One excellent way to communicate the gospel to faculty is a "Favorite Faculty Banquet." The banquet, which may be a breakfast, lunch, or dinner takes advantage of the existing contacts and relationships that Christian students on campus have with their professors.
Most professors find it difficult to refuse an invitation to a banquet given to honor them and paid for by the student extending the invitation.
Each student who is affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, the Navigators, or another Christian group is challenged to invite his or her favorite professor to the banquet. The banquet speaker should be someone with valid academic credentials who can effectively communicate with professors. Christian Leadership Ministries can provide a list of available speakers.
The following steps are suggested for making arrangements for the banquet, for conducting the banquet, and for conducting follow-up after the banquet.
1 Select a committee of four to six Christian faculty and/or alumni to make arrangements and oversee follow-up activity. Be sure they have been appropriately equipped to share their faith (e.g., Evangelism Explosion, Campus Crusade, etc. ) .
2 Choose a date for the event (usually during the second semester, before spring break, works best). Be sure to check the campus calendar to avoid conflicts with a major event.
3 Line up a speaker for that date, working out details of cost, transportation, honorarium, and local accommodations. A credible Christian speaker will make or break your event.
4 Schedule your meeting room. Usually a medium-sized room or a small room which can be enlarged if needed works quite well and avoids the "BB in a boxcar" effect.
5 Consult with Christian Leadership staff for ideas and speaker lists and begin a prayer strategy.
6 Contact the director of at least one, and preferably all of the student Christian groups to enlist the involvement of their students. This step is absolutely essential.
1 Emphasize praying for professors before inviting; have the students pray by name for five professors and challenge the students, by faith, to bring one. Praying for five leaves options if the first one says no. Explain that you will be training them on what to say to the professors.
2 If desired, arrange financial sponsorship for the banquet. One approach is to let the student pay for his or her faculty guest and to ask Christian alumni or Christian faculty to provide scholarships to cover the meal cost for the students. This arrangement allows the student to provide for his or her guest's meal without making the financial investment on the part of the student exorbitantly high.
3 Have invitations and comment cards typeset and printed on quality card stock at a local printer. The additional cost is worth it to make the banquet a quality event. Whenever possible, a picture of the speaker should be printed on the invitation brochure. An example is shown below:
The Students of
Campus Crusade for Christ
at The University of Alabama
cordially invite you to their
Favorite Faculty Lunch
Dr. Walter L. Bradley
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Speaking on "True Personal Freedom"
Tuesday, September 14, 1985
from Noon to 1:15 pm
Ferguson Center Party Room
List academic credentials off the speaker in detail in a paragraph on the invitation. This paragraph will help the professor decide if it is worth his or her time to attend.
4 Arrange for the facility, menu, decorations, and other physical details as necessary. Normally, students pay for both meals; therefore, maintaining a quality meal and a low cost is desirable.
5 Meet with the student Christian groups to challenge the students to bring their favorite professor to the banquet. If students are concerned about asking their current professors to an evangelistic event, assure them it is perfectly acceptableespecially if they pay for their professor's meal. It is very important to escort the professor to the banquet, i.e., walk with them to the banquet or provide transportation for them. Encourage all students to participate by buying a ticket ahead of time. Students who agree to participate should be sold a ticket good for 2 people and given an invitation to give to their professor (approximately two weeks prior to the event). This much lead-time will allow students with positive results to share at their group's weekly meeting in time to encourage other students to issue an invitation. It should be emphasized that 75-80% of the faculty who are invited do come. Furthermore, the typical declination is due to schedule conflict, not an offense with the banquet invitation. The response of faculty who have attended in the past has keen very positive.
6 Accept reservations from students who have received commitments from professors to attend the banquet. Reservations should be closed one week to two or three days prior to the event depending on the requirements of the facility being used. This will also encourage students not to wait until the last minute to invite their "favorite professor." Ask students to remind their faculty member of the date two to three days in advance of the program.
1 Sell advance tickets (non-refundable) to students through small groups and large meetings. This is crucial.
2 Carefully monitor weekly and day-to-day progress on invitations (are the students praying for five? What corrections need to be made in your strategy?.
