Ministry beyond ministry.

During the first six to eight weeks of the Fall semester, we intentionally focus on gathering and involving freshmen. Typically, the fall retreat ties a bow on those considerable efforts. It solidifies involvement for the freshmen, as relationships with others in the ministry grow deeper. And after several weeks of trying to meet as many as possible, it’s great settling into some of those new relationships.

For the next several weeks our focus will be on evangelism and establishing. This is a great time to be thinking about sending as well—sending to winter conferences, spring break events, summer missions, and even staff, stint, and internships.

Our mission is to “Turn Lost Students and Faculty into Life-Long Christ-Centered Laborers.” (Italics added) As a ministry, we’re pretty good at recruiting to our staff. But the reality is that 8 to 9 out of 10 of those involved with us will graduate this year and not join our staff.

How are we doing at preparing the majority of our students to be life-long laborers in the marketplace?

My wife, Chris, coaches former stinters and interns as they enter the marketplace. She’s also teaching a class to staff called “You’ve Invested Four Years, Equip Them for 40.” Last week, the assignment was to interview a friend who has worked in their job (not Christian) for at least five years in order to understand what it’s really like to be missional in a workplace environment. They asked,

  • General demographics
    • How many people work there?
    • Is the work force fairly stable or is there a lot of turn-over?
    • How many people are they in regular contact with?
  • Spiritual climate
    • Of those whom they have regular contact with…
      • How many are non-believers?
      • How many indicate that they’re religious?
      • How many have a personal relationship with Jesus?
      • Have they been able to have a spiritual conversation with someone who isn’t a believer?
  • Opportunities for relationships
    • Is there a lunchroom, coffee bar, etc. available?
    • Does the company sponsor social events, athletic teams, etc.?
    • Do employees spontaneously go out after work?
    • Do they get together with co-workers to do things outside of work?
    • Would they say people at work are friends or acquaintances ?

It might be good to ask the students that you know will not be joining staff to interview someone this way. It could be helpful in their own preparation for being missional in their future workplace.

Two other resources.

During the remaining time these seniors have with us, let’s do all we can to prepare them for being life-long laborers, surrendered to Christ, called to help fulfill the Great Commission, developing in their walk with the Lord, and able to build deep relationships with those they spend 40+ hours a week with.

Fall 2016 Coaching Tips

Outreach in real and online contexts.

Do you…

  • Look for ways to connect virtually with non-believers? Or with your disciples?
  • Utilize social media for evangelism and discipleship?
  • Use as a significant outreach strategy?

If you said maybe or no to any of these questions, you must read Boys Online, a recent article in the National Post with interviews by Ben Kaplan. The article begins by saying,

“Teenagers in 2016 live two lives. There’s physical life — school, sports, exams, dating, jobs. And there’s digital life — Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tinder. Most days, it’s difficult to say which consumes more of their attention, and which shapes more of their future.

“There is plenty of handwringing hype about the impact of social media and technology on the lives of teenagers, much of it focused on bullying and the exploitation of girls. On the heels of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (Nancy Jo Sales) and Girls & Sex (Peggy Orenstein), we wanted to explore sex and cyberspace from the less-explored perspective of teenaged boys.

“What followed was a series of frank nationwide conversations that helped us unpack a new, transforming universe with a unique and easily misunderstood language, social pressure and codes.

“From nude pics to Twitter breakups to trying to fit in, these young men talked honestly about grappling with the challenges of our times.

“It was through these conversations that reporter Ben Kaplan embarked on a relationship with Central Toronto Academy, a 100-year-old high school that lost an 18-year-old student last year to gun violence and suffered through a long Facebook-fuelled incident of Islamophobia. As the school comes to grips with how to govern technology, Kaplan has been invited to work with the English and Media Arts department and report — from the inside — on how digital life is affecting Canadian teens.

“This is the start of a year-long conversation that will take us to the front lines of the internal and external lives of teenagers.

“Listen up. Learn.”

The piece goes on with a number of boys sharing their experience with social media. You can read the tension they feel between being one thing online and something else in real life. Their stories are compelling.

The point is this. You work hard everyday to create a different life for the students you talk to. It is real and it makes a difference. We must not think that the only real ministry is face to face. You can also create a different life for students online as well. And just think, if they are taking the time to read an article on, they are not feeding their prurient interests.

