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“God has a specific plan for our lives BUT it is not one He expects us to figure out before we make a decision.”

(or: The reason we have a hard time discovering God’s wonderful plan for our lives is because He doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is. AND we are wrong to expect Him to)

I want to share what is probably my favorite talk I’ve ever given – so that you can use it to help guide men and women to make Godly decisions.

Most Christians have an unbiblical approach to discerning the will of God and making decisions.

And many young people are paralyzed with uncertainty about what to do next with their lives (leaving them to delay real life and passively extend their adolescence).

We are waiting for a sign from God – relying on arbitrary means like open door/closed door, signs, fleeces, and feeling a peace.

What we should be looking for is not guidance but how to become a person that God can guide.

And we need to consider what our worrying about the future tells us about our underlying, root sin – we don’t trust God and WE want to control our future.

This talk is largely based on the book “Just Do Something” – a must read for everyone but especially those of you in college ministry.

The book is short (as opposed to the OG book “Decision Making and the Will of God” book that weighs in at over 2 pounds) and brilliant.

The talk also pulls some from Tim Keller’s incredible sermon “Your Plans, God’s Plans”.

 

I have given it in two formats:

  • A two week series (two Cru talks)
  • Or one 45 minute talk

Here are links to both versions of:

The reason I post them is for you to use them. Feel free to adapt or use as is.

If you want to, you can let me know in the comments if you find them helpful.

 

Some condensed points from the talk:

  • College is essentially one big decision after another
  • There’s a statement made popular by Campus Crusade that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”
  • If God has a wonderful plan for my life, then why doesn’t He tell me what it is?
  • Have you ever stopped to think about why life is like it is?
  • Why did God set it up that we can’t see the future?
  • I’d like for us to consider that maybe why we have a hard time discovering God’s wonderful plan for our lives because He doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is
  • And maybe we’re wrong to expect Him to
  • One of the things that is so confusing is that the “will of God” is used in three different ways
  • When people say I want to know the “Will of God” they could mean one of three things
  • Two are Biblical (but very distinct ideas)
  • The third is the common view and, I’d say, is not Biblical
  • And it’s really important that you understand the distinction between these three:

1) God’s Sovereign Will

  • The detailed plan that God has ordained
  • Everything that happens is according to God’s sovereign plan
  • God micromanages our lives
  • God knows all things and sovereignly plans all things

2) God’s Moral Will

  • Refers to what God has commanded – what He desires from us
  • If the Sovereign Will of God is how things are, His Moral Will is how things ought to be
  • How life works best
  • God’s Sovereign Will cannot be thwarted but His Moral Will can be disregarded
  • I Thess 4:3-5
  • “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”
  • The will of God in this passage does not refer to the way God ordains things but to the way God commands us to live

3) God’s Individual Will

  • This is what we are looking for in our questions: “where should I live? What job should I take? What does God want me to do with my life?”
  • We seek God’s individual will
  • We want to know his individual, specific plan for the who, what, where, when and how of our lives
  • This is the traditional understanding of God’s will
  • A secret individual will that He expects us to figure out before we do anything
  • So does God have a secret individual will that He expects us to figure out before we do anything?
  • NO
  • So does God have a specific plan for your life?
  • Yes
  • And Yes we know it is good/wonderful – Rom 8:28
  • God does have a specific plan for our lives BUT it is not one that He expects us to figure out before we make a decision
  • I’m not saying:
  • God won’t help you make decisions (called wisdom – we’ll talk more about that next week)
  • God doesn’t care about your future
  • God isn’t in control of your future
  • We shouldn’t pray to God about our future
  • Traditional understanding of God’s will:
    • “Conventional understanding of God’s will defines it as a specific pathway we should follow into the future. God knows what this pathway is, and he has laid it out for us to follow. Our responsibility is to discover this pathway – God’s plan for our lives. We must discover which of the many pathways we could follow is the one we should follow, the one God has planned for us. If and when we make the right choice, we will receive his favor, fulfill our divine destiny and succeed in life. . . If we choose rightly, we will experience his blessing and achieve success and happiness. If we choose wrongly, we may lose our way, miss God’s will for our lives and remain lost forever in an incomprehensible maze” – Gerald Sitter

