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There’s got to be an easier way! October 27, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Launching, Student Ownership.
  • Someone attended your Fall Conferences from another campus. They expressed interest in having Cru there.
  • A freshman with lots of promise told you they have good friends on a campus where there is no Cru and asked you if there was a way to get something started there.

You want to say “Yes!”, but you’re not sure you can swing spending a day driving to their campus to get things started.

Brian Hudkins, Launch Specialist on our Student LINC team, never travels to any campus where he starts a ministry. Instead he sends links to several articles to potential leaders and asks them to read them and record their impressions. His conversations focus on the heart of a leader and our ministry distinctives that they pick up from those articles.

You can do the same thing. In three or four phone calls you could start a new movement.

After his initial conversation getting to know them, Brian asks them to read these articles. They are all short, one or two pages only.

After discussing those, he asks them to read these.

After his third conversation.

The value of doing this from a distance is how clearly this communicates to them that they are the leaders and that they will be responsible.

But think how exciting it will be when you see God use you and to launch someone else into a ministry of evangelism and discipleship in their sphere of influence!

Natural Mode Evangelism, Part 2. October 19, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Evangelism.
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Last week, I wrote about training others to share their faith in their own spheres of influence, and to do it in a natural way.

I mentioned two of the five simple ways that my wife, Chris, helps graduates of our movements who are now in the marketplace to engage others in spiritual conversations, “Sometime.” and “I wonder.” Here are the other three.

Raising a faith flag.
A Faith flag is a simple, non-threatening way to introduce faith into a conversation. It’s a brief statement and is told in the natural course of the conversation. The point is simply to identify you as a person of faith.

Suppose someone mentions that she is discouraged. You might say something like “I was discouraged recently and a friend gave me a set of truth cards with some Bible verses. That was such an encouragement to me.” Or maybe you share a specific answer to prayer.

What you are doing is looking to see how they respond to the topic of faith. Just as a flag on a ship identifies its nationality, faith flags are all about identity. Do they shoot at the flag or do they salute it?

Telling a spiritual story.
If a faith flag is a brief statement, a spiritual story is about some way God has worked in your life. It’s still short, maybe only 30 seconds or a minute in length. It is a way to see the truth lived out in your life.

Stories speak to emotions first, often bypassing the listeners’ prejudices. Because people remember stories, the hearer will take what you’ve said away with them and think about it at a time and pace of their choosing. And in our Post-Modern world, where truth is personal and experiential, people base decisions as much on emotions as facts.

The spiritual story might be the circumstances about God answering prayer, or about some way that you have seen God work to remake your outlook on life or toward others. But it’s your story. You may not share how to know Christ, but you do show that He is at work and makes a meaningful difference in your life.

Your story.

Your story is your testimony. Helping others write their personal testimony to share them in an outreach has long been an important skill in our ministry.

But often that three-minute testimony can come across somewhat canned in conversation. You don’t want to give a speech when you are talking to a friend. You are telling how you came to Christ in a natural, conversational way.

Spiritual stories and your story are both about your life. But your story is specifically about how you came to faith.

These five simple ways to engage others spiritually are not original with us. Two books Chris suggests would be.

They’re out there! October 14, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Launching, Leadership.
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Stephanie Walker talked with two girls in two days gung ho about starting ministries in their high schools. Brian Hudkins talked with five college students in the last week psyched about starting ministries on their campuses.

God has prepared potential leaders to plant win, build, send movements on high school and college campuses. And they are out there waiting for us!

Hearing Stephanie and Brian tell about their conversations got me thinking.

  • Are we opening up our ministry to others?
  • Are we spreading the net wide enough to find potential leaders?
  • Are we casting vision in such a way that others can see themselves leading win, build, send movements?
  • Do people see me as someone who can help them fulfill their vision of God using them?

Come along with me and let’s wrestle with some of these thoughts.

When our Campus Field Ministry National Team met last month, we had a session in which we asked “What can we leverage or what do we need to change to launch and build sustainable movements?”

Several things came out of that discussion.

