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5 ways to succeed in Greek ministry


July 10, 2016
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The Greek system is notorious for behavior that seems to counter Christ’s teachings.

However, I have found the culture provides numerous opportunities with great potential for sharing the gospel. If you are serious about taking the gospel to the Greeks, you must be patient and strategic.

In Due Season

A majority of campus ministers stay at one campus for only 1-2 years, yet it takes around four years to really start seeing the fruit of your labor.

As Bill Gates said in his book The Road Ahead,

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

Just because we didn’t see large numbers of people come to Christ quickly, doesn’t mean we weren’t successful in the long run.

Instead of focusing on a big push upfront, the Greek system allows the opportunity to build longevity with the individual fraternities and sororities.

In our first year at Ole Miss, my wife and I organized one Bible study between the Sigma Chi’s and Delta Gammas. The next year we added the Sigma Nu’s and the Chi Omegas. From these few meetings we launched a Greek Movement.

Twenty years later our first weekly meeting welcomed 725 students.

Ten organizations committed to holding co-ed Bible studies, highly encouraging their pledges to attend.

As a result, the gospel was preached to 20 pledge classes and over 1000 freshmen. Out of those, 149 made decisions to trust Christ!

We could have become discouraged the first two years, imagining we weren’t being effective. But as Galatians 6:9 promises, if we do not give up, we will see great things.

Greek Reception

The Greek system can be very intimidating.

I walk into every fraternity house with the idea that I’ve got something they need to hear, but if they don’t listen to what I have to say then they’re going to miss out hearing the gospel.

Approaching fraternity and sorority leaders must be handled with care. Instead of calling officers when I am starting a new ministry in the chapter, I go to the house and try to meet them face to face.

I am careful about sharing the gospel with an officer right away, because if they’re of another religion or have non-Christian beliefs, they can shut the door to that fraternity for the next several years.

I’m initially reserved, but I’m not necessarily shy when I have a forum with the house.

Greeks are usually leaders, and they respect people who speak with confidence and authority. When I speak to pledge classes, my goal is to be as honest, clear, and confident as I can in my presentations.

Individual Growth

Reaching pledges for Christ requires careful consideration of what is important and what can be saved for deeper study.

A coworker once told her Bible study they shouldn’t be drinking alcohol. The entire Bible study quit coming.

Remember, you may have developed your convictions through years of study and spiritual growth.

The majority of college students range from ages 18-22 and have had few experiences outside the safety of their church or home to develop mature convictions.

I teach the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them on godly living.

When I address gray areas, I guide young believers in thinking through their convictions using passages that deal with holiness, in general, like Philippians 4:8 (“Whatsoever things are true…”).

I hold young believers accountable to examine their lifestyle by asking, “What do you need to be doing to prepare yourself to minister?” and “How can I help you?”

Follow Up

Once I start a Bible study, it’s open to anyone. These “seeker studies” present Christ to everyone who attends.

The first time a student attends a study, I get their contact information and schedule a time to meet to discuss what we talked about.

I also encourage the upperclassmen I disciple to come with me to these meetings. This provides a peer influence, but it also provides ministry opportunity for the more mature Christian.

Several years ago, Russel Flynt, an older Phi Delt, helped me lead a house study. He got the guys to seeker studies and we both followed up each new guy that came.

In one year, we shared Christ with every active who was living in the house.

Russell saw the Lord use him so powerfully that he joined Cru staff at the University of Florida and continued working with Greeks.

Longevity

The Greek system is structured in a way that helps recruit and disciple students for Christ.

The individuals in the fraternity or sorority may change, but the relationship with the organization continues.

If you’re patient and strategic, you can saturate a fraternity or sorority in just four years. You may not see massive results the first year, but as your disciples grow, you will see exponential growth.

Discussion questions:

  1. What benefits have you seen in the Greek system to build the Kingdom of God?
  2. How can we support more mature Christians in the Greek system to win their peers to Christ?
 
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