Destino Tracks March 10, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching.
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Devin Tressler coaches students leading Destino movements on several campuses around the country. He is also the Destino Ambassador Liaison, helping ambassadors launch and build Destino movements.
Since Devin covers essentially the same things with the couple dozen staff and student leaders, he found it helpful to start sending a periodic email to them. He calls it “Destino Tracks”.
A recent issue pointed me to Devin’s primer on ethnic identity, Exploring Ethnic Identity. Devin talked about how we are all created with culture. He also gave examples of familiar Biblical characters who were ethnic minorities living in a different majority culture. Moses, a Hebrew growing up Egyptian, Ruth, an immigrant marrying into a Jewish family, and several others had to contend with culture and ethnicity. Very helpful.
Other Tracks covered decoding, where to find Latino students, small group Bible studies, outreach ideas, and having a fiesta!
If you are coming across Latinos and have an interest in starting Destino, let me encourage you to subscribe to Destino Tracks. You can sign up here.
Student-Led Movements in Nebraska March 3, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Student Ownership.
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In the last few weeks, I happened to be included in three different conversations initiated by others concerning Student-led movements.
In one conversation, CFM Executive Director, Patty McCain, asked Terah Wiekamp, where they have students as MTLs and what it was like. Terah and her husband, Ethan, are MTLs for the Nebraska Team. Besides working with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, their team also coaches student leaders around the entire state.
Patty: “Can you describe where you have students as MTL’s and what it’s like?”
Terah: “I love your question, and the short answer is—it’s awesome having students own the whole movement!! Finding the right students is key, of course, but the campuses we coach that are student-led are some of the most fun for us to be on.
“Just to give you a short description of our team and scope…as we’ve joined with the past UNL team over the last two years. Our scope consists of 17 schools that have a consistent group and are led in different contexts. Seven of those campuses are 2-year Community Colleges and the other 10 are 4-year schools, both public and private. As you mentioned, we have volunteers and pastors heading up the coaching on a few of these campuses, and some are purely student-led.
“The most success we’ve had with student-led ministries (where students are acting as MTL’s) are on our 4-year state schools, and a couple of our 4-year private schools.
“Probably the school we’ve seen the most from, as far as multiplying movements go, is Wayne State College, a campus of 3,200 students. WSC is two hours from the city our team is in and was launched in 2000. It has had a movement with anywhere from 120-250 students involved. On average, we go to this campus 2-3 times a semester and may see these student leaders at Fall Getaway, Christmas Conference, Men’s & Women’s Retreats, and Summer Project.
“The majority of our coaching happens over the phone and isn’t necessarily an every week appointment. We have phone conversations and plan trips to campuses, kind of on a needs basis. If student leaders want us to speak, do training, or come help with team dynamics or hard issues they are wrestling through, we plan accordingly. We’ve encouraged students to seek out people in their church to connect with on a regular basis for discipleship sort of stuff and made ourselves available to call whenever for coaching and ministry related things (of course some personal development naturally happens in this as well).
“The paradigm we work out of is VR SELC. Vision, Relationship, Surface, Empower, Launch, Coach.
- Vision: We are always casting vision for seeing multiple movements everywhere, so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus. Vision is not a statement, it’s a word picture, and we make sure students and staff can paint that picture for people who are interested in getting involved.
- Relationship: We have real relationships with the students we are working with and initiating with.
- Vision and Relationship are an umbrella over the next four part cycle.
- Surface: Finding people of peace and fresh leaders. Seeing the places on campus we aren’t on and praying for someone in that context to be raised up.
- Empower: Calling out greatness in people and showing them they have what it takes to follow where God’s calling them. We appreciate our leaders personally and publicly a lot. We resource them to help them be successful.
- Launch: We let go!
- Coach: Just like a good coach on a basketball team, we observe from the bench, show them drills to improve their skills at practice, and demonstrate certain skills when needed. We are only a phone call away and they know we are accessible. We also lead with questions a lot while coaching so they figure out why they are doing what they’re doing.