Problems with traditional approach

  • It undermines personal responsibility and initiative
    • “God told me”
    • Have you ever had a friend say, “God is leading me to date her, or to transfer schools”? How do you respond to that? It puts their decisions out of reach of criticism
    • Or even worse, a girl breaks up with you and you get the dreaded “I’ve been praying about it a lot and the HS told me to break up with you”. Not only are you getting rejected by Susie the hottest girl at the U of A but the third person of the trinity
    • Haddon Robinson:
    • “If we ask, “How can I know the will of God?” we may be asking the wrong question. The scriptures do not command us to find God’s will for most of life’s choices nor do we have any passage instructing us on how it can be determined. Yet we persist in searching for God’s will because decisions require thought and sap energy. We seek relief from the responsibility of decision-making and we feel less threatened by being passive rather than active when making important choices.”
    • Many of you are paralyzed with indecisiveness and we sometimes spiritualize it and call it “I just haven’t figured out what God’s will is for my life”
    • The problem with that is that he has revealed 95% of his Will – His Moral will
  • Everything is subjective
    • With the typical approach it’s really just a guessing game and reduces life to a series of random guesses
    • These are the common approaches of the typical approach
      • Open Door/Close Door
      • Sign from God
      • Fleece
      • “A peace”
    • We never take risks b/c we don’t feel a peace about it
    • How do you think Jesus felt about going to the Cross?
    • The fact is, most “big” decisions will leave us feeling uneasy
  • It promotes an unhealthy preoccupation with the future
    • If you don’t get anything else I say, I want you to hear this
    • Our fascination with the future & the will of God can show a deeper, root issue in our life
    • Read Matthew 6:25-34
    • Big idea of the passage could not be any clearer – Jesus does not want us to worry about the future
    • Interpretation/Synthesizing- God knows what we need to live and we should not worry
    • Here’s the Application for us – And this is HUGE
    • Look at what Jesus says about Worry and anxiety – They’re not merely bad habits
    • What does he say in v. 30? They’re a sign of little faith
    • Worry reflects our hearts distrust in the goodness and sovereignty of God
    • Worry is a spiritual issue and must be fought with faith
    • We don’t trust God
    • It’s not good enough that he has a plan for us
    • That he has A-Z mapped out. We want to know what l,m,n,o & p are for tomorrow
    • And Why? So we can feel in control
    • Worry about the future is not just a minor flaw
    • It’s an indication that our hearts are not trusting in God’s promises
    • Obsessing over the future is not how God wants us to live
    • Showing us the future is not God’s way
    • His way is to speak to us in the Bible and transform us from the inside out through His Word and Holy Spirit
    • We should stop looking for God to reveal the future to us and remove all risk from our lives
    • Because we have confidence in God’s Sovereign Will, we can radically commit ourselves to His Moral Will, without fretting over a hidden individual will
    • In other words, God doesn’t take risks, so we can
  • God doesn’t so much tell you how to get guided
  • He tells you how to become the kind of person that can be guided
  • Radically trust God and you will slowly become a person who makes wise plans
  • John Newton – “what you will, when you will, how you will”
  • It’s daily choices to spend time with God seeking Him
  • This isn’t what most people want to hear
  • You’re saying – I have a decision I have to make right now [I’m a senior and graduate in May– tell me what to do]
  • “How do I know what God is leading me to do?”

