Strategy and Spontaneity
In a recent post I shared some ideas about Serving Christ as a Summer Intern. What I didn’t say in that article is that I am currently working in the co-op program (basically an extended internship) at a NASA contractor company in Houston. I’d like to expand on the ideas from the other article and share some stories of how I have lived them out among the co-ops and interns here at NASA.
Though they are of course specific to the environment I am currently in, I hope these stories can help you to see some ways you can reach those around you in your internship, on your college campus, or at your full-time job.
Weekly Ultimate Frisbee
Near the beginning of the Spring semester I knew God was calling me to spend more time among the other co-ops and interns in the NASA community. A great way that I found to do this was through pick-up Ultimate Frisbee. I chose a time and place, sent out an email on the social listserv, and soon a group of 5-10 of us was meeting weekly.
We had a good mix of believers and non-believers, and we often hung out after the games at Sonic or Buffalo Wild Wings and had some great conversations. In the summer, the group has expanded to 20-30 students each week and has proved to be a great opportunity to get to know people and work toward building deeper relationships with them.
Now we often follow up the Frisbee game with game or movie nights that allow us to interact in a smaller group environment.
San Antonio Trip
Another way I have partnered with other believers to reach out to other co-ops and interns was through a weekend trip we planned to San Antonio. From the beginning, the believers planning the trip communicated with each other that we wanted to intentionally invite anyone from the NASA co-op/intern community who wanted to come just so we could hang out with them for an entire weekend.
A lot of prayer surrounded the trip, and we made sure to hold each other accountable to being intentional in our conversations. We had a group of about 30 people that went to the River Walk, the Alamo, Schlitterbahn, and Natural Bridge Caverns. Because we had a good mix of believers and non-believers, there were many great opportunities to have spiritual conversations.
For example, in the car ride to San Antonio, I got to talk to my Muslim friend about the differences between Christianity and Islam and shared the Gospel with him. We also held a small devotional on Sunday morning over breakfast for anyone who was interested, and many students who would have never attended a church service showed up.
As a result of the relationships built during the trip, the believers who were there have much more credibility to share their faith because everyone got to know each other so well.
Spontaneous Personal Interaction
Though it might seem from the last two examples that outreach to other students is always strategically planned, in many cases it is completely spontaneous. Even when events are intentionally set up to facilitate personal interaction, it is by no means scripted or scheduled.
Some of the best connections I have made with other students here at NASA have been through random conversations in the office, at professional and social co-op/intern events, or at group lunches and dinners. As Colossians 4:2-6 says, it’s important to be constantly praying “that God may open a door for our message” and that we might “proclaim it clearly”.
Then, strategically place yourself in situations where you know you will be able to have significant interactions with non-believers. It’s also important to keep your eyes open and spontaneously “make the most of every opportunity.” Listen to the Holy Spirit and be on the lookout for how God might use you in every situation, and you will be amazed at what happens!