  1. Cultivate the different gifting of those on missional teams so that those who pioneer and those who build get to live out their gifting.
  2. Learn from the bright spots where launching and building are happening.
  3. Clarify the steps needed to grow from one stage of development to another (Pioneering, Key Leader, Launched, Multiplying).
  4. Training in a number of areas including working with volunteers, distance coaching, and how to quickly install others in team leadership.

You may have seen this diagram before.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 9.17.07 PM I like how from the very beginning we help the Key Leader think about reaching other leaders who can reach every context and beyond.

But a leader won’t lead if we don’t let them. Ken Cochrum in Close: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures, writes:

“Few of those I spoke with, if any, mentioned that they wanted to have their direction set, their strategies formulated, or needed to be motivated by more words from leaders above them…

Leaders want a clear challenge to contribute to the organization’s purpose. That’s why most of them signed on. They want more clarity on the whats of the mission, not the hows. They’ll figure out how to get there. They want to be entrusted with more…

Leaders want to share leadership…Many leaders initially resisted this, claiming that the essence of leadership—at least in their culture—was having someone in charge to make the final decisions. Yet people don’t want to be led that way. They want to voice their opinions. They want to help shape overall direction…be engaged in issues and decisions that they will ultimately own. They long to share leadership.” (All emphases were the author’s.) loc 490-502.

Quite frankly, most of us hang onto leadership way too long. The quicker we give leadership to others, the faster we will see multiplication.

I am convinced that God cares more about the lost and reaching them than any of us ever will. I am also convinced that He is raising up others to reach those we cannot. Are we willing to look outside of our normal spheres of influence for those whom God has prepared? Are we willing to believe that God can use people to make a difference that we might not expect? And are we willing to get out of the driver’s seat and let those with the permit get behind the wheel?

I’ve mentioned this in a coaching tip before. But if you didn’t see it, let me encourage you to read the article in the September/October Worldwide Challenge about Levi and Katie Boyenger, volunteers leading other volunteers leading campus ministries in Kansas.

Have a great week launching and building new movements.

Natural Mode Evangelism October 13, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Evangelism.
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Last Spring, I posted a tip about our R&D Team’s Evangelism Café. It was an opportunity to put in one place our best evangelism tools broken down by modes–ministry, natural, and body.

We typically begin the campus year using lots of ministry mode approaches in order to find the most interested students. But we do want to help our students and faculty learn how to share their faith in their own spheres of influence, in the natural mode.

My wife, Chris, coaches some who have graduated from our ministry and are now in the marketplace. She frequently talks about five simple things that they can do to naturally engage in spiritual conversations with those they work with. These are things our students can do on their dorm floor.


I’ve talked about “Sometime” in a previous tip. Something as simple as asking a “Sometime” question helps you find out their level of interest and takes the pressure off in the moment.

Questions like

  • Sometime could I share with you the difference Jesus Christ has made in my life?”
  • “I would enjoy hearing more about your spiritual journey sometime.”

make having spiritual conversations more natural.

“I wonder”.

This comes from God Space by Doug Pollock. It recognizes the power of good questions and gives you a place to start a conversation.

“I wonder” is a way to find out what others are interested in and can invite them to search for answers. Some “I wonder” statements include.

  • “That’s interesting. I wonder how you came to that perspective.”
  • I wonder what role religion has played in shaping in your life.”
  • I wonder how my answer to that question made you feel.”

“I wonder.” opens up dialogue. It communicates respect and can lead others to self-discovery. You could be helping them wrestle with contradictions within their own belief systems.

Jesus often led with questions. In fact, at times he answered a question with His own question. When you ask good wondering questions you demonstrate that you are listening thoughtfully. Such questions come from a desire to better understand the person.

Open-ended questions are best. They promote further dialogue and have the potential to cause others to reflect, possibly leading to their own questioning.

There are three more simple ideas for engaging spiritually with others that Chris uses in her coaching. Next time I’ll tell about raising a faith flag, telling a spiritual story, and sharing your own story, a conversational take on the three-minute testimony.

1/3, 1/3, 1/3 October 6, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Launching, Student Ownership, Volunteers.
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Here is a general principle:
“When you launch a ministry, look for long-term, indigenous leaders as part of your critical mass.”

