What is the best way to engage curious friends and strangers in the quad? How can we host relevant and personal conversations about the most important topics in life? How can we help our campus consider the Good News of Jesus? We are convinced that proxe stations are our best foot forward in the campus public sphere.
What is a proxe?
A proxe is a set of large, interactive visual displays meant to start spiritual conversations on campus (with passers-by, both strangers and friends). The term proxe is a made-up word that we use for interactive art displays that lead to the Gospel.
How do they work?
We catch your eye. We use bright, bold, and beautiful designs to stir curiosity and interest.
We ask students to vote. Voting turns an initially awkward conversation into a personal interaction. The moment they put their voting sticker on our proxe, they morph from passive listeners into active participants.
We bridge to relevant topics. Every proxe station has been thoughtfully contextualized to some relevant topic that people want to talk about on campus.
Crucial Relationships explores the depth, quality, and longing expressed in our relationships.
Beyond Colorblind explores issues of ethnicity and identity.
The Thirsty Proxe takes the image of the red plastic cup and asks people what they are really thirsty for (beyond alcohol).
The conversation then turns towards a relevant scripture passage, which the proxe host and the visitor discuss. Finally, the proxe host shares the gospel and invites the visitor to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to follow him and join his movement on campus.
What scripture informs our use of proxe stations?
We get this idea from Acts 17 (and other passages) when Paul visits the Areopagus marketplace in Athens. (See the attached PDF, or the bottom of the page, for scripture.)
Here are 4 principles from Acts 17.
Go public. The Areopagus, a little like the campus quad, was a place where people debated the latest ideas and philosophies. It was a place meant to spark conversation about meaning, faith, and purpose. Paul did not merely stay indoors and preach in the synagogue, but he went to the public arena to have spiritual conversations. Like Paul, we need to get out into the quad.
Quote secular poets. In Acts 17: 28-29, Paul quotes the pagan poets who were well known to the listeners. He is not afraid to use the “poets” of their day to build bridges toward common Kingdom values and toward the Gospel. Likewise, we are invited by God to creatively use the “poets” of our day to build common ground, and bridge toward the gospel.
Stoke their felt needs. The Athenians “covered their bases” by including an altar to an “unknown god” just in case they were leaving out some idol. Paul took this expression of openness and built upon it, affirming their desire for the divine. He could have been offended by their idol worship, but instead found a way to encourage this yearning and bridge toward the Gospel.
Close with a challenge. Paul lets them know that the days of ignorance are over. It is not enough to merely build bridges. A loving challenge is crucial. At the end of every proxe station, we also explain the Gospel, and we intentionally make a point to invite them to respond to Jesus. Paul sees some people make decisions as a result of his challenge. We too pray and see people life-changing decisions on campus.
May God work through you to creatively bridge to your campus as you boldly share Jesus in attractive and startling ways.
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Study Acts 17: Acts_17_Study.pdf