Category Archives: Partnering

Filling possible leadership holes.

A lot of us are thinking about next year’s leadership.  Graduation may be leaving leadership holes and it might be difficult seeing others stepping up in some of the movements we lead. This may be even more acute on community colleges or where turnover is accelerated.

Here are a few ideas for addressing some of those leadership holes.

  1. If you have a faculty advisor or volunteers involved, see if they might step up. There is a dance that we do with the “long-term indigenous volunteer.” When student leadership is strong, it’s important that they step back to let those students lead. But when student leadership is weak, that’s a great time to have them step up. But help the volunteer think of creative way to give specific responsibilities to others.
  2. Local churches also offer huge potential for leadership. Jeff Grant, Church Partnership Specialist, has seen some churches and Cru work together in a whole range of partnerships. Jeff recently posted a video about a long time partnership with a church that kept ministering to students after the staff at Northern Oklahoma College moved on.
  3. You may also want to talk with former leaders to come up with key churches to visit in order to invite incoming freshmen. Hopefully, some of those first-year students will step into leadership. This might also be a way to find others with a heart for the campus to do some of the more behind the scenes things like fund raising, refreshments at meetings, or sponsorship of events.
  4. To give students a chance to develop in leadership experience over the summer, encourage them to try some Group Talks. These are an excellent way to help give confidence to those quiet and hesitant ones, at least in a small way, to exercise leadership.
  5. Finally, consider taking time in each meeting to pray for leaders to be raised up and for many new students to get involved next year. Here is a great story on how God answered similar prayers.

So while you may not have the natural hand off to the next leader, let’s trust God to work in new and exciting ways. Because, after all, He is more concerned about every student on that campus that we ever will be.

Previous Coaching Tips

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A 2000 voice virtual choir.

At a mutual friend’s insistence, I met Thom at the airport last week. We each had a full day of meetings and I was catching him before he flew home. We had a lot in common, and we’ve became fast friends.

Before meeting he asked me to listen to this TED talk about a 2000 voice virtual choir. Let me encourage you to listen to it as well. Put on your earphones and sit back to enjoy this 15 minute talk by composer Eric Whitacre.

Spoiler alert! I took several takeaways from that video, but I’ll only mention two.

1. You can accomplish something incredibly impactful, even from a distance. A woman was told by her husband that she didn’t have the voice for it. But she still found something within to push her to participate. Ephesians 2:10 comes to mind. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ESV

I know that many don’t like the thought of doing distance ministry. But I wonder how many who might respond to the Gospel, if we would take a step toward initiating with a potential leader on a campus we probably wouldn’t visit.

2. When we put out a call for others to join our efforts, we have no idea what God has done already to prepare them for that moment, nor the impact He intends. Whitacre said, “I just couldn’t believe the poetry of all of it—these souls all on their own desert island, sending electronic messages in bottles to each other.” If a woman in the Alaskan bush would seek to be a part, no distance is too insurmountable.

We might think that the only real ministry is done face to face, but Whitacre said, “People seemed to be experiencing an actual connection…There are people now online that are friends; they’ve never met.” You can have a significant impact with people you’ve never met.

If you want to learn more about distance coaching, here are a couple of beginning tips.

I’ll stop there. But don’t forget to listen to the virtual choir. For you intrigued by the project, there are other videos on the YouTube page highlighting other Virtual Choir projects, including Virtual Choir 4, “Fly to Paradise,” contains 8,409 videos from 5,905 people from 101 different countries.

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

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

Helping Churches Reach Students

For those of us in campus ministry, summer is a great time to have the kind of conversations we typically don’t have space for during the busy campus year. When we are home visiting partners we have an opportunity to cast a broader vision than our own work, and possibly help them take steps toward their own vision.

Here is an example. Many churches share your passion for reaching students. Often they don’t know what to do past vision for reaching lost students.

Jeff Grant, Partnership Specialist on our Student LINC Team, recently gave a metro team some practical ideas on the how and why of partnering.

Let me encourage you to go to his page http://staff.partnerwithcru.org/training/ and take 10 minutes to listen to three of his short clips:

  • 101 – Vision: Selling More Dresses,
  • 201 – How to Partner, and
  • 301 – Examples of Partnership.

Then before you listen to any others, consider which church might you have a conversation with about reaching out to a high school or college nearby when you visit this summer. Most of the eight clips currently available are only a couple minutes long.

Some time ago, I met with Abby and Johnny Schuler on Cru staff in Miami. They had a passion for pioneering new ministries and for engaging churches and volunteers to reach out to college campuses. They were given an open door in their own church to offer training and resources, as there was a significant core with a deep concern for college students.

The posture they took was one of “We want to help you accomplish what God has called you to do.” Such a posture lets churches see us as catalysts in their vision, and as having a kingdom mentality.

We in Cru have not always had such a partnering perspective. If we intend to see more than a million life-long laborers raised up, if we hope to give every student an opportunity to say “Yes!” to Jesus, if we hope to see movements of multiplying disciples established on every campus, and if we hope to see Christian leaders raised up in every nation, we will want to look for ways to partner with others.

Spring Coaching Tips

25 Ways to Keep the World Before Your Students.

I spent the summer after my first year on staff in the Philippines. It was an incredible time with great highs and a few lows. I saw amazing opportunities for evangelism and movement development. But I contracted amoebic dysentery, laying me out flat for parts of the summer.

