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Another Look at “Return to Mogadishu.” February 23, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Uncategorized.
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The headline read, “21 Egyptian Coptic Christians Beheaded in Libya”. For many, such a headline elicits fear or even thoughts of possible retaliation.

As Christians, how do we react in a way that brings honor to Christ?
Is there a way for us to speak about the life-changing difference Jesus makes within in light of the gut-wrenching things that are happening today?
Does the peace of Christ truly transcend in every situation?

Some time ago, I wrote a tip about Return to Modadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down. Much has happened with this film since then and I thought you’d be encouraged to hear about some of it.

Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down is a short film with a compelling story. What would make someone want to return to a place of trauma? a place of great danger? How do soldiers deal with the horrific things they experience in combat?

Can we have a meaningful discussion about Jesus Christ when the topic is about terrorism or warfare?

Mary Beth Minnis, Cru Austin and producer of Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down, had a desire is to use 1996 Army Best Ranger, Jeff Struecker’s story.

  • To help educate the next generation about our country’s history.
  • To foster gratitude for our servicemen and women.
  • To inspire people to consider issues of faith.

Over the last year “Return to Mogadishu” has screened at:

  • Baylor University.
  • University of Iowa.
  • Rutgers University (Division of Global Affairs).
  • Texas Tech University (Student Activities Board).

It has also screened in private theaters and homes including:

  • The SoHo House NYC to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.
  • In Rome, Bari, Mudugno, and Florence, Italy.
  • The United Nations in New York City during the 2014 Nexus Global Youth Summit.
  • The Brooklyn Navy Yard in celebration of Veterans Day.
  • On Capitol Hill to the 157th Joint Reserve Detachment with Congressional Members in attendance.
  • In Washington, DC, to the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and Fulbright Association.

Return to Mogadishu has been featured on the following media outlets:

  • ABC This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
  • Fox & Friends.
  • BBC News.
  • Al Jazeera.
  • CCTV (Chinese TV Station).

This film has been seen around the world and has caused many atheists to reconsider if God is real. How could you use this film to spark people to consider Christ? Perhaps you could help arrange a screening or share about it on social media? Here are some ideas to get you thinking…

1. Post a link to the film on your Facebook wall or on a friend’s wall with a comment/question:

  • “Just watched this…powerful. The courage he displays is incredible. It makes me thankful for our military. Watch it and tell me how it hits you.”
  • “Whoa. Intense. Check it out…what is your first thought after seeing this?”
  • “Seriously? Who is this guy? What would make him go back to Mogadishu??”

2. Send an email to friends in the military with a few thoughts and a link to watch the film.

  • Hey – I just saw this video. It made me think of you. Thank you for serving our country. Would love to know what you think of the film…

3.Tweet to @JeffStruecker @R2Mog @MaryBethMinnis with thoughts/feelings about the film, and perhaps ask a question:
@R2Mog Just watched www.ReturnToMog.com. Wow. Powerful. Especially after seeing #AmericanSniper.

Here are links to Return to Mogadishu and Bullet Proof Faith.

Finally, Oscar winners, Congressional Members, and Foreign dignitaries have seen Return to Mogadishu. Would you stop and pray right now for God to work in the hearts of those that watch the film? May the peace of Christ rule in all of our hearts as it did in Jeff Struecker’s heart on October 3-4, 1993.

Prayer-walks February 15, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Prayer, Spirit-Filled Life, Student Ownership, Trusting God.
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When I was a student at Penn State, Wayne Okamoto and I prayer walked around East Halls every Thursday night for a year. I remember very specifically how we prayed that as the lights of those dorm rooms shown in the dark night, that God would cause Christians in our dorm complex to be light in a dark world.

God did some incredible things during that time. First, it cemented our friendship. Wayne and I were in the same study for two years. We would eventually serve together in New England on different teams several years later. I think we would each say that we benefited more from the relationship than we were a benefit to the other. But I would be right!

