Category Archives: Discipleship

Core Essentials

Several years ago, I met one of my new volunteer leaders at a winter conference. After a while Garett showed me his notebook. He told me he downloaded all the content of the website I had referenced repeatedly, reading and printing these pages at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning…when I was asleep.

So, while I told him he didn’t need to print all those pages, I did appreciate his initiative and how he was finding valuable content.

Our Core Essentials is just like that. Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 8.58.18 PMThink basic follow up and the Collaborative Discipleship’s Essentials pathway. The creators of Core Essentials developed a self-directive study of the most basic messages we want everyone to know.

The topics follow a logical progression.

  • Prayer
  • Spirit-filled Life
  • Growth
  • Quiet Times
  • Bible Study
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Leading a Small group
  • Transformational Communities
  • Communicating Your Story

What I like about Core Essentials is the interactive approach to these key topics. Their use of brief videos, mouse overs, and periodic diagnostics all aid learning. Each lesson takes approximately 30-45 minutes.

I believe the Core Essentials would be helpful in at least a few different capacities: certainly as an aid in establishing new believers in their faith, giving someone interested in discipling others a broader understanding of these essentials, and for student leadership teams with newly launched movements to grow in their understanding of our DNA.

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Sending and Recruiting Starts Now.

Cru’s vision is for “Movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.” Read on for some simple steps you can take this week to mobilize others to this worthy mission.

I was recently given a reading assignment for an input group I’m in. It was the summary of a Senior Leadership Initiative action learning project on sending and recruiting. Team members, Dan Allan, Lucas Lopez, Dan Miller, Chris Millheisler, and Emma Tautolo looked at our current sending and recruiting efforts, compared it to what our organization has always believed we were called to, and made some recommendations.

I was struck by their call for Cru to “give greater focus to the opportunity to mobilize others (outside of Cru) to reach beyond its current capacity. In order to do this, Cru needs to shift from an organization that primarily does ministry to an organization that primarily mobilizes others for ministry.”

The team pointed out that “Since 1951, the purpose of Cru (as stated on the official website http://www.cru.org) is: “Helping to fulfill the Great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, building them in their faith and sending them to win and build others; and helping the Body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship.”

You are participating in very significant efforts to reach middle and high schools and college campuses in the US and globally. But we also know that the task is much bigger and that there are many outside our organization willing to participate if given the opportunity.

My friend, Barry Bowling, and his wife, Laurie, Cru’s high school and junior high team leaders in Houston, recently told me about a pastor and his wife that he met in southeast Houston. He wants to launch Cru in two high schools, a junior high, and a local community college. He wants to do this for us!

If Barry was thinking about this in a traditional way with a team of staff and interns, he would not have driven way across Houston to have that conversation. He just doesn’t have the capacity. Instead, he was thinking about how to connect him with a coach who would help him start movements in those schools.

Now here is something you can do this week:

  • Ask your students if they know someone on another campus that does not have Cru but wishes there was. Then send the name of your student and campus, and their friend’s name, campus, and cell phone to Pat.Senkbeil@cru.org. Launch specialists are standing by!
  • You can even refine the ask to include whether their friend has a heart to reach International Students. Cru has a Bridges coaching team that can connect with them.
  • Or you can ask if they know someone interested in starting a contextualized movement. I know two Destino coaches who would love to know the names of students interested in starting Destino.

In August, Jessica contacted Cru for help with her ministry on a campus in Montana. She had been Navigator staff in Maine, moved to Montana, and began volunteering with Young Life. When they pulled their staff, she was left in charge of their ministry. But with a growing family, and knowing she knowing she needed students to lead, she asked us for some coaching help.

You might be encouraged to know that Cru has several ways that we are “helping the Body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship”. Here are three.

  1. We are partnering with the Pulse Movement’s Together 2018 in Dallas, October 20, 21. We will be looking to involve and equip many as we can to go back to their campus and seek to make a difference for Christ.
  2. Cru and Intervarsity have teamed up on an EveryCampus project in which we are mobilizing others to prayer walk every campus where neither of us has a ministry by the end of 2019. Plus, we each are making available the best of our resources to anyone who would want to begin a movement on their campus.
  3. Cru’s Global Launch Week, November 5-9, will be a tremendous opportunity to prayer walk and look for Key Volunteers on hundreds of campuses worldwide. God will very likely connect us with perhaps thousands of others with a heart to reach their campus. Why not begin making plans now for your students to prayer walk a nearby campus during that week. You will be hearing more.

Sending and recruiting begins now!

Have you ever wondered…

We are days away from beginning another campus ministry year. There’s so much potential, and so much that actually happens during this time of the year.

Most of our efforts in the coming weeks are focused on inviting as many students as possible to get involved. But this is also the very best time of the year to ask students to consider launching a ministry on their campus if there isn’t one already.

