Comparing and Competing

Sarah Ball Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

Something that I’ve noticed lately is how fascinated we are with talking about our personality types. Everyone asks each other whether they are an introvert or an extrovert, a thinker or a feeler. And if you don’t know, then you’re supposed to go online and take a free test to figure out how your mind works.

The last time I took the test was a few months ago and I turned out to be an ENTJ. So that makes me extroverted, intuitive, a thinker, and a judger, or what 16 Personalities likes to call it, “The Executive.” After you get your results there are pages upon pages of explanation of your personality type, how common it is or isn’t, and how it relates to other personalities.

I find that we tend to compare our personalities with each other. We like to see the differences between us, and then determine if one personality trait is “better” than the other. Comparison is something that has exploded throughout our generation as millennials. We compare personalities, we compare our Instagram profiles, and we compare ourselves to impossible standards portrayed through media exposure.

I find myself comparing all of the time. I compared myself to other women I would see on social media, and to other people’s lives and how great they were compared to mine. It came to a point where I had to delete my social media pages because I became consumed in measuring up to the standards set before me on my iPhone.

And then I had a thought, how is it possible to compare two people who are uniquely made?

If we look at the definition of the word compare we see it defined as, “to represent as similar.” We are not able to live in this unhealthy mindset of comparison because we were not made to be compared with each other. We are each uniquely designed and created by God for a purpose that is set apart from all else, we are not similar.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mothers womb.” We were uniquely created by God, not carbon copies printed out designed to be compared to each other. We are God’s special possession, something to be cherished.

I love Lisa Bevere and her book, Without Rival. It really takes this idea of comparison and being made unique to a new level of understanding.

She says,

“God uniquely created your DNA and knit your frame in secret so he could surprise the world. He authored how your heart expresses itself; he was the architect of your smile and the melody of your voice; he made all of your features with the fondest thoughts of only you in mind. He celebrated along with your parents your first smile and watched with affection your first steps.”

I love her wording and her explanation throughout this section in her book. We are unique and complex creations. We look different, sound different, are gifted differently, we like and dislike different things. We were created this way to celebrate the differences and uniqueness, not compare them and decide who is better than who.

Often, especially on social media, when you’re comparing yourself with others, you’re comparing their highlights to your behind-the-scenes. Not only are we unable to compare because of the fact that we are unique, but we are unable to compare because of the fact that what we see on social media is not real. It’s edited, fabricated, and embellished from the truth. 

When we change our mindset and outlook on comparison we are no longer insecure, we have less doubt, and we are able to live life freely and more enjoyably. We are able to stop competing with each other and begin to encourage and lift up others. 

Stop Comparing. Stop Competing. Be Unique.

 

About the Author

Sarah Ball

Sarah Ball graduated from Elim Bible Institute and College with a degree in Theological and Biblical Studies with a focus in ministry. It was at Elim where Sarah knew she had a passion for ministry and college students through the exposure of BASIC. In June of 2017 Sarah joined on staff with BASIC along with her husband, Elijah.

When Other People Get What You Want

When Other People Get What You Want

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 1 Comment

Let’s face it, we have all felt it; that hot jealousy that rises up in us when someone else gets what we really wanted. We don’t want to feel that way, we don’t want to be upset over it, but sure enough, the feeling hits you like a brick wall.

It comes in many shapes and many ways. Maybe you are feeling inadequate because you have applied to what feels like a million jobs with no luck and your friend got their dream job right out of college. Maybe you feel stuck or left behind because you have received your 6th wedding invitation this year and you can’t even snag a date!

Maybe you scroll through your feed and are overwhelmed with feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction because you didn’t just climb a mountain in Peru like your friend Paco. Maybe you are feeling frustrated that someone (who in your humble opinion is a big ol jerk) is stepping into their dreams and you feel like you are still waiting on something, anything to start going good.

You are not alone. We live in a world that is fast paced and on display for all to see. With the prominence of social media today, young adults more often then not walk away from a scroll sesh feeling envious and inadequate. So what gives? What do we do when other people seem to be living the life that we want?