Three ways to walk in the guidance of God

  • Commit yourself fully to God
    • Read the Bible
    • That slowly turns you into a person of wisdom who can be guided
    • Pray
    • Now if you’ve been paying attention, here’s what you should be asking about prayer:
    • But what do we pray for if we aren’t asking God to tell us exactly what to do?
    • Do these two consistently and you will become a humble, teachable, leadable person
  • Seek wise counsel
  • Pick something (Use your brain and Pick something)
    • Then after you’ve studied God’s Word and sought advice and prayed, make a decision and don’t hyper-spiritualize it. Do what seems best
    • Examples of the Apostles
    • I Thess 3:1-2 “we thought it best”
    • Phil 2:25-26 “I thought it necessary”
    • I Cor. 16:3-4 “if it is fitting”
    • Acts 6:2-4 “it is not desirable”
    • Acts 15:28-29 “it seemed good”
  • Don’t wait to be called
  • Illustration: You’re walking one day and come upon a small, handicapped child laying on the railroad tracks. The child cannot move, and you hear the sound of an oncoming train. Do you stop, get on your knees, and ask if it’s God’s will to pick up the child? If you don’t get a clear sense of God’s call, do you move on? Of course not. God’s will is clear. Save the life.
  • I often think about this in regards to the question of whether or not we need to go overseas. Jesus made it clear that his will was for people of every nation to know the gospel. Why, then, are so many Christians waiting for God to spell out “Afghanistan” in their Cheerios—before they go? The call has been given. Go. If your talents can best serve God’s kingdom by using them overseas, why would you wait on a call to do so?
  • Robert Speer once famously said: “With many of us it is not a missionary call at all that we are looking for; it is a shove
  • If you are drinking deeply of God’s Word and regularly seeking good counsel from others and you are a person of prayer you should begin to make many impt decision instinctively, and some of them even quickly
  • Study scriptures, pray continuously, listen to others, and make a decision

 

Everyone who seeks to mobilize support for a non-profit should be taking notes on what Invisible Children has accomplished. And I think we can learn a lot from the video.

Most of us will barely pause to watch a 3 minutes “cause” video. But this morning, with my bowl of cereal, I sat (with 21 million others) watching a THIRTY minute video.

The rapid spread of the video seemed to have far surpassed even Invisible Children’s lofty hopes (I saw one IC’er tweet that they were hoping for 500,000 shares on Twitter).

  • Fast Company called it the Making of a Viral Masterpiece and a public relations coup
  • Celebs/Twitter Royalty like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Perez Hilton, Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest and others watched the video and retweeted it.
  •  They’ve reached more people in 24 hours than the last 9 years of crisscrossing the globe showing videos on college campuses (Though you’d have to guess that all that crisscrossing gave them the foundation and good will, and brand recognition to create such a massive groundswell. Makes you wonder what would have happened if they were a brand new org just starting with this KONY2012 gameplan. Would it have taken off like it has without the hard work of many years?)

A few takeaways (as I process what we can learn for our own organization):

  • While many bemoan slacktivism (taking easy, social actions in support of a cause), I think this Invisible Children coup gave a glimpse of how it can be harnessed and channeled for good (and see this article – Slactivism Causes Engagement)
  • Video is powerful
  • College students love causes (and slacktivism!). Though I do follow a disproportionate amount of college students on Twitter it seems like the majority of the Retweets came from this generation.
  • Invisible Children had a VERY well thought through gameplan. It wasn’t just a video. And the video didn’t just cast vision for their cause. They give really clear next steps (and more vision!) for how YOU can get involved.
  • They targeted key gatekeepers who could help accelerate the spread of their idea (and make it super easy for their devoted followers to pester those gatekeepers until they give in)
  • Be ready for pushback
    • In this new age of instant media exposure, it seems that pushback is soon to follow
    • The PR battle is won or lost quickly on the internets
    • Almost immediately on the heels of all the good PR, many started retweeting this Visible Children article that is strongly anti-Invisible Children
    • [update – Fast Company has a good summary of the backlash]
    • Cru experienced this, this past summer. I think we could learn a thing or two from how Invisible Children responded in less than 24 hours to these unfavorable reports:
      • Invisible Children has an entire section of their website dedicated to critiques

 

It’s obvious that explicitly Christian non-profits can’t replicate everything a secular (though Christian-based) organization like Invisible Children does.

