Like bees entering or exiting the hive, students buzz past our info table on their way to the University Bookstore or the Kent Market. This corner of the Student Center is a highly-trafficked crossroads in the first week of a new semester. We try to engage with as many as possible:
“Would you have a minute to fill out a one-question survey for me?”
Some hold up their hands and turn their heads before we can even finish the question. Others keep their heads pointed down and ears plugged with music, either unaware or intentionally avoiding contact. Most students, however, are warm and receptive. If they’re not in too big of a hurry, they smile and say, “Sure.”
So we hand them a pen and a survey card, which reads as follows:
In our conversations with students on campus, we’ve discovered that many people look favorably towards Christianity. However, for some there are often 1-2 issues that prevent them from doing so. As a church, H2O would like to address those issues in the first 4 weeks of the semester.
In your opinion, which of the following issues prevent people from seriously considering Christianity? (Feel free to select as many as 4 options)
>> The Bible can’t be trusted.
>> If God existed, He would make Himself more clear.
>> The God of the Bible is too old-fashioned.
>> If a good God existed, there wouldn’t be so much suffering.
>> Christians are too intolerant.
>> Christianity is sexist and oppressive.
>> Jesus can’t be the only way to God.
>> Science disproves Christianity.
>> Other: _______________
When we counted half-way through our our four days of surveying, the leading issues were (1) “So much suffering,” (2) “Science,” and (3) “Too intolerant.” We got into a lot of great conversations with a variety of different individuals, and we got to extend an invitation for others to join us through this “Tough Issues” series of Sunday gatherings. Just this afternoon, we concluded our survey, and soon we will tally up the final results to give the final definition to this semester’s introductory teaching series. I’m curious to see what comes of it all.