Category Archives: High school students

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

 

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Believing that God is already at work.

Put today’s tip in the category of “Do it again, Lord!”

I’m writing this after three days at the Hawaiian Island Ministries conference. Several of us, representing Cru’s high school and college ministries, were here at this largest annual Christian gathering in Hawaii to see if we could connect with what God is already doing and possibly see new ministries start. Kent Matsui, our team leader at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, is particularly eager to see high school ministries start.

Scores of people, pastors, teachers, parents, and students expressed interest. And we will have a bunch to follow up.

One of those, Landon, came up to our booth. He stopped by earlier when no one was around, but was glad to see us. He thought we each could help the other and told us his story.

At 13, Landon started attending church on his own. He placed his faith in Christ and began to grow. One day his dad sat him down to say that his parents were getting a divorce. But he had noticed something different in Landon and thought it might be because he was going to church. So he decided to take the whole family to church. A different one. Landon followed.

One day he heard his pastor share a message about each person’s calling in life, and that’s when he felt God speak directly to him. “The person who will be leading the next generation of believers,” the pastor said, “won’t be a 20 year old or 30 year old man, but a 13 year old boy sitting in here today.”  Amongst the 500 plus attendees that day, Landon knew, with all of his heart, that this message was for him.

He started attending leadership classes in his church, and learned how to write sermons, lead small groups, and coordinate events. He was the only boy in a class of adults. Now equipped and inspired, he took the first steps toward his calling.

He posted a Bible study sign up sheet on the bulletin board of his school. The next day he came back to fine the sheet  filled front and back with names of the interested. As a middle school-er, he started a ministry that grew to over 100 kids.

Today at 20, he is a business major in a Christian university, and leads four high school ministries and one on a community college. Now we don’t want to change what Landon is doing. But we talked about ways we could begin to partner together.

Kaitlyn, a sixth grader, walked up to our booth with the bearing of a tenth grader. She told how she is leading a Bible study with other home schooled kids and wants to expand. She was looking for resources and, currently, is writing a devotion for home-school moms and daughters. We all were amazed at the vision of this 12 year old girl and her personal maturity beyond those years.

So yes, “Do it again, Lord!” or maybe I should say “Lord, expand my categories of what You want to do!”

Hawaii has cultural and historical distinctiveness that make ministry here unique from many places. Our team came in as learners and God blessed us with the realization that He is working in profound ways outside our categories.

This week:

  • What have you seen recently in which you are saying “Do it again, Lord!”?
  • Are there ways you might be putting God in a box?
  • What are some ways you would like to trust Him for people and communities you aren’t currently reaching?

Previous Coaching Tips

Ministry as microcosm or ecosystem?

Today’s tip will challenge your thinking. It came about because of a collaboration call last week between high school staff and college LMDs.

During the call, Josh Chen, who serves both on the City Millennials Team in Portland and as LMD for the Western Washington and Western Oregon Cohort, talked about the difference between ministries as microcosms or ecosystems. I asked him if he would elaborate. Here is what he sent me.

Microcosm or Ecosystem

“One of my frustrations in leading the City team was that I felt like our strategies across the city were disjointed. There was no cohesion between the high school strategy, collegiate strategy, the city strategy, and even beyond that, the other churches and ministries in our area. This type of silo-ing is inefficient, what we need is a bridge that can span all the strategies. So this fall, we rolled out a strategic plan that is designed to help staff and volunteers think of their ministry more like an ecosystem than a microcosm. The ecosystem in our case is Cohort 20. On the city side, we have done quite a bit of research on what it will take for students to live out their faith after college, and that’s our goal isn’t it? To reach and develop students to live a life of faith? What we realized is that some of our collegiate strategies were inadvertently keeping them from thriving after they graduated.

“An example of this is that we teach students to find community, in fact we try to create such a great community, that it attracts other students. Well that type of community requires effort and intentionality, maybe even vision and direction. But what we do is we spoon-feed it to college students. After they graduate, a great majority of them find themselves having a hard time finding community. In essence we’ve taught them to be consumers of community and not contributors. So we need to rethink how we develop our middle school, high school and college ministries to prepare people not to find community, but to be able to create spaces of belonging wherever they go. Along those lines, we train students how to reach other students, yet most of our strategies will never be utilized in a work place environment. Even our best leaders in our movement won’t pull out a KGP or Soularium as they are talking to coworkers or neighbors. We need to train students on what it means to be gospel fluent rather than reliant on tools.

“So as an ecosystem, we need to have the end in mind as we develop our win/build/send strategies, ones that will translate into the next season of life. We also need to see what comes before our microcosm and what comes after our microcosm. I asked one of our metro team leaders from the collegiate ministry who their best student leaders were. His response? A handful of high school students in the running start program at a community college. They were faithful, available and teachable. I asked him, why not focus a chunk of their teams time reaching high schools, develop them as leaders, so when they hit college, they’ll be ready to multiply? He thought it was a great idea. But how does a small team that is already struggling to reach scope add more to their plate? They’d need to cultivate the ecosystem. There are volunteers that could come out of our millennial focused ministry and the collegiate ministry that may have a heart to reach college students. So spend 15% of your time raising up these volunteers, and going with them to high schools to get them going and coach them the same way you would coach a circle movement. On the other side, you would have to spend some time (minimal) making sure your college seniors are going to be transitioning well into the work place. Because if they are struggling to keep their head above the water like many of them are, they won’t be thinking about how to be a contributor, they will be trying to get their own needs met.

