Evaluating Success

Evaluating Success

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

There are natural periods in which it is appropriate to evaluate your ministry’s success. For college ministry, one of those times is at the conclusion of the academic year. It is a time to look back and reflect on what the victories were in addition to what could have gone better (and the reasons why). As a leader it is important to evaluate success because it allows for the growth of your organization or ministry. I like to think of each year as a building block with which the following year can be built on. A growth mindset is important because we want our ministry and its members to be growing!

There are a few ways to evaluate your success. Let’s consider the following:

Reviewing Goals

Any successful organization is strongly connected to an overarching vision or mission statement. The vision or mission of an organization can act as a compass to guide you throughout the year. For example, if your vision is to outreach to the community more, you can center your organization’s events, leadership development, and teachings around…..wait for it……community outreach! Once you have this organizational framework and mindset you can easily set goals throughout your year.

Ask yourself:

  • As a leadership team, did we have goals?
  • If so, what were they?
  • Did we meet our goals?
  • Did our attitudes and efforts reflect our goals, mission, or vision?
  • Were the members cognizant or connected to the mission or vision?
  • Did we accomplish everything we sought out to do?

Goal setting is imperative to evaluating your ministry’s success. If you did not set goals for this past year, think about goals for the upcoming year. What does God want for your group? What would you like to accomplish?

Receiving Feedback

It can be hard to hear feedback from others. It often puts us in a place of defensiveness or poor self-esteem. However, if we seek to achieve growth, gathering and receiving feedback is essential. First and foremost, we need feedback from God on what went well and what could be better because His opinion matters the most. Next, look to your leadership team—their opinions should hold a lot of weight in your mind. They are the ones that are carrying out the mission and the many duties associated with it. Plus, they are probably cool people.

Ask your team:

  • What were our victories? What went really well?
  • What made these things successful?
  • What could have gone better? What could have made these things more successful?
  • Did you feel connected to the vision or mission? Why or why not?
  • In your opinion were the members connected to the mission or vision?
  • Did you accomplish everything you wanted to and do you feel successful regarding this past year?
  • What brought your heart joy? What things were discouraging?

Your team’s attitudes and opinions are important because they may have perspectives that are different from your own. It may seem simple, but remember: “We are better together!”

Looking Ahead

Now that you’ve reflected on your journey and gathered the perspectives of your team members it is time to look ahead! Be excited! You have new opportunities coming soon and a chance to realign some things that may have gotten off track. Take some time to encourage your team and inspire excitement for the newness that a new year can bring. It is so important to go into the new year being positive—all the while reflecting on your past victories and blunders.

Ask the Lord:

  • To give you vision for the new year and strategies to support it
  • To encourage and grow your leadership team
  • For divine wisdom as to how to tackle the challenges that will arise
  • For unity amongst all members and leaders
  • For the Holy Spirit to move powerfully within your group

Recognize that God is using you in powerful ways! Take heart!—for what you do matters to those that you serve and to the Kingdom of God. Full steam ahead as they say. There are good things coming right around the corner!

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.

graduate

A Letter to the Graduate

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

Congratulations! You did it! Graduating college is a BIG deal!

I hope that you enjoyed the past four years. I hope they were filled with memories of 2 AM laughter, fast food runs and deep talks. I hope you learned that you were stronger and smarter and braver than you thought. I hope that you met people who challenged you, believed in you and grew you beyond what you could have ever imagined. I hope you met obstacles that you had to overcome, circumstances you weren’t prepared for and hardships you needed to endure. Those things made you wiser. I hope you can look back and marvel at how far you have come.

The truth is you are probably having a lot of feels right now. You are excited. You are sad. You are anxious. You are hopeful. Be prepared to experience a lot of feels in this big transition. What a lot of colleges don’t prepare you for is the, “Now what?” feeling that graduation inevitably brings.