Also, that time of prayer grew our vision of what we were trusting God for in our dorm complex. We would collaborate on outreaches and growing our discipleship groups. Each of us discipled guys who discipled guys who discipled other guys.

Wayne and I weren’t the only ones praying. There would eventually be more than a hundred students praying most nights from 6-7pm in an unused stairwell for spiritual openness and awakening as well as for our friends. Most of us believe we saw something of a spiritual awakening in East Halls during those years. We know He was hearing our prayers.

As I write this, it’s February. Much of the north is under wind chill and winter storm warnings. It’s not fun to walk around a dorm complex in the dead of winter. But Wayne and I committed to doing just that. Gosh it was cold some of those nights on that 45 minute walk around those dorms, especially with the wind whipping on the north side. But God used those times in us and in many of our believing and non-believing friends.

Why not grab a partner and take a prayer walk tonight. Be sure to bundle up! Let’s see what God will do.

Some other tips on prayer:

3, 12, 70 and more. February 13, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Launching, Leadership.
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Kevin Young, CFM National Director with our high school ministry, said to me, “Every week our MTL’s are getting requests asking to help someone start a ministry at another school.”

He said that they wished they could, but either they just didn’t have specific resources or because they are so busy, they simply ignore it. In a recent meeting with Kevin, many MTL’s asked how they could say “Yes.” to those situations.

As we talked, I was reminded of how Jesus had his inner three, his 12 apostles, the 70, and still related to the masses. He gave varying degrees of attention and priority to these widening circles of people. With that in mind, how do we say “Yes.” to somebody who wants to start a ministry on another campus? Read on for more.

I take it as a given that most of us wish we could say yes.

Often times the request is just for help. They care about students and are trusting God to do something. But they don’t know how to start or what resources are available. A phone call with a few simple steps, where to find some key resources, encouragement that God can use them, and prayer for them could be all it takes to launch a work of God among students there.

Be sure to ask them to call you back next week to let you know how they do with what you gave them and if they have questions.

You won’t be letting them down if you don’t do the work yourself. There is a poignant scene in the soon to be released movie, McFarland, USA, where the coach is telling his runners that he can’t run the race for them. They have to run it themselves. When they do and they are victorious, it will change how they see themselves. And they in turn will make a difference in others. (By the way, go see McFarland, USA. There are great leadership lessons in it.)

Patty McCain and David Martinelli, CFM Executive Directors, put together a one-page rubric that you might find helpful for allocating our time to movements in various stages of movement development.

As you coach that parent, volunteer or student to launch the movement, they will develop their own trust in the Lord and see their own vision stretched. It’s better for them and for others in the end. You still keep your focus on those who would be your “3” and “12”, but you will have multiplied your influence.

If you have questions or are looking for ideas to help in coaching others, call us in the Student LINC office at 1 (800) 678-5462 and we would be glad to help.

Helping others open up to change. February 9, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism, Trusting God.
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Good Monday Morning,

In last week’s tip, Awareness of Heart Responses to the Gospel, I referred to previous references I’ve made to the book I Once was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp.

Subtitled, “What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path To Jesus”, the authors cover five thresholds a non-believer must cross before placing their trust in Christ.

  • Trusting a Christian. Moving from distrust to trust.
  • Becoming curious. Moving from complacent to curious.
  • Opening Up to Change. Moving from being closed to change to openness.
  • Seeking After God. Moving from meandering to seeking.
  • And Entering the Kingdom. Actually crossing into the Kingdom itself.

Each threshold has specific faith issues the non-believer must have satisfied, and there are ways for us as believers to come alongside them in their journey.

Today I want to discuss how we can help those we share with become open to change.

I’ve shared with many over the years who seemed interested but were not willing to change from living for self to living for God. I took care to ask permission to share Christ. Some have been attentive and even seemed to enjoy spending time with me (trusting a Christian). They might have even asked questions (provoking curiosity). But I mistook their friendship and curiosity for a desire to change the direction of their lives.