Most of us have seen movements start over the years with a great student leader or leaders with good chemistry. But when those students graduate, sometimes it’s difficult to replicate that same vision in the next generation of leadership.  Many of us find that start/restart cycle frustrating.

Now we love it when students lead. But having a faculty member, someone in the administration, a volunteer in the community, or an alum can help provide continuity from one year to the next. Eric Dellaire, Student LINC consultant, says the best movements he coaches have volunteers connected in a significant way.

Lee Davis, former staff in the Greater NorthWest Region, made a habit of meeting volunteers as a part of his campus visits. He called it his “1/3, 1/3, 1/3” plan. He normally coached students from a distance, But if he had a day on a campus, he would meet for two hours with the student leaders, two hours with the faculty advisor and other volunteers helping out, and two hours in the community raising support for the ministry there. This took work and planning on his part. But having the right critical mass ensured the long-term growth and impact of that movement.

So before you head out to that campus on your launching visit, why not

  • Consider if there are any alumni from other movements somehow connected with the campus.
  • Ask Faculty Commons staff if they are aware of any faculty there.
  • Find out where students attend churches and call to see if they have any faculty or administration folks interested in seeing a ministry start.

If you didn’t see it, let me encourage you to read the article in the September/October Worldwide Challenge about Levi and Katie Boyenger, volunteers leading other volunteers leading campus ministries in Kansas. There is also a video about their efforts.

Imagine how just a few minutes decoding a campus on-line and making a few phone calls could reveal some of what God has already placed there for a successful launch. It could also help that movement enjoy many years of impacting students there and wherever they go.

October coaching to shepherd September 29, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Planning.
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Our ministry values both results and personal growth. That means we coach our staff to strategy (the work of the ministry), as well as to shepherd them (focusing on their hearts). Much of what I’ve talked about in these tips so far this year speaks to strategy.

Today I want to share some thoughts on what it means to “coach to shepherd”. When I talked about Stages of Team Development last week, I mentioned that it’s normal to be tired at this point in the semester.

In coaching to shepherd, we recognize that there are common emotions that our staff experience. And when you consider that our movements typically follow “cycles of momentum”, we can predict what emotions staff will experience over the course of a campus year.

In an unpublished article a team of seasoned staff did some great work on this a few years ago. They listed those emotions month by month, identified possible root issues, and how to respond with appropriate resources. What follows is what they listed for the month of October.

Possible emotions experienced.

  • Weariness / Adrenaline letdown :: Can enter a funk. Real rest needed.
  • Do I have a life? Spouse? etc :: A proper downshift is needed, and how do I do that?
  • May stop depending on the Lord and enter into default mode.
  • Is this worth it?

Possible root issues.

  • Owning that I have perhaps ignored myself, my family, etc.
  • Identity in ministry success :: An over personalization of results defining them.
  • Short term mindset :: Comparison & frustration with results.

Responses and resources.

If you lead any kind of team, you will want to be aware that you must coach to strategy and coach to shepherd. You are seeking to make a difference for Christ. And you are caring people in the process.

Stages of Team Development September 22, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Communication, Leadership.
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I was poking around the Global Leadership Development and HR team’s TeamLeaderTraining resources recently and came across the article, Stages of Team Development.

I found it intriguing because it recognizes that difficulties and awkwardness with a team are just a normal part of the team’s development.

We are a good month into the campus year. We have worked hard to meet new students and involve them in our movements. It’s normal to be tired at this stage. Add to that, most of us, likely, are on new teams, or we have some new team members. We’ve gotten to know them by now and are starting to see some, ummm, things that grate us a bit.

So, is this normal? Yes!

Read on. I have reproduced the entire document, Stages of Team Development, to give you hope that you can work through some of these frustrations.

Stages of Team Development

Teams “grow up”. They mature.  As a team leader, you are in a position of helping your team move through the NORMAL phases in that growing-up process. Years ago, Bruce Tuckman identified four stages of team development that are helpful for any new team leader to understand:

Forming—“I love you all, and I’m so privileged to get to work with each and every one of you. God knew exactly what He was doing putting me on this awesome team. Now… where do you live?”  