“And then the cycle repeats itself. At any point on campus we could be in one of these areas with one person and another with the next person. (Ethan has this paradigm in a training document we’ve used.)
“On any of the student-led campuses we coach, we are most intentional with the students who make up the Servant Teams. Depending on the time we have on the campus, we may meet individually or in groups with these students. We also have a retreat in August for every leadership team in the state for training, encouragement, and to take time to solidify plans for their first 6 weeks.
“One thing we consistently train on is DNA. Check out thiscampus.org.
“One of the most important things on a student-led campus is transitioning the leadership well. This means we are looking for new leaders already in the Fall and begin asking our student leaders to write down lists of potential leaders by Christmas Conference (this includes any Freshmen they see as upcoming leaders). Every Spring we spend much of March and April working on transitions. We try to meet each of the people the Servant Team is hoping to invite on, and that also gives a quality control as far as getting the right leaders in place.
” feel like a lot of what we do is pretty simple, it’s just a matter of putting our feet on campus and being willing to start something new. If staff are willing to let students have a few crazy ideas and fail every now and then they might be surprised! Students are so effective at reaching their campus because of their presence in classes, the dining halls, clubs, etc. Where we as staff come in as outsiders, students have an insiders-advantage at relational evangelism. The campuses we see multiplication happening on are places where students understand that there are lost people on their campus and they care enough to do something about it. They understand that the weekly meeting isn’t for them, as much as it is a venue for their non-believing friends to experience a Christ-centered community that is made up of transformed lives.
“When we came on staff Craig Johring would always tell us, “Do what only you can do”. Empowering students to lead in the capacities they can enables us to go to new places on campus or even go to another campus that may have no Christ-centered community at all. Until we launch them though, we may find ourselves “empowering” over and over again because true ownership has not been given. Trusting students and allowing them to really own the mission and movement sometimes causes us to question whether we are useful or needed, but I think this insecurity comes only because we haven’t taken the time to think about where we could really be used or needed.
“I hope this answers some of what you were looking for! We love student leadership and see it as incredibly strategic to reaching every student, but by no means do we think we have it figured out. We are working to establish UNL with a Servant Team currently and know that a larger University setting looks different too!”
Thanks, Terah, for letting me pass these insights along.
Previous tips on Student-Led Movements
- Student-Led Movements
- Moving from staff-led to student-led…from a student’s perspective
- Student-Led Movements in Brazil
Balancing Relationships February 24, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Leadership, Personal Growth.
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About this time of the semester you may be feeling a bit tired.
Ministry is great. It is a privilege to be involved in sharing the Gospel, leading people to Christ, helping them grow in a relationship with the Lord, and imparting vision to leaders.
But ministry can be tiring. Some people can be particularly draining. If you are an introvert, like I am, you may feel it more acutely. That’s why it is important for us to have people in our lives who build into us while we are giving out.
At a conference I attended last week our speaker talked about leading for the long haul. He mentioned a number of things, but one concerned balancing our relationships. He mentioned five types of people that Gordon MacDonald talks about in Restoring Your Spiritual Passion.
1. Very resourceful people. VRP. These ignite your passion.
2. Very important people. VIP. These share your passion.
3. Very trainable people. VTP. These catch your passion.
4. Very nice people. VNP. These enjoy your passion.
5. Very draining people. VDP. These sap your passion.
Many have referred to these five types of people. If you google “very draining people”, most entries reference these.
Those above the line, VRPs and VIPs, put energy into our lives. Those below take energy out. Most of us in ministry spend most of our time with those below the line. That’s natural, but we need to have some in our lives who ignite and share our passion to fill our tanks as we minister.
Two thoughts come to mind. First, even while you are at the height of busyness in the semester, why not consider a possible VRP or VIP who might impart energy to you. They may be in your church. They may be friends or mentors. Taking steps now to fill your tank will help you give out over the long haul. Second, which type of person are you to your teammates? Is there a possibility that you drain some more than you impart to them? An honest assessment, helps to know areas of personal growth.
