A “review” session before finals.

Do you remember how valuable the review session was before finals? Maybe you didn’t need them, but I sure did. It was a way for me to learn what I had forgotten and what I never did learn in the first place.

You will be saying goodbye to your students for the summer and some to graduation. How about a review session to bring to mind those things you have talked about and trained them in?

By way of reminder, and this comes from the snapshot of the Campus Ministry Plan:

  • Purpose: To Glorify God by Helping Fulfill the Great Commission.
  • Mission: Turning Lost Students and Faculty into Life-Long Christ-Centered Laborers.
  • Values: Faith, Growth, Fruitfulness
  • Missional Objectives: Christ-Like Leadership | Missional Teams | Mobilized Christ-Centered Laborers | Gospel Experiences | Changed Lives
  • DNA: Win, Build, Send in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

It might be good to spend some time reviewing some things about prayer, evangelism, discipleship and sending.

Prayer. Certainly there are the elements of worship, praise, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. But prayer is being in partnership with the Lord. Nothing happens on own own. Your students will be entering an environment that is not naturally conducive to ministry taking place. Prayer needs to an ongoing conversation with the Lord, and involves an expectant heart to be alert to opportunities that God brings our way.

Evangelism. Your students will have seen a lot of harvesting types of evangelism. They might even be aware of the three modes of evangelism—ministry, natural, and body. But they will be entering a place where they will be doing more sowing. As they transition from a large to small audience, most of their evangelism will be in the natural mode. They must begin by building the relationship with those they work with and meet regularly. Using the Missional Map, “I wonder” questions, asking Sometime questions, acts of service, etc. all build trust so that when opportunities come up where their friends show curiosity, openness to change, and interest in the Gospel, then their considerable training in evangelism comes to bear.

Discipleship. Your students may not value the training that they have received. Most Christians they encounter have not had the type and depth of training they have. They may not know how to be filled with and walk in the power of the Spirit, share their story, have a personal devotional life, or know how study the Word. They will be encountering non-believers, but they also have something to offer other believers. But it is essential they begin with a spirit of humility.

Sending. The fact of the matter is they are now the ones being sent. They are taking a job, moving into a new neighborhood. But sending may not just happen once. They may take another job or position, they may participate with a mission in their church. They will continue to be involved in activities that build their faith and vision. These are all part of the sending that God takes us on. They really should know about the Life On Mission pages.

You will have your own particular emphases, but maybe this has given you some ideas for your own review session as you prepare your students for a summer of grow and a lifetime of ministry.

Ending the Year Well

The Power of Gifts.

The Student LINC and Coaching Center teams are reading and discussing Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. It has been out of the box from our normal reading.

We in Cru like to think we’re indispensable, or at least that’s what we tell our partners! The way Godin sees it, to succeed in today’s social and economic situation, we need to look at our role differently, to become linchpins, to make ourselves indispensable.

The chapter on “The Powerful Culture of Gifts.” stood out to me. Here a few excerpts:

“I must have been absent that day at Stanford business school.
“They don’t spend a lot of time teaching you about the power of unreciprocated gifts, about the long (fifty thousand years) tradition of tribal economics being built around the idea of mutual support and generosity. In fact, I don’t think the concept is even mentioned once. We’ve been so brainwashed, it doesn’t even occur to us that there might be an alternative to ‘How much should I charge, how much can I make?’ p. 150.

“You best give a gift without knowing or being concerned with whether it will be repaid…The magic of the gift system is that the gift is voluntary, not part of a contract. The gift binds the recipient to the giver, and both of them to the community…Gifts not only satisfy our needs as artists [that which we offer to others that impacts them], they also signal to the world that we have plenty more to share. This perspective is magnetic. The more you have in your cup, the more likely people are to want a drink.” p. 154.

“I don’t write my blog to get anything from you in exchange. I write it because giving my small gift to the community in the form of writing makes me feel good. I enjoy it that you enjoy it. When that gift comes back to me, one day, in an unexpected way, I enjoy the work I did twice as much.” p. 169.

Erin Brasher, Destino Distance Coach, shared some of her thoughts with me on this topic.

  • I saw a lot of correlation between our work and the thoughts in this chapter. The people I serve don’t pay me for the “gifts” I give them.
  • The closest thing to the Gospel I read in this book is on page 164 where he writes, “A priceless gift has been given, one that can never be valued monetarily or paid for or reciprocated.” It reminded me of Romans 6:22,23 and Acts 8:18-20
  • At the top of page 171, Godin writes, “And this is the challenge of becoming the linchpin. Not only must you be an artist, must you be generous, and must you be able to see where you can help, but you must also be aware. Aware of where your skills are welcomed.” The greatest challenge of gift-giving isn’t having the best gifts, but of others receiving any gift you give.
  • My last thought was a challenge about how we could be better recipients of gifts we’ve received using his “thank you and …” formula from page 171.

