Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

This morning I read Tim Elmore’s latest blog post. The first 2/3rds of the post deal with the communication gap between the iY Generation and older generations. (The other 1/3rd of the post is a plug for Tim’s new book on the subjuct, “Habitudes for Communicators”. I plan on picking it up.) The post provides some good observations points to think about as you work to communicate effectively with your students.

What are some ways you are communicating with your students? What have you found to be difficult? What have you found to be effective?

You can find the post HERE.

FYI: I have used Dr. Elmore’s Habitudes and other resources and have found them very useful. See his website here.

Relevant Magazine is doing a “re-posting” of their best web content from the past year. I found this one, “We need boring Christians” interesting. I want to call your attention to it as well. (Maybe you saw it when it was first posted this year, I missed it.)

Andrew Byers (he blogs at Hopeful Realism) reminds us of the need and the importance of the the “dull labors and bewildering struggles that would make unexciting press” and the reality that “discipleship is often ugly, messy and painful.” I know I catch myself pointing my eyes and my students eyes toward the ‘radical’ and the clamorous more than I do toward the every day labor of being faithful where God has placed you and doing whatever we do for the honor and glory of Christ.

I think the reminder is worth reading – take a look at it and join in on the discussion.

Chuck Bomar put together a great article on college ministry over at College Leader. It is worth your time reading and thinking through. You can find the article here: ‘The Missing Piece’

I find myself pointing people to other post on this blog a great deal – I like to share what I find helpful. Today is no different. I came across this guest post on Faith On Campus to be very helpful. Check it out HERE. This is a guest post from Robert Henry.

Tim Elmore has put together some important realities when teaching and leading Generation iY. Check them out HERE.

What are your thoughts? along with Christianity Today have produced another resource for small group leaders. An online magazine or ‘digizine.’ Visually, it is very nice. Like most magazines it is content mixed with ads on products (mostly small group resources.) The embedded videos give the zine an interactive feel. You can also download the digizine and or print a hard copy.

Content in first issue is good. Some of it can be helpful to your collegiate small groups. It is worth taking a look at, passing along and signing up to receive future issues. You can even enter to win an iPad.

You can see the Digizine HERE

It has been a while since my last post. Sorry for the hiatus. I am working to get back on track with regular posting here and my other blog. In the mean time….

Guy Chmieleski posted some interesting thoughts on collegiates and small groups at his blog Faith On Campus. The blog is worth subscribing to and reading. I want to encourage you to take a look at these two post. You can find the first one HERE – the second HERE.

What are some of your thoughts?

Today – I want to point you to the content posted on a few other blogs. I think you will find all of these helpful in your ministry with students.

GUY CHMIELESK on his blog Faith On Campus post some ideas for ministry during the month of April. April, as Guy points out, can be a “check out” season for students and ministries. Don’t let this be your ministry.

April can be a great month to launch a new series of bible studies. Launch a small gender specific groups focused on special topics and issues for each gender. This can be a short 4 week study.

Life Action Ministries posted a blog from an audio by Tim Keller – “Living Missionally.” It provides a practical thought pattern of how to see our context from a missional standpoint. This is how we need to help our students see and approach the world they live in.

With Easter a few days a way, I found this post at Crossway very fitting. Read Jesus Died. It takes an except from Mark Driscoll and Dr. Gerry Breshears’ book – “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe” on the cross of Christ. We need to reminded from time to time of the physical torture the Saviour endured on our behalf.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

It has taken me a bit longer to continue the series than originally planned. Trying to get a semester of ministry started can fill your days and nights quickly. Here is the final post on Influence.

What are some practical things campus ministers can do and help students do to maximize influence?

The answer to this question is not difficult nor are my suggestions here earth shattering. Matter of fact, it is rather simple. And they are things many have done and are currently doing with students and others. But I state them with the hopes campus ministers and the students they work with will take the simplicity of maximizing influence and learn to think differently and strategically about the communities God places us on any given day.

First way to maximize influence is to invite people to come along. Create the community for yourself. Jesus invited 12 men to come along with him as he lived his life, ministered to others, and strategically invested in each of them (Matt. 4:18). He created the opportunity.

Create opportunities by inviting others to join you. This could be an invitation to a small group you lead, a discipling or mentoring relationship, leadership team, mission trip or project. By inviting others to join you on such journeys you place people (students, peers, etc.) in a place where you can engage and influence their lives.

Be willing to extend invitations. You never know how God may already be at work. Be prayerful, watchful and strategic.