For the past 16 years of your life, school is all you’ve known. From Kindergarten until now, you have been walking on an educational journey that has been laid out for you. You have become accustomed to a certain set of schedules and rhythms and habits. In a few short days, that chapter of your life will come to a close, and a new chapter will begin. (If you are going to Graduate school than you get to hang on just a little longer) Before you get panicky and start freaking out about being thrust into the world of #adulting, I wanted to give you some words of encouragement and advice:

You are doing better than you think

So maybe the dust from your graduation party has settled and the creeping feeling that you don’t have your stuff together is getting harder to ignore. There is a lot of pressure young adults feel to land their dream job, have a sweet internship, or plans to travel the world right after they have graduated. While that might be the case for a few, the very big majority is in the same boat you are. Before you get sucked into the comparison game, take a second to celebrate the fact you GRADUATED COLLEGE, and remember that you are doing better than you think you are. This time is for figuring stuff out, so don’t fret! P.S. Despite what they say, nobody really knows what they are doing at 22

Pursue your passion

Sorry to all the parents who I might get an eye roll from, but the truth is this is YOUR life. You decide what you will pursue and what you will pass up. I went to school to be an Elementary School Teacher and ended up loving my job as a Campus Minister. God has given you talents, gifts and passions for a reason. When your passion meets purpose, you can change the whole world. Jennifer Lee once wrote, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Life is too short to get caught up in a job you loathe because it’s what makes sense. Don’t settle for less than God’s best, He has that kind of fulfilling adventure for you.

Find your people

It is no surprise that college is a very unique, lovely, and weird time in life. Never again will you live in such close community with the people you do life with on a regular basis. When you graduate, you will most likely be heading in different directions from the people you have come to know and love. It is extremely crucial in this transition to NOT be given over to blanket burritos and binge watching Netflix. That will only end up making you feel isolated and alone. Be intentional about connecting with people. If you move for a job or Grad school or are just crashing with your parents, be persistent in finding a church or young adult community that feels like home. This will feel uncomfortable at first, but finding people you can trust and do life with is extremely important in this next season.

Hustle Humbly

As twenty-somethings we sometimes forget that we are still, well, young. We have a lot to learn and a lot of life still left to live. During this season, don’t be embarrassed if you have to work a temporary job waiting tables or reconfigure your life path. Whether you are landscaping for the summer or have an opportunity to work with people in your dream field, I encourage you to work hard and work well. Character speaks volumes to the people around you. Though you might not be able to see it now, God is using your humble service to build character and prepare you for the leadership and influence you will have down the road.

Jesus First

I saved the best for last. All of this means poop if we aren’t putting Jesus first. What do I mean? I mean you can have the job, the marriage, the car, the family, and all the vacations in the world and still end up feeling empty if you don’t make knowing and loving Jesus your first priority. Matthew 16:26 continues the sentiment, “What good would it be for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” There will be a lot of things that will be feuding for that position in your heart. I encourage you, if there is any advice you take away at all, it is to passionately pursue Jesus with your life. Are you anxious? Are you worried about next steps? Are you confused about your future? Are you lacking purpose? Seek Jesus first and watch as He transforms your heart and your life.

That’s all I got. I speak on behalf of the entire BASIC crew when I say we are incredibly proud of you. We are thankful that we got to spend your college years with you and pray that you continue to walk in the fulness of what God has for you! Go get em tiger!

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.

How To Hear God's Voice

How To Hear God’s Voice

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Personal Development 0 Comments

Summer is almost here and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to warm temperatures, wearing shorts and flip flops, exploring new places and hitting the beach. Another big reason that I look forward to the summer is because for those of us in college ministry, things usually slow down a little bit and I can spend more time with God. Don’t get me wrong, there can still be quite a few commitments, but I often find that the summer is a great opportunity to set aside more time and focus on my relationship with Him.

Too often I find myself so consumed with activity that I don’t take the time I should to develop my relationship with God. King David was known as someone who was close to God. He was known as someone who spent time in God’s presence regularly and yet this is what he said in one of the psalms, “God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this dry and weary land where there is no water.” Even David knew that he had to set aside time to earnestly seek God.

There’s many ways to grow in your relationship with God. You could spend more time reading the Bible, in worship or reading books. But one way I’ve grown closer to God that has really been a blessing is learning how to better hear His voice through prayer. In our lives prayer is the grease that makes the engine go. Going through life without prayer is like driving a car without putting oil in. You won’t get nearly as far as you could.

James wrote in the Bible that, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Making space in your routine for a daily prayer time is really important and beneficial. If you don’t do this already then try starting with a reasonable goal like praying for five minutes. Once you’ve established a routine you can always increase the amount of time you spend each day.

