head home after their last class instead of sticking around for another activity. If you’re at a dorm-based school, students will probably schedule group meetings at 9pm so an evening gathering will work more easily for your ACF chapter. Does this mean you shouldn’t bother to organize Bible studies and social activities if you’re on a commuter campus? NO! It does mean you have to be a lot more intentional in your planning and set more realistic expectations, especially if your ACF chapter is brand new or in transition.
Does your campus have a ton of other Christian organizations? Maybe. Maybe not. But getting to know the other ministries is invaluable. You become more aware of various initiatives that your ACF group can join and you get a better sense of what’s working and what’s not as other ministries also strive to impact the campus for Christ.
Are you aware of your school’s programming, guest lecturers, art gallery shows, special celebrations? Take a moment to check the calendar this week. Pick a future event and attend with a few friends.
Lastly, how are you serving your campus? Yes, your “to do” list is incredibly long and your professors are demanding but are you taking a little time to let your campus feel your love for Christ? There are many low-threat ways to serve your campus. Bake some cookies and hand them out. Write notes of encouragement and drop them off randomly in library carrels. You don’t even have to leave your name or say you’re with ACF—just find a simple way to be kind.