Archives For February 2017

College Ministers: What you are doing matters. Meeting with hundreds of disinterested freshmen to find a handful that want to know Jesus and make Him known. Turning over a multitude of rocks to find one or two gems. Teaching students how and why to read God’s Word. Discipling students who will make disciples.

We rarely get to see the fruit of what we so laboriously sow. Students graduate and get married and get jobs and move off. And we go back to meeting with hundreds of disinterested freshmen to find a handful…

This weekend my wife (with hundreds of thousands of other women!) watched the 2017 If Gathering Livestream. In the last couple years, If Gatherings have reached more than a million women in 50 countries.

And it started when Jennie Allen was a college student at the University of Arkansas and her life was radically changed by a Cru staff, Michelle Bost (Michelle and her husband Mike are still on staff and Mike serves at the regional director of Cru’s Northeast Region, reaching the least reached campuses in our country, most of which are Ivy Leagues).

Throughout her opening talk at If Gathering, Jennie Allen talks about what an impact Michelle Bost had on her life when she was in college, and how that altered the course of her life.

  • [If Gathering would not have happened] without a woman named Michelle Bost who took a nobody college student to coffee
  • We would go over to Michelle’s house and I remember sitting on our living room floor and I’d listen to her talk about Jesus and the surrender she had. And I would want that relationship – I would want to love Jesus like she loved Jesus.
  • As a result of that time, a lot of things changed for me.
  • [Sarcastically] You know, the University of Arkansas is SO Christian.
  • And I needed someone to tell me it was OK to follow Christ. When I was being driven through the drive-through liquor store being offered alcohol. I needed someone to say you can make a difference with your life. You need to be in the Word of God.
  • I still have my Bible from college and it is marked up from top to bottom. I was in my Bible because of Michelle Bost.
  • And all the sudden, when my friends were hung over the morning after, I no longer judged them or thought I need to be with them. I befriended them and there was no longer this angst in me.
  • Everything in my life shifted because of Michelle Bost.
  • I love Jesus because of her.
  • I have a fear that we’re about to have a generation that never had a Michelle Bost.
  • People were saved in front of our eyes at the University of Arkansas.
  • Peoples lives changed and I wanted to give my life to this mission. I wanted in.
  • I wanted to be a part of the kingdom of God because Michelle Bost asked me to coffee.
  • And that is why If Gathering exists because I still believe all the things she taught me.
  • I believe you can open your Bible and mark it up and it change your soul.
  • I believe that women with other women on living room floors can change the world.
  • And what happens if this generation doesn’t have that?

So keep meeting with freshmen. Keep discipling men and women. Because what you are doing matters. You may not see the fruit for 20 years. But God is using you to raise up laborers who will change the world.

Sharing what’s been helpful for our team…
Here’s three resources we’ve used with our staff team this year that have been helpful in keeping a razor sharp focus on Making Disciples.

7 week guide for doing Masterplan of Evangelism in discipleship. It has pretty detailed questions for each of the 7 weeks so it makes it really easy. We had all of our staff read Masterplan with the people they disciple.

From lost students to Christ-centered laborers in three stages – a super short (< one page) “article” that I compiled and we read through as a staff team. I asked each of my staff to do it with the people they disciple. To try to figure out where their people are “stuck”.
  • Are they Experiencing a vital relationship with God? (i.e. – focus on getting them consistently in the Word)
  • Do they Understanding how God works (via Scripture – open their eyes to the Great Commission and His heart for the lost)?
  • Have been invited to be a part of it?

My team found it very helpful.

Also – we read Dan Higgins’ Two Radical Commitments and discussed how we could to this better:

Two Radical Commitments

Two Radical commitments are needed to build movements. A radical commitment to ongoing broad sowing and a radical commitment to wise selection.

 

Broad sowing

I use the words radical commitment because that is really what it takes. Evangelism is the first thing to go. It is so incredibly easy to be distracted from doing it because it is really, really hard. You have to do it when you feel like it and when you don’t. When there is great response (ironically can be a distraction from doing more) and when it is really hard. Over the years I have seen staff, students, stinters and myself come up with every kind of reason you can think of why not to do it and keep doing it. It is really hard and you can be rejected and laughed at and ridiculed and persecuted. It is worth it.

 

Wise Selection

The second thing that you have to be radically committed to is wise selection. By that I mean you being very careful in who you give your time to. This is incredibly hard for someone who has just started doing campus ministry. The reality is that it does not feel kind or nice to say to someone that you cannot spend anymore time with them. Honestly you usually never have to have that conversation, they will usually self select them out.

 

This is so critical because you must follow Jesus model and give your life to those that are faithful, available and teachable. You have to choose to pour into those that will go on to reach the campus and change the world. When you say yes to one student you are saying no to every other student in your city. You must be committed to find the students that will go on to reach the campus. If you say yes to spend time with an unfaithful student you are saying no to the potential faithful ones. This is especially difficult to do when the soil is hard and there is not a whole pile of students to choose from. It also feels not very compassionate but if you spend time with the unfaithful you are saying that you don’t care about every other student on campus.

 

What you are really looking for are key, faithful students to lead a spiritual movement on campus. You must find and/or build these student leaders. You must select wisely.