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Prayer Catalysts in Students’ Lives August 31, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Prayer.
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During these first few weeks of this campus year, I want to look at the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry.

  1. WBS Movements
  2. Multiethnic Organization
  3. Stakeholders & Partnerships
  4. Movement Accelerators
  5. Prayer Catalysts

Last week, I talked about how we assume various CoJourner roles and use specific evangelism tools as we journey with others toward faith. Today, let’s look at Prayer Catalysts.

This morning at church, we sang “Hosanna” in our time of worship. The lyrics of one verse say,
“I see a generation
rising up to take their place
with selfless faith, with selfless faith.”

As you well know, that doesn’t just happen. Research indicates that for a young person to become established and sustained in their faith, several things must happen.

  1. Multiple adult believers will invest in them.
  2. They will come to know and embrace the truth.
  3. They will begin to share their faith.
  4. And they will see themselves as part of the larger redemptive story.

I happened to sit in a session with Tony Souder, Founder of the Pray for Me Campaign and Executive Director of Chattanooga Youth Network.

Twenty years of youth ministry taught him that the critical first step in sustaining youth in their faith is getting more adults connected to more teenagers. The Pray for Me Campaign came out of that realization.

In his case, he plans an event each year, in which he has students invite three adults in various age groups to pray for them throughout the year. Adults often want to encourage students, but are sometimes at a loss as to how. He has written a prayer guide, Pray for Me, with specific prayers in seven areas of growth taken from Luke 2:52 and 1 Timothy 4:12,

  1. Wisdom
  2. Favor with God and man
  3. Love
  4. Faith
  5. Purity
  6. Speech
  7. Conduct

He has found that students love having adults pray for them and appreciate the connection. Many such connections continue on into college and even to the point of being partners as they serve on missions.

As we think about this in our context, why not consider these possible steps.

  • If you are working with high school students, schedule a kick-off meeting with students and their three adults they’ve invited to pray for them on a year-long campaign. The Pray for Me Campaign site lays out the vision and process.
  • If you are working with college students, consider asking them to write adults they know back home to regularly pray for them. You will want to encourage your students to keep in contact with their prayer champions/catalysts to give them specific prayer requests and updates.
  • If you are looking to launch on a new campus where neither students or adults are connected yet, consider prayer mapping and walking the campus. As students surface, have them invite adults to pray specifically for them. As volunteers surface, give them vision for building into students through prayer.

It’s easy to see prayer as simply a formality or formula. But we involved in something entirely supernatural. Raising up prayer catalysts for our students and movements is as valuable as the actual work of launching and building those movements.

Tony says the Pray for Me Campaign creates a wake of goodness in the church. It fuels volunteerism in churches and makes a huge difference in the lives of students. We know that for the majority of students that don’t connect to a community of faith during the first year of college, all bets are off. The kids that do well still have adults connecting with them.

This summer I wrote a series of tips in what I chose to call “Looking for a Better World”. For a few weeks I will continue to make them available here.

What have we lost?
Recognizing arbitrary advantages.
Prayer, Care, Share
Becoming confident with new skills
1 and 2 word conversation starters
3 more easy conversation starters
Culture Trumps Vision
Hero Spot
The Law of the Diffusion of Innovation

And in case you don’t get the QuickRead, put out by the US Campus Ministry, here is my Starting the Campus Year Checklist.

Evangelism Tools and the CoJourner Roles August 24, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism, Leadership.
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During these first few weeks of this campus year, I want to look at the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry.

  1. WBS Movements
  2. Multiethnic Organization
  3. Stakeholders & Partnerships
  4. Movement Accelerators
  5. Prayer Catalysts

Today, let’s focus on the evangelism aspect of WBS Movements, as it provides much of the fuel for momentum in our movements.

I happen to pick up a brochure recently that our R&D Team in Orlando developed for a ministry partner event. It listed some of our most effective evangelistic strategies through the grid of the CoJourners roles.

