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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Juggling in April

It’s April! There is a lot to do this month. Some campuses will be done before the end of the month. And some summer missions start the first week of May.

How are you at juggling? You have a fair amount to juggle during this last month of the spring semester. You are trying to end the semester well. You are thinking about the summer. And you are already planning for next year.

Here is a list with some helpful resources.

Spring

Summer

Fall

A few perspectives on this busy time.

Recall the old adage about how you eat an elephant—one bite at a time! You don’t want to give that whole list to your leaders all at once. You’ll want to prioritize these and then coach them through this in the time remaining this spring.

One way you can help your leaders own all that needs to be done is to have them brainstorm what they think needs to be done. That’s better than springing a list on them like I just did! Let’s just say that I gave you “The Answers”!

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Different Cultural Frames of Reference.

One of the values we are currently embracing in Cru is growing in cultural competency. With that in mind our Student LINC and Coaching Center team is reading Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church by Soong-Chan Rah.

We’ve had some really good discussions as we process each week’s chapter assignment. But twenty minutes really only just gets us started.

If you haven’t read Many Colors, chapter four defines some scales helpful in understanding how we process information, how we relate to one another, and how we lead or view leadership. I will list them with the simplest of definitions.

1. Individual vs. Group Orientation

  • Individual: Takes individual initiative, makes decisions individually, prioritizes individuals are above the group.
  • Group: Acting cooperatively, makes decisions as a group, conform to social norms, puts the team before individuals.

2. Guilt vs. Shame

  • Guilt. Responsible for individual sin resulting from individual action, corrected by confession.
  • Shame. Responsible for corporate sin, focus is on becoming a person of honor, corrected by transformation.

3. Equality vs. Hierarchy

  • Equality. Self-directed, individual initiative, flexible roles and expectations, offers own opinion.
  • Hierarchy. Directions from above, leader controlled, firm roles and expectations, respect status of leaders.

4. Direct vs. Indirect

  • Direct. Focus is on what is said, engage in conflict, focus on information, express opinions in frank manner.
  • Indirect. Focus on how it is said, avoid conflict, focus on feeling, express opinions diplomatically.

5. Task vs. Relationship

  • Task. Focus on keeping good time, accurate information, define people by what they do, logic orientation.
  • Relationship. Focus on building relationships, create a feel-good atmosphere, define people by who they know, feeling orientation.

Some of these scales of interaction are more easily grasped than others. One end of the spectrum is not right or wrong compared with the other. It’s a matter of understanding different cultural frames of reference. You may have found yourself, like I did, identifying one way or the other depending upon the context or group you’re part of. But all of this is to help us appreciate and value those who approach communication, relationships, and leadership differently.

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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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“I Can Only Imagine” opportunity.

You can receive 2 Free* Movie Tickets to see I CAN ONLY IMAGINE in Theaters!  The must-see film your friends won’t want to miss. (Limited Supply)

I asked Larry Stephens, in Research and Development, how millennials are receiving this movie. He said that today’s students “will watch a movie if invited by someone they know and want to spend more time with. This movie was intended to make it easier for you to talk about spiritual things with your friends.”

Larry shared this comment from a recent preview showing:
“I’m not a Christian.  I’m from India and believe all faiths are equal.  I was invited to see I CAN ONLY IMAGINE with some friends and I joined somewhat skeptical.  Towards the end of the film we were all crying.  Afterwards, I asked my friends if faith like what I saw in this film was real and could bring hope.”  — Freshman, Full Sail University

There is a downloadable movie discussion guide with some basic conversation starters for after the movie.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE opens March 16. Invite a friend and get your tickets for opening weekend at:  http://icanonlyimaginetickets.com

And now the fine print!
*Fandango Promotional Code Terms and Conditions: Fandango Promotional Code is good towards one movie ticket (up to $10 total ticket and convenience fee value) to see I Can Only Imagine or any other movie at Fandango partner theaters in the U.S. Fandango Promotional Code must be redeemed by 8/31/2018 and is void if not redeemed by the expiration date Only valid for purchase of movie tickets made at www.fandango.com or via the Fandango app and cannot be redeemed directly at any Fandango partner theater box office. If lost or stolen, cannot be replaced and there will be no refunds. No cash value. Not valid with any other offer. Offer valid for one-time use only. Not for resale; void if sold or exchanged. If cost of movie ticket with Fandango’s convenience fee included is more than maximum value of the Fandango Promotional Code, then user must pay the difference. Limit 1 reward per person. Fandango Loyalty Solutions, LLC is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of this program. The redemption of Fandango Promotional Code is subject to Fandango’s Terms and Policies at www.fandango.com/terms-and-policies. All Rights Reserved.

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The ‘traffic light rule”.

“Blah-blah, blah-blah, blah-blah, blah.

“Ever listen to someone who, long after you’ve spaced out, continued to blab on? What did you think of that person? Probably self-absorbed and interpersonally clueless. Being long-winded is a sure route to career failure, indeed life failure.

“Of course, no one thinks they’re perceived as talking too much, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. But without realizing it, could you be one of those irritating people?”

Good advice from career coach and education expert, Marty Nemko.

Three minutes is not a long time. Just about right for a personal testimony in a meeting context. But in a dialogue, three minutes becomes a monologue.

So much of our evangelism training focuses on the message, but we also need develop communication skills. One such skill utilizes what Nemko calls the traffic light rule.

“During the first 30 seconds of an utterance, your light is green: your listener is probably paying attention. During the second 30 seconds, your light is yellow—your listener may be starting to wish you’d finish. After the one-minute mark, your light is red: Yes, there are rare times you should “run a red light:” when your listener is obviously fully engaged in your missive. But usually, when an utterance exceeds one minute, with each passing second, you increase the risk of boring your listener and having them think of you as a chatterbox, windbag, or blowhard.”

Nemko offers some helps to “ensure you’re seen as interesting not annoying.”

  1. As you’re talking, keep asking yourself, “Does this detail risk boring my listener, risk your being thought of as the King or Queen of Hot Air?
  2. Unless you’re saying something you know deserves more than a minute, at the 30-second mark, look for a place to stop. If your listener wants more, he or she can ask a question. She rarely will. Try it and see. What if you’re saying something that requires more than a minute? Break it up into segments, and after each segment, ask something like, “What do you think of that?” or “Am I being clear? Really?” The “really” is important because it lets the listener know that your request is not gratuitous: you really want that question or comment.
  3. Be alert to your listener’s non-verbal cues, especially as your utterance passes the 30-second mark. Does your listener seem fully engaged?”

If you want to dive into this more, here are some resources that might help.

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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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