But I wonder:

  • Would a group like the Travelling Team (who, much like Invisible Children, travels across the U.S. mobilizing college students) would benefit from putting more resources toward a social media/video strategy?
  • Should Cru be investing more money in video/social media?
  • Who are the gatekeepers we should be seeking out who can quickly help ideas spread (and how can we help our already-devoted followers win them over)?
  • How can we help channel college students’ natural passion for world-changing?

 

What are your takeaways?

 

This is the 2nd post in the series “Marketing Jesus on the Quad”. Click to read the 1st post.

I know. I don’t like the thought of “marketing Jesus” either.

But in this age, “all communication will be perceived as marketing. All self-presentation, even church advertising, will be perceived as branding. And all outreach will be viewed as sales. There is nothing we can do to change this context.” –  Tyler Wigg-Stevenson

So for simplicity, I’ll use the term “marketing” (my goal is not to split hairs over semantics but to think through how we can better communicate the good news to this generation of college students).

As I’ve chewed on the implications of horizontal marketing for college ministry (see my initial post for an intro), I keep coming back to: we’ve got to figure out what we’re “selling”.

What ideas are we hoping students will spread?

What exactly do we want students to talk about?

We want students to talk about Jesus.

But, there’s really TWO things we want students to talk about:

  • Jesus AND Cru (for the sake of brevity I will use “Cru” throughout, but I really mean “Cru or whatever org/church/ministry you’re a part of”)

Think about it: why don’t we just put up posters on campus that say “Come become a follower of Jesus – 8:30 – Tuesday nights”?

Why is our lead foot often to “sell” Cru? And is that wrong?

 

We are unapologetic in wanting to students to passionately promote Cru.

Because we know that through getting involved in a movement like Cru, students will encounter Christ and join His mission to seek and save the lost.

 

Seth Godin captures this thinking well in his book Tribes. It’s essentially a how-to book on how to create a movement that will change the world. And what is the main ingredient? “Humans need to belong . . . and connect around an idea”.

David Mays has a thorough summary/key quotes from Tribes here

 

A movement like Cru provides the key ingredient that will get over student’s indifference and/or antagonism toward God: belonging.

Getting swept up in a movement of peers who love and wholeheartedly serve Jesus.

Many students need to belong before they believe.

Dallas Willard echoes this in his thoughts on evangelism: “Many people will be drawn in without any special strategy but simply by the health of the people.”

 

Seth Godin poses what I think is THE question for horizontal marketing:

“How can we make it easier for people to talk about what they’re up to and what they care about?”

 

The solutions we’re looking for seem to break down into two categories:

  1. How do we make it easier for them to talk about Jesus?
  2. How do we make it easier for them to talk about Cru?

 

And I think both are legitimate (and two pretty different) things:

  1. We want to help our students learn, especially in a new world of social media, how to easily share with their friends what is most important to them (Jesus).
  2. But we also want to make it easy for students to passionately persuade their lost friends to join a movement of believers (Cru) where they will encounter Jesus.

 

So I would love to take on each of these in separate posts in the next few days in hopes that, together, we can figure out how to better accomplish each.

What are you thoughts? What are we marketing- Jesus or Cru? Is there room for both?

 

Marketing Jesus on the Quad

February 22, 2012 — 5 Comments

“P&G To Lay Off 1,600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On Facebook”headline last week

The new age of marketing is great news for college ministry.

Two reasons:

  • Advertising is almost completely free
  • It’s highly dependent on peer relationships

Every year we spend less and less on traditional advertising.

When I first came on staff with Cru we would spend hundreds of dollars on a single ad in the School Newspaper. Even as recently as 3 years ago we invested thousands on yard signs, facebook ads, and posters around campus.

Now we almost exclusively do free “advertising” on Facebook and peer-to-peer word of mouth.

This graphic does a great job summarizing this new era of Horizontal Marketing. It’s well worth clicking to read the full infographic (graphic via @mcryanmac who tweeted “This has very interesting implications for how evangelism on campus moves forward”).