When we enter into the spiritual journey of others, our role in the relationship changes over time. We start as an Explorer, and then become a Guide, then a Builder, and finally, hopefully, a Mentor. The tools we use also change. It is important that we become skilled with the particular tools designed for each role along the way.

I thought it would be helpful to list those roles and pertinent tools. You probably use most of these. If so, feel free to pass this tip on to your student leaders.

The Explorer, Discovering Spiritual Journeys

Engages in significant conversations to discover and understand the spiritual journeys of others. Being an explorer involves active listening and asking questions.

Soularium. A card deck of visual images that serve as the center piece of a spiritual discussion. Asking “What image best captures your view of God?” creates discussion. The genius of Soularium makes spiritual, gospel conversations seem like the most natural thing in the world.

Perspective cards. Also a deck of cards serving as a centerpiece for conversation, but here the discussion is on issues of worldview. Who is God? What is the meaning of life? Going through the cards allows a person to understand their own view of the world as well as the gospel’s.

The Guide, Showing the Way to Jesus

Shows the way to faith in Christ. Being a guide involves sharing your life-story and articulating the gospel in conversational ways.

Backstory. The gospel organized by a biblical storyline. Organized around seven themes: Intimacy, Betrayal, Anticipation, Pursuit, Sacrifice, Invitation, and Reunion.


Knowing God Personally. Focused on the four spiritual principles for establishing a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


The Builder, Providing Bridges Over Spiritual Obstacles

Builds bridges over and beyond issues and obstacles that hinder others in their journey to Christ. Being a bridge builder involves prayer and gentle persuasion.

The Gospel of Mark. With insightful text notes, full-page apologetic treatments of evidence for the resurrection, fulfilled prophesy, etc., this makes a great companion to Backstory.


Jesus Without Religion. This is a helpful exploration of Jesus in the Gospels along with extensive apologetics and gospel presentations.


EveryStudent.com. With over 1,000 people everyday telling us they placed their faith in Christ on the site, it is even easier to make Jesus “findable” today.



The Mentor, Encouraging Spiritual Growth

Encourages others to follow Christ. Being a mentor involves helping others make relational connections to other believers and imparting foundational concepts for Christian living.


Thirsty. A two-week devotional on the various aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.


Life Concepts. The foundational concepts of the Christian life, Assurance of Salvation, Forgiveness, Filling and Walking in the Spirit, and Principles of Growth, essential for every new believer.

Who do you know that you think would benefit from this information? Do you know Christian leaders on another campus? Why not take a moment to forward this to them?

This summer I wrote a series of tips in what I chose to call “Looking for a Better World”. For a few weeks I will continue to make them available here.

What have we lost?
Recognizing arbitrary advantages.
Prayer, Care, Share
Becoming confident with new skills
1 and 2 word conversation starters
3 more easy conversation starters
Culture Trumps Vision
Hero Spot
The Law of the Diffusion of Innovation

And in case you don’t get the QuickRead, put out by the US Campus Ministry, here is my Starting the Campus Year Checklist.

Are Millennials Trusting? August 17, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Communication, Leadership, Thought-provoking.
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Welcome to another year of Coaching Tips. It’s my hope that I can pass along the best of what others are doing in launching and building new movements so that we can make the greatest possible impact for our Lord.

Classes start this week for many of us. We begin touching a whole new class of students. It is easy to think that today’s students will be just like those we’ve encountered before. But that would be a mistake.

How we perceive students makes a difference in how we minister to them. The prevailing understanding today is that most people do not trust, including those that we are trying to reach. However, Malcolm Gladwell, best selling author and social commentator, reported recently, that he thinks millennials are very trusting. He points to the fast growing “sharing economy”, featuring Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, and even eBay, as relying on trust. Millennials power much of that growth.

While much in our culture has discouraged trust in the church and Christianity, if, in general, this generation of students is  trusting, that offers both hope and caution for us as we seek to reach out to them. Hope, in that there may be receptivity as we share about the difference Christ has made in our lives. But caution, in that this is a “buyers market” and they are in the driver’s seat.