God has something to say about this. God thought it was SO important that He made sure to include it in the ten commandments. Deuteronomy 5:21 says, “ And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

So in today’s language, don’t be desirous of your friend’s bae, their stuff, or their life. The word covet means to yearn, crave, or want really really badly. Craving someone else’s stuff, circumstances, financial situation, opportunity or relationship status doesn’t change anything for them and really only hurts you. Teddy Roosevelt once accurately said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

The author of Hebrews writes in 13:5, “ Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself (Jesus) has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’” A jealous heart is usually a discontent one. A discontent heart says, “What God has given isn’t enough.” This attitude is harmful to your spirit and can lead to bitterness, frustration, anger and reeks of ungratefulness.

As believers we have a promise. Jesus comes alongside of you and says, “I’m not going anywhere kid and I’m never going to abandon you.” God knows us and loves us. He knows exactly what we need and want and will always provide for us according to His perfect will. He actually promises to give us the desires of our heart when we make a habit of delighting ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4) The discipline we must learn is being content in the knowledge of His goodness.

If you are struggling today, I challenge you to take a break and challenge your own perspective. Where is your gaze? What are you focusing on? What is one beautiful thing in your life right now? When was the last time you took time to delight in God?

It is only in the light of understanding who you are and how loved you are by the God of the Universe, that you will be able to trust. God is for you. He is writing YOUR story and you can be sure it’s a good one. Don’t let the enemy steal one more second of your joy. Focus your heart on Him and His promises to you and watch every fear and jealous thought disappear.

 

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Goodbye to the Big Guy

Goodbye to the Big Guy

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, BASIC Crew 0 Comments

I’m writing this letter as I sit at my desk in the BASIC office. Though I have known about the transition for months, we are now in the final countdown of Jonathan Burgio’s last days as Director of BASIC College Ministries.

Many of you know Jon from visits to your campus and on stage at BASICCON. You might have been impacted by a word he spoke or a conversation you had with him. He has a way of making you feel valuable and seen and heard. I have had the privilege and honor of working with him for the past three years and I wanted you to get an inside look and the kind of leader he was by sharing my personal letter with him.

Dear Jonathan-

Words cannot express how much I will miss you and Nicki. My time working with you both has deeply impacted me. I wanted to take time to thank you.

Thank you for being a man of character.

They say you can judge someone’s character by who they are when no one is watching. A lot of people look up to you and see you from the stage but I have had the chance to see how you roll in the in between moments of life. The moments when things don’t go as planned. Things like certain people flying into the wrong airport (so sorry about that one), Sprinter tire blowouts on the way to conferences, lighting consoles refusing to work, and missing passports on missions trips.

In every circumstance you hold true to who you are. You are a man who loves God and loves people to the very core. It’s just your nature. Whether you are talking to the students, volunteers, or the well known speakers and artists flying from across the country, you treat everyone with respect and kindness. You are patient. You are understanding. You are gentle. You make people feel comfortable in your presence. You are a man of integrity and it’s clear to everyone who knows you.

Thank you for being a servant leader.

You and Nicki both embody this in a way I have never seen before. You will gladly and willingly go out of your way to serve your staff and the students of BASIC. There are almost endless examples.

How many times have you and Nicki took your personal time to do tasks for BASIC? How many late nights have you stayed at the office? How many hours figuring out things for us that weren’t really your responsibility? How many times have you went out of your way to plan something special for the staff? How many phone calls have you made to ensure that we would be taken care of? How many emails sent to make sure groups felt supported? How many times have you given up sleep for us? How many times have you given up what you wanted for our sake?

Too many times to count. You have always made us feel taken care of and fought for.

Thank you for adding value.

There is a quote by John Quincy Adams that says, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I don’t think a quote could better describe who you are. You add value to people by making them feel important and inspiring them to be better. You consistently ask questions and make suggestions that have helped me change perspective and walk in the fullness of what God has for me. That’s what you do for EVERYONE. You help them be the best they can be.

One of my favorite lessons from you is the value of thanking people. I watched for three years as you took the time to write notes, make phone calls, and have meetings to communicate to supporters, volunteers and friends that you were thankful for them. Because of your example of pointing out value in others, you have added incredible value to mine.

Thank you for being generous and kind.

You are generous in every way. Generous with your time, generous with your finances, generous with your care. I am floored when I look back at the times you and Nicki have been patient to listen, set aside time to hear me out, have treated me to coffee and lunch, and have somehow always gifted me with cards or presents exactly when I needed them most. Your care is over the top (you could say extravagant even haha) and your kindness has meant more than words could ever express.

Thank you for believing in me.

