Category Archives: Student Ownership

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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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.

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.

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Passing the baton.

If you’ve read these tips for any length of time, you’ve noticed that I address this topic each year. Passing the baton to new leadership now is critical in preparing for the fall.

The earlier you choose leaders for next year the more they can prepare for their roles. Here are some things to help in the transitioning process.

Passing the baton to new leaders

1. What is God calling our leaders to?

I was recently reminded of the Movement Leader Job Description. By way of reminder, here are the essential responsibilities:

  • Shepherd, lead and coach a student leadership team to work together to build a spiritual movement.
  • Help your team own the vision being mindful of the ethnic demographics of the students and faculty as well as sending to a global partnership.
  • Create a plan with your team to: [Lead with Cru DNA]
    • Reach students and faculty with the gospel,
    • Build them in such a way that they spiritually multiply into other leaders,
    • Send them out as Christ Centered laborers, [outreach opportunities, pioneering other movements, developmental conferences, missions trips, as they graduate]
    • With an emphasis on prayer.  [build dependence on the Lord]
  • Identify and ensure that your team has the necessary resources (money, supplies, training in cultural competency, etc) to fulfill the mission.
  • Keep a consistent appointment with a coach to help you fulfill your vision.
    • report movement indicators monthly.

2.  What does a leader look like?

Picture of a Leader looks at qualifications for leadership. This could look pretty impossible. But the key here is not perfection, but growing in these areas.

3.  Developing personal vision.

You can provide your new leaders perspective by suggesting they read Cultivating a Vision for my Campus. This will direct them through a process of hearing from the Lord and putting their vision into action.

Vision and motivation are so important for your leaders. Another helpful diagnostic is Evaluating your Ministry. This is best done as a team over several weeks.

4. Planning.

Finally, Nine Principles for the First Six Weeks offers principles and tips for planning.

In his book, Life with a Capital L, Matt Heard refers to cultural commentator David Brooks, who, in The Social Animal, wondered why chess experts are so accomplished. “The reason? It’s because they can see the entire game board at once. How? A higher IQ? Not necessarily. It’s because they have learned over time to see the game board in a different way.” Quoting Brooks, “When average players saw the boards, they saw a group of individual pieces. When the masters saw the boards, they saw formations. Instead of seeing a bunch of letters on a page, they saw words, paragraphs, and stories.”

As a leader, it’s vital that you set up your leaders for the fall even while you are seeking to end the spring well.

All three of our boys ran track in high school. The relays were always exciting races. I’ve seen teams blow leads and lose races because they messed up the baton pass. That hand-off is the most important part of any relay. If the baton is dropped, the team may be disqualified, or, at the least, lose precious seconds and momentum. The next runner gets into position to receive the baton and then takes off running. They must keep in mind both what is happening with the runner handing off and the race in front of them.

This is such an apt metaphor of what happens in transitioning leadership. They watch the current leadership to consider what and how to lead as they plan for their own time.

Let’s do what we can to ensure that baton pass goes well.

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A Volunteer Leading in Hawai’i

Cristina Cabansagan, volunteers in our ministry as the Epic-Cru Team Leader at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. She spends the majority of her week on campus and the rest of the week in her family’s business, managing real estate properties. Read on for more of her story and her experience volunteering in our organization.

Cristina grew up in a Filipino home in San Francisco. In college she attended InterVarsity for a short time, but still struggled with following Christ fully, leading her to leave the ministry by her junior year. After college in 2010, Cristina decided to fully commit her life to the Lord at a young adults summer camp. Shortly thereafter, she attended an Assemblies of God training for urban mission in Oakland, California where she grew in her passion for evangelism. As she prayed about staying with the denomination, Cristina kept hearing in her quiet times over a two-month period, “Campus Crusade for Christ”.

During the summer of 2014, Cristina looked up Cru online, and was able to connect with Jamie Lam, the Epic Team Leader at UH Mānoa. After a brief conversation, Cristina felt the Lord opening the door to make the move to relocate to Honolulu. She got involved with the movement at Mānoa right after arriving on island. Along with serving on campus, Cristina manages her family’s real estate properties.

In August 2016, the team of seven staff abruptly decided to move to different roles and locations. Cristina, became Team Leader soon after. A new intern and another volunteer comprised her team. Jamie, now Epic Movement Mission Director, coaches Cristina from California.

Today about 40 students are involved at UH Mānoa. The night our team visited the weekly meeting, every aspect was student-led. It was well led. The worship was excellent. A senior student gave a talk on evangelism. Student leaders did a role-play on how to approach a person on campus and share the gospel. There may have been a couple of rough spots, but it was all student led.

Hilo

Cristina, third from left, with her impact group on their annual vision trip to Hilo on the Big Island.

When I talked with Cristina about her experience as a volunteer leading the efforts at Mānoa, I learned that students were involved from other campuses as well, notably Hawaii Pacific University and the University of West Oahu. Cristina said, “The Hawai’i Epic-Cru movement has such a melting pot of students that are reached–some include faces from the continental US, Hawai’i locals, out-islanders from Maui and Big Island, internationals from Japan and China and even islanders from Fiji, Guam, and Saipan.  This semester we began launching at Kapi’olani Community College. Lord willing, we hope to even see movements launched at two other community colleges on island, as well as another on the island of Maui. ”

By handing off responsibility to students, which they were eager to assume, Cristina found that she was both freed up to care for the students spiritually, and to focus on other locations. By making sure the students were equipped, they had confidence in being sent out to minister in their own right.

Small Group

Cristina with her small group.

By handing off responsibility to students, which they were eager to assume, Cristina found that she was both freed up to care for the students spiritually, and to focus on other locations. By making sure the students were equipped, they had confidence in being sent out to minister in their own right.

Cristina generally loves how she has been accepted in her non-traditional status in Epic. But there are times when she experiences the bias our organization has toward only staff leading. We gotta change that.

I loved hearing Cristina tell about totally believing Bill Bright’s vision of reaching college students. Oh, may God give us hundreds more volunteers like her with a passion for making a difference for Jesus Christ. And may we as staff make it easier for others like Cristina to find in Cru the natural place for living out their passion for reaching the lost and helping them become multiplying disciples.

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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?

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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.

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