We aren’t changing the message of the Gospel or the response required, but we must not assume that they will listen just because we are saying it. We continue to need to earn their trust  and we must have integrity in how we treat and honor them. It’s important to continue studying our audience.

One final thought. Do we see students as accomplishing our goals? Or do we help them accomplish their goals of walking with the Lord and living out God’s calling for them? Students can tell the difference.

I’ve tried to say some things here about the broad strokes of what our task is. Next week I will get really practical with a series of tips on five areas of strategic focus, WBS Movements, Multiethnic Organization, Stakeholders and Partnerships, Movement Accelerators, and Prayer Catalysts.

If you have others on your team that you think would benefit from these, encourage them to subscribe. Also if you have seen God bless a tool or resource or a ministry perspective in some way, let me know. Those are the types of tips that others can benefit from.


In case you don’t receive the QuickRead, put out by the US Campus Ministry, here is my Starting the Campus Year Checklist.

And, finally, this summer I wrote a series of tips in what I chose to call “Looking for a Better World”. For a few weeks I will continue to make them available here.

What have we lost?
Recognizing arbitrary advantages.
Prayer, Care, Share
Becoming confident with new skills
1 and 2 word conversation starters
3 more easy conversation starters
Culture Trumps Vision
Hero Spot
The Law of the Diffusion of Innovation


Starting the Campus Year Checklist August 12, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Launching, Leadership, Planning, Student Ownership.
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What a great time of the year! So much to do. So much promise of what God might do in our ministries. So many people to talk with. So many options. So…where do I begin?

Let’s be practical as we get our ministries up and running. Our time is limited. The first week a freshman student is on campus is probably as important as all the rest of the first semester combined. This first week is when students determine who their friends will be and what they will value in college.

Who are your key student leaders in each of your movements? Coach them through each of these first four areas. As they see God use them right out of the blocks, it will build their confidence for the rest of the year.

1. Articulate your vision of what God will do this year.

2. Connecting with key players.

  • Call each one on your student leadership team to see how their summer went. Inform them of the first meeting and what their individual responsibility is, and answer any questions they may have.
  • Give your faculty advisor a call to inform him or her of the first events of the semester and to give them specific prayer requests.
  • Check to make sure your meeting room is scheduled, any tables you would use for giveaways or surveys are reserved, and ads placed in the newspaper are ready to go. You want to make sure the details are covered.

3. Leadership team kickoff before freshmen arrive.

  • Share your vision for the year.
  • Lead a devotion from, say Nehemiah 1, about the start of a great undertaking. Nehemiah is a great example of leading in both prayer and action.
  • Inform them of the first few events and make sure that each responsibility is covered.
  • Take extra time to pray for God to move, for new students to connect, and for the impact you will make this year.
  • Encourage everyone to be familiar with the Campus Ministry Year.

4. Planning your first outreach.

  • If you plan some kind of info table or do a giveaway, decide when to assemble and the earliest time for distribution.
  • If you will have an open house, a “cower” or pizza party, etc., make sure the right “people” people are greeting visitors to help them feel welcome. Have the opening talk be brief, visionary, and welcoming.
  • If you use a survey to find interested students, schedule the table or dining hall to take the surveys. Three easy to use surveys with transitions and nationwide tabulating tools can be found at QuEST Resources.
  • Start right away with posters.

Let’s take a mental pause here before proceeding.

  • If you are outside the US, you may have your own unique way of beginning your campus year.
  • If you have leaders on other campuses, why not forward these first four items to them, and schedule a time to talk through some of the details?

It is a huge confidence booster whenever anyone takes on ownership and sees God use them. And it frees you up to prayer walk or do an info table on a campus that doesn’t have student leadership already in place.

And now the final three…

5. Make sure your info is current on the infobase.
(For staff and interns in the US.)

First, edit your profile so that the information is accurate. You are the only one who can do this and it only takes a minute. This is essential for anyone trying to reach you with a contact for a campus.