Godin mentions being an artist frequently. He defines art as a “personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.”

The “thank you and…” formula Erin referred to was stated this way. “If you appreciate a gift, consider saying ‘thank you and …’ Such as “…and I dog-eared forty of the pages,” “…and I told your boss what a wonderful thing you did…”

Practically all that we do in the ministry is gift giving. From sharing the Gospel, to establishing others in their faith, to discipling them, to praying for others, to launching movements so that more can hear the Good News, these all relate to giving gifts. Most of us do these out of sheer enjoyment and we know there is reward eventually for our efforts.

But do we ever bargain with God that we are doing such and such and why doesn’t He do such and such? Do we give gifts easily in some areas, but sure want others to know about it? Or do we subtly expect reciprocity?

I have always known the power of words, but I’m trying to be more intentional about speaking gifts to others. Someone really good at this is Lee Cooksey, Chief of Staff for the High School Ministry. He often jots a note, sends a text, or just generally makes you feel like you hung the moon.

Two other gifts of a different sort that I try to give are wiping my paper towel across the counter at the coffee bar, leaving it just a bit cleaner for the next person, and pushing chairs under tables so that the room has a neat, inviting appearance for those coming after. These are small actions, but speak to being aware of others.

What gifts do you want to give today?

Ending the Year Well

25 ways to keep the World before your students.

After my first year on staff I spent a summer in the Philippines. It was an incredible time with great highs and a few lows. I saw amazing opportunities for evangelism and movement development. But I contracted amoebic dysentery, laying me out flat for parts of the summer.

Though I’ve tried to maintain a heart for the world, my focus has been launching and building movements in the US. I did not leave the US again for a number of years. In the last decade, I’ve gotten to travel more internationally. In fact, as I write this, I leave in two days for a secure part of the world. But I wish I had known some ways for keeping a vision for the world.

Mike Berk, Associate National Director for Global Missions in the PSW, recently sent out a list of 25 things for growing such a vision for the world. Read on to see Mike’s list of very practical ideas.

25 Things to keep the World before your students.

  1. Read Missionary biographies with your small group.
  2. Pray for a location regularly with your disciples.
  3. Skype with a missionary during bible study.
  4. Send a care package to a missionary.
  5. Go on a vision trip together.
  6. Go on a summer mission together.
  7. Challenge one another to take a year together reaching students.
  8. Book mark the travelling team website and read the articles together.
  9. Eat ethnic food together.
  10. Go to the international student center and hang out.
  11. Initiate with someone different from you – practice crossing cultures.
  12. Start an international student ministry on your campus.
  13. Take a perspectives class together.
  14. Take a language course.
  15. Go to Cost Plus World Market and find some food or music from a different culture.
  16. Go to OperationWorld.com and regularly pray.
  17. Get a large world map and keep track of missionaries, trips you or your friends have gone on and parts of the world God is burdening you for.
  18. Read the world section of the newspaper (online).
  19. Do a fund-raiser for an international cause – human trafficking, social injustice, evangelistic missions…
  20. Memorize scripture on God’s heart for the nations. http://www.ywam.org/get-involved-2/all-nations-verse-list/.
  21. Read through famous missionary quotes: https://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/slogans.htm.
  22. Read the book “Go, following Jesus to the Ends of the Earth” by Dave Dishman.
  23. Have your group practice sharing the gospel – practice by doing and practice often!
  24. Download the Jesus film App on your phone. It’s a great tool to have that can help you communicate the gospel to students from just about everywhere.
  25. Read a book about sharing the gospel with people from another faith. Some Recommendations:

Click here to access a pdf of Mike Berk’s entire article on 25 ways to keep the World before your students.

Paul Sohn on Millennials

I happened to be in a set of meetings recently, one of which was on the topic of Millennials led by Paul Sohn, author of Quarter Life Calling. I took some notes and thought you might be interested in what he had to say about the age group we are working with.

Millennials have been called many things: Gen Y, Echo-Boomers, Net Gen., Peter Pan Gen., Digital Natives, Gen Screwed.

In any case there are 92,000,000 millennials. They are the largest generation since we’ve been keeping track. By 2020 they will constitute over 50% of the global workforce.

We’ve known all along that millennials connect through social media. Their preferred ways of connecting are: 47% text, 38% social media, 38% IM, and 16% email. The value of social media is that we can have a relationship with leaders. Twitter allows us to communicate directly with them. However, Sohn admitted that millennials are “becoming emotionally un-intellectual”.