Person of Peace February 17, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Discipleship, Evangelism, Launching.
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Dan Allan, Operations National Director, PSW, recently told me about an interesting Exponential blog post, 5 Ways to Identify Your Person of Peace. It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Person of Peace. So this served as a great reminder.
You can read Alex Absalom’s entire blog post here. But I did want to highlight some of his thoughts.
Since 2010, I’ve served as the leader of missional innovation at RiverTree Church, in Northeast Ohio. As part of a team working to help the church move further down the missional path, one of the first things we taught was this missional strategy called Person of Peace. It is the strategy Jesus gives to help us naturally and easily identify where we are called to go.
I believe that many, many disciples can be released to go out as witnesses simply by implementing this basic strategy. The Person of Peace concept contains within it the essence of missional DNA…Lived out in practice, finding your Person of Peace accelerates your mission.
So how do you identify your Person of Peace? Below are five characteristics I’ve found quite helpful in identifying the Person or Persons of Peace we’ve encountered.
Your Person of Peace is not a Christian (this is about reaching lost people who won’t otherwise be touched by the Gospel), yet is someone who:
- Welcomes you
- Receives you (and thus, probably unknowingly at first, receives Jesus in you)
- Serves you
- You intentionally invest in
- Operates as a gatekeeper, opening relational doorways into their network of relationships
I often summarize it as, “They like you and you like them.” Part of the liberating factor for us as Christians is that the Person of Peace only works properly with those who are willing, so it is the very opposite of manipulation.
Put simply, whom would you most love to see become a disciple of Jesus? The question really is that simple—whom do you sense God has called you to love the most? Who is your heart best shaped to reach for Jesus?
We taught this repeatedly to the men and women at RiverTree who would become the leaders of the first generation of missional communities. (For more on missional communities, visit my blog alexabsalom.com). We kept bringing them back to the challenge of this question: “Who are you called to love intentionally?” When people are stuck, we sometimes frame the question a different way: “Who do you most want to see saved?” If someone replies, “The whole city,” narrow the question: “Who specifically would you most love to see reached for Jesus?”
If the answer is a particular community (e.g., bikers, high school students, those in a local juvenile correction facility, families with preschoolers, young adults—all of which are real examples from RiverTree), then probably that context will be where your Person of Peace is, since clearly you feel called to that neighborhood or network of relationships…
Below, I’ve listed a few questions to help you identify your Person of Peace and draw him/her/they to Christ, as well as help others to do the same:
- Who are you called to love intentionally?
- Who comes to mind in response to, “They like you and you like them”?
- Who is your heart best shaped to reach for Jesus?
- Who is already responding positively to you?
- What is Jesus saying to you as you pray about this?
(This is an excerpt from Alex Absalom’s new eBook with Exponential, The Viral Gospel: How Finding Your Person of Peace Accelerates Your Mission. To read the full eBook,download it for FREE.)
I have not downloaded the book. So I don’t know if it is still available. But here are others also thinking missionally.
Pioneering on a Snow Day February 12, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Launching, Leadership, Student Ownership.
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- It’s 15 below…again…
- Just got another 16 inches of snow…
- Have you seen the sheet of ice on those roads?!..
- School has been called again…
- Just got a call from someone on a campus 90 minutes away who wants to start Cru. Really?! Isn’t there something I can do without driving there?…
You sure can. In fact, you can do a LOT!
Read on to find out how to pioneer a movement on a snow day.
Decoding the Campus
You can click on the state and see all the schools listed. Once you select a school, you will get an overview of the campus, as well as see its location, majors and degrees, learn about admissions, what it costs to go there, learn something about the student body and life on campus. There is a lot you can learn just from looking at this page and going to the campus’s website.