“So we are trying to develop a curriculum that students would go through in their last semester or quarter that will continue into the first 6 months of whichever city they go to. This is where we have to start thinking of geographic ecosystem. We currently have 5 teams in the Pacific Northwest. My guess is that a majority of our graduating students will stay in the PNW, but many of them will move cities. This is where the larger the ecosystem, the higher percentage we can send well. In the city they move to, they can form a launching community with others that have moved into the city (or already live there). They can meet once a week to go through the curriculum, check out the city together, check out churches together, and encourage each other to be on mission. If there are City staff in those cities, they can help facilitate this group and orienting them to the city, if not, Campus staff can spend some time facilitating.

“In order to create capacity to spend 15% of your time with high school, and another say 5% of your time with grads, we need to become excellent at student-led movements. I think what we will find as we look beyond our scope, is that our ministries will slow down in the short run, but in 3-5 years, they will grow tremendously. But it’s hard to think about long-term gains, unless you own a larger scope than just your microcosm. Which is why with the shift in our organization towards cohorts, we become a team of teams reaching a larger area. So knowing that as we raise up high school leaders, each team will be invested in making sure that high school leader goes to college and becomes a multiplier there. If there is not a movement, maybe the sending team works with the receiving team to launch a movement.

“Initially, I want to test out the ecosystem theory in the Northwest, but I’m hoping if it goes well, that it will become more of a national strategy, because, like I said, the larger the ecosystem, the less people will fall through the cracks…”

Josh

Lots to think about!

Have a great week launching and building new movements.

Previous 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

The mindset of Generation Z.

File this one away for when you give specific thought to the mindset of the students you’re reaching.  It’s Lit: a guide to what teens think is cool is being passed around in some of our circles. It’s a Google magazine highlighting proprietary research into the mindset of Generation Z by the Brand Team for Consumer Apps at Google.

“It’s Lit” provides a glimpse into US teens through what they think is cool. As the introduction states, “Cool is an indication of what people pay attention to, what gets them excited, and can often act as a manifestation of their hope and dreams.”

While our high school staff might find this particularly pertinent, incoming freshmen on our college campuses are very much a part of Gen Z as well. If this stimulates your thinking, reading the source material also provides further insight.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016

Where we’re seeing both fast starts and fast growth.

A question: What do these have in common?

  • College national directors taking a team of high school staff to Hawaii.
  • A “Fast Food Outreach”.
  • 25 students at Big Break sign up for more because they found spiritual openness in this demographic on the beach.

Here are the back-stories.

Hawaii.

Amanda Gagnon and Jim Kercheval (CFM NDs in the PSW), in partnership with seven Cru High School staff leaders led our first Aloha Expedition. The Expedition Leaders were CJ Neal (Indianapolis Cru HS) and Yaneth Diaz (Houston Cru HS). The goal of the expedition was to go to Oahu and the Big Island to meet with and encourage pastors, teachers, parents, to look for opportunities to resource, to start, or accelerate high school ministries on the islands. The hope is that those involved in the lives of high school students would be able to tap into our online resources and coaching center to help them to eventually grow and send local middle school and high school students to the universities where there are Cru and Epic Movements. The vision is to see more local Hawaiians reached with the Gospel and involved in our college movements and sent to the world.

Fast Food Outreach.

Camryn, a University High School student attended a high school Fast Break last year and placed her faith in Christ. This year she went back and heard talk about conducting a Fast Food Outreach. The night of the outreach, Camryn brought Bri, who had questions and was wrestling about deciding to trust Christ. Sitting at the table were three students who had just two days earlier placed their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. They really encouraged her to take that step of faith, which she did. Last year at this time, University High did not have a movement. Today, with 40-50 students involved, it is seeing rapid multiplication.

Big Break interest.

Glen Nielsen, giving leadership to the three week-long Big Breaks in Panama City Beach told me that what they are seeing this year is consistent with previous years. High school students are more open and responsive to the Gospel in higher numbers than those over 18. Students sharing Christ remark how surprisingly open high school students are compared to the students on their college campuses back home. 25 students at the first week of Big Break have indicated an interest in starting a high school movement when they get back to campus.

And now to connect the dots: We’ve known all along, and continue to see evidence, that those under 18 years of age are very responsive to the Gospel. Movements launched in high schools often see rapid replication. And there continues to be an interest among college students in reaching out to high school students. I think it bears out that college students have a genuine concern for their little brothers and sisters and want them to face the world with Jesus right there with them. Anything we can do to open doors for ministry to teenagers can potentially make a difference in our college ministries too. Here are some helps.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016

Natural mode launching.

My pastor told us today that the Gospels record 132 meaningful conversations that Jesus had people. Interestingly, 4 of those occurred in the temple and 6 in a synagogue. Where did the rest happen? In the normal ins and outs of life, the comings and goings of the everyday.

It brought to mind something that Lee Cooksey, Chief of Staff for the High School Ministry, said recently about the simplest possible way to launch a high school ministry. Take some friends to a high school game, or, really, anyplace where students hang out. Have conversations using whatever tool you want. Then ask to get together again to continue the conversation.

You know how to start conversations. You know how to get back together with interested people. You know how to continue gospel conversations. You know how to invite to an evangelistic study or basic Bible study. You know how to train others to reach out and gather others. That’s all launching is in it’s simplest form.

If we could say that launching new ministries can take place in different modes, the way evangelism does, we might think of what I just described as launching in the natural mode. It is similar to natural mode evangelism in which we share with others in the context of our natural connection with them.

In contrast, evangelism in the ministry mode occurs when we intentionally reach out to others with the purpose of witnessing to them. That’s how we typically think of launching with scheduling, planning, and going to a new location like I talked about in A Staff Team Pioneering a New Campus Together recently.

Why not sit down with your disciples and brainstorm an audience or community that you would like to trust God to launch through natural conversations.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016