Two Simple Leadership Development Constructs.

Last week I talked about how different personalities have different learning styles. Do we take into account those differences as we guide them toward leadership?

Today I want to remind you about two little constructs that I’m sure you’ve heard about in developing leaders. Here is the first one:

  • I do. You watch. We talk.
  • I do. You help. We talk.
  • You do. I help. We talk.
  • You do. I watch. We talk.
  • You do. Someone else watches.

I think we can infer two principles from this one. First, be intentional about developing others. Second, don’t do for others what they can do for themselves.

That brings me to the second construct. It’s not as obvious. Any kind of skill development takes time and goes through a progression of stages:

  • Unconscious Incompetence.
  • Conscious Incompetence.
  • Conscious Competence.
  • Unconscious Competence.

We begin not knowing what we don’t know. Then we progress to thinking we can’t do what is being asked of us. As we learn how to do something, we really have to focus on what we’re doing the first few times. But with continued usage, the skill becomes ingrained enough that we begin to do it without thinking about it.

This progression is true for any skill development: playing piano, painting a room, driving a car, or sharing our faith. I often think about how distributing ministry to students and volunteers is like teaching my sons to drive. There was only so much modeling I could do with them. But at some point I needed to get out of the driver’s seat and let them take the wheel. In fact, I noticed that they thought they could do K turns, back out of the driveway, and stop smoothly at stop signs, until they tried it themselves. It turned out to be more difficult than they thought. But it was giving them experience that was the key to developing those skills.

Some time ago, Dr. Steve Douglass wrote to us as staff, We are all about spiritual multiplication—which involves passing ownership of ministry on to others. But that won’t happen if we view most of our disciples as “disqualified” for one reason or another.”

“If we find it hard to have faith that God is able to use them, we won’t even try to challenge them toward their potential as a leader. Or, we may embark on a process of discipleship that is so drawn out that people drop out needlessly.

“Am I advocating that we should ignore that people have certain barriers to becoming multipliers? No, not at all. I am just advocating that we:

  • Have faith that God can make people useful to Him.
  • Look for people whose hearts are right before God (“good soil”).
  • Work with them aggressively to use their strengths and grow in their weak areas.
  • Give them a chance to try to minister, perhaps a little sooner than we might think.
  • Encourage them throughout the process.

“Anytime you find yourself reluctant to do these things, think first of one of your own experiences or those of someone you know well. How “perfect” were you when you got started? How skilled were you at evangelism and discipleship? How different are you now than when someone believed in you and let you try?”

As you think about potential leaders, where do they fall on the conscious/competence scale? What are the next appropriate steps to move them to the next stage? And what stands in the way, on our part or theirs, toward helping them take those next steps?

Fall Coaching Tips


Developing Leaders with Different Personalities.

We are all about raising up lifelong laborers. In my experience, leaders are developed, not typically waiting to be found. For the next few weeks, I will focus on developing leaders.

Different doesn’t mean wrong…necessarily. Sometimes, different…is just different.

Consider different personalities in leadership development. For illustration purposes, I’ll use the DiSC assessment. Its four personalities make it a bit easier to see, as opposed to 16 different combinations in the Myers-Briggs, or even the 34 talents of StrengthFinders.

Scenario 1. You assign two students to buy sound equipment to use at the fall retreat. Suppose one is a D, an initiator toward tasks, and the other is an S, a responder to people.

  • The D is bold, takes the bull by the horns, figures out what to do, and is determined and decisive. They make the purchase, checks that off and moves on to the next task.
  • The S is your “steady-eddie”, the consummate team player, somewhat deliberate, someone who will research the best options for the best price, will check “Consumer Reports”, so that it will be a good purchase.

Scenario 2. You assign two students to plan a social to watch the big rivalry game this weekend. One is a high I, an initiator toward people, and the other is a C, one compliant to their own standards.

  • The I, is thinking about how much fun everyone is going to have, how people will connect, how meaningful the conversations will be. They will keep thinking of people to invite up to the last minute and it will be a great time for everyone.
  • The C, will make a list of everything needed for the party, is there enough food for everyone? are all the details thought out? is there something for everyone so that all feel taken care of?

You can draw your own conclusions about how each person’s preferred manner would be an encouragement or a source of frustration to the other. Neither approach is necessarily right or wrong; it just depends on the situation. Again, different isn’t necessarily wrong. Nor is one personality type the proper leadership style for every situation. More often than not, what we think is right is really a matter of personal preference.

Just as there are a variety of leadership styles, there are also a variety of ways that leaders develop. Have you ever had someone ask you to do something? But when you did, they criticized how you did it. In your mind, it seemed like a personality difference, a matter of preference.

Now, criticism is good. Evaluation helps us all to grow and develop. Its always a good rule of thumb to offer 5 positive things for every negative one pointed out.