Probably most of all, I have been impacted by your unwavering belief in me. You boldly speak life over me when I feel insecure or afraid. Your confidence in me makes me brave. Your overwhelming support has made me feel comfortable to try new things and grow into leadership roles I never thought I was capable of. I always felt safe in the knowledge that you were for me and you would do anything to help me be the best me I could be. Thank you for being the kind of leader that people dream of working with.

My time as your co-worker has changed me for the better. I am so incredibly thankful for your character, example, and hard work. I could say so much more, but I will leave it at that. Nicki got you that “World’s Best Boss” mug before your first day as Director four years ago and you have been living up to it every day since. On behalf of the entire BASIC network and crew, we’ll miss you, we love you, and we thank you for a job well done.

 

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Coffee & Rest

Anna Marie Magyar Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

—C. S. Lewis

The chills of the rain and wind ruin what I believe the beauty of this May afternoon should be. Rather than warming up with a hot cup of something delicious, I choose to stay cool and go for my favorite lavender and ginger latte (Sounds crazy, but you MUST try it!). I wait patiently to be joined in this quaint coffee shop by an old friend, where there will be full conversations, endless laughs, and words of encouragement that bring hope to my soul.

My name is Anna Marie. I love coffee, Jesus, my wonderful husband, teaching my sixth graders, and my house tiger, Rajah (not necessarily in that order). You and I may never meet, but I hope the connections that will be made through the words typed across this page, and the pages to come, will bring you encouragement, hope, vision, useful and applicable tools, and of course, the desperate need to try a lavender and ginger iced latte (as seen on the left).

Rest. Something I have been longing for. I don’t just mean a good night sleep. I mean the rest that comes from being in the quiet place–the presence of the Lover of My Soul. I long to return and to stay in this place of deep rest. My calendar, rather, longs to remind me of school deadlines, lessons to be written, activities to be created, coffee dates to be had, that hiding laundry by the washer doesn’t mean that it is done….and so on.

My life is full of GOOD things.

Encountering Jesus at 17 has forever changed the course of my life as I joyfully grabbed His hand and accepted the journey of a lifetime. I have an amazing church, friendships that encourage me to grow, mentors who are always there, students who make me see all of the good I can do (and all that needs to go), fulfilling ministries, a husband who is truly the Aladdin to my Jasmine, and a cat who completes our magical family.

In the midst of all of these good things, it is easy to become distracted by what the Lord has blessed me with and miss the times where I need to enter into His presence.

Is there anything keeping you from entering into that quiet place? A busy schedule? Pursuit of goals? Family obligations? Shame? Fear? Anger? Whatever it is, I pray we overcome these obstacles that would keep us from fully entering in and knowing the peace of the Lord that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). That we would be changed as our mind renews through His word (Romans 12:2) and the hope we have would not only anchor our souls, but those around us who are lost and desperate for truth & this love we have been given.

This rest–His presence, is what will change our hearts and minds. It’s what will bring healing and renewal to the depths of our souls. As we commune with our Heavenly Father, our lives will be changed. Our classrooms, dorm rooms, and college campuses will be changed. Families and relationships will be healed. Generational ties will be broken. Destinies will be realized. We will know who we truly are and who we were made to be in our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

My prayer over you:

Lord, thank you for this son/daughter whom You have called to know Your deep love for them & to be a part of Your amazing plan to make what is on earth as it is in heaven. I pray You would increase their hunger to know Your character, Your heart, and Your thoughts. Continue to pursue them in this life and bring them to amazing places and opportunities that reflect Your goodness and heart for them. Help them to enter into the life giving rest of Your presence.

 

Practical ways to find rest in the Lord:

  1. Plan time to rest
    • Wake up early to spend time with the Lord by praying, worshiping, reading your word or a devotional.
  2. Journaling
    • Life can be distracting. Grab your journal, a good pen (coffee!), and begin writing your prayers, appreciations, experiences and emotions to the Lord.
  3. Being still  (Psalm 46:10)
    • Be diligent to sit in a time of silence before the Lord. I like to put on worship music, sit in a comfy chair, and close my eyes. Being still before Him allows me to actively enter into His presence–a place of peace.

 

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar

Facebook

Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney.

To be in the Presence

To Be In The Presence

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Emily Baker.

