Archives For Brian McCollister

Some great wisdom from Brian McCollister here.

3 Keys for the First Week on Campus

    1. students on denver campusStaff must lead in evangelism. All else must suffer for the sake of getting face to face with freshmen. I tell our staff that your first six discipleship times of the year must be primarily spent in evangelism. If your upper classmen balk at this then that is evidence that you may not be working with the right upper classmen. There ought to be time to develop and teach but evangelism has to happen those 6 times.
    2. If you pay the price in the first six weeks of the year you will reap the rewards for the next four years. If you blow the first six weeks you will pay the price for the next four years. I can tell how well we did in the first six weeks of the last four years by looking at the size of our classes.
    3. Directors must mobilize their best people assets into evangelizing/gathering freshmen into freshmen groups (staff/ student leaders).

We teach that discipleship is doing the right things (doing ministry together, time in the Word, relationally connecting) with the right people (faithful, available, teachable).

Here’s the key: those three things – Ministry/Word/Relationship – don’t have to happen evenly over the year. In other words, the first 6 weeks of the year will be HEAVILY weighted toward doing Ministry together. Talking about life and their summer and the new year as you walk on the way to share your faith. That’s one reason a Leadership Retreat before move-in week is so crucial. It gives your staff time to connect relationally with student leaders before you jump in the trenches together.

I always try to grab one-on-one lunch (Relationship) with each of my staff guys in the calm before the storm of the first 6 weeks because I know that August and September will be heavy on doing ministry together and lighter on Word/Relationship.

What are your thoughts on Brian’s 3 Keys?

 

Here at the University of Arkansas, pretty much everything we do in the first week to reach freshmen was gleaned from Brian McCollister. Brian is a national director with Cru who is one of the best in the world at reaching freshmen and building a movement. He served for over 20 years as a Campus Director at Ohio University.

The basics we do to reach freshmen the first week:

  • During move-in week we have big cookouts in front of the big freshmen dorms (and have them fill out a spiritual interest survey as they get a burger)Cookout 1
  • On the first day of school we set up tables in front of every dining hall on campus. We hand out something free (sunglasses, free sandwich coupon, etc.) in exchange for students filing out a spiritual interest survey (click here to download a sample jpg or Photoshop file you can adapt for your use). Between the Cookouts and Tables we do about 4,000 of these spiritual interest surveys.
  • Have co-ed Bible studies in every dorm the first week of class

Here’s the key: our staff and student leaders then follow up, one-on-one, with as many of these students as possible. We share the gospel during EVERY appointment and work hard to connect these freshmen to Bible studies. In the previous spring most of our leaders had been through training on how to share their faith. We share the gospel with every student, despite the fact that our University is in the “Bible Belt,” because the vast majority of students do not have a clear understanding of the gospel of grace. Many times we see students trust Christ for the first time.

Here is much of Brian’s wisdom on the critical first weeks of reaching freshmen –  in 2 parts:

  • A 15 minute talk from Brian McCollister walking through how to reach freshmen the first few weeks. You can download here.

 

  • A step by step of how to reach freshmen. This how-to was put together by St. Louis Cru which is great because it applies to the wide variety of contexts they serve in (community colleges, elite private schools, large state schools). It’s not exactly what we do at Arkansas, but very close.

Download the PDF file .

 

Both of these are great resources to walk through with your staff team.

What are some key things your team does to reach freshmen the first week on campus?

I love reading articles together as a staff team. There are few better ways to align your team and learn to speak the same language.

They’re short and to the point (at least the good ones are!).

And the articles can be the bad guy- they can speak authoritatively on a topic and staff don’t hear “my director is trying to get us to _____ (share our faith more, do more work)” they hear “that author who is infinitely wise is saying that we should ______”.

Whether your senior staff are reading these ideas for the 10th time or it’s a new staff reading it for the first, foundational ideas need to be over-communicated repeatedly.

It doesn’t always have to be articles, I’ll often print up a bog post (even my own!) to read with our team.