As you read through this info, be praying for a “Person of Peace” to connect with. Ask God also what the first approach to the campus should be. Ask Him for an open door. We know that He loves every person on that campus and we can believe that He wants to work in hearts. Our asking for open doors and having a desire to pioneer there is instrumental in seeing the Gospel touch lives.
Decoding is not about sounding like an insider or making you look good. It is about building trust and a connection with students who can potentially reach their campus for Christ. There is nothing that communicates your heart for a campus to a prospective student or faculty leader than to have done some decoding of that campus beforehand and to share what you are praying God would do on that campus.
Why not make a team day of it and draw a circle 50, 100, or 200 miles around your initial context and decode all the campuses inside that circle? Where do you want to trust God to pioneer first? Is there a Gospel choir that could be an in or is there a faculty member interested in doing something?
Conduct a Telephone Interview
The second thing is to call the contact and take some time to get to know them and hear their heart for ministry. I strongly suggest using something like our Telephone Interview.
Besides asking basic contact info and some details about the campus, the questions on page two help you get to know your prospective leader. We start with building the relationship. We don’t want them to feel like they are accomplishing our goals. We want to hear about their vision that God has given them for their campus.
Here are the questions we use in this first phone conversation.
- Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities on campus?
- Do you work along with going to school/How many hours?
- How many classes/credits are you taking this semester/quarter?
- Do you live on or off campus?
- What church do you attend at school/home?
- Are you involved in any other Christian group on campus?
- How long have you been a Christian? How did it happen?
- How would you describe your Christian life thus far? Consistent? Growing? Up & Down?
- To what extent are you familiar with Cru?
- (I’d like to read something to you): Cru’s approach to evangelism can be described as intentional/relational. By that we mean, taking the initiative to build bridges to the lost by forming networks of common ground relationships that create opportunities for evangelism. We use this approach rather then ‘friendship’ evangelism’ because there are many non-Christians who do not have a close Christian friend. We continually meet new people in order to create opportunities to share the gospel in the context of a relationship.
- Have you heard of this approach? _____ Yes _____ No
- What has been your experience with this kind of evangelism? Are you open to learn how to do it?
- Describe the campus you want to help reach.
- What is the general attitude on campus toward spiritual issues? Open? Indifferent? Opposed?
- Are there any Christian groups on campus?
The main reason I like using the telephone interview instead of sitting down with them face to face, is the way it communicates the leadership role they must take. If you show up, you are immediately viewed as the leader. If you don’t, and you tell them they are the leader, it is easier for them to assume that responsibility. Sometime you will want to meet them face to face. But for this first conversation, the distance actually helps you communicate the need for them to lead.
Take a virtual tour of the campus
Finally, my friend, Tom Virtue, recommends something that he does, using the street view of Google maps to actually see what a campus looks like before going. You will be amazed how much of a feel you can get for the campus even if you don’t go. But if you do, it can save time figuring things out on the ground.
So, on your next snow day, why not give that contact a call? It just might warm their heart, too!
Body Mode Evangelism February 10, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism.
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I recently sent a tip called Evangelism Café. It contained a comprehensive list of evangelistic strategies in each of the three modes, Body, Natural, and Ministry.
Last week, I double clicked on one of those outreaches, Perspectives Cards.
Today, let’s take a look at Body evangelism.
Larry Stephens, who leads the Speakers Forum on the R&D Team, recently represented their team informing ours about projects they are working on. He happened to mention some interesting data Keith Davy, Executive Director, R&D, found out at one winter conference about how students came to Christ.
- 769 responses.
- 2 of 3 came to faith and raised in a Christian home.
- 10.6% indicated coming to Christ through Cru or a Cru involved believer.
- Or, as Keith explained, another way to look at this, 31.7% of those not raised in a Christian home came to faith through Cru.
- Of the students led to faith by Cru, the breakdown of the modes of witness were: 67.0% body; 29.2% Natural; 3.6% Ministry.
