Doing these info tables is seriously one of my favorite parts of campus ministry. It is suited for loud mouthed extroverts like me. I hand people candy, invite them to take a quick spiritual interest survey, and get to talk about how stinking awesome Jesus is.
|(isn't my campus so dang beautiful?) pic courtesey of Laura|
But because nothing in my life can be with out weird awkwardness. I made a list of the most awkward parts of doing an info table-
1. People avoid your eye contact like it's their job.
I try to be pretty proactive about smiling and saying hi to people. But with the 70 million other survey takers and money wanters on campus people get a little calloused to friendliness. People nearly break their necks and run into signs avoiding eye contact of anyone who looks "official"
2. People mistake you as someone who knows things
When you have a table with a sign and a candy bowl you are mistaken for someone who knows things about the campus. Now because I've spent the better part of the last 6 years on that campus I can usually field peoples questions well enough. But ever so often someone will walk up and ask where a certain professor's office is or how to ask the financial aid office to give you a loan. I DON'T KNOW THOSE THINGS! I feel the strong need to put a disclaimer on the front of our table saying "Sorry I don't know more about this campus, but it's okay Jesus still loves you" buuuut that might be too much.
3. Free snickers? Sure! Tell me your name? No way!
It's no secret that college kids love free stuff. That's why we have a giant sign that says "FREE STUFF" to entice college students to chat with us. Sometimes all they want is the free candy bar and that's totally fine! But because I'm an extrovert and love making small talk (ahem. sort of. sometimes) I just say "Hey! How's it going? What's your name?"
Not a scary question right? But for some reason, when all they really want is a snickers it's as if I'm asking "Hi! What's your name? What's your social security number? Want to have my first child?"
They run off awkwardly. I'm left standing there awkwardly. The whole mess is just awkward and makes me want to die a little. But totally avoidable if people would just say hi back. SMALL TALK SAVES LIVES.
4. You see ALL THE WEIRD OUTFITS
Trends I saw on campus yesterday:
-Weird printed pants
-SO MANY BELLY SHIRTS (I think I saw 38 belly buttons yesterday)
-Not matching anything (purple, orange, green, and yellow all belong in the same outfit)
-Lots of fringe
5. The fake text message
"Oh you want something from me? Let me attend to this incredibly urgent text that just came in the second I saw you"
6. "Do you want some candy?..."
One of the first things parents teach their kids is to not take candy from strangers. And here I am, trying to get strangers to talk to me by offering them candy. Serial killers everywhere take note.
7. "...Not unless it's Satanic candy!"
This is a real life quote. For real. I offered this guy some starburst and this was his response. I mean who doesn't want starburst? I told him the candy could be whatever he wanted it to be.
8. Sometimes there is a weird old man singing Johnny Cash and Green Day right next to you
Well maybe this is just our campus? But still. It was hilarious and awesome.
9. You have a mouthful of orange chicken the moment someone wants to hear about your ministry
Sometimes you have the most generous and encouraging friend who brings you lunch and a book just to bless you. So then, because you're starving you shove it into your mouth as quickly as possible. And then because Murphy's law totally always works in your favor, you constantly have a mouthful of food whenever people come up to ask what you're all about. It's awkward for everyone involved.
10. You creepily remember people from a year ago.
And not only do you remember their faces, you remember their major, where they are from and what scarf they were wearing. I one hundred percent felt like a stalker.
Buuuut it worked out because then I offered to take her out to coffee and she mentioned that would be a huge blessing to her in her life right now. 10 points for my creepy memory.
|Students praying together after we talked|
In spite of all the awkward things, yesterday was a day that blessed me to no end. I got to share the gospel almost as much as I ever have at a table like that. I got to encourage believers, challenge and befriend non-believers, and see Jesus answer very specific prayers. I was filled up, poured out and stretched in new ways. I'd love if you'd pray with me for all the students I met yesterday. Pray that the gospel would be magnified in their lives and many would trust Christ. xoxo