It’s helpful for me to be able to see our complex scope of ministry all in one place sometimes. Below is a handout that we’ll get in the hands of all our student leaders across the city before the school year comes to a close. Do you ever use a visual aid to cast vision for your campus?
Archives For Leadership
Just give me a few more minutes to explain myself, my decision, my actions. If you just understood my thought process then you would approve of me. I need you to like me and like what I’m doing and how I’m leading.
What a sad way to live, and yet that is my thought process a lot of the time. The result is a drag on my heart.
Although there is room for healthy communication, caring more about man’s approval is often where I land. I catch myself not resting until I’ve explained myself thoroughly, or at least enough so that I’m confident I’m being understood. This is dangerously close to skewing the gospel. It’s not my job to please everyone all of the time. Right?
Am I the only one?
Spiritual leaders are called to care for all the flock, but one group of people is best treated with benign neglect. I call these folks “squeaky wheels.” – Sticky Teams – Larry Osborne
Whether they’re on the fringe, sneaking into your staff meetings or volunteers, these are people that aren’t ever quite happy and they make sure you and everyone else is aware. Often I catch myself consumed with the urgent of solving someone’s reoccurring problem in the name of shepherding and caring for people. Larry Osborne goes on to say this,
Wise pastors and leadership teams know an important paradox of leadership: church harmony is inversely related to the amount of time spent oiling squeaky wheels.
This is challenging for me. I like people to be happy and I want to serve people. I must live in the tension that we are in the business of changing lives, but also growing movements of Christ followers. The reality is that a lot might happen if I let squeaky wheels squeak and redirect time and energy into ministry initiatives.
What about you? Do you catch yourself oiling squeaky wheels?
PS. I’m not thinking of anyone specifically. Stop getting ready to right me hate mail.
Ministry plumb lines function much like a carpenter’s or mason’s plumb line. They make sure our programs, ministries, and decisions line up with the core values and priorities we claim to have. And they let everyone know how we are supposed to do things around here. – Larry Osborne (Sticky Teams)
In the trenches of ministry, keeping a staff team aligned to the direction you desire your ministry to head is a HUGE challenge for any leader. Then throw in students and volunteers and it gets crazy! It’s like herding stray cats right? Here’s a post where I wrote a document called How we do ministry. That’s the start of defining our plumb lines for our team. At bare minimum, writing it down gives me clarity as I lead.
As a leader your job is to provide clarity (as much as possible) to the people you’re mobilizing into the mission. They need to know what they’re doing, where they’re going and why it matters.
Have you defined your ministry plumb lines?
Interesting take on the value of synergy amongst your group and how someone trying to command leadership might cause more harm than good. Pay attention to the last question. Could this have value for student lead movements? (Thanks for the find Tim Casteel)
Understanding our reality and being good evaluators is key to moving our ministry ahead.
As we get close to the end of the year our staff team will take some extended time to review the year and plan for the fall. We’ll spend about 3 full days together as a staff team in May to prepare for the Fall. We easily could get bogged down in evaluated every little minute detail before moving to action. Here’s what we do to avoid that.
- Evaluate in real-time. Throughout the year we’ve evaluated key events, strategies and schedules. We’ve kept notes and my co-MTL and I will review those to see if there is anything we want to drill down on more as a staff team.
- Send evaluation questions out via email to our staff about 10 days before we gather. If you’re like me I work better with a little more time to think and evaluate rather than to try and think through stuff on the spot.
Often we use very simple evaluation questions. What’s going well? What is hard? Where are you stuck? We’ll then give categories that we want to make sure our staff think through…coaching movements, evangelism strategies, discipleship groups, etc. Sometime we’ll throw in other questions like, What do you need to do your job better? What needs to change in your schedule?
We like simple evaluation times that move us to action.
What do you do in evaluating the year?
This is the first post in a series of what content our staff are covering this spring that will hopeful propel us into the fall and new stages of ministry.
Our spring-time Vision Night dinner is this April and is a key strategic event to challenge emerging students to invest in the ministry on their campus. We are doing our darndest to get the right people in the room for the night. We have about 60 invitations out to students and stakeholders from about 5 different campuses.
But even cooler than that is what happens during these personal invites from our staff. These meetings can turn into a significant time of affirmation and challenge for these students even in a just a 10 minute conversation. They also can lead into significant growth as student prepare for leadership over the last month of the school year.
Bottom-line is that almost all of our energy and focus will be on prepping to challenge emerging leaders to lead.
What do you do to prepare your emerging leaders for the fall?