I would suggest picking a time that you’re normally alert and don’t tend to have many other commitments. Think about a time you would normally spend mindlessly scrolling through social media or watching a TV show. Then put your phone on do not disturb so you’re not distracted. If you’re really having trouble remembering to do it put a daily reminder in your phone or determine that you won’t do something else you would never skip (like showering or eating dinner) until you’ve done your prayer time.

As you actively spend more time in prayer, eventually you can learn to hear God’s voice. It’s just like when you’ve spent a lot of time with a friend. I know my wife’s voice so well that I don’t need to look at caller ID when she calls, when I hear her voice I know that it’s her. And over time you’ll begin to know the voice of God through prayer.

It’s very rare that someone hears the voice of God in an audible way, but it can happen. Usually it sounds more like a thought within your head. Often you’ll find yourself questioning if what you just heard was your own thought or God speaking.

It takes time to determine which it is, but it’s helpful that God has given us the Bible to help us test what we’re hearing and determine if it’s from God or not. Anything that we think may be the voice of God must first align with what the Scriptures say. This is why it’s important to be reading and studying the Bible regularly so that you can go back and determine if something you’re hearing makes sense with what God’s Word says.

God has spoken some incredible things to me throughout my life. Some of the things I’ve heard Him say have been absolutely life changing. But it’s taken years of seeking God in prayer and through reading the Bible for me to clearly understand when I’m hearing God’s voice and when I’m just thinking my own thoughts. There are still times that I don’t always get it right, but for the most part I’ve learned to distinguish between the two.

It’s not easy or able to be explained in a five step process, but it is worth the time and effort to get to know God’s voice. You can grow in determining God’s voice through regular practice. Set aside time to be still, focus on Him and wait to hear His voice.

In a world where we’re used to filling every free moment by looking at Facebook or playing a game on our phones (guilty as charged) this will be incredibly difficult at first. But over time you can train your mind to focus and be quiet. God has so many things that He wants to tell you if you’ll take the time to listen. Tell God that you’re coming to Him because you want to hear His voice. This is what King David was doing when he said, “Earnestly I seek You.” And God will be so delighted when you do this because He longs to spend time with you.

Praying with a friend can also help you practice hearing God’s voice. I have a friend who I regularly pray with and when we pray we take the majority of our time to listen for God’s voice and then we share with each other what we heard. This might sound strange to you, but I’ve found that this practice has really helped me learn to hear God’s voice better. There are many times that God gives us words to share with one another.

Over the years I’ve shared words with him that have most likely been my thoughts more than God’s words, and I’m sure he could say the same, but as we’ve continued to lean into God and listen for His voice we’ve gotten better at discerning when it’s Him speaking and when it’s just us. And as the years have gone by we’ve seen words that we’ve given each other come to pass. When you see that happen, then you can confidently say that you’ve heard God’s voice and it strengthens your desire even more to keep listening for what He wants to say to you.

Even though there’s been times I’ve gotten it wrong, I don’t give up listening because I want to be someone who hears God. But this is not something to take lightly either. We have to be very careful with any word we share with others that we believe God has given us. Because our words are incredibly powerful and can have a big influence in the lives of others.

When you want to grow in hearing God’s voice it’s best to submit what you’re hearing to leaders in your life. Ask them what they think before you take it to heart or share it with another person. And remember that the Bible says anything God speaks to us for sharing with others will always be for strengthening, encouragement and comfort. If it doesn’t fit in one of those categories, it isn’t God.

When you devote some time each day to draw closer to God you’ll experience what David did. David had discovered that spending time with God was the greatest thing he could do in life. In fact, he considered it even better than life when he said, “God, your unfailing love is better than life itself. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.”

I hope you can start setting aside time this summer to seek God in prayer and I know that as you practice hearing His voice He will speak to you and encourage you. Have a great summer!

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.

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoying The Journey

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 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 Phil Blair.

Phil BlairPhil Blair attended SUNY Cortland with the intent of studying and pursuing a career in Adolescent Education of Chemistry. It was there that he felt God’s gentle, yet persistent call into ministry. In the exciting journey God invited him on, he found himself as a student leader in his BASIC chapter for the following semesters filling multiple roles throughout. Today Phil finds himself on leave from classes while actively serving in Jesus’ local church. It is there where he finds the outlet to reach the Cortland community, the place that he now calls home. Meanwhile he still advises the new leaders on campus and lives each day falling more and more in love with God and His beautiful design. 