There are a lot of ways to look at this, and it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story about our evangelistic efforts. But it is encouraging to see how many are coming to Christ that are already connected relationally. But do we understand the power of the body in evangelism and are we intentional about inviting non-believers into our fellowship so that can happen?
Here is one article on using socials and parties in evangelism. Holding a Matthew Party.
I would like to hear more about what you are finding that works in body evangelism. Would you write back telling me how you are inviting non-believers to socials, to I Am Second or Alpha groups, or to Gospel in Action events. Are there any other ways you are inviting into your community?
For more on this topic see Belonging Coming Before Believing.
Perspective Cards February 2, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism.
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In last week’s tip on Evangelism Café, I gave you a comprehensive list of evangelistic strategies in each of the three modes, Body, Natural, and Ministry.
In the next few weeks, I will double click on some of those outreaches. Today, let’s take a closer look at Perspective cards.
If you are not familiar with the Perspective Cards here is how the description reads on CruPressGreen,
“The worldview of the average student grows increasingly irrational and eclectic. And most of the time, they don’t even know it. This combination (non-biblical worldview plus lack of self-awareness) can be a huge barrier to the gospel. How can we overcome this obstacle in order to communicate the gospel clearly and effectively?
“Perspective provides a disarming approach to a spiritual conversation, allowing others to share their perspective about five important topics. In each category, participants choose the card that best represents what they believe, and then they tell you why they believe it.”
There are several videos to help prepare you to use Perspective cards with others.
Here is how Appalachian State University has used Perspectives in a week of outreach.
For more about their week and the results see New Perspectives on Initiative Evangelism.
Check out the Perspective Cards page on CruPressGreen for other resources and helps
Evangelism Café January 27, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism, Leadership.
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For some time the R&D team has conducted Evangelism Cafés. The resources they reference in these evangelism learning experiences are now available to all of us at Evangelism Café: A Companion Guide on CruPress Green.
The information about our various evangelism strategies is so helpful, I wanted you to see what is included. This will give you ideas as you think develop your evangelism strategy this semester.
How is your evangelism? Feeling stuck? Needing fresh ideas? Want help thinking creatively? Time to plan? The Evangelism Café is the place for you. The Evangelism Café is a collaborative experience built around interactive stations, in which missional team leaders and members can explore ideas, reflect on experiences, learn new strategies and get proven resources for effective evangelism in the 21st Century. This CruPress Green Evangelism Café Companion Guide makes available 24/7 some of the resources and results of previous Evangelism Cafés.
Modes of Evangelism
The Evangelism Café interactions are organized around the “modes of evangelism.” For a brief introduction to the “modes of evangelism,” watch this 2-1/2 minute video from CruPress Presents. The term mode is defined as “a possible, preferred or customary way of doing something.” The evangelism modes represent the three primary ways in which God works through our witness to enable people come to know the Savior. The “modes of evangelism” gives you a powerful framework to evaluate your outreach and create true evangelistic movements.
Ministry Mode Evangelism
Evangelism in the ministry mode occurs when we intentionally reach out to another person with the purpose of witnessing to them (in contrast to the natural mode, in which we share with someone because of our relationship or natural connection). But ministry evangelism doesn’t all look the same. There are countless examples of creative approaches, both to engage an audience and to communicate relevantly to them. The examples that follow will give you a taste of the creativity being used across the campuses today.
Most campuses begin the year with Freshmen outreaches.
- Reaching Freshmen Video
- Reaching Freshmen Article
- Freshman Survival Kits
- How to Keep Students from Falling Through the Cracks (MissionHub)
- Connect with 1000 Students and Faculty
- Text-4-Cookie Outreach
Campus-wide campaigns are effective follow-up to retreats & conferences.
Group Outreaches help create evangelistic momentum.
On-line outreaches can sow the gospel broadly among students.
On-going Personal evangelism among students and faculty must use a variety of approaches.