With the internet being dubbed the 8th continent, Facebook being the gateway into hundreds of relationships and most university classrooms looking like the picture below, it’s a no brainer to start thinking about how to train students in the principles and tactics to make their online time count for eternity. I need your help to design some training for students.
I’m headed to Cru’s Big Break conference in Panama City next month where the conference team is trying something new. They desire to augment the life on life evangelism students do on the beaches with some digital training to help students use tools intentionally to bring Christ into the conversation online.
I’m the only one who signed to teach this gig, probably because I’m designing the content from scratch (almost). This is where you come in. I need you to glance through what I have planned for tactics so far, tell me what I should do different, what I should trash or add. Keep in mind that we’re trying to be principle based, helping students live out evangelism principles that they can practice for the next 50 years of their lives. I’ve got 1 hour for 3 days with them. Most everything needs to be able to be done from a smart phone. The hour will be broken up into about 15 minutes of principles and introducing tactics, 30 minutes of workshop, and 10 minutes of debrief.
Day #1 – Explore!
- Comment and invite conversation with 10 friends, looking for windows to the soul. *Tip make a Facebook list of the people you want to be intentional with.
- Post an everystudent.com article or Global short film in your timeline and invite a conversation? “Tell me what you think about this?”
Day #2 – Pictures!
- Post at least 3 High Quality pictures on Facebook (ups timeline visability). Tag friends and comment “We miss you!” Invite conversation. Picture will be available via Tumblr blog from conference photographer.
- Post an everystudent.com article or video on your feed and ask a question. “Today, how important is your spiritual life?”
- Tactic #3 Work on writing 1 minute video of how God is at work in your life or how he has changed your life. It must end with a question that invites conversation. We’ll record this tomorrow.
Day #3 – Sometime!
- Record that video you wrote yesterday and post to Facebook. Tag your friends and family.
- Set up gospel conversations back on campus using a “Sometime” question via text or Facebook. “Sometime I’d like to hear more about what you believe about spiritual things, would you be up for that?” We used this at our Winter Conference and it has been a huge hit.
What would you do differently if you were in charge?
I’ve been wrestling with the messiness of relational (some call it friendship) evangelism combined with verbal proclamation and how to teach it to others. We’re seeing lots of spiritual conversations, but not a ton of those are resulting in bringing people to a point of decision. Some of that is the environment we’re in, but some of that is our lack of effectiveness. Each spiritual conversation we have is so varied that there’s no cut and dry method. I landed on this phrase I picked up from Cru Press Green that might help us get traction…
Evangelism is both a process and an event.
I stole this paragraph from a CPG article that summarizes this statement well. Launching from a place of understanding that everyone is somewhere on the spiritual journey pictured below…
it is key to realize that moving people along that line is both a process and an event, we can continue to reach out to a person in many different ways and forms of witness – e.g., our testimony, a book or podcast, serving them in some way, hanging out, playing sports together, inviting them to be around other Christians at a Cru meeting or social event, or coming along to church. But since sharing the Gospel is also the event of them hearing the Gospel, there will need to be a time, or perhaps many times, when someone verbally shares the Gospel with that person. For some non-believers, we will be involved in both the process and the event, while for others we may only be in on the event, and others will be in on the longer process. Whatever our role is, we walk in the Spirit and let God use us in His overall plan in other people’s lives.
What I really like is that the article points out that sharing the Gospel includes people hearing the Gospel…with words, but doesn’t discount the effort we make to serve, invite and spend time with people. Maybe I’ll put it like this – verbal proclamation of Jesus is the backbone of evangelism that is surrounded by the mission to care for, love and serve those in our sphere of influence.
How do you train students in the reality that evangelism is both a process and an event?
I’ve been on this journey of rethinking evangelism over the last year. Moving to Portland will do that to you I guess. I’ve done my best trying to integrate biblical principles in these too. These are the convictions that I’ve arrived at so far…
- I believe everyone is on some sort of spiritual journey.
- I believe that God is able to transform lives.
- I believe I’m called to take the initiative to bring Jesus to those that don’t know him (leaving the 99 to go to after the 1).
- I’m called to have a posture of incarnation – being present with those around me, listening with respect, engaging, serving, loving.
- There will be opposition – those that are angry, those that don’t respond, those that are neutral.
- I get to be an ambassador for Christ and help people come to a point of decision. “Do you want to respond to Jesus right now?”
- I want to be known for talking about Jesus – a natural outflow
Am I missing anything? Are any of these challenging to you?