Jessica Fick, regional coordinator for Great Lakes East and member of the national Evangelism Champions team, was invited to speak at Bethel College during its World Christian Action Conference. The chapel planning committee wanted to help students think about how they could live out their faith every day, and they thought Jessica would be a good person to help them with that.
What made this different from other events she’s attended?
Bethel College is a Christian college, and Jessica works specifically in evangelism.
"It can be really difficult for Christian colleges to do evangelism because it is assumed everyone is a Christian, and you don't talk about your faith," she said. "It was exciting to think about what the particular challenges would be for them."
Jessica wanted to provide a practical way for students and staff to share their faith, especially in the unique environment of a Christian campus. Her answer? The Big Story App.
The free app, which was released in December 2012, is available for iOS and Android devices. It is based on the Big Story Gospel Presentation, which InterVarsity staff and students had previously been trained to draw out on paper, and was also available as a booklet. The app allows users to trace the "worlds" on their screen, and has talking points as reminders.
Jessica took an hour to train about 200 Bethel students and staff to use the gospel-sharing app. She felt the New World App was a great resource because their students are highly involved in the community and have an interest in social justice, both of which are highlighted in the gospel outline.
"I wanted to provide them with a resource they could keep coming back to when they are out reading to the elderly or working with school kids or just showing it to a friend or family member," she said.
Jessica said the students and staff were thrilled with the app, and the vice president of Student Affairs planned on sending out emails to the whole student body with a link to download the app.
The students present, most of whom had smart phones, particularly liked the app's accessibility:
"They're on their phones and looking at their phones anyway," she said. "It is something they can bring up in a natural way. It provides a natural outline for them to walk through without having to remember so much or pull out a piece of paper. I think they like that they can immediately share it with their friends by emailing or tweeting it to them. Their friend can download it right there on their smartphone. It is something they can keep having a conversation with friends about after they’ve shared."
The app has a basic outline for conversation, but also provides space to share your own personal stories as you use it.
"To have something like, 'Hey, I just downloaded this cool thing that talks about the basic message of what it means to be a Christian,' can fit in normally with what you are doing in everyday life," she said.
This isn’t the first time Jesicca has used the app with such great results. She also trained students at the Regional Black Students Conference in Great Lakes East, and was the first to lead a personal friend to Jesus with it.
"It's been really fun," Jessica said. "It is an easy way to share my own story and also the story of Jesus."
What other tips do you have for training students at a Christian college in evangelism? Leave your ideas in a comment below.