You may or may not have caught it on my Twitter, but I am giving away advance reader copies of my forthcoming book, Better Off Without Jesus.  One a week, until the book releases August 7.  So, I posted something about the “contest” and said to RT for a chance to win a copy.

Well, I’ve had a few people ask me how I’m choosing the winner.  So, I thought I would let you know.

It’s simple, really.  When it’s time to announce the winner I list out the names of those that RT on a piece of paper (or sometimes assign numbers to them).

Then my 7 year old, Karis, picks the name who she wants to win or number that just stands out to her.

That’s it.

Next week my 4 year old daughter, Hope, will choose.  Then we’ll go back to Karis and so on.

It’s a way that makes it fun for me, unbiased and it’s a small way my girls get to be a part of the ministry.  Good luck!

There is something within me that hesitates to label younger generations.  Millenials, Mosaic’s, GenY….whatever terminology you might use, seems to view them more as research or stats or a target rather than human beings.  But, I understand the need for generalizations when it comes to entire generation.  Well, I came across an interesting article that noted some very interesting (at least to me) stats on this generation of [insert whatever term you choose here] we all have a heart for.  Thought I would note some I found particularly interesting:

1. by 2020 46% of all U.S. workers will be millenials

2. 64% ask about social media policies during job interviews

3. They switch their attention between media platforms (like laptops, smart phones, etc.) an average of 27 times per hour.

4. 66% of them look up a store after learning their friend checked in

5. 71% would like to work abroad

6. 70% plan on changing jobs when the economy gets better

7. 30% started a business while in college

We had a dear family member staying with us for the past 4 or 5 days.  She is a saint.  Amazing woman to say the least.  She loves God.  She has incredible insight.  She has a very sharp mind.  She gets ministry.  She is wise.

These are all things that make for fun conversations and especially when she throws out statements like, “You know, I remember when we first got electricity at the house and…”  This is when you know you’re engaged in a fun conversation!  But over the course of the weekend she said 3 things that really stuck with me.  Here they are:

1. We were talking about all the different ways leaders are leading churches.  She understands the approaches and acknowledges the need for different approaches.  But she looked at me and simply said, “Just do what God wants.”  I wasn’t complaining about anything, I wasn’t even explaining things I have been thinking/praying through.  She just gets what it means to be called to something and issued that little nugget for me to chew on.  Just do what God wants.  It really is that simple.

2. She was telling me of how she used to lead choir.  She said she never told anyone they couldn’t sing or that they couldn’t be involved.  She said she viewed it as her responsibility to help people be used and to make sure they were encouraged to continue serving the body of Christ in whatever capacity they could.  She said this is the role of a leader in her mind.  She spoke of leaders that go into churches and inherit a staff.  She understands that sometimes staff’s need to change, but she also had another insight that I thought was profound.  She said a lot of times the new leader says things about their staff like, “They just wouldn’t be my first choice” and therefore make a change.  A leader actually said that to her recently and she responded by saying, “Well, the same could be said about you.  I’m sure you weren’t every persons first choice either, but they are giving you a chance to succeed.”

3. Right before I left her at the airport she looked at me and said, “Chuck, I have a new urgency for prayer.  I will be praying because God answers prayer.  Prayer really works.”  I said thank you, we hugged, and she walked away…probably praying.

I was just looking back over the LIVECollege curriculum.  It’s 72 weeks worth of small group material – and a lot of it, I might add.  Here are 3 things I find myself loving about this material:

1. It’s focused on God.  Every single teaching point in the curriculum (yes, every single one in all 72 weeks worth of material) is focused on God.  I love that.  It points us to a better understanding of who God is and how He works.  I think this is great for college students.  They are trying to figure out who they are…and who better to differentiate themselves with than God?!  Plus, this inherently teaches sound doctrine.

2. It moves through books of the bible.  The flow of each study is through different books of the bible.  So, not only do we gain a better understanding of God in each study, but they also give us a feel and understanding of the flow of thought of individual books of the bible.  This helps biblical literacy and helps us understand the thought processes of writers at much deeper levels.  I love that.

3. It’s helpful for leaders.  Leaders are given a leg-up on the material through the introductions and prep material but they are also given tools to follow up with students/leaders after the study.  Things like ideas for tweets and even sample blog posts are given.  This, to me, is helpful.  It’s pointed.  It gives leaders meaningful ideas to continue the conversation and thought processes with their students.  I love that.

To get a sample, click here.

Cover of New Book

 —  June 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here is the cover my newest book.  To pre-order from Amazon, click here.

As I write this I’m sitting in a coffee shop overhearing a conversation.  College students (or at least, college age people) have been talking in a group for about 30 minutes.  The discussion is about finding a church – what they like and what they don’t about churches in the area.  One of the most fascinating subjects discussed (it has all been fun to listen to and they don’t know I pastor a church) has been about ‘pastors that use media’ in the church services.  Specifically, they have mentioned both videos in sermons as well as in musical worship.

They are all, and I mean all, saying they don’t like it when “media” is used in church.

One girl just made the following statement: “My days are filled with media.  When I go to church I just want to listen to a message about scripture, learn, meditate and worship.”

Fascinating conversation to eavesdrop on, for sure.  And one that flies in the face of much of what many think is needed in our college ministries – or ministries in general.  Interesting, if you ask me.

Now That School Is Out

 —  June 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

After finals and everyone moves the campus can be a lonely place to go hang out.  The amount of students taking summer courses doesn’t come close to bring the life of a regular term.  But, believe it or not, this can bring a whole new set of opportunities for us in college ministry.  Here are 2 things you can do to capitalize on an ‘empty’ campus:

1. Schedule appointments with professors.  If you have any connection with professors at all, this is the time to try and connect with them.  Continuing to build these relationships can pay huge dividends in the years to come.  They may have you share in a class or, at very least, can be a means of information with inner workings of the campus or with insights into the mindsets of students.  If you don’t have any personal connections, I would recommend reaching out to a professor in the field you studied.  If nothing else, you can send them an email saying you studied (for instance, English) at ‘such-and-such’ university but now are in the area and would like to connect with someone on campus in that field.  You don’t have to be secretive about your position at church, but you also don’t have to state that in the initial email you send either.  Just get together and ‘talk shop.’  Ask them about their life, how they got to the campus, what their perceptions are of it and the students there.  Share of your experience.  If you have a ‘bible’ degree of some kind and don’t have this natural means of connection with a professor on a secular campus, I’d recommend contacting a professor in a field you have some interest in.  Simply let them know you are interested in the field and wanted to connect with someone that can give them some information.  When you get together just ask them questions about the field.  There are a plethora of ways to connect and continue connecting…you just need to take a step out.  And there is no better time than in the summer.

2. Work on campus.  The bottom line is there are fewer students on campus so your chances of actually connecting with new students increases in many different ways.  Additionally, you have a better chance of getting to know some of the most powerful people on campus: the janitors.  Let me just say this.  The more you are in a place the more you get to know people.  It doesn’t happen over night but eventually one conversation leads to another and before you know it you become friends.  And here’s the thing about janitors: they have keys to everything!  I think that’s all I need to say about that.