A friend of mine says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. But you can put salt in it’s hay.” Here are some ways to help make them thirsty.

  • Ask questions about their assumptions.
  • Point out inconsistencies in their thinking.
  • Ask if they are settling for lesser goals or standards.
  • Have they accepted mediocrity, pain or personal failure as just the way it is?
  • Share your own struggles and how God has come to your aid.
  • Offer to pray for them. If they agree, pray with them right then.
  • Involve them in Christian service or acts of kindness

Beware of setting up “gotcha” scenarios with your friend, but, rather, engage them with gentleness. We respect the process that God is taking them through. Everts and Schaupp say that it is important that we be patient as they “try on” what it would be like to change. It’s also important that we be praying “our guts out for them”.

Francis Schaeffer used to talk about “taking the roof off”, pointing out the logical inconsistencies or the natural consequences of their belief system.

I happened to be looking through our MyStory@cru.org page recently. Leslie’s story caught my eye. If you read her story, notice her transition to becoming open to change and how that was key to her to placing her faith in Christ.

Have a great week launching and building new movements.

Awareness of Heart Responses to the Gospel February 2, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Evangelism, Spirit-Filled Life.
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We are an evangelistic organization. We know God has called us to give everyone an opportunity to say “Yes!” to Jesus.

We know that we need not be “…ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16, NIV

That said, we still need to grow in our awareness of cultural forces active on those with whom we seek to share Christ, as well as some of the internal processes at play in their hearts toward the gospel.

A few years ago, our team read the book, I Once was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. I have mentioned the book in these tips before and continue to recommend it.

The authors talk about five thresholds a non-believer must cross before placing their trust in Christ.

  • Trusting a Christian. Moving from distrust to trust.
  • Becoming curious. Moving from complacent to curious.
  • Opening Up to Change. Moving from being closed to change to openness.
  • Seeking After God. Moving from meandering to seeking.
  • And Entering the Kingdom. Actually crossing into the Kingdom itself.

Each threshold has specific faith issues the non-believer must have satisfied and there are ways for us as believers to come alongside them in their journey.

Every person is different. You might be able to build trust within moments of initiating a conversation with some and with others it could take years. You can do the very best job presenting the gospel, but if they are not curious, or open to change, or even seeking God, they might only be smiling politely. That does not mean we don’t share, but, rather, we seek to understand where they are on their spiritual journey.

The Holy Spirit will give us discernment as we share. He can also use our words to bear fruit later. Just because someone has not crossed some of the earlier thresholds in their journey, does not mean we should not share.

I remember observing someone training me in evangelism as a student at Penn State saying, “You may not be ready now, but there may come a day when you will want to place your faith in Jesus and I want you to know how to do that.”

Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is not like busting down doors, but the tender care of a doctor skillfully bringing life back to a dying patient.

Previous tips about I Once Was Lost.

The Practices of one Distance Coach January 26, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Student Ownership, Volunteers.
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It’s January. Having lived most of my life in the north, with snow days, sub-zero temps, etc, it’s easier to visit campuses in the south in January.

This is a great time of the year to try coaching some of your campus leaders using distance coaching approaches. Let me tell you how one of our Coaching Center coaches, Stephanie Walker does her coaching. She works with high school students and volunteers in Orlando, California, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Alabama, and Mississippi. She also supervises a part time field worker in California and another in Alabama.

Regular Practices

  • Plan to call once every one, two or three weeks
  • Call on the same day and time, if possible
  • Take notes of the conversation
  • Text several days before your appointment to confirm

Things to keep in mind

  • State vision each week
  • Keep their next steps simple and doable
  • Each volunteer is unique and so is their ministry
  • Praise every step forward; pour on the encouragement
  • Move them toward the next stage of development

Conversation Content

  • Start with a personal question
  • Follow-up with the prayer requests from the previous call
  • Ask how they did on their next steps from that call
  • Set new next steps
  • Write down prayer requests
  • Pray for them on phone
  • Make next appointment


  • Send any information they need within 24 hours

Stephanie wants others to know that meetings look different if they were being held during the noon hour or after school. A coach provides direction for the student or volunteer leader. What works in one situation may not always work in another.

