Our Student LINC and Coaching Center team reads a book every semester. There have been some memorable books and some not so much. Some helped us with our personal development or devotional life; others help us better equip those we coach. (I devoted my Coaching Tips last summer to some of those we particularly liked. Here is the last with the whole list at the bottom.)
This semester, we are reading God Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally, by Doug Pollock. Most of us had read it before, but this time we are trying to take away specific coaching points for our leaders.
I believe our ministry does a much better job of training in ministry mode evangelism than natural mode. But if most of those involved in our ministries graduate and they don’t know how to begin spiritual conversations with their friends, have we set them up for frustration? It seems that we need to place a greater emphasis on natural mode in order to better prepare them for a lifetime of ministry.
One powerful tool students can use in their day to day lives, both while still involved on campus with us, and after graduation, is what Pollock calls, “noticing your way into Gospel conversations.” Chapter 3 in God Space.
He explains it like this.
“ ‘Go and notice others; then come back and share what you saw that maybe you hadn’t noticed before.” [This comes from Jim Henderson, founder of Doable Evangelism.] …noticing is a prerequisite to caring about others and serving them in tangible ways that smuggle the gospel into their hearts.
“Not only does noticing cause us to care for others, but it builds natural bridges to spiritual conversations. The Apostle Paul modeled this for us when he said, ‘Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship…’ (Acts 17:22b-23a, italics mine)…
“The simple act of noticing enables us to connect with others in authentic ways that pave the way for spiritual conversations to happen naturally…” P. 38.
Chris and I were in San Antonio recently. We were encouraged to visit Magnolia Pancake Haus. It was a great breakfast. Our server, Dean, was very attentive and carried himself with a bit more professionalism than most servers. We asked him if he was a student. He asked why. I explained what we had noticed about him. He said that as a matter of fact, he was planning on attending culinary school and eventually wanted to manage his own restaurant. Now we didn’t get any further in conversation as the restaurant was full and he was busy. But he appreciated our complements and I could see how “noticing” started the conversation in a natural way.
Pollock suggests trying a faith experiment. Go with some friends to a place where Christians might not frequent. “Prayerfully consider what you see and hear. Gather with your friends afterward, and share what you noticed, what you felt, what disturbed you, what you felt God was showing you. Talk about what you learned—and how to respond to it—as a community.” P. 42.
If you see God do something significant in noticing your way into a spiritual conversation, would you let me know? I think this could be a valuable tool for helping train others to be lifelong laborers for Christ.
Spring Coaching Tips
- All good things start (again) with Jesus.
- A Staff Team Pioneering a New Campus Together.
- Select Next Year’s Leadership Now.
- A new 31 Day Experiment.
- Natural mode launching.
- Top Ten Myths About Sharing Your Faith.
- 25 Ways to Keep the World Before Your Students.
- Balancing Relationships.
Selected Tips from Fall 2016
- “Act as if it were true”.
- Ways a coach helps.
- Did you know…?
- Movement Leadership Forms.
- Ministry beyond ministry.
- Launch and Build Bridges Movements.
- Future Teachers Living Missionally.
- A Destino Multiple Movements Case Study.
- Freshman Takeover Night.
- Some ways to build student leadership.