Hey there, I’m Emily Baker! I’m a former student of SUNY Cortland, where I served for three semesters as the Worship Leader for our BASIC Chapter. I got to experience all of the joys of being a part of college ministry including seeing our group grow and watching the Lord radically change some of my best friends lives! I am now the Worship Director at a church in Cortland called Believers’ Chapel Cortland, and am getting to witness God do amazing things in the city.

God’s presence is everything. The closer I grow towards Him, the more I realize that understanding what it means to be in His presence is so incredibly important. As a worship leader I have found some people have never been taught what it means to be in the presence of God. They have never been taught why it is an amazing privilege to be able to enter the presence of our Creator.

When I look at the Bible, I find that one of my favorite moments in history happened right after Jesus died as he was hanging on the cross. Matthew 27:50-54 displays this moment:

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

The part I’d like to focus on is verse 51 when the veil inside the temple was torn in two. In the days before Jesus there was a temple built to house the presence of God. Within the temple there was a massive veil that separated the Holy of Holiesthe room where the presence of God residedand the rest of the temple. This veil symbolized the separation of man from God’s presence because of how he had turned from the ways of God to pursue ways of his own. Only high priests were allowed into the Holy of Holies once a year on behalf of all of Israel to atone for their sins.

So, what is so significant about this veil being torn at the very moment of Jesus’ death? The veil being torn proclaims the radical reality that Jesus’ sacrifice, his body being bloodied and torn, was a sufficient sacrifice for the wrong we have done. With the veil torn, every single one of us now has unlimited, twenty-four-seven, VIP access to the presence, the love, the forgiveness, the mercy, the peace, the freedom, the joy, and the grace that is found only in Him.

With this amazing truth in mind, I believe that God is calling us higher. If we’re being honest, life can be a little crazy. In one moment, you may be having the best season of your life. Maybe you encountered God at BASICCON, your grades are amazing, and your friendships are incredible. Then all of the sudden life throws you a curve ball; you don’t pass that one final that you spent hours studying for, someone cuts you off and you said some words under your breath that you shouldn’t have, your car breaks down when there’s no money in your bank account. Maybe you even find yourself skipping out on Bible reading because busyness has consumed your mind.

Within a moment our circumstances can completely change our countenance. We forget about the encounter we had with Him at BASICON because we lose sight of Him. We live in a world that wants nothing to do with Jesus and are constantly bombarded with it’s opinions and behaviors. If we’re not careful, we can easily find ourselves in the same patterns and mindset that we were in before.

But see, Jesus paid the highest price a man could pay, and I don’t think He paid it for us to remain the same. I don’t think He died so we could keep walking in anger, and frustration, lust, and anxiety, pride, and depression. You know what I think He paid for?

I think He paid for us to step behind the veil. I think He paid for us to hold unswervingly to the hope He’s given us, being untouched by whatever the world tries to throw our way. I think He paid for us to walk in the world shining bright His character, being cleansed from the character of the world. I think He paid for us to draw near to Him sincerely and get truly intimate, so that we can find freedom from all of the junk that tries to creep into our lives.

He is waiting; He is there; He is available to us through Jesus. It’s time to go deep with Him; to boldly enter into His presence, yielding to His skillful hands, allowing Him to change us and mold us to look more like Him. Will you discover what it is to be in the presence?

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:19-23

 

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Reading on the Regular

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders 0 Comments

Real leadership is easily observable. Strong leaders have a way of inspiring the people around them in a sense that makes them want to follow. That’s leadership in its purest form, right? A leader has followers. If you are leading and no one else is following then you are simply taking a walk. I digress.

The best of leaders have a commanding presence and a group of people that seek to follow or learn from them. They probably seem pretty well put together from the outside looking in. But behind the flashing lights and the smoke machine is some dedication, determination, and hard work. Leaders take personal and spiritual development very seriously. They are committed to it and are determined to make it a priority.

Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

The best of leaders have many great habits—one of these habits is reading. Reading is a means of helping a leader develop and improve. A leader who reads is one who recognizes that they need to sharpen their minds and build off of what they know. It is important for the leader to continue his or her own development in order to stay relevant. In full disclosure, I do not mean that leaders need to be trendy or know the latest slang—but I do see a constantly changing society and young people with new ideas, beliefs, obstacles, and attitudes. If a leader is to reach younger individuals then learning about their culture is a requirement.

Learning is essential for the leader.

Here are but a few reasons that leaders should read:

1) Inspiration

Reading can lift us up out of our current situations and provide us with fresh inspiration. We can identify meaningful ideas and strategies from others. It can also help us see the greater picture and not just what lies before us.