Then, check to see if your name is attached to the campuses you’re on and want to reach. Our ministry locators are in lots of visible places. Parents and friends do want their Christian students to get connected. If you are working on a campus and the ministry locator does not list a ministry there, the default is “Would you like to help us start a ministry?” Far fewer will contact us when they read those words than when they read about you ministering there.

6. Direct and delegate rather than just do.

I started driving tractor at 4 1/2 and a truck at 9. By now I think I am fairly good at driving. When it came time to teach my sons to drive, no matter how much modeling and teaching I did, I finally had to get out of the driver seat and give them the wheel. They made some mistakes at first. And I had some white-knuckle moments. But it was necessary.

We are developing leaders. They won’t/can’t lead if we continue to do so. A good starting place is Eric Swanson’s “The Art of Delegation“.

7. Decide where and when to launch.

If it’s in your calendar, it gets done. As a team, decide which campuses or communities you want to launch in and when. Three easy things to do.

The ideal time for pioneering is during the first month of the semester. Students are the most open and available during this time. If you feel like you are taking time away from existing ministries, prepare your leaders the week before by saying that you will call them to talk through their responsibilities and answer any questions at that time. Begin to pray that God will use your time of pioneering on new campuses to help the students on your launched campus to grow as leaders.

I tried to focus in these final three on developing your leadership. Leaders think strategically and with the big picture in mind. Together let us pray that God opens up the doors of effective ministry on more and more campuses and within more communities, so that more and more students can hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The Law of Diffusion of Innovation July 27, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Leadership, Personal Growth, Thought-provoking.
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A year ago, in a post, Inspiring Others to Action, I called attention to a TED talk by Simon Sinek on How Great Leaders Inspire Action. I go back to it now and then.

Today I want to point out a part of his talk that he referred to as “the law of diffusion of innovation.” You would have caught it if you listened all the way through. It begins eleven minutes into his presentation and he refers to groups of people on the adaptability scale.

Those of us at Cru15 this summer, were challenged in a number of ways. We probably should wonder how adaptable we are to the vision presented.

Do listen to his talk, especially to the critical part from 11:00-13:00 minutes.

Now lest you think I am one of the ones who “get it”, by personality, I rank myself in the early, and maybe even, late majority classification. But God has me in a place where I must be an early adapter.

Where do you see yourself on Sinek’s curve? And how does that bode for applying what you heard at Cru15?

(Simon Sinek is author of “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last“.)

I am taking a two week break from these tips. I will start again on August 16. If in the meantime, you have new team members that you think would benefit from these, let me know and I can add them for another year of Good Monday Morning…

Tips in “A Better World” Series:

Hero Spot July 20, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Launching, Leadership, Partnering.
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For those of us attending our Cru15 national staff conference, we have had a lot to think about this past week.

We’ve talked about…
…being people who share the Good News,
…moving toward ethnic diversity,
…building partnerships and being good partners, and
…taking the Good News everywhere.
We’ve been challenged in big ways.

Maybe, like me, you’ve followed the #Cru15 tweets as well as the activity feed on the Cru15 app. It’s been great seeing what God is doing in many of our lives.

One session was particularly meaningful for me in terms of my day-to-day work. Joshua Ryan Butler, a pastor at Imago Dei Community in Portland, shared some great perspectives for partnering with others in furthering the Kingdom.

Here are just a few of my notes of his session and some musings related to launching and building new movements.

  • We like to see ourselves in the hero spot, even in missions.
  • But to make a lasting difference for those we minister to, we need to help the locals on the ground become the owners.
  • I think this is just as true in our efforts to launch ministries on new campuses and in new communities.

Butler offered three paradigm shifts.

1. The locals make better rangers.

  • We like to see ourselves as the Lone Ranger and they can be Tonto. It makes great newsletter material, but does it help?
  • We should serve, keeping in mind the locals’ pride and dignity.
  • There is a role we play, but we must put those indigenous in the lead role.
  • When we leave they’re still there.
  • From the beginning give them local ownership.

