Boldly Engaging Classmates

Recently I had the pleasure of being a part of the inaugural self-care proxe cohort. (A proxe is a set of large, interactive visual displays meant to start spiritual conversations on campus.) Nursing students gathered in small groups from campuses all around the nation to support one another in engaging new campus folks through conversations about self-care. While this event was targeted toward nurses, anyone can utilize this strategy to engage their classmates, especially during these crazy pandemic times.

The self-care proxe was curated by InterVarsity and given to us in an editable digital slide deck which we walked through together as a small group cohort. The proxe discussed areas of self-care we excelled or struggled in, whether it be body, soul, or relationships. It ends with Mathew 11 and the Gospel presentation of God's vision for self-care.

The first time I went through the proxe, I was wary of how some classmates, particularly non-Christians, might respond because of the very clear Gospel presentation. But ultimately, I was convicted to be faithful with promoting the event and trust God to bring whoever He wanted to hear the message.

After using it as a cohort, we then coached each other on how to send out personal invites to our classmates and we prayed for one another. As the founding member of my campus's NCF group, I wanted to involve the other leaders in the planning process. I showed them the proxe, collaborated on choosing a date, and delegated the responsibilities of games and discussion leading to other members. I took on leading the gospel presentation at the end. We marketed our event through social media, our school newsletter, and personal emails to friends. I invited folks from a nearby school nurses fellowship and posted the event on our citywide Christian healthcare network.

By God's grace, we had 8 people at the event, including 3 new students who previously were not involved with NCF. These students identified as Christians but were not actively involved in our fellowship or a local church. During the proxe, we played Taboo virtually and had a great discussion about self-care, the Gospel, and then ended with prayer. One of the new girls messaged our leadership afterward, saying that she was very blessed by the event and felt God prompting her to come. Since then, two students have started coming regularly to our Bible studies.

As someone who was involved in starting a new campus chapter two years ago, I am blown away by God's faithfulness. I am simply a conduit of His grace in getting to witness the fruit that He has produced. I think prayer and fostering relationships were the keys to our success. While the nursing school was the only department without a Christian fellowship on campus two years ago, God has since turned it into one of the campus fellowships that meets most consistently.

I’m very thankful for the resources and support InterVarsity offers, including Instagram self-proxe templates that we’re using to engage more students. Please reach out with any questions or if you want to be a part of the next cohort for NCF leaders! God is faithful when we step out in faith.

The author is currently a graduate student in the mid-Atlantic region studying to become a nurse practitioner. She enjoys board games, helping others reach their full potential, and trying new foods.

Many student groups have used the InterVarsity proxe outreach tool to connect with classmates in a creative and non-confrontative way. Curious? Check out the self-care proxe here.

Students and faculty: Connect with a student group as a member, leader, or advisor as part of God’s movement on campuses nationwide. Jen Wojtysiak can help you find or start a group.

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