Thursday, November 11, 2010

Perspective cards - A review and an account

Our MTL's got to go on campus at UW this Tuesday and engage with students by starting spiritual conversations. I tried out a new resource called "Perspective" cards. These were developed by a campus staff seeking to help us better understand the worldview of students we are attempting to influence towards Christ.

(The site explaining more is here, though the resource has been developed and refined quite a bit since this site was put together)

My short review: I really liked using the Perspective cards. I had some initial trepidation about being overly centered on the cards and not paying attention to who I was talking to, but this was quickly overcome. The student I and another staff guy talked to eagerly engaged with the cards and questions once we started in. 

If you're wondering about how we struck up the conversation in the first place...

We walked up to a student eating lunch by himself in an on-campus dining center at UW. I crouched down next to him so I wouldn't be literally talking down to him, and had the following exchange:

Me: "Hi, I'm wondering if you could help me. I'm with a Christian club on campus and part of what we like to do is talk with students and find out what they believe about God and spiritual things. I have a new tool I'm trying out that could help with that and I wondered if you would be up for letting me try it out with you?

Student: "Um, maybe. How long do you think it will take?"

Me: "Well, it could be two minutes or 20 minutes, depending on how much time you have."

Student: "Okay, but I'll have to go pretty soon to meet someone for a study group."

Me: "No problem. Just say when. Mind if I sit down and we pull up an extra chair?"

Student: "No, go ahead."

Me: "So what is your name? My name is Darren and this is Jason."

Student: "I'm Tony"

Me: "What year are you, Tony?"

Tony: "A freshman."

Me: "And what are you studying?"

Tony: "Physics"

After we got to know each other a little bit more, I introduced the cards and walked through them, with Jason asking helpful clarifying questions along the way. We had a great conversation spurring off the cards, and by the time Tony had to leave I wanted to be friends with him! He had virtually no church background, describing himself as agnostic, but had given spiritual things a great deal of thought and research. His thoughtful, analytical nature was refreshing to me, and I would love to pick up where we left off someday and share how (and why) I, a former electrical engineering major with plenty of skepticism myself, believe Jesus was and is Lord and Savior.

As Tony was getting up to leave, he thanked us for talking with him and said he appreciated how we listened and dialogued with him (in contrast to some of the other Christians he said he had encountered on campus). While our goal isn't to be thanked, it is our goal to be able to share the gospel message in a manner and context so that it will be heard and not dismissed out of hand. I think the Perspective cards could be a helpful tool towards that end with other students like Tony.

[And Tony, if you ever happen to stumble upon this, l'd enjoy hearing about our conversation from your vantage point. And I'd certainly enjoy continuing our conversation.]

No comments:

Post a Comment