There is a lot of discussion about Millennials and work. Sohn says, “Jobs are everything.” They aren’t motivated by money. But they want to make enough money to do the things they want to do. They don’t like grunt work. They are obsessed with entrepreneurship. They are independent and creative.

In terms of involvement in causes, they support the cause, not necessarily the organization. This is important in that we need to start with the “Why?”, not the “What?”. Sohn referred to Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. They like to connect with technology and they share in micro ways. (I want to learn more about that.)

When it comes to volunteerism, millennials look for a continuum of support. In order for us to retain volunteers that are millennials, we need flexible opportunities. They look to leverage networks and see their efforts as part of career building. They long to engage their skills. And their biggest pet peeve? Wasting time, not seeing “Why am I here?” Right up there with wasting time is not having online training. If we think they should sit through a training program, we’ve lost them.

Might there be some things here in how we develop millennials in next year’s incoming freshman class? Or even how we engage millennials joining us as staff and interns?

Ending the Year Well

Learning to ask questions.

A long time ago, I was trained to ask four questions after a gospel presentation. Whether it was a talk, a team meeting, or a video, I memorized them as a transition into a spiritual conversation. If you have been around a while, you will remember

  • “What did you think of the…?”
  • “Did it make sense to you?”
  • “Have you ever made the wonderful discovery of knowing Jesus Christ personally?”
  • “You would like to, wouldn’t you?”

Regardless of what we might think of these particular questions today, asking questions is a way of engaging others in their own personal spiritual journey. The point is to show genuine care and interest in seeking to get to know them.

You may be familiar with the #FallingPlates video. It has been viewed more than 12 million times, in 231 nations. The Executive Producer, Howard Crutsinger, oversees the FallingPlates.com project and is continuing to release the video in different languages. To help people engage in meaningful conversation after watching the video, Erica Frogner wrote several useful questions:

  • What was your favorite part?
  • Which picture stuck out to you the most?
  • What was the most interesting part for you?
  • When I saw this, I thought ________. What did you think?
  • Have you ever felt like you’re searching for something?
  • What do you think you are searching for right now?
  • Where are you on the journey of following Jesus?

Incidentally, here are a few resources about #FallingPlates and for sharing it with others.

Now these questions may have been intended for #FallingPlates. But why not look for opportunities this summer to engage others in the meaning and purpose of life when you have opportunity? Even if you are walking out of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, chances are something deeper than “The movie stunk.” “Or what were the critics thinking?!” might ensue.

Ending the year well.

Leadership Planning for Next Year

At the risk of shameless self-promotion, you may have seen this list in the last QuickRead. It was an attempt to help us all be intentional about how we wrap-up the spring, set up the summer, and plan for the fall, all of which are necessary.

It is really important to do some fall planning now so that your leaders can hit the ground running when school starts in August. The window of opportunity is very brief when incoming freshmen decide whom and what they will follow.

You may have seen the “Square/Triangle/Circle” diagram describing three different leadership models. How you lead that planning time for next year will of necessity be different for each movement form.

For the triangle and circle campuses you want to remember, “Do only what you can do.” not what the leaders can do for themselves. Otherwise you rob them of the opportunity to lead. What you can do is provide direction, resources, and a planning grid for them to think through what they are trusting God for next year.

Last year about this time, I was invited by the Central West Oval Team in California to lead a day of planning with their leaders from around the San Joaquin Valley. I thought it might be helpful to share a basic outline and link to some resources that I gave these students to help them in their planning.

Vision

Prayer

Win

Build

Send

Leadership development

Whether you have an hour or a day with your leaders, some of these may be helpful in their planning ahead for the Fall.

Ending the Year Well

Self-selecting to launch.

There’s still time to launch a ministry this Spring. However, in light of everything else you have going on, you might not have time. But here is a way that is not dependent upon you.

You probably know a person or two who could start something if given the resources and coaching. Or maybe you ran into someone from another campus during spring break event that would like to see something started there.

Well, here’s just the thing for you.

Nathan Brown, Web Content Manager, and others on the Digital Products & Services Team, just put the finishing touches on Want to Start a Ministry on Your Campus? to Cru.org. They uploaded content that Mike Bost, Londa Wagner, Ben Rivera, and I worked on that casts vision, taps into heart desires, informs them about Cru, and points to God using them in spite of their apprehensions, etc. They can also see some resources for leading a ministry, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, and sending.


The really good thing about Want to Start a Ministry on Your Campus?, is how it walks a potential candidate through a self-selection process and then they can let us know their interest in starting.

So bottom line, why not take two minutes and think about a few people that you think could start something and encourage them to check out Want to Start a Ministry on Your Campus?. It would be great to have some folks check it out this Spring and possibly post some stories on it before the prime launching season in August and September.