Archives For Focus on the Right People

In addition to some of the positive ideas stated yesterday in How to Raise Up Better Leaders than Came Before (mostly: raise up passionate followers of Christ who really get the gospel!), here are some problems we need to Fight Against and Figure Out.

Fight Against (more on these below)

  • Drift Toward Ease
  • Practical Atheism

Figure out (we’ll tackle this one tomorrow)

  • Raising up Leaders who can also administrate
  • Systems that make it easier for students to “lead up”


Drift toward ease

I’ve noticed that unless vision for Focusing on the Right People is constantly preached, many of our staff and students tend to disciple students who are much less gifted leaders than themselves.

Here’s a few theories on why:

It’s safe and easy

  • They’re super-available and we have no doubt that they will eat up everything we say

Fear that we don’t have what it takes/Fear of rejection

  • It’s intimidating (even for staff!) to approach that really sharp freshman leader who just oozes confidence
  • I can vividly recall my second year as a director – I discipled a guy who was the president of his fraternity and I ended up not meeting with him much because I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer him.

We like to be needed

  • “The fact is that many people in leadership roles gravitate toward hurting, draining, time-consuming people because they have a need to be needed.” – Dave Kraft (this entire post from What’s Best Next will be the best Leadership thing you read all week)

One resource to fight this drift is Tim Henderson’s article The Right People for Discipleship that is written to students and is phenomenal on communicating the why’s and how’s of pursuing Better Leaders.


Practical Atheism

  • Craig Groeschel describes this as someone who believes in God but lives as if He doesn’t exist
  • In this case it would be: really strategizing and thinking through how to raise up better leaders, and forgetting that God has to show up for his kingdom to grow on our campus
  • Ps 20:7 – “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
  • We have to fight against putting our trust in better leaders
  • It seems that the “easy” solution to this one is prayer and expressing utter dependence on God to move and raise up incredible leaders who will spread His fame
  • We still plan and strategize like crazy
  • All the time remembering- We’re like the guys setting up the Inauguration Parade route– setting up bleachers, preparing the route – so the path is clear for the Reigning King to pass through and receive adoration


What are some ways you’ve found to fight against the Drift Toward Ease and Practical Atheism?



photo courtesy of Peer.Gynt

In my first year of blogging these were the most popular posts from 2010.  I’d love to hear your thoughts – keep the discussion going on each of these posts!

1. Focus on the right people – Do ministry thru others

  • “The people you spend the majority of your time with can and will determine whether you are an effective or ineffective leader.”
  • Staff’s #1 job is not to do ministry but to empower students to have a ministry.

2. The Chief End of College Students

  • Because of their life goals, God is (perceived as) irrelevant to the life of a college student

3. Getting Past Irrelevance

  • How to help Students find Purpose (when they’re not looking for it)

4. We need better leaders than came before

  • “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”

5. Biblical Dating in a Hookup Culture

  • Notes/Powepoint/Video from a Dating Talk I gave at Cru
  • It’s the best received talk I’ve ever given

6. Focus on right people – Followability

  • How will college students come to Christ?  They will Follow other students to Him.
  • What can we do to develop “followability” in students?

7. Pancake vs. Waffle

  • The college campus has changed dramatically in the past 50 years.
  • It used to be a pancake.
  • Now it’s a waffle.

8. Buckets and Holes Planning

  • “How do we spend what we have to solve our problems, meet our goals, and increase what we have for next year and its problems?”

9. My Favorite Blogs

  • I always enjoy a glimpse into others’ favorite sites online.  Here’s mine.

10. We’re all professional speakers

  • It’s not enough to work hard and do a great job in ministry.  We HAVE to learn to communicate well about our ministry.



photo courtesy of Vitó

Empowering Social Connectors

September 21, 2010 — 4 Comments

(part 6 of a series on “Focus on the Right People” and multiplication)


How do students connect to your ministry?  Usually it’s thru other students.  And more than likely the majority come through a handful of Social Connectors.

Last year is when I first noticed this Connector Phenomenon .  A hugely disproportionate number of our student women leaders got involved because of 2 students.  Out of 17 student girls leading freshmen Bible studies this year,  11 of them came out of these two girls’ Bible studies!  65% of our new leaders came from 6% of our leadership.

Ben Arment (on his always intriguing blog) noticed this phenomenon at his church and came to this conclusion:

When we cast vision for inviting people to church, we may be assuming too much. What if we poured more resources into the hands of our connectors? What if we groomed them, encouraged them, and fueled their desire to invite people? [They bought Starbucks cards for them to use]

As for the others… what if we started with the fundamentals? What if we showed them how to build relationships? The result would be less guilt-trip and more empowering.



I still haven’t worked out what this means for how staff spend their time.  Is it better to invest heavily in these few key connectors?  Or to invest in raising up more like them?

Right now in our leadership core we are very heavy on introverts.  Really bright, responsible, proactive, godly introverts.  But we’re lacking outgoing “people gatherers”.  Not that Social Connectors have to be extroverted (1 of the 2 girls mentioned above is introverted) – but it helps.


