New Book Officially Released

 —  September 3, 2010 — 6 Comments

Well, College Ministry From Scratch has finally released. Actually, it released a few days ago…I just forgot! If you’d like to read a sample (the brief introduction as well as the first chapter) click here.

Below is the table of contents. I hope it’s a help to you and your ministry!


Chapter One: A Story of Perceived Success
Chapter Two: Creating And Measuring A Sustainable Ministry
Chapter Three: Developing A Job Description (that fits our goals)
Chapter Four: Your First 90 Days In College Ministry
Chapter Five: Understanding College-Age Issues–An Overview
Chapter Six: Providing A Place To Belong

Chapter Seven: Recruiting Older Adults–Overcoming Obstacles
Chapter Eight: Recruiting Older Adults–Characteristics To Look For
Chapter Nine: Leading College-Age Leaders
Chapter Ten: One-On-One Conversations–Questions To Ask
Chapter Eleven: Starting And Sustaining Effective Small Groups
Chapter Twelve: Shifts In Teaching Approaches
Chapter Thirteen: Seven Critical Teaching Topics
Chapter Fourteen: Mission Trips–What To Include And Why
Chapter Fifteen: College-Age Retreats
Chapter Sixteen: Working With Interns
Chapter Seventeen: Church-Based Campus Ministry
Chapter Eighteen: When Students Are Away At School

Recent Radio Interview

 —  August 31, 2010 — Leave a comment

Yesterday I was on an hour long live radio show with Faith Radio in Saint Paul, Minnesota. We talked about the book I wrote with Reggie and Abbie called, The Slow Fade. They asked me a bunch of questions, people called in and sent emails to ask questions. If you’re interested in listening to that interview via podcast, click here.

Interview with Francis Chan

 —  August 30, 2010 — 7 Comments

As many of you know Francis has made some big changes recently. Francis is a great friend and I have a ton of respect for him. He and his family were recently in Portland to hang out with us for a weekend and teach in my church, Colossae. We talked a lot about where he’s going next, but most of all it was just great to hang out, relax and laugh a bit. I’ve missed that the last couple years since I’ve moved.

Anyway, I just ran across this video interview (see below). He was interviewed by Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris about his thought processes and what he’ll be doing next. It’s obvious that both Mark and Joshua have a ton of respect for Francis. However it doesn’t seem like they “get” him. In fact it seems like Mark thinks he’s a nutcase (in a fun, friendly way of course). Mark asks Francis some GREAT questions. It’s not necessarily that he disagrees with Francis…they’re just a bit baffled.

Fun to see a few guys who have a ton of respect for one another sit around and talk honestly.

Do you at all resonate with what Francis is saying? And, from what you see in your ministry to college aged people, do you think they resonate with Francis? If so, how?

Looking forward to your honest and uplifting thoughts here…

Front Flip On Unicycle…WHAT!?

 —  August 24, 2010 — 1 Comment

check this little trick out…

New Right of Passage?

 —  August 23, 2010 — Leave a comment

Graduating high school is simply the next stage of education. Sure, 40 years ago it was basically a right of passage into adult living. People graduated and most looked for a job. Amazingly, that job could’ve been their entire career. But we all know today is different. Besides getting married there isn’t really a right of passage into adulthood anymore.

People graduate college at different times and when they do they still don’t feel like they’re adults – unless they’re married. But if they’re not there isn’t a clear cut right of passage. And this seems to be causing some other issues. It’s not an entirely bad thing, but this causes some confusion for parent’s too. There is an entire spectrum of parental responses to their kids going off to college. Many can’t seem to let go at all without something outside of themselves letting them know “it’s time.” Others drop kids immediately following high school graduation because that’s what they know.

However, college’s seem to be helping in this a bit. Many have recognized the need to help in this and do so by creating events that give a mental picture for both the students as well as the parents. They are creating elements to move-in days that, to a parent, might seem a bit abrupt, but it’s probably a necessary step. I recently read an article in the NY Times titled, “Students, Welcome to College; Parents, Go Home” that articulates a few ways in which colleges are creating a sort of right of passage for the family. Interesting read. And, it seems to be helping with the all too familiar “Velcro Parent” syndrome (or another reference used for parents that can’t seem to let go is “helicopter parents”).

I think it’s really important to remember that this issue didn’t exist a generation ago…and this ought to affect approaches in ministries/churches.