Principle: Give ownership to students, volunteers, and faculty from the start.

2. See them as agents, not recipients.

  • We tend to look for leaders who look just like us.
  • God often takes the last kids picked to make them leaders.
  • His story of the woman with HIV had the least qualifications to be leader.
  • Are we willing to have God pick those least likely to lead and invest leadership in them?
  • Their faith just might surprise us.
  • I know the Lord is in control of everything, so will I trust Him to use even the “least of these.”
  • The most tragic aspect of life can become the very thing that will bring Him the most glory.

Principle: God calls many who do not have natural advantages into leadership.
Case in point: Me.

3. They have better ideas than I do.

  • I think this one is the hardest for us staff to swallow, but we would do well to believe it.
  • Imago Dei has a saying that pastors can’t start ministries.
  • If we truly believe that God cares more about the eternal condition of every student on that campus or community than we do, then he has the seeds of His work already there.
  • Do we believe that God has given them the vision for their community?
  • Students are insiders. Tap into that.
  • Our goal should not be to contain, but to unleash and shepherd.
  • When we create space for them to lead, we give them dignity.
  • Imago Dei uses a screening process to vet leaders who start ministries.
  • He told about taking sports equipment to a mission site and asked the teachers to put it away until two weeks after they left. In that way, the teachers were the heroes.
  • We want to be heroes.
  • Listen first, then resource.

Philippians 2 contains a Eucharistic hymn.
Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped.

  • He bent down to serve us by lifting us up to God.
  • What He did in humility on our behalf, He will be exalted for it.
  • Those who humble themselves will be exalted.
  • Jesus said that it’s better that He go away, so that the Holy Spirit can work in us and we become one.

Principle: The test of my leadership is not what I do, but what others do because of what I do.

Butler left us with two questions.

  • Where do I have influence?
  • How do I give my spot away?

They are helpful in thinking about launching in new places and communities.

A Better World Series:

Culture Trumps Vision July 13, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Leadership.
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Most of you who read this will be attending our Cru15 national staff conference this week. We will hear a lot about the culture of our organization.

Dave Sander, one of our most creative and best organizational thinkers, recently forwarded to the Every Student Sent team an article, Culture Trumps Vision, by Dr. Samuel R. Chand. It was posted on the Leadership Network site. I found it fascinating and have copied it below.

Darryl Smith, Executive Director of Cru’s High School Ministry, has talked about the culture of the high school ministry for a long time. He and his executive team wrote the “High School Spiritual and Organizational Culture”, a clear statement on the kind of culture they are developing. It is a great example of leading from culture rather than strategy or vision.

Culture Trumps Vision
By Dr. Samuel R. Chand.

Culture—not vision or strategy—is the most powerful factor in any organization. It determines the receptivity of staff and volunteers to new ideas, unleashes or dampens creativity, builds or erodes enthusiasm, and creates a sense of pride or deep discouragement about working or being involved there. Ultimately, the culture of an organization—particularly in churches and nonprofit organizations, but also in any organization—shapes individual morale, teamwork, effectiveness, and outcomes. In an article in the magazine Executive Leadership, Dick Clark explains how he took the pharmaceutical firm Merck to a higher level: “The fact is, culture eats strategy for lunch. You can have a good strategy in place, but if you don’t have the culture and the enabling systems, the [negative] culture of the organization will defeat the strategy.”[1]

In the past decade or so, dozens of books and countless articles have been written about the importance of corporate culture, but relatively few churches and nonprofit organizations have taken the arduous (but necessary) steps to assess, correct, and change their culture. First, we need to understand what we mean by the term organizational culture. It is the personality of the church or nonprofit. Like all personalities, it’s not simple to define and describe.  Organization development consultant, speaker, writer, and filmmaker Ellen Wallach observes, “Organizational culture is like pornography; it is hard to define, but you know it when you see it.”