2) Expertise

Authors of books can generally be considered experts in their area. They typically have some type of background of knowledge and speak from a place of personal experience. Their experiences are valuable to us because we can learn from them. Why muddle through life making a myriad of mistakes when you can learn from the experiences of others? We can build off of the knowledge provided by these experts.

3) Mental Getaway

If anything, reading is a healthy way to escape from the demands of life for a short while. Reading has a way of challenging our imagination in ways that “Netflix & chill”-ing cannot do. We set the stage and picture the stories in our own minds.

4) Resource

Leaders come across obstacle after obstacle. We need to be building a bank full of strategies that we can draw upon when these situations arise. Further, when you work with people (which most of us do being in ministry), you often need to have some answers for them. Or at the very least know where to point them in the right direction. Life has many developmental struggles (i.e. finances, relationship issues, career stress, etc.) but then there are other unique situations (i.e. sexual identity, grief, self-harm, etc.) that call for some higher-level knowledge or expertise. Let’s be a resource when those situations arise. Or at least know the right direction to point them.

About the Author

Ryan Raflowski

Ryan is a school psychologist and co-advisor for the BASIC Chapter at SUNY Oswego. He desires to see a generation of young people recognize God's purpose and plan for their life. He tries to live "Kingdom-minded" and longs to see revival fire sweep across college campuses. You could probably find him walking around town playing Pokémon Go with his wife Kdee or indoors with their two cats Oliver and Lupin.

Making the Most of Your Summer

Making The Most Of Your Summer

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

School is out, summer is in and life is good. The first few weeks of summer break always seem the sweetest. Papers, finals, and grades are all just distant memories and before us we have seemingly endless days of relaxing, reading, exploring, and enjoying our summers. As a college student, thinking about being back on campus is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Today I want to give you some practical ways you can make the most of your summer.

Connect

College campuses are amazing places to be immersed in community. When you conveniently live just minutes from all your friends, it is easy to feel connected. Many students love their BASIC groups because of the community it creates. When summer begins, many people go back to their hometowns and friends are no longer a text away. Be intentional about making connections.

Often, we wait for others to reach out to us, but I encourage you this summer to be the person who takes initiative. Connect with both the people in your current context and your friends from school. If you aren’t already connected to a church back home, make the effort to find one and get involved. Send a text, write a letter, make a call and let the people in your life know that you are thinking of them and praying for them. This ensures you are being built up at home and deepening connections for your return in the Fall.

Reach out to Newbies

College ministry is a revolving door. As we say goodbye to one class of Seniors, a whole new batch of Freshman make their way onto the scene. More so than other ministries, we must be on our game when it comes to reaching out and welcoming incoming students. During the summer, many colleges give tours for accepted students that often include group fairs. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with Freshman before they arrive!

If you haven’t already, check your school’s summer calendar and see if your BASIC group can get some local students to represent the club on those days. Make sure to have some way to collect their contact info and reach out to them the first week of classes! This simple strategy will make a big difference when school starts.

Do your homework

Many BASIC chapters have already made plans for their upcoming Fall semester (PROPS). This is an amazing way to be prepared and ready to hit the ground running when the semester begins. If you haven’t, do not fret! I challenge all groups to do their summer homework.

What is working on college campuses? What ways can you improve your evangelism approach? How can you reach a bigger percentage of students on your campus? During the summer you have time you wouldn’t necessarily have once school begins. Use it wisely to learn new methods, read up on best practices, and catch up on powerful teachings and podcasts. Knowledge is power and it is always a good idea to keep learning, even during the summer.

Set goals

There is a quote that says, “If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?” It is easy for us to get busy once school starts and revert back to doing things the way we have always done them. Setting big picture goals and making strides to achieve them are what launch ministries, groups, and people into the next level.

Has your leadership team set goals for this upcoming year? What are you dreaming about for your life? Your BASIC chapter? I encourage you to sit down this summer and dream about what you would like to accomplish this upcoming year and how you plan to do it. When we are intentional about setting goals, we are already one step closer to actually seeing them happen. 

Rest

With all the papers, tests, and projects during the year, it can feel like rest is an old forgotten friend. With the pressure to juggle your school work, family stuff, personal relationships, and Jesus time, there seems to be little to no room for actual rest. I encourage you to intentionally take time to rest this summer.