Have you found this Connector Phenomenon to be true?  How can we resource/empower these Connectors?  How can we raise up more Connectors?

What are the implications for ministry and how we invest our time in students?

(part 5 of a series on “Focus on the Right People” and multiplication)


“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Paul to the Corinthians – I Cor 11:1

Does that verse ever strike you as a bit off? I mean, how cocky was Paul?  Why not just tell Christians to follow Christ?

The fact is that people follow people to Christ.  God will not usually reach people directly (via lightning or spelling out ‘God’ in your Cheerios).  He has given us the role of being His ambassadors.

So how will college students come to Christ?  They will Follow other students to Him.


Last summer I grabbed Brian McCollister, Cru director at Ohio University, for a few minutes to pick his brain on building movements. One thing he said about reaching students really stuck out to me.

They did a survey of students who were very successful leaders of freshmen groups.
The two character traits they found of successful leaders were:

  1. Followability – others will follow them (if a guy shows up at my door, would I want to hang out with him?)
  2. Tenacity – a guy that stays after people (calls them EVERY week before study)


How do You focus on and develop Followability in students?



photo courtesy of *Kicki* via Flickr

FoTRP – Selection part 2

September 15, 2010 — 1 Comment

(part 4 of a week long series on “Focus on the Right People” and multiplication)

“What really counts in the ultimate perpetuation of our work is the faithfulness with which our converts go out and make leaders out for their converts, not simply more followers”

Robert Coleman



This week we’re discussing “Focus on the Right People”.  Today, some practical tips I’ve gleaned from one of the best in the business: Roger Hershey.

Many of you know Roger Hershey as one of the greatest spiritual multipliers in Campus Crusade’s history.

A few of his thoughts (that he taught at our Local Leaders conference last fall):

Campus Directors – one of your most important roles is to monitor multiplication

2 key components of monitoring multiplication with your staff – help them learn how to:

  1. Work with the right people (read more about the Right People in this great article by Tim Henderson on CruPressGreen; written to students so it’s a great resource to have student leaders read)
  2. Do the right things with disciples (another great article by Tim Henderson at CruPressGreen on the 3 components of good discipleship)

Movements don’t grow when staff or student leaders work with people who aren’t aligned to our mission and don’t want to multiply.

One very practical way to monitor multiplication with your staff/students:

  • Give each staff a blank multiplication chart (see below to view/download) at the beginning of the year and review it with him/her throughout the year (almost on a weekly basis)
  • Evaluate which disciples are multiplying and which ones are not and ask why they aren’t – what are the barriers and how can you help them?


  • One more resource on this topic: The definitive book on Selection in ministry is The Masterplan of Evangelism – we’ve often read Chapter 1 (that addresses Selection) as a staff team.

    For those who’ve never read it – it’s a look at how Jesus did evangelism.  A must read for anyone in ministry (and it’s short!).

    Download a great study guide on the Masterplan of Evangelism here.  And buy the book for cheap from CruPress.



    Roger’s Blank Multiplication Chart:

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    photo courtesy of Steve took it via flickr

    (part 3 of a week long series on “Focusing on the Right People” and multiplication)

    “One must decide where he wants his ministry to count – in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of his life in a few chosen men who will carry on his work after he has gone.”

    Robert Coleman

    This week we’re discussing “Focusing on the Right People”.  It’s what many refer to as Selection.  Anytime you talk about this (especially with students – as a student I argued with the staff for hours with staff against the idea!), you get the same pushback: Selection is unloving; didn’t Jesus love everyone equally regardless of who they were?

    By no means do I hope to comprehensively cover this.  But just wanted to share a few thoughts (today and tomorrow) that have been helpful for our team as we think thru this.

    My friend Chris Newport directs the Cru movement at the finest university in the world – Texas Tech.

    Here are Newp’s thoughts on thinking thru who we invest in (and even more importantly, helping our staff, students spend time with the right people) :

    1) II Timothy 2:2 – We are exhorted Biblically to invest in those who are “able to teach others”. As an organization, this is central to our calling and mission.

    • What qualifications do you think someone needs to have to be “able to teach” others?
      What are disqualifiers?
    • At the very least this tells me that some are not “able”, which means I have to make difficult decisions

    2) It’s loving to think about the whole

    • Loving everyone means selection
    • What does it mean to love every student?
    • Loving lost people means spending time with multipliers
    • A helpful analogy from Newp’s Summer Project in Yugoslavia:
      • Their goal was to change a country, to reach millions of people.
      • So they only spent significant time with students who met two qualifications – 1) Spoke English 2) from Belgrade (this is where we had a team who could follow-up)
      • They had no one to hand them to for development and discipleship (no established church) except in Belgrade
      • What the country needed was multiplying disciples not isolated Believers
      • It’s loving toward Igor to spend time with him despite his lack of English, but what about the other millions? The loving thing to do is to focus on those who can help reach the multitudes.
    • From Masterplan of Evangelism:
      “…though [Jesus] did what He did to help the multitudes, He had to devote Himself primarily to a few men, rather than the masses, in order that the masses could at last be saved. . . “Everything that is done with the few is for the salvation of the multitudes.”