This brings us back to leadership development. Many of us want to shield our protégé’s from possible motivation deflating circumstances. I think often of a book written a number of years ago, by Erwin Lutzer, Failure: The Backdoor to Success. Most of us learn more through failure than we do through success. Some learn through experience. Some prefer to learn by seeing an example. Some learn by applying principles. Some are motivated by the task.

I don’t think we can say that there is one “Cru way” of leadership development. As you consider those you work with, think about their personality style as well as their preferred learning approach.

Fall Coaching Tips

Collaborative Discipleship

Have you seen the Collaborative Discipleship resource on Barry Warren, Creative Resources & Media Specialist on the Campus R&D Team, spearheaded an effort to design a discipleship resource that students and volunteers can easily use.

I like how the initial description of Collaborative Discipleship resource points out that “the one who recruits three to five others to join a discipleship group views himself or herself as a fellow disciple needing to grow just as much as the others in the group.” Discipleship is more than just Bible study. And so the “group works together to organize, teach, train, and care for others.” Those in a group can start their own discipleship group in a very short time.

One of the best features of this resource is the pathways. They were designed to put the lessons in the order that best serves the group’s needs.

The lessons are short, simple to prepare, and have the smartphone user in mind. They follow a typical flow of connect to one another, cultivate the Biblical truth and skills, and care for others around us. And like the page says, you will find that “topics like justice, life skills, and embracing our ethnicity are enfolded into the time tested subjects like evangelism, basic follow-up, and discipleship.”

Over the years, I’ve noticed that it is difficult for students and volunteers to invest the amount of time that staff typically do to prepare Bible study lessons or spend with their disciples to help them grow. While this Collaborative Discipleship resource is still being tested, I think it helps give them the tools they need to lead others well.

Why not take a few minutes today to look at the beginning page, see if there is a pathway that fits your need, and click on a lesson or two to get a feel for the flow. If you get ambitious, there are in-depth resources and ideas for immersive experiences worth checking out.

Fall Coaching Tips

The All-important First Coaching Call.

Every one of us knows how important it is in establishing a new believer in the faith. We have always said to meet again with the one who just placed their faith in Christ within 24 hours. And as a matter of course we should point them to We want to give them every advantage in seeing the new life become a reality for them.

In the same way, when we meet someone who wants to make a difference for Christ in their community or on their campus, it is important to let them know that help is available. Incidentally, they may not speak the same language or have different motivations. But we can help them take the next steps and guide the process in becoming a leader of a spiritual movement.

Linda Woods, Bridges International Campus Coach, offers a glimpse of what she does in that all-important first coaching call with someone interested in reaching International Students. This is her training piece to help others begin coaching.


Assume that you have texted, emailed or called to set up a time to talk.  You can talk on the phone, or set up a FaceTime or Google Hangout for that time.  (Instruct your potential Key Volunteer to respond to the Hangout invitation if you go that route.)

For the first call, or two, you will want to get to know each other.  These appointments need to be planned out as well.  Here are some ways that they could go.

Call #1

Hi, my name is (Linda).  I’m glad we could find a time to talk face to face about starting a ministry to internationals on your campus.

We know a little bit about each other, so I would like to take time on this call to get to know each other better. Maybe I can also share about how I came to be working for Bridges International.

For starters, tell me about your college experience. (Year in school, major, what classes you are taking, what you like best and least about school, etc.)

Are you involved in ministry at all?  What have you done?  What are your time commitments?

Ask about their family and their personal God story (testimony).

NOTE: You can break up the “interview” by sharing your testimony and work experience here.  Please keep it brief, but be personal.  Re-state anything that you heard in their story that you can relate to and why.  (This will help build trust and rapport.)

Say, “I know that you have a heart for International Students.  How did this come about?  Why do you want to work with them?  Is there a people group that is more interesting to you than others?  Why?”  (You can interject your own personal experiences here.)

One of the first things we will talk about in coaching is to have a personal vision for what you want to see God do among International Students on your campus.

For example:  Here is my vision…. (State your own personal vision here.) Does that sound like something you want to do?  If you don’t or aren’t quite ready for that, we can work on it together!

What we will do together in our coaching times:  As we talk about Kingdom Vision, we will also talk about building a team of like-minded people. Ministry is always more fun when we are doing it with friends.  As you are building up your team, the third thing we will concentrate on is how to brainstorm, strategize and make a plan of attack!  Once you strategize, you might find that you need to be trained and equipped in various ways.  All these steps involve being coached which is what I can help with!  This is the thing that ties all that we do together.

We have covered a lot and barely scratched the surface!  Do you have any questions so far?  Well, we will try to keep this call to one hour or less.  Is this a good time for you?  Could we meet again next week?  In the meantime, be thinking about your Kingdom Vision.