Here are some of the staple articles (all found on CruPressGreen) that have shaped our team (and that we’ll likely be re-reading this fall):

  • The First Two Weeks– our team reads this every year in preparing for the fall. Really short and to the point. Sets your team’s expectations for the first weeks (16 hour work days!):
    • Gathering Christians, reaching non-Christians…or both?
    • What to do on appointments
    • What to do with returning students
  • Building Movements on a Staffed Campus – this article has shaped our movement more than any other. Jim Sylvester shares his considerable wisdom in what it takes to build a thriving movement. An abridged version of Jim Sylvester’s epic source material on how to do College Ministry. Principles God Honors, the original, is 134 pages of wisdom on how to build a movement that will reach an entire campus with the gospel. Building Movements on a Staffed Campus is 8 pages and a great introduction to this phenomenal material.
    • Two shorter adaptions of Jim’s wisdom:
      • Going from 20 to 200 – Bob Fuh’s shorter and easier to read version of Jim’s principles. 5 principles to grow a small ministry into a thriving movement. This one might be better to read with your team or students than Jim’s.
      • Brian McCollister offers a slightly different take on the same principles here.
  • Hearing the Music Of the Gospel – a longer article but so good. Are you carried along by the rhythm of God’s Spirit through his Word or doing the mechanical dance steps of behavioral change? This is a good one to have your team read over an hour of time with God and then come back and discuss as a team.
  • Empowering Staff thru Staff Jobs– great wisdom from Eric Swanson on empowering staff to lead as directors. This fall we just quoted from this article and used the ideas as we communicated to our team on staff jobs – but a great read for team leaders.
    • “Each job is “director level” in that the other staff are subordinate to him or her in this area.”
    • “Each job is “owned” by the staff in charge and is autonomous in its responsibility. If the staff does not carry it out or motivate others to do so, it simply doesn’t get done. No one bails him or her out.”
    • Each staff is expected to be an “expert” in his/her job. He needs to read books, articles, magazines, listen to talks, and interact with other staff from other campus to develop expertise. He or she becomes a resource for the other staff in their area of expertise. You and the other staff may be purposefully ignorant: “I don’t know, but Rabs is the expert in that area.”

What are some of your favorite articles?

I was recently looking over some notes from a talk given by my friend Brian McCollister, a national director with Cru and a guru on how to build a college ministry.

He asserts that, in college ministry, the two most important days of the year are:

  • The first day of school
  • The first day of fall retreat

CalendarThe First Day of School

Really, it’s whatever day you do your big push to do as many spiritual interest surveys as possible. So for us, it’s actually the second and third day of school. On that Tuesday and Wednesday we do around 4,000 spiritual interest surveys (in exchange for a a free Chick-fil-A sandwich card). Why Tuesday and Wednesday? Because our first Cru meeting of the year is on Tuesday and all of our freshmen Bible studies (in every dorm) are on Wednesday. All 4,000 students who fill out a survey get a brochure (about Cru), a flier (with first week events on it), and a personal invitation from a student. Click here for more ideas on what the first week looks like.

The First Day of Fall Retreat

“The second most important day of the year is the first day of our Fall Retreat.  Why is it so important?  Because it is then that you find out how well you have done in the first six weeks.  If there are a lot of enthusiastic freshmen and a lot of tired but eager upperclassmen, then you have done well.  You can enjoy the weekend!  And you have just greatly increased the number of potential laborers in the Harvest.  You have great momentum and can focus great energy on reaching lost students on your campus.”

What do you think? What are your most important days of the year?

And, more importantly, are you investing your resources (time/money/leaders) in a way that reflects their importance?

 

image courtesy of Dafne Cholet


A while back I wrote a post We need better Leaders than came before that raised a lot of questions but didn’t resolve anything.

It’s something we’ve been wrestling with as a team and, I think, an important issue to think through as your movement grows.

So let’s jump back into it over the next couple of days.

Here’s the (abbreviated) problem stated in 2 contradicting statements:

  1. “In building a movement, the students currently involved have to be better leaders than the previous generation because the movement is larger and more complex”
  2. John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid says good leaders (10’s) won’t follow lesser leaders (5’s)

If these two statements are true (and in my experience they almost always are) how is it possible for students to raise up better leaders than themselves?