Have you ever been set out on a task and asked yourself, “Ok, so I know the desired outcome, but how in the world do I get there?” If you’re anything like me, you have likely spent countless hours agonizing over the best route or the best plan of action. You may have even been wise enough to call out to God and beg for instructions. But again, if you’re anything like me, verse 105 from Psalms 119, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” rings frustratingly true.

God simply calls us to be faithful and trust as He provides a lamp and not a giant flashing spotlight. Often God will only offer us a small snippet of a grander design. The good news is that we are certainly not alone in our frustrations. The better news is that I think I have personally found a means of coping with this struggle and wanted to share it with you.

God’s word makes it clear that He’s called us to a life of faith and trust, which requires us to keep our eyes constantly fixed on Him. We might find ourselves wanting to get our BASIC group to a new level of maturity or striving for a personal breakthrough of some sort.

We spend a ton of energy drawing the most logical and “straightest” line from point A to B. We make strategies and plans hoping that we will get where we want to be with as little challenge as possible. But I dare you to be bold and challenge the “logical.” Sometimes God calls us to do things differently.

Take Tarzan for example. When he finds himself wanting to get from one side of the jungle to the other he doesn’t spend his time and energy planning out a straight route, building bridges, or cutting down trees to make his logical path possible. He instead simply reaches out and grabs a vine and swings! He takes the next available option and trusts in his internal compass to make the best decisions to take him to his intended destination.

Now I know, the planner inside of all of us is freaking out! If you were to look at Tarzan’s path, it would most likely zig zag, loop around, and maybe even backtrack. In the end, there might have been a much simpler and easier way for him to arrive.

I have struggled with this and maybe you have too. The desire to know exactly what to do next sometimes cripples us from moving at all. In God’s beautiful sovereignty, He gave me an opportunity to take a step back and witness firsthand how much slowing down and enjoying the journey teaches you character.

In this season of my life, I have simply been obedient to follow where God is leading, no matter how illogical it seemed. Honestly, at the start, it was more out of exhaustion and confusion than any gallantry or wisdom. That is the beauty of it all, that is exactly the place where God becomes so very real to each one of us.

I felt like Tarzan, just reaching out for the next branch, not really sure what would come next. In this season of complete submission, I was given an opportunity to be part of a teeny tiny men’s morning Bible study at a local assisted living home. That’s where I met Fred and Harry. They taught me something important about life and journeys and Tarzan.

Fred can be best described as a silent man, somewhat somber, and all in all very dignified. Harry, his best pal is just the opposite. Harry is the ruffian, the class clown, the life of the party, and one of the best story tellers. Often, I would find myself sitting in wonderment listening to the two navy men swapping stories and reminiscing about everything from deployment shenanigans to heart wrenching stories of their last moments with their wives.

One sunny morning in mid March, I had the pleasure of hearing a particular story of a cross country trip Harry found himself on and a hitchhiker he met along the way. The story itself, although funny, was nothing groundbreaking. I don’t know what it was about that day or that story, but later I was impressed with the importance of the journey and the adventure. The importance of taking in experiences everywhere you go and learning as much as you can along the way. The importance of just living and not planning all the time. The importance of just going.

Hey, that sounds familiar doesn’t it? Kind of reminds me of God’s design for our lives and God’s call to Abraham in Chapter 12 of Genesis. He presents Abraham with the simple, yet terrifying, task to just go. Just go and don’t worry about what lies ahead, don’t worry about whether you feel this next step lines up with where you think you’re headed, just go and keep your eyes fixed on him for the next step. Just reach out and grab the next vine.

The reason I chose this topic to share isn’t because it’s the newest trend or the easiest thing to grasp. This was (and continues to be) one of the hardest leadership characteristics I strive to learn. I assure you it has also been the most fulfilling. So, I want to encourage you to join me. When you let go and let God, the most extraordinary things always tend to happen.

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.

