Author Archives: Gilbert Kingsley

About Gilbert Kingsley

I work with The Student LINC Ministry and The Coaching Center with Cru. These Coaching Tips are intended to help you be more effective in helping to launch and build new ministries on high school and college campuses where we don't have staff. Also, many want to reach into other communities on campuses with existing ministries. I write about practical steps that you can take in evangelism and discipleship. I assume you are using a variety of coaching methods including distance approaches. I typically write at the beginning of the week. I try to make the topic pertinent to the time of the campus year, so that you can actually use the tip in your own ministry efforts during the week. I placed my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior my very first week at Penn State as a freshman. I became involved with Cru right away and upon graduation joined as a full-time staff member. I recently celebrated 36 years with Cru. The first two years were at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Then I spent a year at Boston College. After getting married, my wife and I worked at the University of Rhode Island and stayed there for eleven years. I have spent the last 21 years at our world headquarters in Orlando helping others launch and build new ministries. I am married to Chris. We have three sons and two grandchildren. My wife and I are active in our church, Northland, A Church Distributed. I run, love to read history and classic literature.

Prayer, Evangelism, Biblical Content, and Community

There was a lot of talk in our ministry last year about the three different Movement Leadership Forms. We’ve identified them as square, triangle, and circle movements. By way of review

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

Naturally some of us find ourselves gravitating toward one form of leadership over the others. And while it takes effort to launch, but it’s important to realize that you are not expected to lead everything you launch in the same way.

But we do anticipate that most of the future growth of our ministry will lie mostly with circle campuses led by students, faculty, and volunteers.

What makes that incredibly compelling is that this future growth will increase the number of vested leaders involved in evangelism and discipleship. As we distribute leadership to more students, faculty, and volunteers more will be able to hear and respond to the great Good News.

So I think most of us agree that it behooves us to grow more circle campuses. But none of us want to see those circle campuses only be just a group of believers, not reaching out or multiplying.

I had a conversation a while back with Rob Mittuch, Mission Director for New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He’s been unpacking with team leaders some of the movement building framework described in Acts 2:42-47. The Scriptures describes Prayer, Evangelism, Biblical Content, and Community as essential for growth and development of a movement. He urges finding leaders in these four areas for every type of campus, not just the squares and triangles, but for circles as well. This offers student leaders clear pathways for engagement and equipping is more specific.

I like this. Over the next two weeks, I will unpack more of what Rob is suggesting, how it helps ensure that our DNA is instilled and how beneficial it is as students help other students lead.

Fall Coaching Tips

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Engaging Spiritually With Friends and Family Over Break

Does this happen in your experience?

  • Conduct a survey.
  • Separate surveys by interest, Yes/Yes, Yes/Maybe or No, Maybe or No/Yes, No/No.
  • Ask student leaders to follow up those most interested first.

If so, I wonder

  • Do most leaders find themselves following up in other dorms those most interested?
  • What if there are No/No’s on our leaders’ dorm floors? Must they choose between going somewhere else to “have a ministry”? or seek to be winsome with those No/No’s?
  • What are we doing to equip students to minister to those who initially say they aren’t interested?

Read on for ways to use the semester break to equip ourselves in ministering to those who appear uninterested.

We don’t usually survey friends and family about spiritual matters. Rather, we have an intuitive sense of their spiritual interest.

First, let me encourage you to print out a copy of the Missional Map. It was developed to help see that people don’t just easily fit into interested/not interested categories. Rather, it asks five questions about each person in our lives.

  • Do they Trust Me?
  • Do they have a Growing Curiosity about Christianity?
  • Are they Open to Change?
  • Are they Seeking God?
  • Are they Following Jesus?

If you’re familiar with I Once Was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp, these questions are similar to the five thresholds of faith a person must cross to come to Christ.

Take some time at the beginning of break to consider whom you will interact with and where they are on the map. What you will experience with your friends and family over break is more typical of what a graduate will face as they enter the marketplace. Ministry is far more relational and requires intentionality.

Second, familiarize yourself with 30 Ways to be Missional in your Workplace. While this is designed for recent graduate beginning work in their new jobs, it offers ideas for engaging others socially, serving others, and honoring them. These are very practical ways to build trust and relational capital with others.