Question: What sort of things have you done in your ministry (or seen done) to help create a healthy sense of separation and steps toward adulthood for students and/or parents?

The Road To Adulthood

 —  August 19, 2010 — 1 Comment

My college ministry friend, Eric Ferrell, sent me a link to a NY Times article called, “What is it about 20-Somethings?” The article is recognizing the ever-changing process twenty-somethings go through as they work their way toward adulthood. I have discussed this issue in multiple ways over the years (books, articles, etc.) and have used a variety of sources in my research. Others have also sought to help church leaders recognize this change. Well, now, we have the NY Times talking about it again. The article says this about delayed adulthood:

“We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s.”

I think this is a great thing that this is being talked about and recognized! Well, that is, if we actually catch on and seek to address the needs. It’s one thing to recognize the change…it’s another to actually meet the needs the change brings on!

In my book College Ministry 101 I have discussed the issues bringing some of these changes on and what college age people think through in midst of this extended adolescent-like process (1/2 the book is devoted to these issues). I’ve also discussed how we can help them. My two newest books, The Slow Fade as well as College Ministry From Scratch are tools for churches to embrace this change in our culture. Regardless of whether or not these tools are utilized I really hope we can catch on to this…we’re already 15-20 years behind!!!!

The article also issues some stats that are interesting:

“The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.”

Interesting findings and I would recommend you read the article

Important Distinction

 —  August 16, 2010 — Leave a comment

Connecting people of different generations can be a daunting task to say the least. And in some contexts it can seem literally impossible. Part of the overwhelmingness to this, I think, is many times due to us viewing people in groups, rather than as individuals. Let me explain a bit.

Think about this a little differently. If we think about relationally connecting two different races of people we can get overwhelmed easily. The first thing that comes to our minds are the distinctions and differences between the races and the idea of connecting these groups of people together, again, seems impossible. Trying to get both groups to holistically connect can drive us crazy.

But what if we shifted our focus? What if, instead of viewing them as groups of people, we just focused on individuals? And, what if we didn’t focus on the differences between the groups, but instead focused on helping two individuals find common ground?

I think this is the same thing with people from different generations. The important distinction to make here is we are not trying to connect two generations (groups). We are trying to relationally connect two people from different generations. As a leader of a college ministry this distinction is going to be extremely important for you to make.

A New "Spiritual Discipline"

 —  August 12, 2010 — 1 Comment

This has been something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. This post is more of a devotional, but certainly applicable to our ministries to college aged people.

When we talk about “spiritual disciplines” we are referring to things such as bible study, prayer, meditation, fasting, etc. These are great disciplines to develop and I would even say are essential to our faith. They ought to be a natural outflow of our faith, but we do need to discipline ourselves in each of these areas.

But I think we need to add something else to this list. And especially for us Americans. I think we need to add, “living by faith” onto this list. Why? Because living by faith takes discipline and in the land of independent journeys of life, liberty and pursuits of personal happiness we are overwhelmed by a cultural influence of safety and security. We feel most comfortable with our bank accounts full and feeling like we are in control of today as well as what’s to come. Worded another way, we feel best when we are walking by site, not by faith and fully dependent on God.

God has always called His people to be dependent on Him and Him alone. This hasn’t changed and never will. Yet we find ourselves constantly searching for the most secure and safe ways to move forward in life. We can really see how far off we are by taking a look at our prayer life. In praying and seeking what God wants us to do next or in a particular situation we sift through the pros and cons of each potential direction. And, whichever choice has the most pro’s for us personally, is easiest, safest, most secure or has the least amount of obstacles to overcome….we see this as being obviously God’s will for us. This can be the case (God leading us down this type of path), but we don’t even consider another path being God’s will.

And college age people don’t either because many have never seen anyone truly living by faith. Trusting God no matter the obstacle or hardship. Trusting God will ALL their finances and actually believing Jesus when he says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I believe leaders of college ministries around the country can be most effective if the discipline of living by faith is added to this list. It’s a discipline to consciously put ourselves in a position of faith and full dependence on God. It’s a conscious decision to discipline ourselves to think eternally and not earthly. Consciously giving away our finances rather than saving it for ourselves. If leaders can really begin to live like this I think the college ministry and the future of the church would be more impacting than ever before.

You might be saying, “Whoa…I understand what you’re saying Chuck, but we also need to be wise.”

I’d simply respond to you with the question, “Yes, but wise in who’s eyes?”