On the original post Andrew had some great comments (his full comments are worth the read). Springboarding off of his comments (noted in quotations below),

Here are some thoughts on how students can raise up better leaders than themselves:


Cast vision

“When students are talking to better leaders, focus on vision casting. If you are able to paint a compelling picture of the cause, then you may be able to attract higher leadership levels because they are compelled by the cause. In other words, make it about more than just following you.
”

To quote Russ Martin: “leaders are big picture people, use big pictures!”


Focus on student ownership

“When students are given opportunities to lead/manage, they are able to use those opportunities for leadership growth.”

Students can grow rapidly in leadership when given lots of leadership experience right from the beginning of their involvement with us. I think we ask too little from freshmen.


Age Disparity

For the most part, students enter college as kids and graduate as adults. What does that have to do with raising up better leaders than came before? Age disparity enables a Senior who is a 5 to raise up freshman (who looks up to him as a wise sage) who will be a 10.


Godly Passion Trumps Everything

A few years ago we had a student (John) involved in our ministry who’s was a 5 at most (to put it in cold, John Maxwell terms). He wouldn’t look you in the eye when you talked to him. He was difficult to have a conversation with. But John led a Bible study full of phenomenal leaders- a couple guys in his study were Fraternity pledge class presidents and every single one was a better leader than John.

What drew them to John?

John came to Christ in college and never got over the gospel. It gripped him and he couldn’t help but passionately pursue everyone around him and invite them to experience Jesus.

As Andrew commented, “Give me a 5 who prays and lives out what he preaches over a 10 who can get the most people to the Cru meeting any day.”


Tomorrow – we’ll look at barriers to raising up better leaders than came before (besides the Law of the Lid).


What else would you add? How can we better foster a movement where students are raising up better leaders than came before?



photo courtesy of wildphotons

“In building a movement, the students currently involved have to be better leaders than the previous generation because the movement is larger and more complex”

Brian McCollister (Campus Crusade director at Ohio)


I had never thought about it in these terms but it makes sense- If your movement of college students is growing in size and scope year after year, your students need to be raising up better leaders than they are.

But you’re probably familiar with John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid that essentially says this:

“If on a scale of 1 to 10 your leadership ability is a 4, the best you will attract is 1, 2, and 3 leaders. You will never attract 7 and 8’s.

7’s and 8’s will only follow 9’s or 10’s.”

In general I agree with this Leadership Principle and it relates to my earlier post on “Followability“.  I’ve found this to especially be true for men’s ministry: guys tend to only follow other guys they look up to and respect. They will not follow lesser men.

So here’s the question I’ve been wrestling with:

  • Taking into account the Law of the Lid, how is it possible for students to raise up better leaders than themselves?


What has been your experience with this?  What are the necessary conditions for students to be able to raise up better leaders than themselves? How can staff help them do that?



photo courtesy of bingisser

Becoming an Antioch Movement

November 9, 2010 — 1 Comment

“St. Peter’s Cave Church in Antakya – one of the oldest churches in Christianity.

Peter, Barnabus and Paul all worked with the Christian community in Antioch.”


The church in Antioch as described in the book of Acts is a fascinating case study on building a thriving gospel movement.

Just wanted to share a great resource I used in our staff meeting last week that our staff really enjoyed and were motivated by (it took about 45 minutes).

Here’s essentially what it is:

  • Looking at three passages in the book of Acts, what are the consistent themes and distinguishing marks of the church at Antioch?
  • What can we learn about building a movement where the gospel spreads rapidly
  • How can we be a sending movement like the church at Antioch – Are we a leadership/laborer-factory like the church at Antioch?

Here’s how to set it up (download the notes listed below so this will make more sense):

  • Read the first passage out loud
  • Ask- “What do you observe about the movement in Antioch in this passage?”
  • Repeat for all three passages
  • Ask- “What are the take-aways for our campus in building that type of movement that is modeled in Antioch?”
  • Share some summary thoughts from the 5 Movement Building Principles (that Ken Cochrum came up with)
  • End with some of the closing questions to further apply it to your movement (see notes below)

The notes and idea are from Brian McCollister (Cru Director at Ohio University) who did this exercise at our Regional Local Leaders conference last week.


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photo courtesy of tamra hays