I’ve never been speed dating, but I have a rough idea of what happens: Desperate singles gather and have a brief few minutes with a member of the opposite sex in hopes of feeling a spark of chemistry that leads to a relationship.
It sounds terrible! And, yet, that is how the opportunity was presented to me: speed dating for student organizations. Seventeen different organizations would be given two minutes each to talk to 17 groups of freshmen, covering roughly 400 new students at the University of Montevallo.
Several questions came to mind as I prepared for the opportunity: What will I be allowed to say? How do I convince these students to get involved in a campus ministry through a two-minute speech? Will they even be listening?
The campus gymnasium bubbled with the thrum of voices as the students found their way into orientation groups and took their seats.
As I made my way from group to group, I noticed several things. First, in each group there were students listening intently and many others who listlessly checked their phones. Second, the more groups I talked to, the better I got at hitting the two-minute mark on the nose. Third, talking that loudly that many times will very quickly give you a nice raspy sound to your voice.
At each stop, I challenged the students to not neglect their spiritual life while at Montevallo, recognizing that so many probably would. I knew as many experienced their first taste of personal autonomy, they would be pursuing other things.
My hope, in my brief moment of their time, was to convince them in these first few weeks to taste and see that the LORD is good, to not put that part of their life on the shelf for later.
As I walked away from the gymnasium that morning, I realized what an amazing opportunity I had just had. I had been able to put a face and name to ministry for the entire freshman class!
I had been able to sow seeds of the Gospel that I pray God causes to grow in these students’ lives. Who knows what God may be able to do from two minutes of speed dating?