    3) Key Question: How do I discern if I should continue to spend time with a student who probably will not become a multiplier?

    • Here is my guideline: Does my spending time with this individual cause me to compromise my calling to make multiplying disciples?
    • If my time with Johnny keeps me from reaching the campus, I am not being faithful with my time
    • Recognize I have limited time – I can’t just spend time with Johnny just b/c he shows up

    One adjustment: Ultimately the goal is not to reach the campus, it’s to reach the world. Some people may not multiply their lives in the context of our campus ministry, but have the potential to be very influential once they graduate. I’m mostly thinking about the guy/girl who figures it out late in their college career.

    This is a difficult and challenging  issue. We can’t just write people off b/c they’re not leaders, but filling our schedules with people who are not “able to teach others” is also not an option. I have to trust that by reaching multipliers, I will eventually reach more people, which means all types of people.


    photo courtesy of SigmaEye via Flickr

    (part 2 of a week long series on focusing on the right people and multiplication)

    “The people you spend the majority of your time with can and will determine whether you are an effective or ineffective leader.”

    Dave Kraft – “Leaders who Last”


    I think one of the biggest misconceptions of those going into full time ministry is that they are going to spend most of their time on the front lines.

    This is what I did my first 5 years on staff. Sure I discipled guys, but my main focus was reaching my target area/dorm.   On my own.  5 years of starting over and gaining no ground.

    Ephesians 4:12 is a great summary of our job as full time ministers:
    “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

    In college ministry, I think Staff’s #1 job is to empower students to have a ministry.

    • We believe that students sharing with other students will be the key to reaching our campus.
    • So staff are successful not if they have a thriving personal ministry but if they are pouring into students who are in turn pouring into others (Discipleship/Multiplication)
    • So we focus pretty much every week with staff on “who are you meeting with?”:



    Reminds me of #6 on this this mind-blowingly-good list on leadership from the blog whatsbestnext.com:

    THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY INEFFECTIVE LEADERS
    1. They spend too much time managing and not enough time leading.
    2. They spend too much time counseling the hurting people and not enough time developing the people with potential.
    3. They spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time lighting fires.
    4. They spend too much time doing and not enough time planning.
    5. They spend too much time teaching the crowd and not enough time training the core.
    6. They spend too much time doing it themselves and not enough time doing it through others.
    7. They make too many decisions based on organizational politics and too few decisions based on biblical principles.

    From Dave Kraft’s Leaders Who Last

    Kraft adds:
    Notice in particular numbers 2, 5, and 6, which have to do with the kinds of people you spend time with. I say it again: the people you spend the majority of your time with can and will determine whether you are an effective or ineffective leader.
    The fact is that many people in leadership roles gravitate toward hurting, draining, time-=consuming people because they have a need to be needed. They want to help people, to be there for people. If a leader has strong mercy gifts, leading becomes more difficult. Simply put, if you need people, you can’t lead people. There is an inability or lack of desire to make the tough calls, speak the truth, or do the hard things. Motivated by a fear of disappointing people, this inability will seriously hamper and work against your ability to lead.


    Tomorrow: Thoughts on how focusing on the few is not unloving to the many.


    photo courtesy of andorpro via flickr

    (part 1 of a week long series)

    “A busy schedule is not overwhelming to me but over-complexity is. Simplify stuff as much as possible at staff meeting”

    Brian McCollister (Cru director at Ohio)



    Our ministry is moving into week 4. For us, that means shifting from 100% focus on reaching new freshmen to sorting thru the hundreds/thousands of contacts and deciding who to invest in.

    During this season of college ministry, we’re flooded with students and last week I felt Iike our team hit a wall – they were ready to throw in the towel (I alluded to it in my last post).

    The cause?

    • Not lack of fruit/success – this is the best fall we’ve ever had. God is moving and they’re getting to be a part of it.
    • But lack of focus. Feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of students to track with in their areas of campus; and not sure how they should be spending their time.

    We break our campus into 3 areas (stole the idea from NC State Cru) and have Student Staff (stole that from Oklahoma Cru) lead those areas (2 per area).
    It’s impossible for the Student Staff who is the Area Director to even know the names of all the students coming to Bible Studies in their area, much less know how to invest in them spiritually.

    So this week we sought to clarify/simplify their job (with a heavy emphasis on the third):

    • Set direction for your area
    • Keep tabs on everything in your area
    • Pour into your leaders (who lead Bible studies in your area) and make sure they are doing the right things with the right people

    You don’t have to reach everyone in your area.  You just need to pour into the 12 students who are leadings studies in your area and make sure they’re investing their time wisely.

    Same goes for our staff.  Success for them this week means starting to meet weekly with the right people.

    More on that tomorrow.

    photo courtesy of PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via Flickr