Today I would like to answer a student question we received: “How can I keep people intrigued enough in OCF to come to meetings?”
After recruiting new members at the activities fair with your icons, Bibles, and the promise of free food if they come to the first meeting, the beginning of the year is always a promising time. Old students who fell away last year return again with vows of coming more often and new students show up eager and interested. But as the semester goes on, attendance takes a plunge. It’s understandable: college schedules are crazy, and people have other commitments. Here’s some advice for making OCF something students will want to make time for.
- Get to know the new people in your OCF. Coming into an already established group where everyone already knows each other is intimidating, so it’s important to make them feel welcome and included. Remember their name and say hi to them if you see them around campus. Offer to take them to church and introduce them to the priest. Shoot them an email if they don’t show up to meetings saying you missed them.
- Keep your meeting time consistent. Whether you meet once a week or once a month, keep it the same. Have a start time and an end time and stick to it. That way, people will know exactly when and how long they need to block off their schedule for and can plan around it.
- Make a schedule. I recommend making a monthly schedule at the start of each month and sharing it with your chapter. If they see something on the schedule that interests them, like a discussion on a specific topic or a volunteer event, they’ll make the time for it. It’s also nice to go into meetings knowing what to expect, especially for new students. Structure and organization are key.
- Don’t have only lectures. OCF is a great resource for learning more about the faith, but as college students we spend our entire day being lectured at. The last thing anyone wants to do is sit through another lecture – even if it’s interesting. Format lectures as more of a Q&A or discussion style to get people involved. For ideas on how to incorporate all four pillars of OCF (fellowship, education, worship, and service), check out the Back to Basics blog.
- Plan some social events on the weekends. It can be as simple as all going out for pizza on a Friday night. Sometimes the week runs away from us with studying, work, and other responsibilities. Everyone needs to take time to kick back on the weekend for a bit, so make it part of OCF!