She also said that she as a coach takes 20 minutes each week to read about new resources. This helps her stay current and she learns new tools to help her students and volunteers. She listed a bunch of her favorites.

  • Preparing Yourself to Work With Students
  • Planning Now for SYATP and SYATP website (See You at the Pole)
  • Speed Traps for Students
  • Mobilizing Students to Pray
  • Most Wanted
  • Planning and Conducting an Outreach
  • Testimony- Telling Others About Christ
  • Testimony Worksheet
  • Soularium and the training videos on CruPressGreen
  • Essentials studies
  • Falling Plates
  • I Am Second

Finally, while what Stephanie does is specific to students leading in a high school setting, she wants us all to keep win, build, and send central in our ministries.

From my seat, I often hear Stephanie coach her volunteers. She laughs with, prays over, and gets excited as she talks with them. I often think about how cared for, encouraged, and equipped the one on the other end of that phone call must be after that call.

If you get a call from someone who wants to start a ministry on a campus that you just can’t drive to, why not try coaching them from a distance.

Here are two other tips on coaching plans.

Mid-course Evaluation January 19, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Planning.
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I don’t know who said it, but there is a saying, “Everything eventually gets off course.” How true. Nothing in life if left to itself will complete the course without mid-course adjustment.

We are at the mid-point of our campus year. It’s time to take a look at our Cycle of Planning and Cycle of Development.

Just as we work through our position focus review and updates at this point in our year-long Cycle of Development, so we want to review our strategic plan. The Goals Learning Loop helps us do just that.

This particular box in the learning loop is what we want to focus on as we determine if we are on pace or not.

Erwin Lutzer wrote a book a number of years ago called, “Failure: The Backdoor to Success”. Even plans that have gone awry can actually contain the seeds of success. But we need to be intentional about learning where we are and how we arrived at this point.

A really big goal. January 12, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Discipleship, Leadership, Sending.
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We, in the US Campus Ministry, are trusting God for a really big goal—to believe God to raise up more than a million followers of Jesus Christ committed to making disciples and changing the world together.

At our Distance Coaching Roundtable in November, Darryl Smith, Executive Director, Cru High School, led us in a devotion on this really big goal. He walked through a number of Scriptures calling us to re-think our how we do ministry.

He said that going after such a goal will cost us. To go after scope, we need to “go from Opie Taylor to Ron Howard”. What he meant was that Ron Howard became famous as an actor. But he transitioned from being an actor in the spotlight to the director behind the scenes. Are we willing to step out of the spotlight to go behind the camera in order to have greater influence?

The goal of more than a million is too big for us. But God isn’t backing off it. In Colossians 1:28,29, we read, “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” NIV

We, proclaim Christ, adominishing every…every…every. It is not just about us, it is also about getting engaged disciples to proclaim Christ. They may not do it the same way or with the same skill we would. Are we okay with that? And are we okay with others getting recognition for their service instead of us?

Paul never visited the church at Colossae. But he didn’t back off the challenge, either. In Acts 26:19, Paul said he was not disobedient to the mission.

The scope is every, and it will take laborers. We are not in this because of who we are, but because of the God who entered us into it. There is a picture in Luke 14 of the master inviting the guest to another seat. We are sent not because of our position, but because of our passion.

Every believer who has received God’s grace is useful for the kingdom. To Philemon, Paul wrote that Onesimus was useful.

Matthew 9:35-38 talks about thrusting people into the harvest. It is assumed that those now entered take on ownership and responsibility. We are giving ministry away when others join with us.

