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Prayer Mapping April 27, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Launching, Prayer.
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It’s the end of the semester and you’re probably wrapping things up and thinking about your summer plans. So, tuck this tip away for when you think about launching in a new context.

Eric Hiett and the Central West Oval team invited me to facilitate their student leaders in a day of planning for next year. We spent time planning the typical aspects of our ministry—prayer, winning, building, sending, being very visible during Freshman Orientation Week, and plans for the first six weeks.

When we talked about prayer, I had them work through a prayer mapping exercise that catalytic staff member in Russia, Coleen Harvey, sent me several years ago. Eric provided maps of each of the campuses represented and the students eagerly engaged in the exercise. Here is what Coleen sent me.

“Go to your campus info desk and get a copy of a campus map (or create a map yourself). Take the school’s map to a copy center and enlarge the map to fit on an 8 ½ x14 or 11×17 page (you might want to white out the info there that does not pertain to you and re-copy the page).

“You can map your campus as a group or divide up the regions on campus and assign each region to someone to find out the information and then report back to you. (If one student has most of his or her classes in one building, assign that region to them – they are already in the building at various times and they are familiar with the nooks and crannies where groups of students hang out.) You will want to know:

  • Where the dorms are and how many students live there (and any other important info…”freshman dorm”, “international students live here”, “party dorm”, etc).
  • How many commuter students there are & what do you know about them (“most live within 5 minutes of campus”, etc – write info about commuter students in the parking areas on your map).
  • if you have a Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday set of students, identify which areas (buildings, times) those students are where (“M/W tend to use these buildings”, “older students attend evening classes here, etc).
  • Write on the classroom buildings what the main departments there are in which building…note any Christian faculty/administrators that you know. If you know of any classes that are “anti-God” note that so you can pray for those students, do the same for classes or teachers that are “pro-God”.
  • Note the areas where certain groups of students hang out (athletes, international students, skateboarders, Goths, ethnic students, non-traditional students, students with certain majors, student government, etc).
  • If the majority of students don’t hang out on campus, identify the places they hang out, especially if those places are near campus.
  • Try to identify the main groups of students that influence the campus the most (it could be the psych department, the school newspaper, the unofficial school newspaper, the off-campus house that has the most parties, etc).
  • Identify the main pathways on campus.

“You now have a great visual picture of your campus! As you look at the campus, pray for each segment. Commuter students are often the most difficult to reach. Pray that God would put ideas in your mind for what you can do to reach those students. Pray for ways you can reach out to international students in order to build relationships with them that will lead them to Christ. Pray for Christian faculty that they will be faithful witnesses for Him in their classrooms and with other faculty. Pray about strong non-Christian faculty, whom God will fill their classrooms with students who will speak out for Him in that classroom…

“The ways you can be prompted in prayer are unlimited! This could be a great tool for your campus prayer times or as a tool to use to guide you through prayer before you ask God to lead you in planning for your ministry. Prayerfully it will help to open your hearts and minds to thinking about areas on your campus that are “unreached” areas in your world. Prayer mapping will help you gain a “God’s-eye view” of your world.”

After watching the students in the Central West Oval jump into this exercise, I am sure your staff team will enjoy it as well.

Other tips on finishing the campus year.

Addressing possible leadership holes April 20, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Student Ownership.
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A lot of us in campus ministry are thinking about next year’s leadership for some of the movements we lead in other contexts and locations. Maybe graduation is leaving a hole and we just don’t see others stepping up.

I wrote about this time last year how one coach was addressing this very issue. If you are seeing a vacuum in leadership in one of your movements, read on for some ideas.

Sustaining Leadership on Community Colleges

I was talking with a ministry coach recently about how one of her campuses is struggling to find the right leader next year. They have had several years with solid leaders and backing by the college. Students have attended winter and big break conferences and one has gone on a summer mission.

Typical of most community colleges, their turnover of students and leaders is accelerated. In a recent meeting, a show of hands revealed only 5 students returning next year. None of them want to lead.

In this case, they have one committed volunteer who drives 40 miles to be at most weekly meetings. The coach wants to call him. He has been a great help and she will ask if he would assume leadership, but to keep looking to give specific responsibility to others.

There is a dance that we do with the “long-term indigenous volunteer.” When student leadership is strong, they step back. But when it’s weak, they need to step up to take more of the leadership.

The coach also suggested some of this year’s leaders talk with local churches and youth ministries to learn of students attending next year. They were open to that, since they want to see things continue. She wants to talk with former leaders to come up with key churches to visit. Hopefully, some of those first year students will step into leadership.

She also thought this might be a way to find others who have a heart for the campus who would do some of the more behind the scenes things like fund raising, refreshments at meetings, or sponsorship of events.