I’ve tried to maintain a heart for the world, as I’ve focus on launching and building movements in the US. Though I did not leave the US again for a number of years, I’ve been able to travel more internationally in the last decade and I have a trip to the other side of the world later this Spring. But I wish I had known some ways for keeping a vision for the world.

I’ve shared this list before by Mike Berk, PSW Associate Director for Global Missions. Since many found it helpful, here it is again.

25 Things to keep the World before your students.

  1. Read Missionary biographies with your small group.
  2. Pray for a location regularly with your disciples.
  3. Skype with a missionary during bible study.
  4. Send a care package to a missionary.
  5. Go on a vision trip together.
  6. Go on a summer mission together.
  7. Challenge one another to take a year together reaching students.
  8. Book mark the traveling team website and read the articles together.
  9. Eat ethnic food together.
  10. Go to the international student center and hang out.
  11. Initiate with someone different from you – practice crossing cultures.
  12. Start an international student ministry on your campus.
  13. Take a perspectives class together.
  14. Take a language course.
  15. Go to Cost Plus World Market and find some food or music from a different culture.
  16. Go to OperationWorld.com and regularly pray.
  17. Get a large world map and keep track of missionaries, trips you or your friends have gone on and parts of the world God is burdening you for.
  18. Read the world section of the newspaper (online).
  19. Do a fund-raiser for an international cause – human trafficking, social injustice, evangelistic missions…
  20. Memorize scripture on God’s heart for the nations. http://www.ywam.org/get-involved-2/all-nations-verse-list/.
  21. Read through famous missionary quotes: https://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/slogans.htm.
  22. Read the book “Go, following Jesus to the Ends of the Earth” by Dave Dishman.
  23. Have your group practice sharing the gospel – practice by doing and practice often!
  24. Download the Jesus film App on your phone. It’s a great tool to have that can help you communicate the gospel to students from just about everywhere.
  25. Read a book about sharing the gospel with people of another faith. Some Recommendations:

Click here to access a pdf of Mike Berk’s entire article on 25 ways to keep the World before your students. And just out is Shane Sebastian’s, “This Change Is Everything“. A great read.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016

Strategic Alliances with Christian Colleges

Early in the Fall semester, I wrote about each of the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry. You know that one of those five concerns Stakeholders and Partnerships.

I recently heard about the work that Steven Ose in the Upper Midwest Region is doing in the area of strategic alliances. I asked if he would share with me what he is doing. He sent me the report that he gave at their regional MTL conference.

Vision: Engage like-minded believers on Christian colleges with a compelling vision for the world.

Goal:  Long-term double sending in the UMW.
Short-term metric is to put a compelling vision for the world before an increasing number of campus pastors, students and faculty.

Track record:

I gave two days/week last semester to reaching out to four schools and went there weekly/monthly not really knowing what I was doing but was making myself available. In December I counted up 30 students and faculty that expressed interest in Cru global missions, Cru conferences or other. This was from a pool of probably 300 that I met and attempted to put a vision before.

What I’ve learned:

  • No one is looking for Cru. There are plenty of global missions organizations already sending them stuff. People are looking for relationships with others that care about their goals.
  • Our “best foot forward” is Cru summer missions. Stint/internship are good because they allow for post-graduation service.
  • I always utilize our post card and my business card.
  • However, we need to be able to ask good questions to discover what the person is looking for and then seek to provide that. As a result, I can connect people with AIA, Cru High School, partnerships from other regions, Jesus film or other non-Cru mission orgs.
  • Prayer walk everyday when on campus.
  • Broadcast to surface hot contacts: I have had 5-15 minutes presentations in classrooms. I have also been given the full 50 minutes. I am getting invitations to speak in chapel. It is all based on relationship, however.
  • If you ask staff or faculty why they are serving there, they will give a gospel/mission focused answer about reaching the world through students. Therefore, boldly email campus pastors, mission directors, dept. heads and professors as an introduction and then buy them each lunch.
  • Invite them into our world and pay their way: we had six missions’ directors at the Summer Mission Leadership Training in January and everyone of them came away with a vision for summer missions and more.
  • Candice [Siewert, Global Missions] is only an email away: I get requests from students often for locations the UMW is not in. Emailing Candice is my go to and she always comes through.
  • Decide that you are starting a long-term partnership. Therefore, send senior staff or even yourself.
  • If you bring a faculty who brings a student on a vision trip Faculty Commons offers $1,000 each to you and the faculty.

Steven wrote to me again with a snapshot of some of the results.

  • 3 applicants for STINT (not all my work).
  • 11 applicants for summer mission (not all my work).
  • 4 schools that now see Cru as a premiere sending partner; Bethel, Crown, NW, St. Olaf (which are the 4 schools I invited to SMLT, which was a win).
  • Favor with one college president, departments, campus pastors and certainly students.
  • New budget monies.
  • Hope for building future partnerships with all our SA schools in the UMW.
  • Hope for SA hubs in Sioux Falls, Milwaukee and more.
  • Traction with other Cru lanes.

Mike Whipple, heading our Strategic Alliances efforts nationally, asks the question, “Would it make a difference for MTLs if they had a new intern?” With 500,000 students in Christian colleges, many could help us with critical HR needs and present a tremendous opportunity for greater impact.

Steven is engaging these who are “kingdom-minded outside the organization”. We know how significant our mission is. By building these key relationships we find the intersection point between their mission and ours. If your region has a Strategic Alliances person, why not invite them into a staff meeting and learn what you could do.