Student-Led Catch-Cries

Last week, I talked about the tension between Growing where we are and Going where we are not.  I have been a part of some Skype calls with several folks around the world focused on going where we are not.  One of those is Cam Fletcher in Australia.  He wrote an article called “Student-Led Catch-Cries”.  I want you to see some of his model applications.  Some of the terminology may not be consistent with our own, but I really like the unwavering conviction that students can lead in significant ways.

Student-Led Catch-Cries

By Cam Fletcher

Catch Cry = a tested truism that has proven to accurately express the heart of [the mission]…

The following Catch-Cries … effectively move the Campus towards

  • self-Run  (governing itself)
  • self-Reproducing (raising up of new leaders)
  • self-Resourcing (provision of resources [such as] funding for the movement)

Model Applications:

1. The “mini-me” model: Never do anything alone.

  • Every activity is an opportunity to spend time with someone else to train, disciple and equip them. This is such an important concept, that there is a whole article on it in this manual called The Mini-Me Model.

2. It’s all about releasing responsibility, not delegating jobs.

  • This is the key feature of student-led. As you release responsibility, those who pick it up are empowered by having authority and ownership in that area, rather than just being given a job.

3. If you’re a senior Key Volunteer, step aside!

  • If this is a student’s final year, they should not be leading a key area on their campus. Instead, they should be releasing others to do so and helping Potential Key Volunteers (PKV’s) become KV’s.

4. Student-led is barbarian!

  • A student-led movement will be rough around the edges and unwieldy because it’s in the hands of students, not highly trained, experienced professionals. But what the barbarian (the person who lacks knowledge and often skill) lacks in polish he/she makes up for in heart.  But someone with a huge heart for God and seeing his kingdom come on campus is infectious and sweeps people up in a tidal wave of ownership. That doesn’t mean that students will do a bad job. You can have a washed and groomed barbarian!
  • Students can sometimes do a better job at speaking, public liaison and management tasks than some missionaries. There is no reason local ministry activities must be limited to a standard any lower than other student societies or student assignments/projects, many of which are impressive!
  • So move over, barbarian coming through!
  • Control freaks (those that like neatness and organization) and barbarians (less trained but willing give it a go, take risks, risk failure) don’t mix well.  If you have a tendency to be a control freak, you may find it hard or even painful to release control to allow “Barbarianism” to thrive. If you’re Staff, it’s about the KV – Key Volunteers. If you’re a KV, it’s about the Potential KV (PKV). If you’re a PKV, it’s about what God can do through you – could you become a KV?

5. Reward and praise those who sustain their commitments; sift your non-performers.

  • This may sound harsh, but your movement won’t thrive if you have KV’s who are not living up to their KV agreement. You can’t tolerate this for long, for the sake of others in the team. You’re better off working with four committed KV’s, than struggling on with 12 who’ve signed on the dotted line but are not following through. Of course, first talk to the KV’s who are missing the mark, and see if their course can be corrected. If not, cull them, gently and lovingly and decisively.

6. Maintain the integrity of your movement DNA.

  • As a leader, it’s vital that you are familiar with Student Life’s vision, and that you plan and evaluate any activity on campus in light of those distinctives. Help your KV’s and PKV’s to do this too.

7. What you choose NOT to do is often more important than what you choose TO do.

  • After modeling some activities to KV Area Coordinators and Mini-Me’s, there are many activities that Staff may not be involved with at all, not even for supervision, so that the students and KV’s know that this is their movement. The length of my “Do NOT do” list is now rivaling my “To Do” list. This all means that I can easily leave campus for a week or two and the students won’t miss me, because the movement is self-generating.

8. Adopting a Family Boosts the Movement eg: Student-led movements launching new student-led movements

  • Student-led movements are multidimensional, in that relationships between one campus and its adopted campus are not dependent on me. I spend only two hours a week on a Skype conference meeting with the KV’s from Central Qld University in Rockhampton (“Rocky”). This is because these students have formed strong friendships with the Uni of Southern Qld (USQ) KV’s. USQ adopted Rocky, and since then, they visit each other’s campuses, pray for each other, go on summer projects together and spend many hours chatting on MSN and through Facebook. The smaller Rocky group even helped sponsor the larger USQ group to go on a summer project in 2008, because the Rocky group had raised more support than they needed for themselves. There is a touching camaraderie between the groups with just a hint of healthy competition.

9. Mystery, Mess, and Miracles

  • To be student-led, missionaries must take a giant step back to relinquish control. The movement looks messier, because students are running the show – but the payoff is that student ownership is very high, and God can work through them by increasing their hearts for him and multiplying their efforts.  Ironically, with less (but more strategic) input from Staff, more miracles seem to happen! We are seeing far more growth spiritually now there is only one Staff putting in 6 hours/week at USQ, than when there were 8 full-timers on campus.

10. Find out what God is up to, and join in.

  • God has already prepared the resources to reach a campus, somewhere near that campus. Our vision is a movement for every campus, the gospel for each student. But in order to reach each of the many Aussie campuses, we have to look to God for the resources. Has God prepared students, or uni staff, to be on about the Great Commission before we have even met them?  What church nearby is interested in reaching the campus, and can we partner with them? Is there another like-minded Christian group that we can partner with, or even merge with?

If we going to go to new places, we will need to turn some of what we do day in and day out over to student and volunteer leaders.  Our Australian colleagues have seen significant growth in their ministries as they were intentional about entrusting leadership to students.  This has freed the staff up to go after new campuses.


One thought on “Student-Led Catch-Cries

  1. cafegirl

    I admit that I am one of those that fall on the more “control-freak” sides — but in the same breath, long for students to take ownership on campus. I think my sense for control comes from a longing for them to know core DNA, be trained well themselves in order that they may pass on well. Does that make sense? Does that make me less of a risk taker? I am with you — I just am trying to figure out how I can take how God wired me (as a strong Developer) and how best to utilize that on our campus to “set up the students well.” You can be honest — I am cool with that 🙂
    ~ Jen


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