Engaging Spiritually With Friends and Family Over Break

Does this happen in your experience?

  • Conduct a survey.
  • Separate surveys by interest, Yes/Yes, Yes/Maybe or No, Maybe or No/Yes, No/No.
  • Ask student leaders to follow up those most interested first.

If so, I wonder

  • Do most leaders find themselves following up in other dorms those most interested?
  • What if there are No/No’s on our leaders’ dorm floors? Must they choose between going somewhere else to “have a ministry”? or seek to be winsome with those No/No’s?
  • What are we doing to equip students to minister to those who initially say they aren’t interested?

Read on for ways to use the semester break to equip ourselves in ministering to those who appear uninterested.

We don’t usually survey friends and family about spiritual matters. Rather, we have an intuitive sense of their spiritual interest.

First, let me encourage you to print out a copy of the Missional Map. It was developed to help see that people don’t just easily fit into interested/not interested categories. Rather, it asks five questions about each person in our lives.

  • Do they Trust Me?
  • Do they have a Growing Curiosity about Christianity?
  • Are they Open to Change?
  • Are they Seeking God?
  • Are they Following Jesus?

If you’re familiar with I Once Was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp, these questions are similar to the five thresholds of faith a person must cross to come to Christ.

Take some time at the beginning of break to consider whom you will interact with and where they are on the map. What you will experience with your friends and family over break is more typical of what a graduate will face as they enter the marketplace. Ministry is far more relational and requires intentionality.

Second, familiarize yourself with 30 Ways to be Missional in your Workplace. While this is designed for recent graduate beginning work in their new jobs, it offers ideas for engaging others socially, serving others, and honoring them. These are very practical ways to build trust and relational capital with others.

Third, consider downloading Doug Pollock’s 99 Wondering Questions. You will certainly find some conversation starter questions that fit your personality.

And a bonus fourth, consider how to share your testimony in snippets. A three-minute testimony in conversation can become a monologue if we aren’t careful. But Snippets helps to keep it a dialogue.

What I think you will find is that the apparently uninterested are just “not interested yet”. We are giving ourselves permission to take the time necessary to be winsome, woo-ing, and salty. In the process, the trust we build can open the door to being able to create curiosity. As you do this, you will better equip those graduating from our ministries and entering the next season as a life-long laborers.

Fall Coaching Tips

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Gap Year

Starting Fall 2018, Cru is launching our first ever Gap Year missions. A Global Gap Year is a 9-month adventure that will transform lives, give opportunities to trust God in greater ways, and to share the Gospel with high school students across the globe.

Recent high school grads will spend 2 months of personal training and development in Orlando followed by 3 months each in Africa and South America, working alongside Cru high school ministries in each country.

  • Do you know high school students who would be a good fit for this mission? They can indicate their interest here and high school’s Global Missions team will provide them more information.
  • Would you be interested in leading a gap year team?

Did you know that

  • Only 56% of all students entering college graduate with a degree within six years?
  • Or that an estimated 75% of all college students change majors at least once. Many as much as three times.
  • Or that 30 % of all freshmen drop out of college after the first year?
  • (Statistics come from the collegeatlas.org and American Gap Association.)

A few colleges support gap years. According to their websites, Harvard encourages students to defer enrollment for one year to take a gap year. And Princeton offers a Bridge Year Program that allows students to engage in a 9-month University sponsored international service project.

Why a Gap Year

  • To pursue other passions.
  • A chance to regroup and rediscover.
  • Find clarity about the future.
  • Help to develop a worldview.
  • Help alleviate academic burnout.
  • Improved career opportunities.

Benefits of a Gap Year

  • Better prepared for college.
  • Better sense of self.
  • A more focused student.
  • Typically higher GPA’s.
  • Better problem solving skills.
  • Better chance of graduating in 4 years.
  • Tend not to change majors.

Obviously, the high school ministry will benefit from their participation, as they will help launch new high school movements and provide lift to existing ministries. But Gap Year team members will benefit from the training they will receive in evangelism, discipleship and movement launching, and personally from this rich development experience.

To learn more go here, to indicate your interest fill out this form, or to talk with someone about Gap Year contact Jill.johnson@cru.org.

Fall Coaching Tips

Mention Spring Break Opportunities Now

Before we finish the semester, it’s important to encourage students to talk with their parents about Spring Break opportunities while they are home over break.

There are the typical Big Break weeks, but with the many disasters this year, service opportunities abound.

Eric Heistand and the Gospel in Action team have put together a slate of Spring Break opportunities that both meet needs locally, as well as puts us in a light that others not yet involved with us might consider connecting around a common mission.

Check out the Cru Gospel in Action Opportunities page. You will find information about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts for all four weeks of Spring Break. But knowing that today’s students have a strong helps and mercy bent, there are several other care opportunities as well.

  • Filter of Hope’s Clean Water missions in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Currently, these missions are full, but there may be more coming available.)
  • Vision Trust’s Orphan Care in Lima, Peru.
  • Cru Inner City’s Urban Immersion opportunities in Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, LA, and Orlando.
  • House of Light is addressing Human Trafficking.
In addition, Global Aid Network (GAiN) offers numerous Humanitarian Trips.

Those not involved, but willing to connect with us around humanitarian concerns, often become more open to the Gospel and a deeper connection with us after. Let’s trust God together that parents will be encouraged by our students participating in these missions.

This is my last Coaching Tip until January 8.

Merry Christmas.

Fall Coaching Tips

December Checklist

If you’re like me, you have a ton going on right now. I’m writing this in an airport on Saturday, headed home after a four day conference. I’m watching my own to-do list grow.