In Forming:

  • There has been a major change in the team—maybe a new leader or several new members have joined.
  • The purpose isn’t clear
  • People don’t know what is expected of them
  • The team doesn’t know each other, so they tend to be polite
  • They look to the leaders for direction
  • It is like dealing with a likeable 3 year old child who loves everyone.

Storming—“You are all idiots, and you’re driving me nuts.  If I could just get rid of a few team members, I could get somewhere.  All we do is fight; no one knows where we’re going.  We go on and on at our staff meetings because we can’t agree on anything.  I don’t think these leaders have any idea where we’re going…but I’m sure not telling them.”

In Storming:

  • Team members have gotten over holding back their opinions and now disagree more readily
  • Team members express questions, concerns, frustrations
  • Ideas get shot down.  This can happen in such a way that the team member can feel shot down personally.
  • Alliances among team members can divide the team.
  • People question the direction and the processes
  • People become focused on the conflict rather than the task at hand
  • It is like dealing with a 15 year old adolescent—a bit rebellious and obstinate.

Some teams can give up here if no one LEADS them THROUGH conflict.  Some may feel that if we talk about the conflict, it will destroy the team.  In fact, if you never learn how to deal with your differences, people will act like they agree when they don’t—passive aggressive, or you’ll produce a team of clones who are afraid to think for themselves since they have to agree with you as the leader.

Because of personality, culture, experiences and/or upbringing, leaders feel differently about conflict. Some abhor conflict and avoid it at all costs, but it is part of healthy team growth.  Team leaders must learn to embrace conflict or they will destroy their team, and certainly will not build a movement of healthy people.

One team leader regretfully said, “The words ring in my ears from people with whom I chose to not enter a conflict—‘Why didn’t you tell me this before?’”.  He learned the hard way that conflict does not disappear, and it is neither loving nor kind to a team member to ignore issues.

Norming—“OK, I’m starting to understand where I fit on this team and how my gifts, passions and strengths can be maximized to help move us forward.”

In Norming:

  • You have now learned how to deal with each individual member and their differences.  This information is invaluable.
  • You have helped the team establish guidelines/norms as to how to deal with conflict, and make decisions, how to treat each other, how to work, how to do meetings.
  • Trust is increasing
  • Members can disagree with a thought without getting their feelings hurt.
  • Your team is entering adulthood.

Performing—“We know where we are going, we know what we’re doing this week to get there.  I am glad I’m on this team even though these people are very different than me.  It works because we complement each other’s gifting. When someone on this team offends me, I feel free to talk to them about it right away.”

In Performing:

  • The team begins to experience multiplied fruitfulness
  • They agree on goals, roles, norms, how to be a team.
  • They are innovative and can solve problems together
  • They assess how they are functioning and learn to be more effective.
  • Members take the initiative toward goals without waiting for the team leader to tell them what to do.
  • Team members are careful not to slip back into bad habits.
  • The team is reaching maturity.

You may not start in the forming stage; you may go right to storming. Also realize that different people on the team could be at different places in the process.  As a team leader, look for the dominant theme of the team to figure out what stage you are in and what steps to take to keep moving forward.



http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_86.htm  accessed on April 3, 2014.

I thought you might find this encouraging. Whether you are new on a team, or you have new team members, or you are building a team of volunteers, faculty or students, it’s worth pressing through the hard stuff because of how the Lord will use your team to accomplish more than you ever could on your own.

Cru High School Training Videos September 16, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Discipleship, Evangelism, Sending.
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In today’s YouTube world, more people learn by watching videos than they do reading instructions. When I was trying to figure out how to take out an old bathtub a while ago, I came across a YouTube video of two women breaking up a tub with a maul. That’s all I needed to start swinging my maul.

What if we had readily accessible training videos for our students, faculty and volunteers? Cru High School is developing videos on basic ministry skills as well as descriptions of the 11 Cru High School 101 essentials. Many of these have broader use than just high school.

