One of the many priorities we have in campus ministry at this time of year is preparing students for the summer.
A good part of that preparation is helping them gain confidence in their faith and to be able to communicate it to family and friends back home when they are away from their Christian friends.
Chris West, Student LINC Coach, led a devotion in staff meeting recently. He told us he had two verses, Romans 1:16,17, and three questions. Here are the questions and a summary of our discussion.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel,…” Romans 1:16a NIV.
1. Why would anyone be ashamed of the gospel?
- We do not understand its power.
- The gospel is not popular.
- Some see the gospel message is as narrow, “cultural-imperialism,” (my beliefs, culture, and traditions are better than yours), intolerant, even hateful and “phobic”.
- For some Christians, the message of grace is too easy and they want to add to it.
- The Gospel clearly says that no one is good enough to earn God’s favor. This is an affront to human pride and independence.
- Some Christians have acted shamefully.
- We’re digging out of a hole. ie: we are starting the gospel conversation with people who already have significant beefs about Christianity.
2. What does it look like to be ashamed of the gospel?
- Responses included: being timid, silent, fearful, powerless, private, guarded, weak. No surprises here.
(It is important to acknowledge both the normal human responses as well as the cultural climate in our society in which this discussion takes place.)
3. Helping our disciples gain confidence so as not to be ashamed of the gospel.
- Encourage them to spend time with God in His Word.
- Boldness grows out of strong conviction.
- Recognize the Holy Spirit as the source of power and boldness for witnessing.
- Connect with other believers who are not ashamed of the gospel.
- Recognize that we are invited by God to join with Him in what He’s already doing.
- He will reach people with or without us.
- The mention of an atheist comedian, Penn Jillette, chiding Christians for not sharing their faith.
- Sometimes we simply need to overcome inertia, and move intentionally toward conversations.
There was lots more discussion. But Chelsea Hengeveld, Destino Distance Coach, mentioned how she asks her student leaders to use the wondering questions as a way to start spiritual conversations. She asks them to “wonder with someone.” They could say, “We’ve never talked about this (spiritual things) before, but I wonder…”
The underlying assumption is that someone who has confidence in their faith will have a better likelihood of growing in their faith, rather than walking away from it over the summer.
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.
- Noticing Your Way Into Spiritual Conversations.
- Understanding Change.
- Hove and Holleman’s “A Grander Story.”
- First, prayer.
- Where we’re seeing both fast starts and fast growth.
- “Better than my dreams.”
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.