Second way to maximize influence is to engage people along the way. Jesus took advantage of open opportunities as they came along. In Luke 11, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. It was an open opportunity to exercising influence.

On the journey opportunities to engage others will present themselves. Take advantage of those opportunities. The random encounters taking place has you walk across campus. The student asking the “can we talk” question after a Bible study or event. The unexpected stop by the dorm room. The time you spend with your lab-partners, mates (suitemates, roommates, classmates & teammates), co-workers, and leadership teams will present opportunities to influence.

This requires us to open our eyes to the everyday opportunities God is creating as we journey along through every day events and happenings. It requires open eyes and ears as well as willing hearts. How is God working in the everyday encounters of the journey?

Third way to maximize opportunities to influence is to be present in life circumstances. Jesus made his presence known during life circumstances. In Mark 8, Jesus steps forward and feeds 4000 people. In John 2, Jesus turns water into wine. In John 11, Jesus comes on the scene to raise Lazarus from the dead. All these circumstances created opportunities for Jesus to maximize influence.

The happenings of life can create some great opportunities to influence other people. Current events can create opportunities to talk about world views, spirituality, justice, mercy, etc. Life events like deaths in the family, divorce, or illness open many up to spiritual things and the opportunity to simply be present to offer love and care. Tragedies, worldwide or close to home, create opportunities to present a Christian response.

Three keys to exercising influence in these ways:
1. Take Initiative – you have to step out to speak and respond when opportunities present themselves. One can’t just stand around and watch. You have to get in the game.

2. When you see or hear the Spirit’s prompting – ACT!! God’s Spirit will show us opportunities. Be obedient to those occurrences.

3. Earn the right to influence – (Ryan makes this point in the comments section of part 2. Read it HERE.) This means we learn to listen well. Close your mouth and open your ears. It means we serve abundantly. When the chance to serve someone occurs, take it. It requires we love completely. We must choose to love even when it is inconvenient and difficult. And it means we pray unceasingly. We have to become people who pray for opportunities to influence and the stamina to see them through.

Again, these are not new ideas. But the reminder can do us some good in helping us and our students think through how to be an influence in a world filled with many.

What are your thoughts?

Jesus maximized every day opportunities in the context of his communities to exercise his influence. I think we can learn to do this as well. But first, we need to identify the main communities in which we operate.

Most communities we operate in can be placed in three categories: Those created by me, created by others, and those created by circumstance. Let me give some examples. (Again – there is overlap and these are generalizations. However, looking at these categories can help us and our students identify opportunities.)

Communities Created by Me.
These communities are leadership positions I hold or ministry teams where I have responsibility. It is the small group I lead. These communities are my mentoring or discipling relationships. By in large these are the communities I created by my own initiative or choice.

Communities Created by Others.
These communities are my relationships with my (as one friend puts it) mates (classmates, teammates, roommates). They are organizations or groups I participate in but don’t necessarily lead. These communities can be intramural teams, lab-partners, study groups, or group projects. They are my co-workers and neighbors. A big part of these communities are dependent upon the other individual’s willingness and participation in the relationships.

Communities Created by Circumstances
These communities are driven together by the circumstance of hardship, tragedy, celebrations or victories. It is a life event bringing people together in a relationship. Death of loved ones, natural disasters, loss of job, retirement, graduation, engagements, weddings, etc. These relationships are fused on the fires of a life event.

So how do I maximize my influence opportunities in the communities God has placed me? I think we start by asking questions about our relationships and our communities in our every day encounters. To maximize influence one must think more strategically about every day life. This does not mean everything and everyone is a “project” to be “accomplished.” But rather, to embrace the truth that God is at work all around and He wants to involve people in His work.

We need to ask ourself and help our students ask an important question. Could it be God has placed specific relationships in the context of certain communities to be influenced? The obvious answer is yes. But is it the answer most believe? The answer to this question determines the validity to one’s desire to be an influence.

So if God is placing people in our life to be influenced we need to ask ‘who?’ Who are the people God is placing in my life in these communities? By identifying who we begin to put a face with the idea. Ideas help us think but a face can bring brokenness and reality. Once we know the face (who), we can think further about how (next post).

We need to learn to ask and help our students learn to ask these questions. People are constantly moving in and out of relationship with us in the communities in which we live. The above question can be used to help us identify the opportunities before us. The better known the opportunities the better prepared we are to be used by God to influence others.

Take your own assessment – see who God is placing in your communities and sphere of influence.

Next time we will finish this series by looking into the practical steps of maximizing influence. In the mean time, what do you think?