CollegeLeader Training

 —  September 23, 2010 — Leave a comment

If you’re in the DC area, we’ll be coming your way. On October 8th we’ll be doing a regional training event downtown at Capitol Community Church’s Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse. Come and join us if you’re in the area! For more info on this event and future cities, click here.

Changes In Evangelism

 —  September 21, 2010 — 1 Comment

I’ve noticed a huge change when it comes to evangelism. For the sake of space (and your time) I’m going to probably make this a little more simplistic than it actually might be by generalizing. But over the years people have generally viewed evangelism as:

  1. Inviting people to church or a ministry.
  2. Verbally presenting the gospel message and giving an invitation for the person to accept it.

Both of these are good and I’d suggest #2 is necessary. And I might add that we’ve probably over valued #1 to a certain degree (that’s probably a topic for another blog post though). But I have to say, I’ve noticed a change in what’s effective. This change doesn’t negate either of the above, but the approach to evangelism can be quite different.

Traditionally we have sought to convert someone AND THEN give them a sense of belonging in the Church (or ministry). But more often than not I’ve found it even more effective to flip this approach. We are seeing people come to faith by first giving them a sense of belonging in the Church (meaning relationships with multiple Christians and doing so off the church campus or outside of an event) and then people coming to saving faith after already having a sense of belonging in the Church.

In my church we have structured in such a way that provides environments for this approach. And it’s taken some time to work out – making sure we avoid “bait and switch” environments, keeping everyone focused outward, making sure we don’t lose a Christ-centered focus in anything we do, ….things of this nature. But one thing is certain: it’s pushing us to avoid being a part of the horrifying statistic that shows after 2 years Christians don’t have any more close relationships with non-Christians.

Have you noticed this change in what’s effective in evangelism? If so, how have you adjusted your ministry model to fit this? What kind of environments do you create for growing relational connections with non-Christians?



Got Something I Should See…?

 —  September 9, 2010 — 1 Comment

There is a new book out called, “Church Planter.” It’s written by Darrin Patrick and Mark Driscoll. I haven’t read the book yet, but I will. I’m not going to read it because I am a church planter, although I’m sure this book will be beneficial for that. I’m getting it because of what this intro video says in regards to college age people.

Obviously I don’t know how the book will address this issue, but the claim of this intro video is that younger generations ultimately haven’t grown up because of a lack of discipleship. It’s filmed in a church that has died. And this author suggests it died because of a lack of godly men who then discipled younger men.

I think this is a much needed point to make. There are certainly faithful older men (and women) that have taken Jesus’ command to disciple seriously, but I’d agree that discipleship hasn’t exactly been a strong point in the Church as a whole. But I’d also suggest there is much more to this problem of “prolonged adolescence.” This issue of godly men in the church is certainly at the core of this problem. But it’s not the entire core.

Recent articles like, “What Is It About Twentysomethings?” and “Boys With Beards” have looked at twentysomethings with bewilderment, confusion, and even frustration. For instance, Mark Driscoll sees the results and outcomes of the lives of these people and is simply dumfounded. In The Slow Fade, we write to people of older generations to help them walk younger people toward adulthood. And, in my latest book, College MInistry From Scratch, I provide a practical guide to starting a ministry that cultivates this in and through a college age ministry. And I did that because I agree that this is a problem.

However, understanding WHY twentysomethings live and think the way they do is bigger than JUST a lack of discipleship received from older generations. Much bigger, actually.

My next book is focused on explaining this. I’m writing this book because I want to help bring understanding to the issue and provide practical solutions to helping it. There is much to this that I have been studying for years now, but have never written about – or even shared in seminars. But, it’s time. So, even though I’m already writing and my research is fairly extensive, if you have links to articles or resources that you feel could be useful for me in this project, please let me know!! More to come…

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!

INTRODUCTION

SECTION ONE:
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

SECTION TWO:
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?