The coach is suggesting that her leader do a couple of Group Talks. These are an excellent way to help give confidence to those quiet and hesitant ones, at least in a small way, to exercise leadership.

Finally, the coach suggested they take time in each meeting to pray for leaders to be raised up and for many new students to get involved next year. Here is a great story on how God answered similar prayers.

So while this coach didn’t have the natural hand off to the next leader like she has in the past, she has an expectation that God will work in new and exciting ways. Because, after all, He is more concerned about the lost on that campus that we ever will be.

Other tips on finishing the campus year.

Keeping Others’ Attention April 14, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Communication.
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I recently participated in a webinar entitled “Using Neuroscience to Create Presentations with Lasting Impact” by Dr. Carmen Simon, Cognitive Neuroscientist with Rexi Media. The session, sponsored by Poll Everywhere, was the most engaging hour I have spent in a long time.

The bottom line: We want others to decide to and then act on something. In our work, that could be any number of things. People act on what they remember, and remember what captured their attention.

So, do we speak, teach, train, counsel, mentor, etc. in ways that captures others’ attention? Dr. Simon talked about factors that cause others to “habituate”, or tune us out after a bit. But more than her content, her presentation techniques have me still thinking about this.

You will head home soon to speak at churches, Bible studies, and dinners about your ministry. Read on for one way that Dr. Simon kept attention throughout her session. I have used and recommend this tool.

Dr. Simon said that neuroscience shows that a hearer remembers less than 10% of what they heard after a day. Furthermore, the 10% they do remember is random, not entirely what we hope they remember.

In our world, where attention spans grow shorter and shorter, and the amount of stimulation the audience receives is greater and greater, we need to provide frequent cuts in our presentation throughout to focus the attention of our hearers.

I’m not sure how many were on that webinar, but at one point 460 had responded to one of her multiple-choice questions. You could watch on the screen as the numbers choosing one of three answers went up.

Dr. Simon asked several polling questions, asked our reaction to a picture, asked us to take a picture of our shoes with a two sentence “story” for a chance at a prize, asked us to read by ourselves some out of the box definitions of common words, etc. All designed to provide numerous cuts in her presentation, capturing our attention.

There were a number of other factors that Dr. Simon said neuroscience has discovered in aiding remembering that I am not going to get in to. But she made extensive use of Poll Everywhere, something I have used in presentations. That’s how I was invited to the webinar. So far, I have only used the free version limited responses to the first 25. But there is a range of plans and pricing packages.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.57.42 AMOne poll I did recently was during our Distance Ministry Roundtable. I was explaining  how our ministry values both “growing where we are” and “going where we aren’t”. My audience was able to see on the screen what you see to the right. I asked them to take out their phone, open their text messaging, type 22333 on the “To” line, and then type the code for each response in the body. Then we watched the responses tabulate on screen. That simple.

The value of the exercise was in the cutting away, in this case from the talking head, fixing their attention with a different method of presentation. You cut away when you ask for audience participation, have them discuss something at their table, vary your powerpoint presentation, and one that Dr. Simon spent a lot of time on, creating uncertainty in reward. (Maybe this is a topic for another time.)

I know I retained a lot more than 10% of that webinar. I would encourage you to try a poll sometime and watch the level of your audience’s engagement go up. When you do, tell me how it goes.



Summer Connect April 13, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Personal Growth, Planning.
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No doubt you have been hearing about Summer Connect, known last year as Mission Summer.

In a recent informational email to the MTLs in the PSW, Chris Comstock, MTL, UC Santa Barbara, explained everything from registration to the coaching process. I like how he explained what Summer Connect is.

“Summer Connect is Cru’s strategic attempt at capturing the 94% of Cru students who don’t end up participating in a traditional Summer Mission project each year. Whether they have internships, summer job opportunities, or simply need to be at home, Summer Connect will allow these students to get much of the same rich discipleship content, stay connected to the Cru community and DNA, and hopefully will set them up to come back to your ministry in the Fall more equipped than when they left for the summer, ready to contribute and lead in a meaningful way.

“The venue for this will be online engagement with material, recorded talks from national leaders, and Sunday Night Live which is a gathering of Summer Connect students from all over the nation tuning in for a live webcast where Cru national and other Christian leaders will be sharing with these students, with opportunities for discussion and connection with other Summer Connect students after.”

I remember going home one summer as a student at Penn State and leading two high school girls, a widow in her 50’s, and a young married couple in a study of our transferable concepts. That experience really helped me to continue growing in my faith and my understanding of how God might use me.

Imagine, the majority of your students being involved in Summer Connect and having opportunities to put their faith in action, sharing their faith, discipling high school friends, or even starting a ministry.

Here are some helpful resources.

Instead of wondering whether your students will make it spiritually, Summer Connect can help provide the community and context for growth this summer.

Other tips on finishing the campus year.