Recognizing Burnout

Recognizing Burnout

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

This one is tough for me. As a mental health professional, I have training in self-care and recognizing some signs of burnout. That being said, it can still be challenging at times to admit that I need to take care of some of my own needs before I am able to adequately meet the needs of others. I see this struggle all the time in both myself and in those that I work alongside. It takes humility to recognize that you have to hit the breaks and pull in for a pit stop.

Ministry work can lead to burnout for several reasons:

  • Lack of self-care and self-renewal
  • Unrealistic expectations for self
  • Poor stress management
  • Sense of perfectionism
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships
  • Lack of recognition for good work
  • Too many responsibilities
  • Need for control
  • Doing work that may feel monotonous or unchallenging

These are but a few of the risk factors for burnout. It is important to note that there is a difference between stress and burnout. While unrelenting stress can lead to burnout, too much stress does not always indicate burnout. Stress usually is characterized by too much; it involves the many pressures that demand too much of your physical and psychological resources. Burnout is usually characterized by not enough; it involves a feeling of emptiness, no motivation, and you are beyond caring. People who are experiencing burnout see no hope or positive outcomes that will change their situations.

If unrelenting stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up.

We are typically aware of being consumed with stress—we are less aware of burnout when it happens.

While not an exhaustive list, here are a few indications that you may be experiencing burnout:

  1. You feel tired and drained most of the time. You lack focus, motivation, and clarity of thought. You have overloaded expectations and experience a constant block for mental energy.
  1. You lose passion for your work and ministry. You dread conducting meetings and the other responsibilities. It becomes more of an obligation or commitment, rather than a passion in your life.
  1. You go from being a leader to being a manager. Leaders have vision. Visionaries are at their best when they receive instruction from God at the top of the mountain and come down and give vision to the organization. When experiencing burnout, a leader does not have a capacity for any more vision. All forward momentum comes to a hard stop, while the leader goes into management mode to try and hold everything together. Managers focus on the details, the processes, and the different parts of the organization rather than the whole. They do this, all the while with a small hope that they will receive a burst of energy to take their organization to the next level. However, this is a deception; unless the leader takes adequate steps toward self-restoration things will only get worse. Additionally, you may see people leave the organization. Unless there is a compelling vision coming from the leader, the people will scatter (Read Proverbs 29:18).
  1. You isolate yourself from others. When experiencing burnout, you are exhausted. You create an emotional distance from others because you simply lack the energy to have lengthy conversations or minister to their needs.
  1. You lack patience for the monotonous. Your work becomes boring and you feel disenchanted from the work that you are doing. You lack the patience to deal with the mundane things necessary to maintain oversight of staff and organizational responsibilities. Relationship challenges become petty and the grace you once had for the immaturity of the saints is now gone.
  1. You shy away from new challenges. Unless you take the necessary time for self-care and self-renewal, your organization’s growth will become limited. You may shy away from new challenges, renewed vision, and forward momentum. You are also too tired to problem-solve.
  1. You would rather call it quits, than take on a new mountain. When you are thinking about laying down your weapons, rather than going off to war to defeat your foes, then you know you need to be renewed. Anyone who is living for retirement is an individual who has already stopped living! God calls leaders to minister out of abundance and overflow—not out of the fumes of an empty tank!
  1. You view ministry as work rather than a calling. You may feel undervalued and underappreciated. Please know that the work you do is eternal and life-changing! As Galatians 6:9 says: So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. It is the greatest privilege and honor to be used by God and as an overseer of a ministry or organization. It is not a job, but a calling.

How can we recover from burnout?

  • Take a day of rest! This will most likely not fall on a Sunday, but making a day of rest a priority is key to a healthy work/ministry-life balance.
  • Spend time with God. This seems obvious, but do not underestimate what a single moment in God’s presence can do for your overall quality of life!
  • Make time for life-giving activities. What energizes you? Extroverts are energized by being around others, while introverts need alone time to recharge. Prioritize your time with God, with family & friends, your hobbies and interests, and for your physical health. Make sure you are not missing meals, getting a good night’s rest, and are exercising. You cannot effectively help others if you are not taking care of yourself first.
  • Refocus on your calling and God’s vision for your ministry. If you are feeling lost, you must find your way back to why God has called you to minister. Find focus in that and realign with the vision for your ministry.
  • Stay accountable. You are not meant to be an island. Leadership can be lonely and it does not always have to be. Connect with other leaders by reaching out for prayer and encouragement. Be honest about your victories and your failures. We must sometimes reach out for a little bit of help!