You can give them something much more life giving than what they are feeding on now. Do you want to know how? Start by downloading Marilyn Adamson’s The Ripple Effect. Take 15 minutes and have a look. Then pick out one or two ideas and try them this week.

Fall 2016 Coaching Tips

“This is not rocket science.”

Ben Rivera, long-time Student LINC Coach, is doing something different this year. He’s doing Google Hangouts with student leaders on several campuses for the St. Louis Metro Team. Some of their staff and interns sit in on those coaching calls.

Ben will say that nothing he does is rocket science. In fact, I suspect that after listening to his coaching those staff and interns think that they could do that, and maybe even better!

Read on for some of the key elements as Ben coaches student and volunteer leaders to reach their campus.

Ben shoots to connect with these student leaders every week or two. There are some things that he makes a point to ask about each time. And in the back of his mind, he has a set of skills and specific resources that he wants these leaders to know.

Topics for each session.

  • How is your walk with the Lord?
  • Are you living a pure life?
  • Are you praying for the campus?
  • Did you read my weekly tip? (These are specifically written for the student leader and timely based on the semester and cycles of momentum. They have a devotional or heart emphasis as well as a practical ministry focus.)
  • A passage of Scripture to look at relevant to their walk with the Lord or ministry. One example was Matthew 8:18-22, the cost of following Jesus.
  • What is one question you want to make sure we cover today?
  • We are a ministry of evangelism and discipleship. We want to multiply our lives into others so that we can give every student an opportunity to hear the Gospel.

Specific training he is systematically covering.

  • Sharing the Knowing God Personally booklet.
  • Living the Spirit-filled life.
  • Writing their testimony.
  • Taking someone through follow up.
  • Starting and leading a Bible study.
  • Forming and leading a leadership team.

Ben doesn’t assume anything. He’s making sure these student leaders know the most basic ministry skills. He asks lots of good questions to find out what is really going on with each leader and their ministry. And he is able to adjust his agenda based on how the conversation goes. You need to know that he takes careful notes on those conversations so he remembers what he talked about as he prepares for the next conversation.

But Ben has two purposes. 1. Equip these student leaders. Ben has a real heart for people and wants to see them become all that God intends for them to become. And 2. The local staff and interns see how easy and strategic these coaching calls are so that they will want to take over the coaching themselves. In fact one of the local staff has taken careful notes of her own to share with the whole team so that they all benefit.

As we think about giving every student on every campus in every demographic an opportunity to say “Yes!” to Jesus, we will necessarily have to put students, faculty, and volunteers in leadership roles and equip them to lead. Secondly, we will need to add distance coaching elements to our ministry plan. The need pushes us to consider what God might do beyond what we are able to do face to face.

Some others on distance coaching.

Fall 2016 Coaching Tips

Movement Leadership Forms.

One of the areas of strategic focus for us in the campus ministry in the US is launching and building sustainable Win/Build/Send movements.

While we know that it takes effort to launch, it is important to realize that you are not expected to lead everything you launch in the same way you are leading your existing movements.

You may be familiar with this Movement Leadership Forms document. It explains the difference between what we are calling “square, triangle, and circle” movements.

  • Square—Staff  MTLs, staff team members, staff modeling ministry.
  • Triangle—Staff MTLs, Student/Faculty/Volunteer members, and staff modeling ministry to the team.
  • Circle—Student/Faculty/Volunteer MTLs and team members, staff coaching the team as it stewards the movement.

Most of our future growth will be in launching circle movements, with students, faculty, or volunteers leading, and often being coached from a distance. In fact, when our CFM National Team met recently, it was encouraging to see how many of the new launches were circle movements. It’s catching on!

Here is an idea. If you haven’t had your fall retreat, or when you start recruiting for the Winter Conference, make a concerted effort to have your students invite Christian friends from other campuses. They just may be the one, or can lead you to someone, who could be the key leader on their campus. They will already have a picture of what your ministry is about and what their friends are involved with. Then you can help them get started.

Fall Coaching Tips
– “Act as if it were true.”
Beginning the Campus Year Checklist.
Ways a coach helps.
Engaging South Asian Students.
– Prayer/Care/Share.
Did you know…?
Using Summer Connect Content this Fall.
Destino Connecting Culture and the Gospel.
I’m listening to you.

I’m listening to you.

During these first several weeks of the campus year we are actively following up surveys and developing relationships with freshmen. How well we do in involving freshmen during this time determines what our movements will look like in the next few years.

