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

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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.

BASIC Live - Free online leadership training for college ministry.

A Leader in the Making

Amal Zeidan Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, BASIC Crew, Evangelism, Event Ideas, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

How can we as leaders, or potential leaders, be prepared for the next steps of our life? If you are a Christian, you already know that you were not meant to live an average life. Simply making it through the day with cute baby videos or tiny kittens in coffee cups is probably not what the Lord had in mind for you when he called you to be a son or daughter of the Most High God.

There is a special call on our lives to be bold as lions, yet gentle as doves. I can’t think of anyone that has lived out this call better than Jesus Himself. The example of Christ is one in which all our eyes should be turned to, not only to observe in amazement, but to allow Him to transform us into His likeness. Though this can be carried out through many ways, one way is to take heed from others who have spent enough time drawing close to Christ and have dedicated much of their lives adhering to the call that the Lord has given them. When speaking to the church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul tells the church to, “be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” It is a good thing to learn from others and to seek wisdom and knowledge.

For this very reason, BASIC has put together a half-day leadership training just for you, BASIC Live. How exciting is it to know that a bunch of people care to equip you with the right tools to make you a more effective leader on your campus?

You don’t think you’re a leader? The Bible says otherwise! And rest assured, you are not alone. I never thought of myself as a leader either. You know that public speaking class we have to take in undergrad; I took three times and not because I loved it so much; I was terrible at it. I was shy and unaware with zero confidence to my name. I had nothing to offer anyone, until the Lord said I am His child and with that comes new everything.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.2 timothy 1:7

He equips us with everything we don’t think we have and everything we need to be a leader in His name. This training brings speakers from all walks of life to empower us to walk in that promise of power, love and self-discipline. Our campuses need leaders who have God on their side and who are prepared to take on the opposition. This is only the first step into reaching the full potential we were meant to carry out.

This is the only free college ministry leadership training so take advantage of it. Much will be said that can inspire you to take that last step needed to stand up boldly for your campus or where every God has planted you. From information on counseling and identity maintenance to practical steps for growing your group, it’s all at BASIC Live. Get plugged in and soak up the goodness!

This college ministry training event will stream to your campus, office, or dorm. The speakers include, Fred Antonelli, Esther Rock, Sam DiStefano and Nick Nilson (and that’s only less than half). Check out if there’s a Hot Spot near you or stream it from the comfort of your own home. 

Here are the details: This Saturday April 30th from 1 – 4 PM (EDT)

Hot Spots (starts at noon): Albany, Binghamton, North Country, Rochester, Syracuse and Long Island 

For more info and to register, visit thebasicsite.org/events/basiclive

 

 

About the Author

Amal Zeidan

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Amal Zeidan is a student leader for the BASIC group at Long Island University. While pursuing her Masters in Nutrition, Amal has conducted several successful debates on the Post campus of LIU. Her work at the university over the last two years has brought 'God' out of the church walls and in to the public forum. If she's not in class, Amal can be seen talking to students and engaging them with the truth of the Gospel. Keep up with her journey at JesusChrist.nyc.

How To Be A Leader

Amal Zeidan Advisors & Student Leaders, BASIC Crew, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

We have all heard the call of leadership in our lives and we know what’s required: skill, creativity and communication to say the least. All these virtues are great, but are they the essence of leadership effectiveness. Some professors at LIU Post have explored the values and practices of the best leaders the world has seen and have complied The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership. 

As I read these, I wondered if they could be Biblically supported -because that’s what Christians do- and I’m pleased to say that they were. Many of what I found were in reference to our faith and our walk with Christ, but the principle is definitely there and can be applicable to the call of being a true leader where we have been placed. 

I. Know Thyself

Understand your inner world, your bright and dark sides, your personal strengths and weaknesses. Self-comprehension is a fundamental precondition necessary for real leadership.

2 Corinthians 13:5- Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves…

II. Office Shows The Person 

The assumption of authority brings out the leader’s inner world. It reveals whether the leader has undergone a process of honest self-discovery that allows for the productive application of power.

Colossians 1:11- May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might…

III. Nurture community in the workplace

Community development and positive sentiment are virtues leaders must nurture by providing the right support, guidance, and incentives.

Psalm 31:3- For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

IV. Do not waste energy on things you cannot change

Do not waste resources and energies on things you cannot control, and therefore, cannot change.

Philippians 4:6- Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

V. Always embrace the truth

Effective leaders should always embrace the truth, always encourage candid criticism throughout the organization, be skeptical of flattering appraisals, and never let authority place a wedge between them and the truth.

