Making the most of a Dial-A-Doughnut…

In recent years, CUs around the country have excelled in combining technology, good food and the power of questions to engage their campuses in investigating Jesus.

Text-A-Toastie, Call-A-Cookie, Message-A-Mince-Pie, Dial-A-Doughnut… the options are almost endless and the format is simple.

ImageThe CU invite the campus to text in any question – and they mean any question – about God, faith, the Bible, Jesus or church and in return, a couple of friendly faces from the CU turn up, with the beginnings of an answer to the question and some free tasty treat.

These events have tended to be much loved and extremely well received, as seen in this story from Nottingham, and this one from Southampton.

It’s my view that these are amazing events, for so many reasons. Here’s just five:

  1. These events take us to people, rather than asking people to come to us!
  2. These events are unique – no other society is doing it!
  3. These events respect other people, seeing their opinions and their questions as valuable.
  4. These events make people smile – Texters love it. CUs love it.
  5. These events get everyone involved – making, organising, delivering, answering, discussing, the whole CU has a role.

But how do we make the most of such an event?

As a student heading to knock on the door, how do we maximise the impact of our visit? We might only get 30 seconds with people. What are we to do?

There’s a couple of approaches. Of course, there’s the “Advance, knock-knock, BOOM, dominate, retreat” technique…

It’s a real hoot. In this approach, we’re to verbally vomit our views on to people. Look up a proof text and read it at them. If possible, take offence at any rude or aggressive questions. And at very least we can make sure we finish the conversation having “won” the contest and come out on top. Did I mention it’s a contest?

Or what if we were to take a different approach?

  • What if we took the “I’m a person, you’re a person, it’s so great to have a conversation” approach?
  • What if we were to see the people we visit as, well, people?
  • What if we were to visit not so much demanding on delivering an answer but committed to having a conversation?
  • What if we knocked on a door with a big smile, and thanked people for their question?
  • What if we told them we thought it was a fabulous question, and asked what made them text it?
  • What if before answering, we asked them what they thought of the question?
  • What if we explained we had a few minutes and asked if we could come in and chat about the question, ’cause we’d love to know what they think?
  • What if we didn’t need to know every answer?
  • What if we weren’t judgemental and rude, but apologised for the way that Christians have been judgemental and rude?
  • What if we said “Well, what do you think?” more than we said “Well, I think…”
  • What if we sought to move from “God” and “Christianity” and “Church” and asked them what they thought of Jesus?
  • What if it wasn’t a robot delivering a statement to a stranger, but a person introducing a person to a Person?

As we arrive at people’s doors, and knock, just imagine how they feel…

No doubt nervous, no doubt awkward, no doubt worried or cynical about the people who are stood just outside their flat. Perhaps they’re just after a doughnut. Perhaps they’re out for a fight. But whatever their intentions or expectations, what if they opened the door to find people strangely similar to them? Who are friendly to them? Respect them? Thank them? Honour them? Have an engaging conversation with them? Who asked good questions?

‘Cause questions draw people in…….don’t they?


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