“Horizonal marketing means creating a remarkable product and story and setting it up to spread from person to person.” – Seth Godin

 

I want to take a few posts and figure out together what this new era of marketing looks like in College Ministry.

 

Here’s where we’re headed in the next few posts:

1) What are we marketing?

  • Cru (or church or whatever Christian group)
  • or Jesus

2) Applying Horizontal Marketing to College Ministry

  • Using social media for marketing
  • Peer to peer marketing
    • How can we make it easier for students to talk about what they’re up to and what they care about?

 

Let’s get the ball rolling:

What are some implications you see of how we apply Horizontal Marketing in college ministry?

Just sharing a small idea that’s been a big Win for us recently:

Every week we start our staff meeting with sharing: “How have you seen God at work on campus this week?”. Always my favorite part of the meeting! But we recently realized that most of that good news of God at work is staying within the four walls of our staff meeting.

As we celebrated how God is working, we never took the time to pass on our excitement to the students whom God is using.

So recently we tweaked our schedule a little:

  • After we spend about 30 minutes sharing
  • we praise God in prayer for a bit
  • THEN we spend 10 minutes texting students our team has shared about.

And we make sure that someone other than the staff that’s discipling them (or knows them best) texts them. Hopefully they’re frequently hearing encouragement from their discipler but sometimes it means even more coming from someone else.

 

An example that I texted to a student this week:

“Hey man. We were just celebrating as a team what God is doing on campus and Jon shared how encouraged he’s been by your passionate perseverance in prayer! So cool that you sacrificially serve in praying for Cru every week (and that you’re leading so many to pray with you)!”

 

This small investment of time has been huge in helping us be more intentional in encouraging students and saying “what you are doing is significant”.

 

Would love to hear from you other ideas you have to be intentional in encouraging those you serve in ministry.

 

photo courtesy of Stephan Geyer

 

Two GREAT posts I’ve come across on the Motive and Method for Evangelism:

 

The Motive for Evangelism

The first step toward leading people to become evangelists is to lead them to the waters of the Gospel.

If Jesus isn’t good news to us then we’ll never think He’s good news for others

A willingness to speak comes from a heart that is smitten by the only person in the universe worth talking about, and possibly looking foolish for.

When someone becomes a Christian, we make a big deal about it. We announce it on Sundays. . .we announce it on the web . . . we talk about it constantly. Many Christians report never having seen someone become a Christian before coming to our church. It is extremely encouraging for them to see something supernatural like someone “gittin saved.”

In celebrating someone’s conversion, we are celebrating evangelism. People need to know, especially in the Bible Belt, where Christianity is a cultural relic, that the Holy Spirit is alive and well, making disciples and building God’s Kingdom, and that they themselves can be a part of it. This celebration has awakened many to tell others about Jesus for the first time in their lives. Literally, evangelism begets evangelists.

Click to read the entire article.

Application for us (on this last part): at our weekly meeting we’ve started showing weekly videos of students experiencing life change).

 

The Method of Evangelism

Why you need to learn and memorize a clear way of explaining the gospel. A good apologetic on why you should learn a gospel tract (among other things).

A friend suddenly says to you, “Okay, tell me what this Christianity stuff is all about.” What would you say? Could you explain the gospel clearly in that moment?

Here’s the deal: if you think when the moment finally comes and your friend is ready to listen, that the gospel will flow “instinctively” and smoothly off your lips because, after all, you’ve been a Christian for years, you are wrong! It will come out of your mouth and fall on the floor in a muddled mess.

To be effective witnesses we must work at being able to take what we know in our heads and hearts and clearly express it out of our mouths.

Similar thinking (that’s verbalized in this article) has led me in recent years to a newfound love for the Knowing God Personally tract.

Strongly encourage you to read the entire article.

HT to @pablonunez for tweeting about this article – hooray for Twitter!

 

What are your takeaways from these two articles?

 

photo courtesy of . SantiMB .

I shared this with our Leadership students this last week and I think it was really helpful in clarifying what we want them to accomplish.