College students interested in ministering to high school students can watch these and gain confidence in reaching out. Some basic training videos include:

The 11 essential Cru High School 101 messages are:

  • Understanding Win, Build, Send
  • Cru High School Distinctive Marks
  • Explaining Cru High School
  • Meeting and Relating to Students
  • Using a Tool to Share the Gospel
  • Using a Tool to Share the Spirit-filled Life
  • Sharing Your Personal Testimony
  • Setting up a Personal Appointment
  • How to Follow up New Christians
  • Planning and Conducting an Outreach
  • How to Lead a Small Group

There are over 300 active Cru HS volunteers. That’s considerably more than staff, stinters, and intern. The video training team of Kevin Young, Melody Sibben, Dave Meritt and Jake Fritzke are helping to give them and anyone else working with high school students the skills needed to touch this significant demographic.

Mission Summer, not just for summer. September 14, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Student Ownership.
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A scenario: A campus 75 minutes away has a small group of Christian students meeting regularly. They have asked me to come to help them organize and gather others. I just can’t seem to find the time to go there. And I surely can’t set up a regular visit. What do I do?

Jason Skjervem, MTL, in North Dakota, wrote to me last week and told me that on one of his distance-coached campuses, his leader is planning to use the six Roger Hershey talks from Mission Summer for their weekly gathering content. Jason said, “The fact that we have these 6 quality Cru DNA-infused, Roger Hershey talks readily available and accessible to any of our campuses, especially unstaffed ones, is just great in my book.”

You may remember that we offered Mission Summer to those who could not go on summer mission (formerly called project). There are eight weeks of really excellent content already developed at https://www.youtube.com/user/CruMissionSummer

Now, lest you think that the Mission Summer content might have limited appeal, Jason wrote Karl Glendenning, who directed the effort this summer, saying,
“At our kick off planning meeting, one of our new student leaders who also attended Mission Summer, said he’d like to lead a discussion group/Bible study based on The Finishers book. He was very impacted by it and challenged to apply much of what [Roger Hershey] wrote in that book to his ministry on the campus here. He hasn’t solidified all the details yet, but he wants to start a “Finishers Group” on campus and see where God would take that group and use it for the Gospel here at Minot State.

“Two students who [participated in Mission Summer] said they will step out in faith much more now after all they experienced this summer and are striving to share their faith especially within the band program here at Minot. One of the guys is the Drum Major, so he has huge influence within the program. I’m excited to see where that leads for the Gospel on our campus.

“Another guy who attended the group via online viewing from his home in San Diego, has said this summer challenged him to make his faith “his own” versus just what he believed growing up. We’ve been having some good discussions based on the material from this summer.”

So, rather than feel you have to develop talks or lead all the efforts to pull gatherings together, why not point your student leaders to the Mission Summer content and let it impact them. They will think of ways to use it in others’ lives.

Afraid of offending? September 8, 2014

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Communication, Evangelism.
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“Few people enjoy conflict. We want to get along with others, and it is much easier to stick to topics where we can agree, or at least pretend to agree. But is that stopping you from sharing your faith? Does the fear of offending someone keep you from saying anything at all?”

This is how Jeff Grant, College Missionary and Partnership Specialist on our Student LINC Team, starts his article “Are you afraid of offending people with your faith?” I thought you might find his article helpful in encouraging those you work with to share their faith.

Jeff continues,
“It’s a valid concern. The truth is, we might offend people. The gospel asks for a person to change, and that can be a tough pill to swallow. Others might take offense at the need for a Savior or to bow to a Lord. In fact, Jesus pretty much promises that people will be angry at His message (Luke 21:12-19).

“When concern for keeping things pleasant keeps you from talking about Jesus, you might need to do a heart check…”

Jeff continues by telling how we typically choose comfort–comfort over obedience to the Lord, comfort over love for those we are talking with, and comfort over ourselves! Now that was insightful. Read on for more.

He concludes with a very simple action step and some links to helpful resources.
“Consider starting with a “sometime” question. Ask a friend or family member, “could we sit down sometime so I can hear about your thoughts and experiences about spiritual stuff? I’d love to share mine with you as well.” When you do have that conversation, be ready to ask good questions and listen well. Then, tell them your story and be sure to include how the Bible says they can know God personally.”


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