Rest doesn’t always mean taking naps (though praise Jesus for a good nap! Can I get an Amen?). Be intentional about doing things that bring rest to your soul. Is it kayaking? Going on hikes with friends? Sipping coffee and reading at a local coffee shop? Soak up this opportunity to rest and recharge.

Spend time with Jesus

Summer may be a break from school, but it shouldn’t be a break from spending time with Jesus. Just like any relationship, it will take work. Summer schedules can fill up and get really busy, really fast. Do yourself a favor and make spending time with Jesus a priority. Whether it’s spending some time in the morning reading and doing devotionals before work or going on a walk after dinner to chat with Him, you will never regret the moments you intentionally pursue Him.

If you only do one thing this summer I pray that this is it. Jesus will speak truth to your heart, calm fear, and release dreams and vision over you. Deeper intimacy with God is the best way to prepare for anything the future might hold for you! Let Jesus encourage your heart this summer and take you to new places in Him!

I pray that these six things excite you and motivate you to make the most of your summer! Enjoy the season!

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Bridging the millennial gap

Bridging The Millennial Gap

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership 0 Comments

Yes, this is yet another blog post about millennials, because I felt like there wasn’t enough online about this topic already. All kidding aside, there’s been a lot of talk about this age group over the last decade. Unfortunately, much of the conversation has portrayed millennials in a negative way, but I believe this generation has many amazing qualities to offer to the world, and especially to the church.

A couple months ago an article titled 10 Things You Won’t Find In A Church That Attracts Millennials blew up on social media and our staff has been having some great conversations surrounding this topic. The author brings up a lot of relevant issues that drive millennials away from church, but before anyone jumps to thinking millennials are entitled and want people to change everything just for them (which happens all too often when we’re talking about millennials), I would argue that many of the points he makes would drive anyone away from a church, not just millennials.

We shouldn’t be focusing all of our attention on millennials out of frustration, but rather because we believe that reaching the next generation is vitally important to the health of the church. Eighteen to twenty-four year olds are the biggest missing age group in the church and, unlike in the past, many are not coming back once they get married and start a family.

We must try to win millennials to the Gospel or else the American church will look drastically different (and much smaller) soon. Just as past generations have had to sacrifice in order to reach the next generation, it is critical for us to put our own preferences aside to win millennials to Christ.

Because this is a blog for campus ministry and our target audience is millennials, I think this is a vital conversation for us to have and to bring to our church leaders. One of the biggest themes that has come up in our conversations as staff is that those of us in campus ministry are in a strategic position to bridge the gap between millennials and older church leaders. Campus ministers and student leaders can be the ones who bridge the divide between millennials and the church.

This won’t be an easy task, but it is a worthwhile one. So, what are some ways that we can facilitate discussion between millennials and older church leaders?

Pray for constructive dialogue

The overwhelming amount of discussion about millennials over the years has largely caused the damaging divide that we see today. I hear it in conversations with church leaders. I see it when I speak with young adults and they are hesitant to get involved in their church. I even observe it when I read articles on popular websites geared at millennials, like Buzzfeed.

Before trying to get the two sides together over coffee or a meal, pray that God will bless this effort and speak to everyone involved. Pray that all the generations will be able to put aside their differences and value one another. And then when you get together open with prayer too. Prayer can overpower even the most stubborn and defensive heart.

Remove assumptions

Older leaders often assume that millennials possess all the qualities they’ve been told of them (self-centered, lazy, slow to mature, etc.). More than likely, if a millennial exhibits these qualities it’s because someone in the older generation hasn’t done a good job of raising them and showing them a better way.

In the same way, millennials often assume that older leaders are the opposite of what they want in life (resistant to change, care more about their own lives than changing others’, closed off, etc.). It’s common that millennials feel this way because often they haven’t actually had in-depth conversations with any people in the generations above them.

There are assumptions made by members on both sides of the age gap. If we want to have healthy discussion about the future of the church, then we must set aside assumptions when we come to the table.

Really listen and learn

I’ve heard people say that they want to listen to the other side with an open mind, but once they sit down and begin to hear what the other has to say they become closed off and uncompromising. Often when I listen to someone I find myself formulating my response before they have finished talking. I can be so self-absorbed that I’m not focusing on what they have to say, but rather making sure I can communicate my opinion on the matter. This isn’t effective listening. That kind of listening leads to frustration and a breakdown in communication instead of learning and growth.