Organizational culture includes tangibles and intangibles. The things we can see are the way people dress and behave, the look of the corporate offices, and the messages of posters on the walls. The intangibles may be harder to grasp, but they give a better read on the organization’s true personality. The organization’s values (stated and unstated), beliefs, and assumptions; what and how success is celebrated; how problems are addressed; the manifestations of trust and respect at all levels of the organization—these are the intangible elements of culture. Every group in society—family, town, state, nation, company, church, civic group, team, and any other gathering of people—has a culture, sometimes clearly identified but often camouflaged.

Many leaders confuse culture with vision and strategy, but they are very different. Vision and strategy usually focus on products, services, and outcomes, but culture is about the people—the most valuable asset in the organization. The way people are treated, the way they treat their peers, and their response to their leaders is the air people breathe. If that air is clean and healthy, people thrive and the organization succeeds, but to the extent that it is stagnant, discouraging, or genuinely toxic, energy subsides, creativity lags, conflicts multiply, and production declines. I’m not suggesting that churches and nonprofits drop their goals and spend their time holding hands and saying sweet things to each other. That would be a different kind of toxic environment! A strong, vibrant culture stimulates people to be and do their very best and reach the highest goals. Spiritual leaders point the way forward, but they invite meaningful participation from every person at all levels of the organization. Together, they work hard toward their common purpose, and they celebrate each other’s accomplishments every step along the way. Trust is the glue that holds the organization together and gives it the strength it needs to excel.

The inputs into the “cultural system” include the stories that surround the staff’s experiences; shared goals and responsibilities; respect and care for people; balance between bold leadership and listening; and clear, regular communication. The outcomes include the reputation of the leader, the reputation of the organization, the attractiveness of the church or nonprofit to prospective new staff members, a measure of pride in being a part of the organization, and a positive impact on the entire community.

To see a few snapshots of a church’s culture, we might ask these questions:

  • Who are the heroes? What makes them heroes? Who determines who the heroes are?
  • When someone inquires, “Tell me about your church or nonprofit,” what stories are told?
  • How much does the average staff member feel he or she has input into the direction and strategy of the church or nonprofit?
  • Who has the ear of the top leaders? How did these people win a hearing with the leaders?
  • Who is rewarded, and for what accomplishments?
  • What is the level of loyalty up and down the organizational chart? What factors build loyalty?
  • What is the level of creativity and enthusiasm throughout the organization?

The shape of an organization’s culture begins at the top level. The leader’s integrity, competence, and care for staff members create the environment where people excel . . . or not. In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni observes that trust is the most powerful trait in shaping a positive culture, and trust thrives on honesty. He writes, “When there is an absence of trust, it stems from a leader’s unwillingness to be vulnerable with the group,” and “leaders who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.”[2]

We can identify key principles to help us understand the importance of organizational culture:

  • Culture is the most powerful factor in any organization.
  • Culture is usually unnoticed, unspoken, and unexamined.
  • Culture determines how people respond to vision and leadership.
  • Culture most often surfaces and is addressed in negative experiences.
  • Culture is hard to change, but change results in multiplied benefits.

A positive culture will act as an accelerant for your vision. With a new appreciation for your culture, you’ll empower your staff members to do their very best—and love doing it. You will create the context for vision to grow. When your people feel valued, their enthusiasm will electrify your church! There’s no magic formula—quite the contrary. Changing your organization’s culture will be one of the most challenging processes you’ve ever implemented, but I guarantee you, you’ll be glad you did.

[1] Dick Clark quoted in “Corporate Culture Is the Game,” Executive Leadership, Nov. 2008, 3.
[2] Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team(San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002), 188-189.

This article is adapted from Chapter 1 of Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code by Samuel R. Chand.
Sam Chand is a former Pastor, college President, Chancellor and now serves as President Emeritus of Beulah Heights University.
In this season of his life, Dr. Sam Chand does one thing–Leadership. His singular vision for his life is to Help Others Succeed.
Learn more at samchand.com.