 

Quick background: We’ve noticed that our student leaders are great at doing ministry but not great at recruiting new leaders to join with us (whether that’s to Winter Conference, Summer Project, to our weekly leadership time, or even initiating with new people at Cru).

 

So we’re seeking to create a culture where Leaders not only do ministry but act as mobilizers.

 

Kind of like “Teach them how to fish”,

Be a Barnabas” is sticky – it vividly and memorably captures what a leader does.

 

Just wanted to share for others to be able to use/adapt for their leadership times.

Here’s my notes:

  • Tell me everything you know about Paul [greatest missionary ever, wrote most of the New Testament, persecutor, dramatic conversion, etc.]
  • Now tell me everything you know about Barnabus [not much- the only response from students: “he was an encourager”]
  • Lets read Acts 9:26-31; 11:19-26
    • What did Barnabas do in each of these situations?
    • Barnabas sought out Paul, Barnabas brought Paul to stuff
    • He saw something in Paul that others did not
    • He gave Paul his start and connected Paul to a missional community that eventually sent him out to become the greatest missionary the world has ever seen
  • Paul’s influence/impact far exceed Barnabas’
  • God may have you here at the University of Arkansas, leading a freshman Bible study, to raise up 3 missionaries to Ethiopia. To raise up the next great leader whom God will use to bring revival to this campus.
  • Your job as a leader is to get as many people on the playing field (doing ministry) as possible.
  • To not only lead for Christ but to raise up as many leaders as possible.
  • To be a Barnabas – To raise up the next Paul.

“Sir Humphry Davy was a distinguished chemist of the nineteenth century. When asked late in life what he considered to be his greatest discovery, he replied, ‘Michael Faraday.’

Davy had found Faraday, the ignorant son of a blacksmith, taking notes at his lectures and longing to study science. As Davy began to teach young Faraday, he found a brilliant mind that promised to eclipse even his own achievements. He knew that no one discovery of his could possibly compare with the many discoveries Faraday would make.”

– From Tim Elmore’s book Nurturing the Leader within your child

 

What sticky metaphors/ideas/phrases do you use to create a missional culture?

 

photo courtesy of  Lawrence OP

Top Posts of 2011

January 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

I started blogging to share. As I stated in my first post:

“Inspired by others who have taken the time to share their thoughts/learnings/resources I thought I would stop mooching and start contributing to the conversation.”

 And blogging has been a better investment than I initially could have imagined. Definitely worth the time.

 

Especially for those of you in college ministry, I’d encourage you to consider how you could contribute to the conversation in 2012. I’d love to see more staff in Cru sharing – always love to see what other campuses are doing and learning. You can read my recent post,

Shares Well With Others, on CruPressGreen for more thoughts on Sharing.

 

With that being said, here’s a look back at what were the

12 most popular posts on my blog in 2011:

 

#1 – Everything you need to know about the Cru name change

  • By far the most visited post of 2011 – more people looked at that post than the rest of the top 12 combined. Still don’t understand what the big deal is re: the name change . . .

 

#2 – Stuff you can use for your weekly meeting

  • An intro video and music playlist to use at a weekly meeting.

 

#3 – How to start well with your staff

  • Practical thoughts on what to cover during staff planning

 

#4 – Should we do more ministry online?

  • Should campus ministers incorporate online presence into our work schedule? Should we ever spend “hot hours” (afternoon hours) online?

 

#5 – Why you shouldn’t go to seminary

  • Aside from the Cru name-change post, this is probably the post that gets the most google search traffic. Proof that sensationalist titles work  : )

 

#6 – Vale la pena

  • Is college ministry worth the pain of enduring humiliation and contempt so that hundreds and thousands of future world changers can encounter Jesus?

 

#7 – 5 Things we want every student to experience

  • Great 2 part guest post on narrowing the focus of what we do with students in discipleship. If you only had 5 appointments with a student, what would you do with them?
  • Part 1  and  Part 2

 

#8 – How we do ministry

  • A one page summary of how we do ministry on our campus. Our ministry philosophy and what we are seeking to accomplish.