Ephesians 4:25- Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

VI. Let competition reveal talent

Nurture an environment that can use the forces of competition constructively, create a platform that releases the ingenuity and creativity of your employees in pursuing corporate goals and objectives, identify subordinates who use competition as a constructive force, steer away from subordinates who use competition as a destructive force.

1 Thessalonians 5:11- Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

VII. Live life by a higher code

Dedicate yourself to a higher standard of personal conduct; don’t harbor ill-will toward those who offend; be ready to assist those who are in need without asking something in return; remain calm in the face of crisis; dedicate yourself to principle without compromise; earn the trust, respect, and admiration of your subordinates through your character, not the authority conferred upon you by the corporate chart; turn authority into power.

1 Peter 1:16- Since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

VIII. Always evaluate information with a critical eye

Don’t rely upon old premises, assertions, and theories. Develop a critical mindset that accepts nothing at face value, certify the credibility and usefulness of critical information, analyze the context that produces critical information and the messengers who convey it, and never rush to judgments.

Proverbs 14:15- The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

IX. Never underestimate the power of personal integrity

Personal integrity is a critical asset for real leadership. Always set an honorable agenda, adhere to a code of professional conduct, never try to justify dishonesty and deceit, rather “fail with honor than win by cheating.”

Proverbs 19:1-Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

X. Character is destiny

True leadership is ultimately traceable to factors of character and personal integrity; much of what is called “destiny” lies in our hands, not in mysterious forces beyond our control.

This one, however, I won’t agree with. 

Proverbs 19:21- Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Jeremiah 1:5- I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9- He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

Nine out of ten isn’t too bad. I try to remember that I have the best leader to follow and I learn from Him. Ultimately, our goal is to get everyone else to follow Him too. 

photo credit: Black King via photopin (license)

About the Author

Amal Zeidan

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Amal Zeidan is a student leader for the BASIC group at Long Island University. While pursuing her Masters in Nutrition, Amal has conducted several successful debates on the Post campus of LIU. Her work at the university over the last two years has brought 'God' out of the church walls and in to the public forum. If she's not in class, Amal can be seen talking to students and engaging them with the truth of the Gospel. Keep up with her journey at JesusChrist.nyc.

About the Author

Amal Zeidan

Facebook Twitter

Amal Zeidan is a student leader for the BASIC group at Long Island University. While pursuing her Masters in Nutrition, Amal has conducted several successful debates on the Post campus of LIU. Her work at the university over the last two years has brought 'God' out of the church walls and in to the public forum. If she's not in class, Amal can be seen talking to students and engaging them with the truth of the Gospel. Keep up with her journey at JesusChrist.nyc.

The Conference Post

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

As most of you know, BASICcon is THIS WEEKEND! woohoo! I’m excited, can you tell?

Conference time is very exciting for us at BASIC central and for our groups all over the Northeast! These weekends are always impactful with powerful ministry times, dynamic teaching, and amazing worship. While there are probably a million and one things left on your to do list, I thought I would give you a little insight into our heart for BASICcon this semester! Every year, the staff at BASIC prays and plans for each conference. This year as we were praying, we felt strongly God had something specific He wanted to communicate to students.

We know that being a young adult isn’t easy in the world we live in today. We know that our students walk through some challenging and heartbreaking circumstances. Whether it be a loss of a close friend or the pressure to perform, students can all come together around the reality that college can be hard. We all go through seasons where the outlook seems bleak and dark.

However, we have a hope, and his name is Jesus. We have a God who never leaves us to figure it all out on our own. This semester we were inspired by Isaiah 43:18&19. It says:

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

God is always making a way for us.

Even when we have no direction for our future, He is God.

Even when we run from Him, He is God.

Even when we have nothing left to give, He is God.

Even in your wilderness, He is God.

This conference we pray that the reality of who we are as children of God would ignite hope inside weary hearts again. We pray that no matter what circumstance has come against, or lie has sunk into their hearts, that our students would rejoice around the fact that they have a God is bigger, stronger and greater than anything they could contend against. We pray that dreams would be awakened and vision would be released! We are the hope for our campuses! We pray that as they grab hold of their identity and His promises, they have the freedom to let go of their past and believe God for the new things He is doing in them and through them. We are not left to walk through life alone, we never were.

I pray that this gets you so amped for all that God wants to speak to you and your students this conference! Can’t wait to see you all there!

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.