- Surveys and Questionnaires
- Backstory iPad
- One Verse Evangelism
- The Gospel According to Mark
- Prof 101: Five Things You Need to Know About Professors
Natural Mode Evangelism
Evangelism in the natural mode occurs when we share with someone because of our relationship or natural connection. We must be aware of our personal spheres of influence, intentional about building relationships with unbelievers, and increasingly sensitive to the spiritual process. This is especially important for our students and faculty.
Equipping others in conversational evangelism.
Resources to create spiritual conversations.
Strategic initiatives that involve others in natural witness.
Social Media creates greater access and opportunity.
- How to Use Facebook
- Use Facebook Photos to Engage Spiritually with Your Friends Online
- Falling Plates
Body Mode Evangelism
Evangelism in the body mode occurs when the body of Christ is gathered. This may occur in large groups and small. It may occur in planned meetings or informal social gatherings. We should be intentional about increasing the visibility of the movement to outsiders, involving unbelievers in our community and adapting the culture of the movement to welcome outsiders.
Small groups are ideal connections for seekers.
Gospel In Action initiatives can create profound connections.
Informal gatherings–who doesn’t love a party?
Maximizing our weekly meetings.
I hope this has given you ideas for your own evangelism efforts.
Prayer Surfaces Leaders January 20, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Launching, Prayer.
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Eric Dellaire, a distance ministry specialist on our Student LINC team, recently told how prayer caused a significant breakthrough on Hussen University in Bangor, Maine.
Eric has been coaching leaders at Hussen from Orlando since 2006. He explained that the ministry had gone well and that there was a promising senior, Tiffany, leading the ministry. Through various reasons, the ministry declined, so that by December, there was just Tiffany and a freshman, Noelle.
In January, Eric decided that they should put ministry efforts on hold. Rather, he and Tiffany would just pray for the campus. For 15-20 minutes every week they prayed. He said they prayed for breakthroughs and for “all stars” to get involved as freshmen next year.
Then in April, there was a brief period of silence while they were praying. They both felt something in their spirits. “Did you feel that?” Tiffany asked. Eric felt it. They both knew that God had moved in that moment and He was going to do something.
Tiffany began to get excited. She wanted to try some things. But it really was too late in the semester and she was graduating.
In September, Eric asked Noel, now a sophomore, to conduct surveys. She was hesitant, but did it anyway. About 10 students signed up. Four turned out to be “all stars”. By December, 30 students were coming regularly.
Here is the rest of the story.
- Since then, 20-25 students have put together and attended their state-wide fall conference.
- Over 30 have attended Big Break.
- Six have gone on summer projects.
- Two have applied to staff.
- Noel, who had been hesitant at first became a willing leader her last two years.
At the risk of being obvious, let me summarize. Eric coaches from a distance. He never visited the campus to try to re-launch it. No other staff helped in the re-launch. All they did on their weekly phone call was pray. And God used a hesitant sophomore and four freshmen to spark a significant work of the Holy Spirit on their campus.
How do you view prayer?
- Where are you laboring and just need to see God breakthrough?
- In what communities on your current campuses do you need God to open doors and raise up leaders?
- Who carries the prayer banner in your movements?
- Could it be that you have exhausted other means and prayer is the only option left?
- Might God do something beyond our abilities?
On the day I wrote this, someone led a devotion. I was given Acts 18:9-11 to read.
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city. So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.’ “
I like knowing that God has many people in our cities (campuses).
Cru High School 101 January 15, 2014Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Discipleship, Evangelism, Spirit-Filled Life.
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God designed the world in such a way that DNA is the means of passing on an organism’s essential uniquenesses and function. Cru also has specific DNA to ensure that our purpose and objectives are similar from movement to movement and from one strategy to another.
Because volunteers and interns are key to reaching more young people for Christ than what their staff alone can accomplish, Cru High School Training Coordinator, Lynn Meritt, has developed Cru High School 101 to pass on their core DNA.
Read on to access videos and articles on CHS’s 11 core equipping building blocks. Which ones are common to all of our ministries and which are unique to just CHS’s audience?