Just Walk Across the Room
by Bill Hybels
Bill Hybel’s book, Just Walk Across the Room, guides the reader through a journey that helps to focus their vision on what is really important in life: people. People need a chance to learn about the God who loves them, and to know how to respond in faith. Bill’s invitation to “just walk across the room” is centered on the idea that if we take more opportunities to leave our comfortable circle of friends, and extend a hand to someone new, someone who might need to know God a little better, then we will see more and more miracles happen. What better vision is there to cast to college students?!
Most students don’t need help finding opportunities to meet non-Christians and interact with them in meaningful ways, but they may need help taking the opportunity. The sad truth is, the longer and more faithfully Christians develop their faith-filled lives, the more they tend to create impenetrable Christian bubbles around themselves. We need to help students combat this tendency and choose to continually engage with non-Christians so that they may offer them the hope that is in Christ. And we need to help them do this in a very strategic way.
Bill’s Simple Strategy – Living 3D
Develop Friendships- by engaging in the lives of the people around you.
Discover Stories- before sharing your own story and God’s redemptive story
Discern Next Steps- by following the Holy Spirit’s direction. He is the only one who knows the role you’re supposed to play in their spiritual journey.
Many evangelistic trends have come and gone. There was the time of the big tent revivals, the times of televangelists, the time of the tract, and much more. They all had their ‘hay day’ of effectiveness, and brought many people to Christ. But eventually they became retro and un-relatable. One strategy that will never go out of fashion, and will always be effective, is the strategy of following the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Think about it, it’s fool proof! All the reasons that your students may come up with to skip an opportunity to share Christ with someone will become irrelevant when you’ve taught them how to open themselves up to following the Holy Spirit. How can you argue that it’s not the right time, when God Himself is telling you to do it?
Using this Book in Your Ministry
This book is filled with lots of great stories, and is a very easy read. However…this book is not in ANY way written for the campus ministry context. Every example given is either about Bill himself (who is a well established pastor who enjoys flying planes and sailing on his personal sailboat in his spare time), or of other adults well past their college years, with young families, and in suburban neighborhoods. That being said, literally every example that Bill provides of how people engaged in relationships, and developed opportunities to meet non-Christians, can be translated to the campus ministry setting. For example:
Bill started a sailing team to build relationships with non-believers –> Any student could start a club or sport specifically designed to engage non-believers.
A family committed themselves to reaching out to their neighborhood. Serving them in anyway they could, throwing parties to get to know people better, etc –> A student living on campus could have this vision for their floor or maybe even the entire dorm.
The point is, it may take a little extra effort on your part to reframe all of the examples presented in the book to fit the campus ministry context, but it would be easy to do, and well worth the end result. Imagine if all of your disciples were focused primarily on meeting the needs of the people around them, and we’re making an effort to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Lives would begin to be transformed, including the lives of your disciples.
Our suggestion is to use this book as material to cover in a small group or one-on-one discipleship setting. Get everyone involved a book to read and work through it chapter by chapter. Even without purchasing the study guide or curriculum kit (which is really designed to be used in a church-wide setting), the original book ends each chapter with thought provoking discussion questions. Together you and your disciples could read over the material and discuss how they could apply the concept and strategies in their lives and on your campus.
If you do think you’d like to use the entire kit in your ministry (maybe your college ministry is in the church context and you don’t mind making the extra work to contextualize it to college students), then here is the link to purchase everything including study guides, DVDs, and promotion materials.
If you’re still on the fence on whether or not to purchase the whole kit, here is a preview of what the DVD content is like (high quality but not entirely relatable to college students):
“Life’s great moments evolve from simple acts of cooperation with God’s mysterious promptings – nudges that always lean toward finding what’s been lost and freeing what’s been enslaved.”
“True followers of Christ who really get it right…give themselves to people. Most importantly, they give themselves to pointing people to faith in Christ. That is the highest and best use of a human life – to have it serve as a signpost that points people toward God.”
“The only thing you need in order to sustain an effective approach to evangelism year after year is an ear fine-tuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.”