Recruiting is still in full swing for the Winter conference. You might be thinking about Christmas outreaches and how to end the semester well. You know you need to think about the spring semester, Spring Break opportunities and you’re encouraging your students to ask parents over break about going on a summer mission. Oh, and you probably are working on your end-of-the-year ask, doing Christmas cards, and some shopping and parties…Gotta do the parties!

If you are trying to remember all you have to do, maybe this checklist will help.

Winter Conference.

  • Keep encouraging people to attend.
  • Help with fund raising.
  • Arrange rides.
  • Exchange email and cell phone numbers.
  • Finalize plans.

Summer Mission Opportunities.

End the semester well.

  • Christmas party. Invite International Students. It’s a great way for them to learn about this holiday.
  • Take the time to praise God for what He has done this semester.
  • Gather movement indicators and enter them.

Review plans for the Spring semester.

  • Try to reserve the same room you met in this fall for consistency.
  • Reserve a place and the time during the first week of classes to do a campus wide survey.
  • Print off posters and flyers to advertise your weekly meetings.
  • Consider an evangelistic event each month.
  • Replace leaders graduating with new ones.

Prepare students to have a regular devotionals and prayer times during the break.  

That last one is really important. You will want to prepare your students for the break and their time home. The advent season can be a very worshipful and celebratory time and a great way to have gospel conversations with friends and family as we focus on Christ’s coming on our behalf. But it can also be a time of letdown for many students if they go home to the rush-rush or less than favorable family situations. For all of us, the time spent in the Word is vital.

If this list is helpful for you, I’ve created a shareable Google Doc that you can copy to your drive and add your own tasks so that it works for you.

Fall Coaching Tips

Advent Devotionals

The first Sunday of Advent is next week. We are entering that wonderful time in the church calendar for preparing for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son…” NIV. God orchestrated events over hundreds of years so that when Christ entered the world, the good news could be carried everywhere.

In the same way that God prepared the world, let us intentionally prepare our hearts, and help those we work with, to celebrate.

This time of year can be so busy with ending a semester of ministry, preparing for Winter Conference, and thinking about the spring and summer ministry opportunities. Students are preparing for finals. And we have our own checklist of Christmas preparations, parties, gift buying, decorating, etc.

Setting aside time for Advent readings and reflections helps to prepare our hearts for celebrating His coming, even in the midst of checking off our to do’s. A Google search for “Advent Devotion” reveal many options. Here are a few.

This is also a wonderful time of the year for sharing our faith. Here are some ideas for Christmas outreaches.

May we all find our hearts and minds stirred by the mystery of our Creator becoming a baby.

Fall Coaching Tips

A Launch Trip Offers Team Benefits.

For the last two weeks, I’ve talked about using the Key Volunteer Challenge. It was the primary tool teams used in different cities during the launch weeks to identify potential leaders to begin new movements. And Eric Hiett shared how it was their lead step as they visit campuses.

Then, I shared some insights Alana Schmidt, new staff participating in a launch week, had about the value of using the KV Challenge with current student leaders so that staff and leaders are all believing God for the same things.

Let me wrap up this series by offering some team benefits. The Florida State staff team spent three days last Spring away from campus and at Valdosta State with the intention of launching a movement there. I asked team leader and my son, Rick Kingsley, what he thought the benefits were of that trip.

First, it was a team bonding time. They all stayed in the same hotel, they ate meals together, and they got to hang out during down time. Even an event that didn’t pan out the way they wanted turned into time of tossing the Frisbee around. That kind of time is impossible to get during the normal schedule of ministry on location.

Second, there were training benefits. Using the Key Volunteer Challenge to surface potential leaders, meeting with leaders and faculty, taking the initiative, etc. gave the team a different type of ministry environment and focus.

Finally, Rick told me that what this did to increase their vision made the launch trip worthwhile. Seeing God do some really big things at Valdosta caused the team to go back to FSU encouraged to trust Him for similar things.

In the coming weeks you will be evaluating your fall ministry and looking ahead to the spring. Let me encourage you to consider planning a launch trip away to a campus where we currently don’t have one. Here are some helpful hints before, during, and after a visit to a campus if you do.

Fall Coaching Tips

Launch Week Side Benefits

Last week, I mentioned that teams of Cru staff have been visiting new campuses for the purpose of finding potential key volunteers. Six teams visited five different cities in two weeks. Every team in Florida had staff go to Miami for a second launch week, including four new staff and interns from Florida State.

My wife and I just happen to be in Tallahassee this weekend visiting our eldest son, Rick, and his family. We also happened to meet Alana Schmidt, one of those who went to Miami. She told me a little about her experience.

Alana is new staff, and just reported to campus. Ironically she spent her first week post-MPD in Miami. She pointed out to me that the Key Volunteer Challenge training emphasizes how God was already at work before we ever talk with students. She went on to say that it was a really good reminder that we are in partnership with Him, and that He continues to be at work. Because Alana had been an intern before, she experienced how easily that in the middle of ministry week after week we can forget that God is at work.

One of Alana’s takeaways is to go through the challenge with current student leaders. Her launch week experience convinced her of the importance of working with the right people, those with the right heart. The challenge helps to have conversations about what we are trusting God for together and to articulate and expand the vision of those we work with.

Finally, Alana mentioned that there are other campuses nearby. The KV Challenge could help identify student leaders on those campuses with a heart to reach their own campus. While she didn’t mention circle campuses, she did say that they would certainly need to lead efforts differently.

You can find videos of the KV Challenge, the description of Three-Thirds and more on the videos page of Expedition Teams page on Facebook.

Fall Coaching Tips