 

 #9 – The Generation changing the world.

  • It’s an exciting time to be working with this generation of college students. 2 Posts on this world-changing generation:
  • Post 1 – This generation of Millenials (age 10-30) is the largest American generation (larger than the Baby Boomer generation). They and their global counterparts will change the world.
  • Post 2 – The role of young people in changing the world in 2011

 

#10 – Blogging, Ministry Growth and Ambition 

  • How do you strive for excellence, success, and growth in ministry (and blogging) while remaining humble and God-honoring?

 

#11 – Planning for Year 2023 – Goals

  • How does having a numerical goal (connected to a long term plan) change things?
    • It forces you to plan differently
    • It gives your staff and students hope/vision

 

#12 – Raising AND lowering the bar

  • “We’re constantly raising the bar of what it takes to be a leader, and lowering the bar on what it takes to get involved”

 

photo courtesy of Leo Reynolds

The Leadership Pledge

December 15, 2011 — 2 Comments

Continuing a series of posts on putting together a Spring Gameplan. Click to read Post #1 on our Timeline for the Spring and #2 on a couple of shifts we made to better raise up a reaching freshmen team.

 

One of the most effective things we did last Spring was something we dubbed the Leadership Pledge.

Hopefully it’s helpful, if only for the thorough description of how to set up a good 5 Things Discussion (at the bottom of the post).

 

Here’s how the Leadership Pledge worked:

  • We had a speaker from the Travelling Team speak at our first Cru of the spring on how God has used college students to change the world.
  • After the talk I stood up and gave a short 3 minute challenge to the effect of:
    • Hudson talked about young people who have been used greatly by God
    • They put their yes on the table
    • This semester you have things pulling for your time and attention
    • Will you allow God to use you in the lives of students around you?
    • Would you be willing to be used by God here at the U of A?
    • Hudson asked the question, “will you be used by God?
    • If you’re willing to say yes to that, please sign your name
    • That you would lead on this campus for God
    • If you sign your name, one of our staff or student leaders will meet with you one on one to help you figure out how you can lead for God on this campus
      • If you have a vision for how God can use you here, we’d love to hear it and help you use your passions for God
      • Or if this is a new idea and you’re still trying to figure out how God is going to use you in your next 2, 3 or 4 years on campus, we’d love to come alongside you and help you figure out your next step.
    • Don’t check it if you don’t want to talk to a staff!
  • We passed out VERY simple cards and gave students a minute in silence to sign if they wanted to.

 

What we did for follow up:

  • We trained staff and key student leaders in how to use the 5 Things – what to say to start the conversation (after small talk), what parts to emphasize, what questions to skip, etc (for more on that, I included detailed notes at the bottom of the post)
  • We made a Google Doc with all who signed the Pledge and let trained student leaders and staff assign themselves to follow up with students
  • We set up 1on1 appointments with every student who signed. Ideally, we take a student we’re discipling to do the appointment with us (Because we want to connect these students to other key leaders. So it will be 2 on 1)
  • The Goal of the appointment – Give them vision for living missionally using the 5 Things pamphlet and find out where they’re at in regard to that
  • Actions Steps  –
  • If you discern that they’re not ready to lead (spiritually, socially, maturity, etc) – Strongly encourage them to get in a Community Group where they can grow (help them find a group that works for them)
  • If they could be a Key Leader:
    • Job 1: Get a 2nd appt with them
    • Job 2: Use your discernment as to the next step.  You’re options (in order of priority):
      • Get them on Leadership Retreat (say, “I’ll bring you next week”)
      • Invite them to Leadership Hour (say, “I’ll bring you next week”)
      • Invite them to M29 Evangelism-Track

 

A couple notes:

  • We intentionally didn’t put Cru anywhere on the Pledge card nor did we push Cru when we met one-on-one. We really hope to be able to help students connect with God’s mission, not ours.
  • The 5 Things is really good at setting up all that Cru offers.
    • For example, it clearly communicates the need for equipping. “So you want to be equipped? We just happen to do a weekly equipping time on Tuesday nights you should check out!”
    • It keeps a Kingdom focus and then we offer Cru as a solution to helping students make an impact for the Kingdom, which is exactly our role. Getting “plugged into Cru” is not the end, but a means to an end- equipping and mobilizing laborers for God’s glory.