3 Choose your MC. Obtain written biographical details from your speaker to help your MC prepare for a good introduction.
4 Design your own comment card for luncheon tables (see enclosure). Have the card printed.
5 Plan and give attention to the physical arrangements of the room, such as flower displays, background music, head table seating, etc.
6 Assign someone to serve as Speaker Liaison.
1 Check speaker accommodations and/or special arrangements (e.g., cordless microphone).
2 Give final count to caterers.
3 Continue to motivate students to be involved right up to the day of the event.
4 Make sure your MC is properly trained and prepared for the event.
5 Make sure speaker's talk length is coordinated with the scheduled end of your meeting.
1 Pick up speaker and bring him/her to the room a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the start of the program.
2 Check out all physical arrangements and backups, especially lighting and sound system.
1 Once students and their faculty guests have assembled, the MC should give a short welcome, especially recognizing faculty guests and complimenting them on being a student's "favorite faculty." After the welcome, a blessing should be given by the MC, a student, or a member of the organizing committee.
2 Approximately 30 minutes should be allowed for the meal, depending on serving arrangements.
3 A general statement of appreciation to the faculty for the extra effort they put out to be excellent teachers should he made by the MC. Then students should be asked to introduce themselves and their guest and indicate one thing they particularly appreciate about their guest (time permitting). Entertainment provided by the students in the form of a skit or music (not necessarily Christian) is also useful.
4 Once the meal has concluded, the MC should introduce the speaker, giving particular attention to the speaker's academic credentials.
5 The talk should be strongly oriented to faculty since they are the guests to be honored. The talk should conclude in such a way as to facilitate follow-up. One effective way to do this would be to allude in the talk to written materials that deal in a factual was with misconceptions about Christianity. The comment cards can give an opportunity to comment on the program and request the materials mentioned in the talk.
6 Once the speaker has concluded his or her talk, the MC should ask students and faculty guests to take a comment card and provide appropriate information, including comments. The MC should explain clearly, but gently, what information is wanted. "We ask that you put your name, position, office address, and phone number. Now, you don't have to, but a friend of our ministry has written a brief presentation that explains more about the personal relationship with Christ that Dr.________________ (the speaker's name) has talked about. We would like a way to get it to you. And lastly; any comments about how todays message relates to you should be written below. Thanks again for your feedback.!
Say no moregive them time to write the information you asked for. This is the most important part of the banquet. Without names on the comment cards, there is no way to follow-up!
7 After the comment cards have been completed, the MC should conclude the banquet.
8 Care should be exercised to ensure that the meeting starts on time and ends on time. One hour and a half is probably the maximum length of time. A dinner program from 5:30-7:00 pm will meet with the least scheduling conflicts and will come at a time when faculty and students can both relax.
Follow-up is very important, but often neglected. The goal here should be to channel interested faculty into an appropriate support grouppreferably a Christian faculty/staff group on campus. The following steps are recommended:
1 Assemble the planning committee to review the comment cards.
2 Sort out the student cards and make these available to the leadership of the student groups involved.
3 Categorize faculty responses into the following categories: Already Christian, Interested, Other.
4 Assign faculty (cards) to planning committee members for appropriate follow-up action as follows:
Already Christian. Personally challenge them to become involved with the Christian faculty/staff group on campus.
Interested. Personally meet with each individual for an evangelistic appointment. Be sensitive to questions which might have been raised by the speaker's presentation. Delivering written materials which were mentioned by the speaker is usually a good opener.
Other. Send each individual a follow-up letter thanking him or her for attending and for being interested enough in students to attend. Emphasize the importance of the university as a forum for the exchange of ideas.
5 Write a "thank you" letter to the speaker and share any results which the planning committee would feel appropriate.
6 Report the results of your event, along with copies of the best comment cards, to Christian Leadership Ministries, 3440 Sojourn drive, suite 200, Carrolton, Texas 75006. Phone:(972) 713-7130 . Fax:(972) 713-7130. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org