Note:  It might be best to wait on the following until your Key Volunteer is fully vetted.
FYI: Format of a call: (let your KV know the basic format you will follow)

  • A little sharing – What has happened this week? You can ask about anything they said last time. Try to make this time a little more personal.  Have some questions prepared to ask them beforehand to draw them out.
  • Let them know you have some things to cover, but before you do that ask, “Do you have some things on your mind that you want to be sure to talk about before the end of this call?”  (Take notes and cover these things first unless they fall neatly into your plan.)
  • Do “a look back” and “a look forward” format.  In a look back, you can talk about any past events, ministry related conversations, or assignments they were to do.  In look forward, talk about events they are planning or could plan, also cover the training they need. (Each appointment should have some equipping aspect.  You can read an article together, role-play a conversation, learn how to use a tool, etc.)
  • Wrap up by summarizing what you have talked about.  Give them and yourself assignments to follow through on.
  • Share prayer requests and pray for them.

Linda offers further thoughts on what to do on the second call. Unless her leader has already been vetted, she sees these first calls as part of that process. She is asking them to commit together to reach International Students on his or her campus. I like how she does that.

I am here to help you reach the internationals on your campus.  I commit to being here for you and giving you the best of my time, resources and wisdom in order to do this.  If you feel called to go ahead then I would like to ask you to commit to regular times of meeting with me.  They can be as often as every week or every other week…
Do you feel you can and want to make this commitment? Is this a good time for you?  We can try it and if it doesn’t work we will search for a better time.

Fall Coaching Tips

The Network Map.

I was invited to sit in on a series of meetings last week describing ways in which Cru and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship are partnering together.

In one session, we each shared aspects of our respective movement launching processes. It was interesting how similar the language and approaches were. They talked about spying out the land, exploring and encountering, decoding, and identifying a person of peace, all concepts we utilize.

But IV had one piece that I found particularly intriguing. The Network Map. I asked Shawn Young, National Director of Chapter Planting, if I could share it with you. You can watch their video description and how to draw a Network Map with a volunteer or student. A password, NISET, is required.

What I like about their Network Map is the way it helps someone see the relationships they have on campus and how they might be carriers of the gospel. I had shared in an earlier tip about how students are part of various oikos’ on their campus. The Network Map shows those oikos’ in a more tangible way. The process of drawing out the map helps to show the need to be in prayer for others and to consider ways to enter into their spiritual journeys.

Why not try it out with someone you just met on another campus or a different context.

Fall Coaching Tips

Caring for our People.

Much of what I’ve talked about in these tips so far this year speaks to ministry and strategy. But many of us are far enough into this campus year that we want to pay attention to the heart of our staff and leaders. We’ve worked hard to follow up and involve freshmen. It is understandable if we feel tired.

Several years ago, the old Campus Field Ministry national team had a focus on coaching. Various staff worked on “coaching to strategy” tools and others on “coaching to shepherd”.

In an unpublished article, the latter group used the “cycles of momentum” to identify common and predictable emotions that teams experience throughout the year. They categorized their work by
1. Typical emotions experienced,
2. Possible root issues, and
3. Resources and responses.

Their tool listed emotions, roots, and resources for every month of the campus year. As we’re more than half way through September, I am summarizing these for October.

Possible emotions experienced.

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

Possible root issues.

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

Responses and resources.

  • Book // In the Name of Jesus (Nouwen)
  • Helping them take time to pause, reflect, celebrate, lift eyes up.
  • Article // Reading Your Gauges (Hybels)
  • Reminder of vision from coach/leadership, and pass it on.
  • Talk // Rescue the Dying (Hutchcraft)
  • Coaching toward leaving margin for high level priorities on Position Focus (i.e. Downshift). Tool // Position Focus. Tool // Review Job Description.

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

Fall Coaching Tips

Can Incoming Freshmen Launch?

If you are Cru staff, you may have seen this piece in the last QuickRead. Sponsored by Campus Renewal, the vision is to connect every incoming freshman with a campus ministry at college. It’s great seeing emails from these students expressing interest in our ministry. They can select from any of the following options, and many select all:

  • Being contacted by someone with Cru at my college.
  • Knowing when and where Cru meets.
  • Receiving Cru e-newsletters.
  • Getting the time and place of a Bible study.

You may have already received emails from these students forwarded by Pat Senkbeil, our Student LINC and Coaching Center Assistant.

Connecting them to a ministry on campus is easy. But if they are on a campus where the movement is small, re-starting, or you’re just beginning, it might be a bit more challenging to help them.

It is very possible that God has brought them along to help you with that ministry at this time. I think of the old “Cornelius Principle”, about God at work in ways apart from what the apostles were doing. While not everyone wants to, our team has found many incoming freshman do want to start something on their campus.

Whether you’re busy in following up survey contacts, helping with Hurricane Harvey clean-up, or your schools have been closed because of Irma, why not check out “Want to Start a Ministry on Your Campus?” page on Then suggest interested students read through the first six steps. They can also get a preview of some of the possible resources we might use in our movements under Prayer, Evangelism, and Discipleship at the bottom.

Fall Coaching Tips