College students are always looking for things to do, ways to connect, and make new friends. Providing opportunities to connect intentionally is vital to building and strengthening community! One of my favorite verses around this topic is from Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

There’s just something special about how Christ-centered relationships form over time, especially as you are able to get to hang out and do life together. Creating space for connections to happen provides a great foundation for a community that will grow together in faith! Regardless of the type of event, whenever you make a welcoming and inviting space to welcome new friends and nurture existing relationships, community will grow and strengthen.

One of the best ways to connect with new students on campus is by inviting them to an event outside of your weekly Bible Study or gathering time. Events, regardless of the type, are a key tool for outreach. Often, before a person joins your campus ministry and begins attending worship in your congregation, they will check out your ministry by attending an event.

As you are planning events for your campus ministry, there are some essential things to keep in mind.

As you are planning events for your campus ministry, there are some essential things to keep in mind.

  1. Type of Event:There are many different types of events that you could host within your community. Some examples include: Party Events, Fellowship Events, Service Events, and Faith/Discussion Events!
  2. Promotion: Leading up to your event, you will want to develop some creative ways to let people know about your events! You should consider how to use tables and bulletin boards on campus, social media, email invitations, flyers and handouts.
  3. Atmosphere: The atmosphere for your event is vital to keep in mind. You want to show warmth, challenge and grace. Consider the type of event you are having and what kind of atmosphere is needed to make your guests feel welcomed and comfortable!
  4. Activity: Great conversation can occur when participating in any activity together! A shared task or structured game can help break the ice.
  5. Food: Food is always a great draw for college students, especially if it’s FREE! Bonus points if it is a home-cooked meal.
  6. Follow-Up:Make sure to create a system or plan to follow up with new friends after joining you at your event, particularly an invite to worship. Develop a plan to get their contact information and stay in touch to get plugged in for future events!

 I would love to share what events have been successful most recently for our ministry.

One of our favorite events we have done the past two years is a Fall Kickoff party. We call our Fall kick-off event “Party on the Patio!” Our facility also doubles as a coffee shop (which in itself creates the perfect setting for events)! We have a great patio area with picnic table seating and open green space, which provides the perfect space to host a big shin-dig. While the event has looked different from year to year, there is always delicious food, lawn games, and fun activities.

Another successful event for our ministry has been an event called Theology on Tap. At this monthly event, our group rotated from area breweries and pubs, enjoying a craft beer and fellowship, and a theological discussion led by a local Pastor or church leader. What made this event so successful for us was the laid-back feel.

While there was a program, it wasn’t forced, and fellowship was key to creating relationships.

Different discussion leaders brought different styles and topics, which always made for exciting conversation and questions. Before COVID, our Theology on Tap group had been going strong since 2016. Of course, we had to pivot, and this was one event that did not translate to Zoom well for our community.

As I mentioned before, our coffee shop opened in Fall of 2017 and provides a great setting for outreach and fellowship events. Some of our favorite events we have held include Open Mic Nights, Game Nights, Bible Journaling Workshops, Calligraphy Workshops, Karaoke Nights, and more.

Here’s a list of events that we have done in the past few years or are planning in the near future:

  • Game Nights (Board/Card Games)
  • Outdoor Games/Activities
  • Movie Nights
  • BBQ’s
  • Trivia Night
  • Bowling
  • Mini-Golf
  • Volleyball
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Ice Cream Social
  • Adult Coloring Books
  • Bible Journaling Workshop
  • Open Mic Night
  • Karaoke Night
  • Out for Dinner
  • Potluck
  • Virtual Hangouts
  • Saturday Sips (Monthly coffee, coloring, and conversation event)
  • Theology on Tap
  • Paint/Decorate a Coffee Mug
  • Dyeing Easter eggs
  • Calligraphy Workshop
  • Serve with Habitat for Humanity
  • Serve at a Local Food Bank
  • Serve at a Local Soup Kitchen
  • Neighborhood Clean-Up
  • Mission Trips (domestic and international, find out more at


If you are curious what kinds of events to start with, talk to your college students who are already connected to your ministry. They can give you their thoughts on the best place to start.

Whatever kind of event you choose to do, Relationships will naturally blossom on their own when you provide a time and space for opportunities to be together. It brings me great joy when I hear of students spending time connecting outside of our organized event times! Those relationships are help adults and students share the Gospel and make invitations to further connect to God’s Word in worship and Bible Study.