A week ago, I was reflecting on John 15 and how the vinedresser works to see that the branches bear fruit. We aren’t just interested in gathering, but, rather, instilling a vision within each student that God can use them in a profound way.

One resource our team has begun using in our launching conversations with students is a video entitled “Have you ever wondered…’Why me?’” This video by our Global Missions’ folks, shows how God can use any of us. Wouldn’t it be great if every student connecting with us in some way this year would be absolutely convinced that God could use them to impact others for all eternity?

Check out “Have you ever wondered…’Why me?’”, put the link in your toolbox, and then consider which of your Christian friends you want to share it with this week.

Together, let’s believe God to open doors to more students on more campuses with the good news of Jesus Christ.

A “review” session before the final.

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?

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 our own. Your students will be entering an environment that is not naturally conducive to ministry taking place. Prayer needs to be an ongoing conversation with the Lord, and involves an expectant heart to be alert to opportunities that God brings our way.

Evangelism. Your students 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 most of what they will be doing 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” questionsasking 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. Most Christians they encounter have not had the type and depth of training your students have had. They will appreciate that as time goes on. Many believers don’t 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 happen just 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. The Life On Mission pages will be most helpful.

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

Previous Coaching Tips

Summer Growth Options.

Most of us are aware that Greek has two words that are usually translated into our English word “time”.

  • Chronos, χρόνος, is where we get “chronology”. It marks the successive aspect of and measurement of time.
  • Kairos, καιρός, is also translated “time”, but contains a sense of an opportune moment or occasion, such as “make the most of your time”, or “taking advantage of the opportunity”.

I’ve been talking these last few weeks about the many important priorities we have going on at this time of the year. During these weeks, we aren’t just counting down the chronos time. These are kairos moments. And we are keeping spring, summer, and fall emphases in mind all at the same time. Last week, I focused on sending seniors well (spring), and the week before on passing the baton (fall).

In today’s tip, let’s look at some summer options.

For years, we had a specific focus on summer survival for students not attending a summer mission. Some of us would hand students several pages of information about time with God, fellowship, and personal discipline. While this material is dated and there are other ways to meet these needs, some find that some of the material is still helpful.

For most of us, Summer Connect is a great way to help students grow over the summer and come back to campus in the fall with an anticipation of what God will do in and through them. Here is the promo video if you need it. This is where to register: Cru.org/summerconnect. And this is the process for joining Summer Connect.

Some of your students may be interested in putting their faith into action in a more specific way. One way is to consider ministering to high school students back home. Our high school ministry offers several ministry ideas with that in mind. High school students often look up to college students and that could be a great way for them to pass on some of the training they received from you this year.

And finally, you may be aware that InterVarsity and Cru are teaming up on a project to see a ministry launched on every campus in the country. The first critical piece in that endeavor is to prayer walk campuses with a view to seeing what God is already doing and whom He has prepared to reach their campus. The EveryCampus project will officially launch this Christmas. But our Prayer team, headed by Dave and Courtnee White, said that 340 campuses have already been prayer walked.

If you have students who would be up for prayer walking a nearby campus, they can go to the EveryCampus.us site, indicate the campus, and post their story and pics to Instagram.

As you meet with students and prepare them for the summer in these and other ways, you may be creating kairos that may have far-reaching impacts.

Previous Coaching Tips

 

Students learning from other student leaders.

Years ago, Sam and Danielle Shellenberger, then team leaders in Central Pennsylvania, hosted gatherings of students every two or three weeks in their home. These students would travel from near the New York and Maryland state lines to Hershey for those “Friday feasts” and a time of VHS, vision, huddle, and skills. (I said it was years ago!)

As Sam and Danielle were the only staff working with all these campuses, Sam would assign responsibilities to the students during the VHS time. He told me once that when a student stepped into leadership on a new campus, he wanted them to hear student leaders in more developed ministries share  what they were doing and how. Students watched other students lead.

The principle: Students are more likely to believe they can do what they see other students doing.

We’ve been talking over the last two weeks about setting up student leaders in the areas of Prayer, Evangelism, Biblical Content, and Community. Last week, we focused on some simple skills and resources in each of these elements of ministry.

For most of us working multiple campuses within a defined geographic scope, Sam’s practice years ago of connecting students together has great promise for us as we seek to increase student ownership and make ministry transferable.

Many of you often gather your students together for a Friday night or all day Saturday mini-retreat or summit. This would be a great time for students to meet as Prayer, Evangelism, Biblical Content, and Community leaders. Obviously you will want them to provide your own specific direction and tools to help them.

For those of you who like to consolidate leadership and have control, this could be challenging. But for those of you who think in terms of involving more students in leadership or you think about giving more students on more campuses an opportunity to say yes to Christ, this could help distribute ministry more.

Previous Coaching Tips

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