Grad Students don’t have time for NSO.

kathy at CU involvement fairYes they do.  Just not as much as undergrads.

NSO.  New Student Outreach.  That’s what we used to call it in my former IVCF career. My glory days wear me out to recall. Staff teams would get our student-leaders to return a few days before classes. We’d cover every bulletin board with publicity. We’d pack all-campus events and niche events into the first week.  “Move over credit card venders!”  “Excuse me, that’s our table, Mr. ISP-Modem-Man.”

Visibility. Connections. Meeting people. Getting people to sign information cards.  Follow-up.  The world of grad students I now serve isn’t completely different. The first month of the semester is still the least impossible one for getting people to show up at a gathering. Food still seems to make it happen. I’m convinced even busy grad students like making new connections before the semester bites down hard!


Emily (student leader) and Kathy (faculty member) were a blast to be with on Creighton’s campus. We met dozens and dozens of students filing past the information tables. About 20 stopped to engage us and find out more about GFM at Creighton. A possible change this year will be moving to weekly gatherings. Every other week, Kathy will host a meal in her home. On the off-weeks Emily will lead a bible study on campus. It’s an ambitious  time commitment.  We’ll see how the group sustains throughout the semester.

When I worked with undergrads, it was a given that a student would show interest in a small group, would come to a weekly gathering for teaching and worship, and volunteer somewhere in the group. That’s just not reality for grad students. The biggest difference is selectivity.  Grad students are much more selective.  Much less included to sign up for everything and sort it out later. It’s a very big deal to have 35 grad students at your kick off barbecue (Wash-U this past week).  I was surprised to learn that at the involvement fair at Creighton two weeks ago, all 300+ new students in Pharmacy and Health care were required to attend the orientation!  Required to walk through the entire room full of displays!

Faculty Groups starting back up this fall.

Mark Hansard works with faculty members at K-State. He tells me there are two faculty groups meeting regularly. One is a book group this fall reading and discussing Augustine of Hippo, a biography by Peter Brown.  Mark writes for The Compass – the blog for ESN, Emerging Scholars Network.  Check out one of his posts at this link.

augustine of hippo

The other group is a bible study working through Colossians. Faculty groups are amazing to me because these are perhaps the busiest of busy people on campus, yet they carve out time to be together. Sometimes it takes me weeks to just get an appointment with a faculty member. When they decide to spend time in a study group, book group or a missional prayer gathering, they’re not looking for a way to burn free time. They’re intentional. Pray for Christian faculty members at my school. Ask God to keep them focused, refreshed and engaged in the kingdom of God right in the midst of their departments.

jake tim big jay

Jake Evans and I hanging out at KU a couple weeks back!

Recent and Upcoming…

  • Connecting with Dr. Peter Szto at UNO this fall and Shelby – one of his new MSW students.  Thinking and praying about a possible group among other MSW students.
  • Campus visit to St. Louis coming up Sept 18-20.  Three campuses.  Three staff.  I’ll also connect with two staff potential folk.
  • Planning a trip through Iowa Sept 25-28 – University of Iowa, possibly meeting some Drake faculty in Des Moines a friend of mine is colleagues with, and a visit with the undergrad ministry Central Regional Director.
  • My link to the 2030 Calling now plays the video.  Click here to watch if you didn’t catch it from my previous post.
  • Wait.  I almost forgot! My daughter Phoebe’s wedding!  Yikes that one is sneaking up on us.  September 9th.

Ryan Brehm and Phoebe Perry, Sept 9th Missouri Valley, IA



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