Third, consider downloading Doug Pollock’s 99 Wondering Questions. You will certainly find some conversation starter questions that fit your personality.

And a bonus fourth, consider how to share your testimony in snippets. A three-minute testimony in conversation can become a monologue if we aren’t careful. But Snippets helps to keep it a dialogue.

What I think you will find is that the apparently uninterested are just “not interested yet”. We are giving ourselves permission to take the time necessary to be winsome, woo-ing, and salty. In the process, the trust we build can open the door to being able to create curiosity. As you do this, you will better equip those graduating from our ministries and entering the next season as a life-long laborers.

Fall Coaching Tips

Gap Year

Starting Fall 2018, Cru is launching our first ever Gap Year missions. A Global Gap Year is a 9-month adventure that will transform lives, give opportunities to trust God in greater ways, and to share the Gospel with high school students across the globe.

Recent high school grads will spend 2 months of personal training and development in Orlando followed by 3 months each in Africa and South America, working alongside Cru high school ministries in each country.

  • Do you know high school students who would be a good fit for this mission? They can indicate their interest here and high school’s Global Missions team will provide them more information.
  • Would you be interested in leading a gap year team?

Did you know that

  • Only 56% of all students entering college graduate with a degree within six years?
  • Or that an estimated 75% of all college students change majors at least once. Many as much as three times.
  • Or that 30 % of all freshmen drop out of college after the first year?
  • (Statistics come from the collegeatlas.org and American Gap Association.)

A few colleges support gap years. According to their websites, Harvard encourages students to defer enrollment for one year to take a gap year. And Princeton offers a Bridge Year Program that allows students to engage in a 9-month University sponsored international service project.

Why a Gap Year

  • To pursue other passions.
  • A chance to regroup and rediscover.
  • Find clarity about the future.
  • Help to develop a worldview.
  • Help alleviate academic burnout.
  • Improved career opportunities.

Benefits of a Gap Year

  • Better prepared for college.
  • Better sense of self.
  • A more focused student.
  • Typically higher GPA’s.
  • Better problem solving skills.
  • Better chance of graduating in 4 years.
  • Tend not to change majors.

Obviously, the high school ministry will benefit from their participation, as they will help launch new high school movements and provide lift to existing ministries. But Gap Year team members will benefit from the training they will receive in evangelism, discipleship and movement launching, and personally from this rich development experience.

To learn more go here, to indicate your interest fill out this form, or to talk with someone about Gap Year contact Jill.johnson@cru.org.

Fall Coaching Tips

Mention Spring Break Opportunities Now

Before we finish the semester, it’s important to encourage students to talk with their parents about Spring Break opportunities while they are home over break.

There are the typical Big Break weeks, but with the many disasters this year, service opportunities abound.

Eric Heistand and the Gospel in Action team have put together a slate of Spring Break opportunities that both meet needs locally, as well as puts us in a light that others not yet involved with us might consider connecting around a common mission.

Check out the Cru Gospel in Action Opportunities page. You will find information about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts for all four weeks of Spring Break. But knowing that today’s students have a strong helps and mercy bent, there are several other care opportunities as well.

  • Filter of Hope’s Clean Water missions in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Currently, these missions are full, but there may be more coming available.)
  • Vision Trust’s Orphan Care in Lima, Peru.
  • Cru Inner City’s Urban Immersion opportunities in Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, LA, and Orlando.
  • House of Light is addressing Human Trafficking.
In addition, Global Aid Network (GAiN) offers numerous Humanitarian Trips.

Those not involved, but willing to connect with us around humanitarian concerns, often become more open to the Gospel and a deeper connection with us after. Let’s trust God together that parents will be encouraged by our students participating in these missions.

This is my last Coaching Tip until January 8.

Merry Christmas.

Fall Coaching Tips

December Checklist

If you’re like me, you have a ton going on right now. I’m writing this in an airport on Saturday, headed home after a four day conference. I’m watching my own to-do list grow.