Darryl said that when we encourage others to take risks, God shows up. But what is the risk, really? The fullness of God is there when we are at our need. God has given us spiritual weapons for spiritual warfare. Prayer is one of those.

Satan is not threatened by our strategies. He panics over the release of the Spirit of God when we pray.

God brings people into our lives to help us do the work of the ministry. We do ministry for a while to learn how to do it, but we give it away. Even in sports players retire and become coaches. Who are the ones that we are helping to do the work of the ministry?

Broadening the “we”. January 11, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Uncategorized.
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Last week, I mentioned that Chris and I were attending the film SELMA and participating in a community discussion on racial reconciliation after it. It was a great evening of discussion.

The film was thought-provoking, moving, and even infuriating. One 74 year old women shared about growing up not far from Selma and had a voter registration window slammed in her face as she tried to register. It really brought the movie to life for me.

The organizers mentioned that all over the country similar conversations like ours were being initiated by a collaboration of African American and majority white churches.

A number of you wrote to offer perspective and ideas, should you wish to initiate or participate in similar conversations. Tom Virtue, Epic National Field Ministry, wrote that when writing about ethnicity, the frame of reference for “we” in Cru still tends to be the majority culture.

I appreciated his thoughts and asked if he would explain more about how to broaden the “we” of Cru to encompass diverse ethnicities and to be able to work together on solutions. Here are his thoughts.

When I read Gilbert’s tip last week I really appreciated the intentionality that he portrayed and the awareness to be thinking beyond ourselves. Then I started thinking about a little bigger question… “Who is the ‘we’ in Cru who want to be reaching beyond ourselves in a missional way as he described and growing in our own understanding?”

A thought for me recently is that when we communicate about ethnicity and race in Cru many times the communication itself doesn’t give a complete picture of who “we” are and unintentionally has a separation that is built in. It comes across at times like “we the majority culture” need to figure out how to make progress in ethnic ministry.

Even though it’s not intentional, the result is that it doesn’t reflect our current reality and identity and leaves some of our minority staff and interns wondering how to insert what they have to offer. God has brought us to a point where there are a variety of ethnicities who are now a part of the “we” so anytime we address effectiveness as a ministry in any realm it’s a shared challenge and responsibility. No matter our ethnicity we share together to see growth in authenticity and effectiveness of ministry. The beauty is that our “we” now has many more different perspectives and insights and will challenge some of our assumptions if we intentionally begin to see ourselves in a new identity and make sure we hear all our voices. That’s what all of us taking cross-cultural learning steps right where we are brings, and it’s a good thing!


Thanks, Tom, for helping reshape our communication and how we think about promoting ethnic involvement, rather than unintentionally isolating.

For more on this topic check out, “Five Majority Culture Postures Towards Ethnic Minority Ministry.”

SELMA January 5, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Communication, Partnering.
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Tomorrow night my wife and I will be attending a special screening of the Golden-Globe nominated film SELMA. A community conversation on racial reconciliation will follow. SELMA is based on the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama and the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King and many others to secure the right to vote.

SELMA is playing in select cities now, but opens everywhere on January 9.

Tuesday’s event is being led jointly by Senior Pastor Paul P. Wright of Calvary Temple of Praise in Sanford, FL, and our own Senior Pastor, Joel C. Hunter, of Northland, A Church Distributed. Other local officials and pastors will participate.

Pastor Wright explains, “Sanford has a history of racism. We can’t fix the past, but we can build the future. Our hope is to build the kind of relationships in our own community that will promote equality and trust, and would act as a preventive of incidents to erupt and cause division in our community.”

As with any film historical epic film, there is bound to be some who take issue with some of the facts. But our concern here is the dialogue following and the opportunity to build relationships of trust, especially in light of Ferguson and other recent events.

Why not consider taking your student leaders to the film and have a conversation about racial reconciliation? Or better yet, is there a Gospel Choir or another group on your campuses that you could go together?


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