Mythbusting at Ball State

For SP - 20070215 Busting Myths at Ball State

Myth or truth? From atoms to Andromeda, the university campus is filled with students and faculty eager to discover the true nature of the surrounding world. More difficult to discern are the myths and truths of relationships, values and human connections. And what about spiritual truth … or myth? Last fall, our chapter surveyed our campus and opened doors for the spiritually curious.

Last fall, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Ball State University (IN) came up with an evangelism outreach program entitled “Myth Busters.” We identified four common myths college students have. Then we busted these myths through scripture and the creation of four interactive displays that we set up on campus. Students at Ball State were able to question viewpoints and common beliefs they had.

The four areas we focused on for this event were body image, partying, love and relationships, and materialism and wealth.

At the booth on body image, we raised the question, “Are people made in God’s image, or the media’s image?” We made a poster and asked students to put a sticker on what they thought. We also asked students to rate how beautiful they thought they were on a scale from one to ten.

The next myth we focused on was partying. We posed the question, “Do you have to drink in college in order to be cool?” Students put markers on the art board to reflect what they thought.

The third myth we busted was on relationships. For this myth we defined what people thought love really was. We offered the following options: “I am looking for friendship, a relationship, random play, dating or whatever I can get.” These are the choices students are able to make on their Facebook profiles. The students were able to decide which types they were looking for and they marked it on the poster.

The last myth we busted was on materialism. We had a poster made up with two halves. The left half was a collage of pictures which represented materialism, such as sleek cars and big houses. That half had a quote which states, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” The other half was a nature scene with a quote from the Bible, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10, TNIV). There was a question at the bottom which asked, “Which is the myth?” Students put a sticker on the side they believed was the myth.

Peter Miller, a senior in the InterVarsity chapter, states, “This event offered a unique opportunity to use visual art or signage to try to challenge the average college student. The first challenge was to make it interesting enough to stop at on a busy day, and second, to portray a worldview contrasting the Christian view.”

In order to bust these myths, we set up different booths on a corner near the “scramble light” at the center of our campus. Many people have to pass by this spot in order to get to their classes. We put all the posters on tables along with different activities people could do. Students from our chapter were there for the day, standing by the various posters and talking to students who had questions. We were able to share the good news with students on our campus and plant seeds in people’s lives.

We invited students at the booth to our chapter meeting for that evening. At the meeting we had a person come in and answer questions people had about the different myths. Some tough questions were asked and myths were dispelled.

This was a growing experience for people in our chapter. Margo Kelly, a freshman in the chapter, states, “I really liked the experience of standing out there and talking to people about their faith. Walking up to people and evangelizing has never been my thing, but when people came by and asked questions, especially friends that came by, I took up the challenge and went with it.” She noticed that occasionally someone walked by who didn’t believe in God and seemed a bit harsh with their words. She reflects, “I’m not sure if I made an impact on anybody, but it was a challenge and I was proud of it by the end of the day.”

In summary, I think this was a good opportunity for our chapter and it helped us grow spiritually. We were able to practice our evangelism skills through a fun and creative event. I believe we planted ideas in people’s minds, even ones who didn’t come to our evening meeting. I think some students who stopped at our booth wanted to know something more for their lives. It opened some doors for spiritual truth.

Beth Eyster, a senior at Ball State majoring in elementary education.