Sources:

Mattera, J. (2015, April 21). 10 Signs of Leadership Burnout and 5 Ways to Recover. In Ministry Today.

Smith, M., Segal, J., Robinson, L., & Segal, R. (2017, April). Burnout Prevention and Recovery. In HelpGuide.Org.

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.

BASIC Live - Free online ministry leadership training

Free Ministry Leadership Training

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

One of the biggest challenges in ministry, and especially college ministry, is the challenge of raising up solid leaders. In college ministry it’s an ongoing process because of the high rate of turnover. So, when you do find leaders how do you train them and get them prepared for ministry in the fall?

It’s because of these challenges that I’m really excited to tell you about our 5th annual leadership event, BASIC Live, coming up on April 22nd. This year we have an incredible lineup of speakers. The even better part is, this training is completely free and you can view it online from wherever you’d like or join a Hot Spot in your area to watch with other leaders!

If you can’t join us the day of, there’s a way to sign up to watch afterwards. On April 22nd, the broadcast starts at 1 PM eastern time and will run till about 4 PM with breaks in between sessions. The Hot Spots start at noon with lunch provided.

Throughout the day we’ll be hearing from speakers like Onterio Green, young adult pastor at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ church. We’ll also hear from life coach Cindy Scott who will share coaching tips for working in teams and about how God has designed us. And there are so many others who will speak on topics of worship, raising up student leaders, discipleship and general leadership principles. 

It’s going to be an incredible event! To learn more, find a Hot Spot near you and to register check out the BASIC Live page.

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.

What Discipleship Looks Like

What Discipleship Looks Like (Part II)

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

This week we have Nicole Ingersoll, Assistant Advisor at the University of Buffalo BASIC, back to conclude her thoughts on discipleship in Part II. If you would like to read Part I, you can find it here.

Last week I talked about the call of God on your life and making the choice to honor God in all that you do. I wanted to pick our conversation back up this week by giving you some practical ways to exercise discipleship on a daily basis.

Share Your Story

Timothy takes what he has learned on his own journey and what Paul has taught him, and starts pouring into all people. It is stated in the Bible that from a young age, it is clear that Timothy deeply loves the Lord and his people. Paul then gives Timothy opportunities to help serve the kingdom. Timothy goes alongside of Paul to various churches and starts sharing his story.

We need to realize the importance of our stories! What God has done in us is not just for us, but can serve as encouragement and motivation to others. Because they can see that we rose from our ashes and are now here, serving God. We were dead in sin but Christ came with his love, mercy, grace and forgiveness and spoke breath into our lungs. Now we are alive! We have peace and joy that comes from the Lord that sustains us in really hard situations. People notice that.

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2

Because of the relationships we have with others, we have these super cool opportunities arise where we get to speak into their lives. We get to encourage them. Listen to them. Hear about their struggles and figure out their strengths. We get to give advice. Because of our relationship with them, we can speak godliness into their lives.

Be intentional with your relationships and be prepared to share the good news of the Lord when he opens up those opportunities. Don’t allow Satan to steal an opportunity because you don’t know what good works God has done in you.

Make sure you follow up with them too. Paul writes to a few different churches AFTER he was already there. Giving them an update, keeping in touch, telling them that they are not alone, and encouraging them. Whether they are believers or not, show them that you love them because of how you are present.

Teach Them

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”  2 Timothy 2:1-2

The next step is that we become like Paul. We continue to pour into these people we have relationships with, we raise them up to be servant leaders for the Kingdom. We equip them so that they can in turn disciple others. That is how multiplication happens. What started with just one person pouring into you, then turns into a group of 3 and then 6 and then 9 and it keeps growing until ALL people know God’s name and his love.

The people who love God will become so vast that Satan won’t be able to touch us. Even if he takes things from this world from us, he won’t be able to break us down because we will be there for each other, encouraging, listening, praying, and portraying Jesus.

Practical Applications

So what does that look like? How do we incorporate discipleship into our already busy lives?