Summer Survival April 6, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Communication, Leadership, Personal Growth.

“Let’s face it. Summers can pose a major challenge to our faith and obedience to Christ.

So begins the first article in the Summer Survival Guide.

Summers can be:

  • a very spiritually isolating time because you are away from the environment and friends that have helped you grow spiritually this past school year.
  • or a great experience as you see your faith tested and increased and take some key steps on your own (1 Peter 1:17).

What makes the difference? The decisions you and your students make now can put them in a position of advantage and strength going into the summer. “As a Christian, we can embrace challenges the summer brings because we recognize the opportunity to trust God in new ways and see our faith grow in ways that we would have never seen otherwise.”

The Summer Survival Guide provides perspective and resources to help make the difference. The introductory article of the survival kit tells about three essentials with practical helps and further resources:

  • self-discipline
  • the right fellowship
  • daily time with God and His Word

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Concerted and consistent time in God’s Word will change our lives.

Last year, Devin Tressler, writing in his Destino Tracks talked about staying connected over the summer. He had three concrete ideas:

  • Texting.  Contact your students two times a week. Shoot them a text to see how they’re doing, and connect with them via social media. It’s a simple way to help someone remember they’re remembered.
  • Virtual Bible Study.  Set up a weekly Skype [of Google Hangout] call to get in the Word with a group of students. Rotate who leads it to give students a task that will necessitate their digging deeper. [Summer Connect would] be a great option for your students…
  • Cast vision for sharing the Gospel at home.  Talk now with your students about what they’re looking forward to and what will be difficult about going home for the summer. Help them to see opportunities to share the Gospel with those who might know them from their lives before Christ.

Let’s do the best job we can to prepare all of our students to grow in Christ this summer.

Other tips on finishing the campus year.

Planning the first six weeks. March 30, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Planning.
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We all have a lot going on this time of the year. Ending the year well involves paying attention to the many details. Last week, I offered a coaching plan for this last month of school.

Today, I want to zero in on planning for the first six weeks of the fall semester.

You want to go into the busiest, and most critical time of the campus year knowing what you are doing and who is leading your scheduled venues. You don’t want to waste precious time setting up when you could be meeting and involving new students. This is even more important if you lead multiple movements.

  • How will you gather contacts? Will you do surveys? Have give-a-way tables?
  • Where are your first weekly meetings? Who is speaking? Who else has roles?
  • Do you have your first socials planned? Where? What can be done ahead of time?
  • What do you have planned for each campus’s Freshman Orientation Week? Every event you sponsor helps connect students to your movements. Who is leading? What can be scheduled now?
  • When is the earliest you can contact freshmen? Can you email or send something to them? What needs to happen?
  • Is there anything you need to do to make sure your status on each campus stays current?

Nine Principles for the First Six Weeks is very helpful in thinking through that strategic time. It mentions questionnaires for meeting interested freshmen and doing publicity so students can find you. There is also a chart at the end, for writing down plans for prayer, evangelism, discipleship and sending.

Ending the year well. March 23, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Planning.
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If you receive the QuickRead, you may have noticed my piece in the last one listing all the various topics we want to cover with students and volunteers leading ministries. There is a lot to keScreen Shot 2015-03-22 at 4.42.30 PMep in mind. I called it our March and April to do list.

I would encourage you to print out this list and tack it over your desk as an aid in planning out your coaching conversations with your leaders. (If you click on the list, it will take you to my blog post where highlighted text is hot-linked to helpful resources.)

Those of us in the Campus Field Ministry in the US are being asked to fill out an end of the year report for each unique movement we have. It can feel like a lot of work. But as you look at the questions being asked, it’s the very information we would want to know about for each movement in ending the year well—evaluation, goals, and the overall health and vitality of that ministry.

As our Student LINC and Coaching Center teams discussed the movement report, we saw corresponding connections to our to do list. And just as we would cover all those topics in multiple conversations with our leaders, we could fill out the reports in multiple sittings. The Survey Monkey platform makes it easy to do part of the report and then come back to it later to record more.

Again, the value of the report is in helping us gain a real time picture of what God is doing in the movement, to set realistic goals, and to plan adequately. This is even more important if you are overseeing multiple movements, because you don’t want to overlook critical details for any of them.

So, in the remaining weeks of the campus year, you could lump the various topics this way.

  • Week 1. Identify new leadership and begin to set them up to lead next year.
  • Week 2. Evaluate every aspect of the ministry, from win, build, and send, to leadership development, to the growth of the movement, and identification of new contexts within which to launch. And finally, submitting movement indicators.
  • Week 3. Plan out the first six weeks and that all-important Freshman Orientation week, so that everyone knows what to expect. Then, when August rolls around, you simply execute those plans, giving you the greatest possible number of touches with the most incoming freshmen, during the time when they are deciding their values and affiliations.
  • Week 4. Celebrate what God has done, and send well—for those who are returning, to the summer, and for those graduating, to the future.

