As March and housing sign ups rapidly approach, and the phrase "intentional housing" sweeps through the fellowship, I wanted to add new something to the conversation. While I believe more strongly than most that it matters who with and where you chose to live next year, even more important than that is how you chose to live in your current resident this year. No sense in moving across campus to reach such and such a dorm, when you never bother to care for the dorm where you live currently. Please do keep praying and thinking about where God would like to use you next year, but for this semester, try some of the following tips, and walk in Jesus' footsteps of living with the people you are reaching out to.
Tip 1. Do you have a door on your room? (I bet you do!) Make sure to print the Large Group flyer that is sent out weekly and post it on your door. Go the extra step and ask your RD for permission to put it on the bulletin boards around your dorm. If you live on the first floor, consider putting up IV advertisements in your window.
Tip 2. Another door suggestion. Keep it open!! While obviously if your h- core studying, sleeping, changing etc… you will want your privacy, but when you’re just chilling in your room, try leaving your door open. It might feel weird for a while, but it gives an open invitation to your hall mates to pop in, say hi, and chat. Unless you are all about door to door evangelism, it’s from these casual interactions that relationships will be formed, and opportunities to share the gospel arise.
Tip 3. Oh! Be careful little ears what you hear. Now that you have your door open during your chill time, people will probably be able to hear the music you’re chilling to (or in my case; singing, very very loudly.) Think about how the music we listen to/ belt out in the shower reflects your life, your faith and your God. This does not mean you can only listen to praise and worship, or even Christian music. (Both work. I’ve gotten the opportunity to share the Gospel with an acquaintance because she asked me about a worship song I was singing when I was washing my hands after going to the bathroom. I’ve also shared the Gospel with two friends when I was in high school illustrating different biblical truths with Bright Eye’s quotes. (Coincidentally, that conversation also happened in a bathroom....)) Point is, that nothing is not spiritual, and the music we listen to needs to reflect that. If you are listening to music that you know God isn’t down with, cut it out.
Tip 4. Assoxinate!! If your building does assoxination or another building wide game, participate! You will get to know people, have fun, and support your res life staff.
Tip 5. Go to programs your RA offers. Even if no one else goes, your RA needs Jesus too, and s/he will love you for coming out!
Tip 6. Do you have international students on your hall? Its never too late to start a friendship with them. Stop and chat with them, offer to correct an English paper, have them teach you something from home. (Or try to teach you… I still have no idea how to play that Korean tile game (Go Stop) even after watching them for an hour or so.) If your hyphenated nationality is the same as theirs (aka they are Korean international students, and you are Korean-American) use your hyphenatedness to its fullest!! I don’t really know what that might look like, but my guess is that you have something unique to offer them being a part of both cultures.
Tip 7. Happy Holidays!! For 3$ at Wal-Mart you can buy enough holiday themed lollipops/ nerds/ pixy stix/ what have you for every one on your hall. Buy some and go to door handing them out. You’ll get to familiarize your self with your hall mates, and a permanent reputation for being “nice.” (Nicenice isn’t straight up evangelsim, but it is a good first step.)
Tip 8. Next time your at Wal-Mart, invest (don’t steal from the dinning hall!!) in some bowls, forks/ chopsticks, salt& pepper, and easy mac and cup ramon. Next time your chilling with your door open, and you over hear a hall mate complaining “Im SOOOO hungry right now!” stick you head out and say, “Hey, ________________, I just over heard you say you were hungry. I’ve got some easy mac and cup noodles if you want some.” Lots of times they will say yes, and then you have an insta conversation the 3 minuets it takes to cook the food. Even if they think your weird for asking, it’s the “nice” weird, which sounds like a pretty good description for a Christian to have. It was over easy mac my freshman year that I got to share my faith with my pledging neighbors.
Tip 9. Next time you’re at Wal-Mart, invest in a soup cup or two, and a couple cans of Cambell’s soup. Next time your chilling in your room with the door open and hear your hall mate’s nasty cough, you can heat them up/ bring them soup. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you can buy the little packs of tissues and or cough drops at Wal-Mart or the dollar store and give them those too. They will love knowing you care! (Even if again, they think you’re a little weird.)
Tip 10. Next time you do laundry, bring some reading down with you and stay with your stuff. Not only is this a good idea in light of past cases of laundry room vandalism, but others who stick around too are usually up for conversations, and you can meet people who live on different floors.
Try these out, talk to your hitches about what your doing or if you have more ideas, and if something cool happens, post it as a comment!
-Katy McFadden, Out Reach Coordinator