I’ve learned that if my immediate response to someone is to say “yeah, but…”, then I haven’t truly listened with the intent to learn from that person. In order to see the need for change and then affect the right change, it requires that we really listen to one another with the intent to learn.

This requires the kind of humility that James spoke about when he encouraged us to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19). We’re all much better off when we realize that none of us sees the whole picture by ourselves. We need each other. The older generation needs the perspective of millennials, and millennials need the wisdom that baby boomers possess.

Be open to unexpected outcomes

Hopefully by now you see the value and importance of starting a conversation that involves your church leaders and young adults, but it’s easy for everyone involved to have their own expected outcome as to how this will all shake out. Have you ever gone into a situation with a certain outcome in mind only to have something totally different happen?

I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I have gone to an event each with our own idea in mind of when we would go home. She’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert, so I almost always want to stay longer than she would like. When we didn’t vocalize our expected outcomes ahead of time it led to a lot of frustration on both of our parts. I’ve even heard of some couples who drive to events separately to avoid this very conflict!

When we bring these groups to the table we need to be open to the idea that the outcome may be very different from what we expected. It may result in arguing and frustration that you weren’t expecting. My hope is that it results in effective change. But those changes may be different than what you expected, especially if people are choosing to remove assumptions and really listen and learn from one another.

If we aren’t open to unexpected outcomes it can be easy to shut down new ideas. When we are open to unexpected outcomes it allows us to see things we may have otherwise missed.

I hope you see the opportunity you have here. You are in a strategic position to help young people and the church move forward in a way that brings more people to Jesus. That is at the heart of why we do what we do and it’s of the utmost importance.

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

Twitter

Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.

Purpose Through Passion

Purpose Through Passion

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Kaitlyn Puukila.

Kaitlyn PuukilaHey guys! My name is Kaitlyn and I am a recent graduate from the University at Albany, where I served as BASIC President for 2 years. Although it came with some challenges, I loved every second of it and have seen God do some amazing things through BASIC. Now that I have joined the world of jobs and bills, I am SO excited to be here to share just a few thoughts with you, in hopes of giving you some encouragement… so please read on!

“The word passion comes from the Latin root pati-, meaning suffering, or enduring. Passion is, at its core, a form of pain that demands it be quenched.”

–Vivek Haldar

 Passion is one of God’s greatest creations, and is what helps us make a difference in the world. Passion is what drives a soldier to defend his country, or a man to protect his family. Passion takes away the fear and creates courage when you need to start a new chapter in your life. Passion is the verb that drives you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

So what are you passionate about? Is it dancing, singing or writing? Do you love animals or learning about new cultures? Do you have a passion for leading on your college campus? 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s very grace.” But where to start? I have a gift and a passion, but how do I use it in my daily life to serve and bless God? 

The Bible says in Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of your heart.” Did you know that not only does God want to give us the desires of our hearts, but He’s the one who put them there? When we get to know God’s character and who He is, that’s when the desires of His heart become our own. Don’t get me wrong, it would be pretty sweet (pun very much intended) to say “please” and get giant bowl of ice-cream anytime I desired it. But what does passion have to do with knowing God?

When we start to desire the things God desires like love, joy, peace, forgiveness, and wisdom, that’s when God can use you no matter what you’re doing. Think of it this way, if God can use us when we have nothing to offer, imagine how much more we can be used when we ask Him to work through us in part of our lives where He’s created us to be passionate! Not only can He use us, but it brings Him joy to see us want to know Him better and use the gifts He’s given us.

So if we were made to be passionate, then why do we sometimes feel like we need to give up on the things we love in order to be a “good Christian”? Our culture wants to put God in a box, so it’s easy to start thinking He can only work through us when we are in church, at a bible study, or at our Basic groups where people already know about God. That is far from the truth though, and in fact quite the opposite. When we have a heart to serve, it’s not about leaving behind things we are passionate about. It’s about letting God be a part of those things and allowing Him to use your passion to speak to and love on people.

If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, that’s okay! Take time to learn about yourself and ask God to reveal your passions to you. This site here is a great resource to do just that. God is not limited by your daily routine or by your adventurous lifestyle. There are no boundaries to how He can use you. All He requires is your willingness and a desire to know His heart, and that’s when you will begin to walk out your purpose through your passions.

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.