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Collegians offered ‘eXit’ path for leading friends to Christ

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–When college students see “Exit” signs throughout their campuses this fall, collegiate evangelism leaders hope they’ll be thinking of more than just their next free time or lunch. Under a new personal evangelism strategy known as “eXit,” hundreds will be reminded of the need to pray for, serve and ultimately share Christ with a selected group of friends and acquaintances.

The process — being introduced this fall by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board — provides a relationship-based approach that unfolds over the course of a quarter or semester.

“So many times we tell our college students to go win their campuses for Christ, and then we don’t give them any tools to do that,” said Afshin Ziafat, a collegiate evangelism associate for NAMB. “The real power behind eXit is the fact that it’s a strategy focused on just five students for the entire semester. It’s something tangible they can grasp, instead of thinking about the entire campus.”

Len Taylor, NAMB’s student evangelism director, said the plan also offers a strategy that students can implement themselves.

“Many college ministries have the intention of equipping students to share the gospel with friends, they just never make it a priority,” Taylor said. “At NAMB, we believe in students reaching students, and friends reaching friends. EXit is a process that students can follow together. Student-led small groups drive the plan and build success into seeing their friends come to know the Lord personally.”

The eXit strategy calls for students during the first two-to-three-week period to pray for five individuals and their salvation — with the “e” in “eXit” standing for the “essential” of prayer.

During the next two-to-three-week time frame, students demonstrate Christ’s love with acts of service, with the “X” in the acronym signifying the first letter in the Greek word for Christ.

The “i” time frame, then, is dedicated to one-on-one sharing of students’ personal testimonies and the gospel.

Finally, students are given an opportunity to respond to the gospel during a “Truth” week, whether during a special campus event or by inviting them to an individual’s local church.

Ziafat said the relationship-based process allows students to be more effective than just using gospel presentations alone.

“Most types of witnessing training usually involve something like going up to the person, asking them these two questions and going through the gospel,” he said. “The real key to eXit is it takes a couple of steps back. It has a strategy for dealing with a lost person before you get to that point.”

While individuals can use the plan, it is most effective as a component of small accountability groups — groups that already exist in many existing college ministries.

“We say that if you have small groups, just use those,” Ziafat said. “And if you don’t, form what we call eXit groups. They meet regularly to pray for their five, and to hold each other accountable for following through.”

The “eXit” name came from the concept of exiting the routine of college life to make a genuine difference in the lives of others, Jennings said.

“That is our door to get out of our comfort zones, to exit our lifestyle of normality to become intentional about sharing Christ,” he said. “Every exit sign is a place to either enter another building or to go outside. And it seemed like that’s just a perfect fit for what we’re trying to do — especially on a college campus.”

The concept also seemed an ideal fit for First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., which is making the strategy a key component of a resource kit for “campus missionaries” it is commissioning this fall to serve on the campuses where they attend. The campus missionary strategy is being piloted as another NAMB-developed resource.

“I believe God’s going to use this generation to reach the world for Christ,” said Johnny Condrey, minister to college students and young singles at the church. “We’re in a real strategic time, and the students are ready to go. And the eXit strategy is a mobilizing resource to do what they’re doing already with some real strong intentionality about it.”

Jarrett Stephens, Condrey’s counterpart at the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, agreed.

“We’re really excited about it, and are looking forward to using it,” Stephens said. “In fact, I’m so pumped about the program that we’re going to use it in our singles program also, targeted to a different age group.”

More information on eXit is available on the Internet at www.studentz.com/exit.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: EXIT.

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  • James Dotson