And, again, if you are trying to develop your own team’s or organization’s culture, I commend to you what the High School Ministry is working from, the “High School Spiritual and Organizational Culture”.

Tips in “A Better World” Series:

3 more easy conversation starters July 5, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism.
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Last week, I mentioned conversation starters that you can begin with one and two words.

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

The summer tends to be a more relaxed time for engaging others spiritually. Whether sitting by the pool or watching a ballgame, here are three more simple conversation starters.

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 I recalled 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 show a 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 are.

A Better World Series:

1 and 2 word conversation starters. June 29, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism.
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For some of us the summertime can be a bit more relaxed than our usual campus year pace. Nevertheless, as we watch events in our nation and world unfold, it becomes ever more clear that people need Jesus.

But how do I get into spiritual conversations or turn one in a spiritual direction? And not just for us, we want to help those we minister to learn how to share their faith in their own spheres of influence. We call this natural mode evangelism.

My wife, Chris, coaches several who graduated from our ministry and are now in the marketplace. She frequently talks about simple things that they can do to naturally engage in spiritual conversations with those they work with.


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.

  • I wonder if, in your quiet moments, you ever stop to think about how you and I got here.”
  • 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.

A Better World Series:

Becoming confident with new skills June 22, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Leadership, Personal Growth, Thought-provoking.
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Suppose someone contacts you from a campus 45 minutes away. They have a small group committed and they want to become Cru.

You could meet with them, but why not consider coaching the leaders over Skype or Google Hangout. Ben Rivera coaches a community college here in town. He visits the campus once a semester, but his regular coaching takes place over hangout with his leaders every two or three weeks.

A few years ago, I sent out a tip on Diskypleship. I remember someone telling me that they tried that, but it didn’t work.

I recently came across an interesting article called, Forecasting Confidence Levels With the Bipolar Learning Graph. It’s an auspicious title about building confidence in a new skill. This may seem heady, but do read on. I think you will appreciate the insight. Here is the graph picturing it.

Tim Ferriss, in his Meta Learning section of The 4 Hour Chef, explains:

“This graph charts out the ups downs of each new thing that someone learns, allowing a person to anticipate how they are going to feel as they learn a new thing. Tim Ferriss uses it in his book to illustrate learning a new language, but the principles can be applied to practically anything.
Whenever someone first begins learning a new subject or skill, there will be a period of accelerated learning that brings a very satisfied feeling of learning in a very short amount of time. This part of the learning is related to the concept discussed in my previous post about the 80/20 rule, in which 80% of the material can be learned in 20% of the time, which explains why so much is learned so quickly in the beginning, making the learner feel very confident.

“Shortly after learning the basics of a new language, skill, or subject, comes a point where a person begins to realize how difficult a new skill actually is, and has run out of the “beginner” material that is simple concepts and memorization. Additionally, at this point, the person realizes that they are no longer learning as quickly as they were before, dropping their confidence and morale a little bit. Regarding languages, this is the point where the person begins creating their own sentences and thoughts in the new language instead of using simple canned responses.

“At some point later, the person’s learning confidence hits rock bottom, and the brain begins neurally adapting whatever it is they are learning, pulling it deeper than simple surface level memorization, working to allow the brain to do less thinking to accomplish the same tasks. It may be muscle memory or habit formation.

“The graph then plateaus out to a place where the person is still using effort to learn, but it feels like they are not learning as quickly as they did in the beginning.

“Then eventually, the person reaches the inflection point, which is casually referred to as the “click”, and the learning becomes easy and accelerates the person to fluency, or proficiency.

“Using this bipolar learning graph, it is easy to predict various levels of confidence as a person learns a new subject, making it easier to prepare for what’s ahead and not get stuck or give up at a low point.”

So Diskypleship may not have worked the first time out, but stick with it and see what comes of it. Who knows, you just might multiply your efforts.

A Better World Series:


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