 

Here’s what we did to equip our staff and student leaders to lead a 5 Things Discussion (I think this is pretty helpful):

  • The 5 Things is a pamphlet designed to help students figure out what it would look like for them to have an impact for God on campus and for the rest of their life
  • Click to view the trainer’s guide on Facilitating 5 Things Discussions
  • Don’t have an appointment until you read thru the trainer’s guide and are comfortable going thru it
  • The best way to open the conversation (included in the guide):
    • “I’d like to go over 5 key principles that when applied to your life help you figure out what it would look like for them to have an impact for God on campus. And not only that but I believe these 5 things lay the foundation for knowing and serving God for a lifetime.”
    • Before you get into The 5 Things, talk about Surrender (there’s a how-to on that in the Guide). I would use the verse – “you are not your own – you have been bought with a price” I Cor. 19-20 and ask some of the questions from the guide
    • Before you get into the first Thing – Kingdom Vision, I would steal some of the content from the Discipleship Challenge and ask:
      • Before we get into our vision for our lives, what do you think is God’s vision for our lives as believers?
      • His final words on earth are found in Matt 28:18-20 – let’s look at that
      • That is God’s will for all Christians that they would spend their life making disciples of all nations
      • So any plan we have for our lives needs to fit into this greater plan

Shifts in Focus in the Spring

December 14, 2011 — 4 Comments

part 2 of 3 in a series on Spring Ministry – click here to read posts 1 & 3

Yesterday I shared our Spring Timeline – our game plan for the entire spring semester.

The conviction behind it is this: The spring is the time to get your “reaching-freshmen-team” together and everything you do in the spring should contribute to assembling this team of leaders.

So last year we took a hard look at our spring and thought through what we needed to drop and what needed to add so that when August rolled around we would have a huge team of equipped students who want to invest themselves in reaching the freshmen class. Increasing our leadership base both in quantity and quality.

So here’s some changes we made in terms of:

 

Quantity

We stopped passing out FSK’s in the first week of the spring. I may get kicked off Cru staff for saying that. FSK’s are a Cru staple- a laundry bag filled with a Bible, a book, and some other swag- that we pass out in order to do spiritual interest surveys and generate new contacts.

  • But Staff and student leaders have limited time. And we decided that we could either invest our first 3 weeks of the spring in following up FSK contacts OR spend our first 3 weeks surfacing the next generation of leaders. It’s definitely a tradeoff.
  • But we have a semester worth of new people who attend our weekly meeting. Instead of running around crazy trying to turn over new rocks, why not invest heavily in those who are already in our ministry.
  • I’ll share tomorrow one of the primary things that helped us surface that next generation of leaders – the Leadership Pledge.

 

Quality

In thinking through what new CG leaders have to be good at, we arrived at this:

  • Primarily they need to be good at doing follow ups and initiating with freshmen. They need to be gospel pursuers. And we’d love for them to be adept at this before the craziness of the first weeks of the fall
    • So during the second half of the spring, we committed to taking every new Community Group leader (who will be leading a study in the fall) out to share their faith at least once (preferably twice).
  • Second, they need to know how to lead a study
    • We required all new Community Group Leaders to take a 5 week course- “How to Lead a Bible Study”
  • Third, they need to be good leaders
    • We implemented an application to lead and a one page leader expectation sheet
    • Staff interviewed every applicant one-on-one and had hard conversations with those who may not be quite ready to lead a study
The result?
Last spring was we doubled the number of Community Group leaders compared to the year before (without sacrificing quality) which has resulted in a lot more freshmen’s lives being changed this fall!

 

What do you think about staff focusing on raising up laborers the first 3 weeks of spring instead of a more outreach focus?



photo courtesy of ihtatho