Recruiting is still in full swing for the Winter conference. You might be thinking about Christmas outreaches and how to end the semester well. You know you need to think about the spring semester, Spring Break opportunities and you’re encouraging your students to ask parents over break about going on a summer mission. Oh, and you probably are working on your end-of-the-year ask, doing Christmas cards, and some shopping and parties…Gotta do the parties!

If you are trying to remember all you have to do, maybe this checklist will help.

Winter Conference.

  • Keep encouraging people to attend.
  • Help with fund raising.
  • Arrange rides.
  • Exchange email and cell phone numbers.
  • Finalize plans.

Summer Mission Opportunities.

End the semester well.

  • Christmas party. Invite International Students. It’s a great way for them to learn about this holiday.
  • Take the time to praise God for what He has done this semester.
  • Gather movement indicators and enter them.

Review plans for the Spring semester.

  • Try to reserve the same room you met in this fall for consistency.
  • Reserve a place and the time during the first week of classes to do a campus wide survey.
  • Print off posters and flyers to advertise your weekly meetings.
  • Consider an evangelistic event each month.
  • Replace leaders graduating with new ones.

Prepare students to have a regular devotionals and prayer times during the break.  

That last one is really important. You will want to prepare your students for the break and their time home. The advent season can be a very worshipful and celebratory time and a great way to have gospel conversations with friends and family as we focus on Christ’s coming on our behalf. But it can also be a time of letdown for many students if they go home to the rush-rush or less than favorable family situations. For all of us, the time spent in the Word is vital.

If this list is helpful for you, I’ve created a shareable Google Doc that you can copy to your drive and add your own tasks so that it works for you.

Fall Coaching Tips

Advent Devotionals

The first Sunday of Advent is next week. We are entering that wonderful time in the church calendar for preparing for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son…” NIV. God orchestrated events over hundreds of years so that when Christ entered the world, the good news could be carried everywhere.

In the same way that God prepared the world, let us intentionally prepare our hearts, and help those we work with, to celebrate.

This time of year can be so busy with ending a semester of ministry, preparing for Winter Conference, and thinking about the spring and summer ministry opportunities. Students are preparing for finals. And we have our own checklist of Christmas preparations, parties, gift buying, decorating, etc.

Setting aside time for Advent readings and reflections helps to prepare our hearts for celebrating His coming, even in the midst of checking off our to do’s. A Google search for “Advent Devotion” reveal many options. Here are a few.

This is also a wonderful time of the year for sharing our faith. Here are some ideas for Christmas outreaches.

May we all find our hearts and minds stirred by the mystery of our Creator becoming a baby.

Fall Coaching Tips

A Launch Trip Offers Team Benefits.

For the last two weeks, I’ve talked about using the Key Volunteer Challenge. It was the primary tool teams used in different cities during the launch weeks to identify potential leaders to begin new movements. And Eric Hiett shared how it was their lead step as they visit campuses.

Then, I shared some insights Alana Schmidt, new staff participating in a launch week, had about the value of using the KV Challenge with current student leaders so that staff and leaders are all believing God for the same things.

Let me wrap up this series by offering some team benefits. The Florida State staff team spent three days last Spring away from campus and at Valdosta State with the intention of launching a movement there. I asked team leader and my son, Rick Kingsley, what he thought the benefits were of that trip.

First, it was a team bonding time. They all stayed in the same hotel, they ate meals together, and they got to hang out during down time. Even an event that didn’t pan out the way they wanted turned into time of tossing the Frisbee around. That kind of time is impossible to get during the normal schedule of ministry on location.

Second, there were training benefits. Using the Key Volunteer Challenge to surface potential leaders, meeting with leaders and faculty, taking the initiative, etc. gave the team a different type of ministry environment and focus.

Finally, Rick told me that what this did to increase their vision made the launch trip worthwhile. Seeing God do some really big things at Valdosta caused the team to go back to FSU encouraged to trust Him for similar things.

In the coming weeks you will be evaluating your fall ministry and looking ahead to the spring. Let me encourage you to consider planning a launch trip away to a campus where we currently don’t have one. Here are some helpful hints before, during, and after a visit to a campus if you do.

Fall Coaching Tips