With Easter just two weeks away, we are all reminded again of what God has done for us. And the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God. (Galatians 2:20) It has often been said that our leadership is not seen by what we do, but by what others do because of what we do. I consider that the coaching I provide others, leading their own ministries of win, build, and send, will have far greater impact for Christ than what I can do by myself.

I want to be intentional about setting up others well so they can see God use them. Then, what Paul says to the Corinthians will be realized: “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15, NIV).

Why not take a look at that to do list above and think through the conversations you want to have with those whom you are coaching so that each of your ministries end the year well.

Evaluating Ministry to Generation Z. March 16, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Leadership, Student Ownership.
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We are entering a season when we will be evaluating how we did in our ministries this year, as well as setting plans and goals for next year.

We can, and should, look at our efforts. But have we taken the time to consider how our audience has changed and how our approaches are perceived by this new generation?

I was sitting in a meeting recently and saw a presentation, by Sparks and Honey, an NYC advertising agency, “Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials.” This was so intriguing, that I did some further looking into the research.

Those born after 1995 will be freshmen and sophomores on our college campuses next year. What I am reading, gives me a lot of hope for this next generation. They are being hailed as entrepreneurial, DIY-ers, global minded, frugal, and ambitious. They want to create the future. If we expect them to sit long in a discipleship group before getting to lead, they won’t stick around.

An interesting article in Maclean’s magazine, Get Ready for Generation Z, says, “Research, though still in beta, points to the emergence of a stellar generation: educated, industrious, collaborative and eager to build a better planet…Gen Z is already being branded as a welcome foil to the Millennials…”

Many are already currently employed in part time jobs or apprenticeships. Part of it stems from six years of recession during their formative years. So they are busy. They are considered career multi-taskers. If they will jump from job to job, we can expect to continue developing and challenging them to stay involved with us. Think “student ownership.”

They expect to be informed, to be allowed to respond, and to have their responses heard and acknowledged. One source said they don’t wait for email responses. We will want to answer inquiries about involvement quickly.

One other worthwhile article to read is “Meet Generation Z”, on GettingSmart.com.

So as you make plans for summer ministry and your first few weeks back on campus in the Fall, consider how current research on this generation might inform how you minister to Gen Z.

March and April “to do” list. March 13, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Planning, Student Ownership.
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The Student LINC and Coaching Center teams recently listed all the topics we need to cover with our student and volunteer leaders between now and the end of the campus year. It was a rather daunting list.

So, here is a sample “to do” list with helpful resources.

We wouldn’t want to give that whole list to our leaders all at once. We’ll want to prioritize these and then coach them through this in the four to six weeks remaining this Spring.

Transitioning to new leadership. March 9, 2015

Posted by Gilbert Kingsley in Coaching, Leadership, Planning, Student Ownership.
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We are at or coming back from Spring break and there’s lots to do between now and the end of the semester. One big area is thinking about which leaders you can count on returning next year. Who will you ask to move into leadership?

A friend was telling about being asked to recommend someone for a ministry position. He asked the hiring agency if they were looking for someone available or qualified? They had not considered the difference. As we look at leaders of our movement, we want to think through qualifications.

The earlier you choose leaders for next year the more they can prepare for their roles. Here are some things to help in the transitioning process.

Passing the baton to new leaders

1. What is God calling our leaders to?

The Transformational Community article is very helpful in explaining what we are called to as a movement. Use the discussion questions at the end to focus on our DNA of winning, building and sending.

2.  What does a leader look like?

Picture of a Leader looks at qualifications for leadership. This could look pretty impossible. But the key here is not perfection, but growth in these areas.

3.  Developing personal vision.

Next, to give your new leaders personal perspective, have them read Cultivating a Vision for my Campus. This will direct them through a process of hearing from the Lord and putting their vision into action.

Vision and motivation are so important for your leaders. Another helpful diagnostic is Evaluating your Ministry.

4. Planning.

Finally, in preparation for the fall, have your leaders look at Nine Principles for the First Six Weeks. If they download the pdf on that page, there is a blank planning sheet at the end to write down plans.

All three of our boys ran track in high school. The relays were always exciting races. I’ve seen teams blow leads and lose races because they messed up the baton pass. That hand-off is the most important part of any relay. If the baton is dropped, the team may be disqualified, or, at the least, lose precious seconds and momentum. The next runner gets into position to receive the baton and then takes off running. They must keep in mind both what is happening with the runner handing off and the race in front of them.

This is such an apt metaphor of what happens in transitioning leadership. They watch the current leadership to consider what and how to lead as they plan for their own time to lead.

Let’s do what we can to ensure that baton pass goes well.


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