It is important that our students develop in relational and conversational evangelism skills.

A few years ago, I was given a copy of Chad Young’s book Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World. Authenticity speaks to the foundational truths of the Christian life.

In chapter 10, “Just Talkin’ about Jesus.”, Chad describes relational and conversational evangelism. First, he talks about our getting to know those we are seeking to share with. Then he talks about how to share the Good News.

Chad begins with three ideas from Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism.

  • Declaring the gospel
  • Defending the gospel
  • Dialoguing the gospel

This third one, dialoguing the gospel, is the focus here, “the skill of giving and taking, bouncing ideas back and forth, and most importantly, listening.”

Chad writes,
“While a lot of books have been written on declaring the gospel and defending the gospel, the art of asking good questions and dialoguing the gospel are often neglected and difficult to master. It takes time to cultivate love, caring, and trust, which lead to deeper conversations. The best place to learn how to have an evangelistic conversation is to study the conversations Jesus had in the four Gospels. In the NIV New Testament, Jesus asks 252 questions in eight-five chapters—that’s almost three questions per chapter!

One of the most powerful pictures of Jesus using conversational evangelism is in Luke 24, right after his still-secret resurrection. At this point in time, the good news of Jesus didn’t seem too good to his followers. Their leader had been crucified, and they had been scattered.

On the day of the resurrection, two of them were walking along a road toward a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were having a conversation about everything that had happened to Jesus. As they were walking and talking, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him.

Jesus ask them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stopped and looked at him sadly. One of them asked him.” Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things which have happened there in these days?”

Jesus asked, “What things?”

They then told Jesus about all of the things that had happened and that the tomb was empty earlier that morning. Jesus continued to walk and talk with them, and they invited him to stay with them for the night and have dinner. Jesus accepted the invitation, and at dinnertime their eyes were opened so they could recognize who he was. He then immediately vanished from their sight.

…As the two men were walking on a road during their spiritual journey, Jesus joined them and traveled alongside them. He connected with them so deeply they urged him to stay, and then he shared his good news.”
(pp. 153,154)

When we help our staff, students, faculty and volunteers learn how to engage in conversational evangelism we counteract how our culture views Christians.

Related tips.

Fall Coaching Tips

Destino Connecting Culture and the Gospel.

You may have seen my recent post, “Did you know…?” Many of our leaders contributed to this list of information and resources.

Many of those contributing sent enough info to make a worthy Coaching Tip. It was a shame to limit them to a sentence or two. Today’s tip is one such case.

Thanks to the Destino distance coaching team of Chelsea Hengeveld, Erin Brasher, and Devin Tressler, I’m passing on some Destino evangelistic materials great for various contexts when engaging evangelistically over culture, race, and ethnicity.

Soularium Culture Questions is one example that helps us enter conversations and bridge to the Gospel that isn’t just for Latinos. Another is an outreach called Colored Chalk.

Destino envisions many of their resources, found at, helping regardless of whether or not you’re launching Destino.

Finally, this team has developed a basic semester long coaching plan for those beginning Destino movements that may give you ideas for coaching a start up.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series

Using Summer Connect Content this Fall.

Bob Fuhs gave overall direction to this year’s Summer Connect. 890 students registered, but as many as 1500-1800 may have participated throughout the summer in 129 different Hub locations.

We continue to see the value of Summer Connect and the potential of what this could mean for spiritual development of thousands of students who do not participate in a summer mission.

In a report I heard this past week about Summer Connect, it was suggested that all eight of the archived summer sessions could be excellent semester-long Bible study or weekly meeting content. You can find all eight on the Summer Connect page. They are:

  • Week 1. Summer Refreshed. By James White.
  • Week 2. Refreshing Spirit. By Bob Fuhs.
  • Week 3. Refreshed Refreshers. By Timothy Muehlhoff.
  • Week 4. Refreshed by Experiencing Jesus. By Rick James.
  • Week 5. Life Refreshed. By Carrie Walker Louer.
  • Week 6. Relationships Refreshed. By Renee Begay.
  • Week 7. Refresh the World. By Rasool Berry.
  • Week 8. Back to Campus, Refreshed. By Roger Hershey.

Incidentally, there are specific training topics, other Bible study materials, faith action steps, and a blog, on the page, all of which are just as useful during the semester as over the summer.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series