It can be as simple as committing to meet with one person for one hour once a week. It can be praying with someone on a regular basis. Grabbing coffee and asking them, “How are you really doing? What is actually going on in your life?” and then following up with them. You don’t need to be a licensed minister to disciple. You don’t even have to have ALL of the answers at the time that you meet with them. You just have to be obedient in what the Lord has called you to do.

Be aware of the value of the person’s soul who is sitting next to you in class or in your small groups or who you stand next to at work. Realize that we all have an eternal life ahead of us. That all the people you interact with have an eternity ahead of them.

Do you realize that taking the time to truly get to know someone could help them realize the truth that is in our Lord and Savior? Do you realize that them recognizing that truth and having them call upon his name, means that they will spend their eternity in Heaven, singing with the angels, “How Great is Our God,” instead of Hell in complete darkness and never ever receiving rest?

Are you serious enough about where those in your life will be spending eternity? Are you willing to share an hour of your time a week pouring into someone else? My challenge to you is to look into your relationships. Find someone who you can spend time with, maybe someone who you know is going through something and could really use a friend, and make time to disciple them.

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.

What Discipleship Looks Like

What Discipleship Looks Like (Part I)

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 Nicole Ingersoll.

Nicole IngersollNicole Ingersoll is the current Assistant Advisor at the University at Buffalo. When Nicole went off to college, she wanted nothing to do with a Christian community, but BASIC did a 180 on her perspective of the church and she now realizes how integral it is to her faith. As a result, Nicole has a huge passion for college students and loves being able to serve them through BASIC. She deeply believes that God uses the things that used to hold us down, to draw us closer to him. Nicole majored in Human Resources Management at UB and currently works as a Benefits Administrator at Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna, NY. A few random facts about Nicole is that she loves to play guitar and sing, her favorite flowers are sunflowers, and she was bit by an Emu as a child (yes, that really happened). This is what she had to share.

Discipleship is a word that a lot of Christians throw around. Leaders use it to teach their students. Students use it when connecting with their peers. But what does it actually mean? What does discipleship look like?

I found two definitions of Discipleship, the first being “Discipleship is the relationship between a teacher (discipler) and student (disciple).” This is a concept that most of us can identify with because we saw it demonstrated in real life at school. Another definition states, “one who gives full loyalty and support to another.” What I love about both of these definitions is that they both involve TWO people. Not one person, doing something to better themselves, but two people. Simply put, discipleship is a relationship. You don’t need a proper degree in ministry or theology. All you need is a relationship with other people and a relationship with God.

Missional Call

When Paul is writing to Timothy, he starts by talking about the grace and mercy that the Lord has shown him. 1 Timothy 1:12 states, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” It then continues in 1 Timothy 1:14, “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

It is clear in these verses, that Paul realizes that Jesus has given him so much. His thankfulness compels him to action and a missional life. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

In this verse, Paul calls himself “the worst of sinners.” If I had a penny, for every time that I thought I was the worst in God’s eyes, I would be rich. So many of us can identify with Paul here. But he isn’t saying it in a way to condemn himself. He uses the things he hates about himself and his past to relate to those around him. He uses those things to bring Glory to God.

Paul realized that his testimony and journey had a purpose because of the grace he had been shown. He realized that he could relate to those who also sinned, because he was not perfect and yet Jesus Christ was continuing to work in his life. You have to realize that your testimony is your story. It’s your opportunity to share with others what Christ has done in your life.

Having a relationship with Christ, and understanding the purpose that that relationship then puts on your life is the first step in discipleship. You need to truly, passionately, believe in the call on your life.

Honoring God with Our Lives

Along with our missional call, we are called to strive to honor God with every part of our life.

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:7-10

Discipleship takes work, it says in that verse that we labor and we strive, but that we do it because we believe in our God. A few times in the Bible, it brings up the fact that Timothy is younger. But he doesn’t let this stop him from the call that Jesus has put on his life to share his story and the word of God.

1 Timothy 4:12 declares, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Our age is not an excuse. We can be used by God to do great things, just like Timothy! We need to actively try to live in a way that honors God and his word.

Once you believe in the call on your life and have made the choice to honor God in all you do then you have a responsibility to disciple others. I’ll have more on that next week so check back for some practical tips on sharing your story and pouring into relationships in Part II!

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.

Suffering and success

Suffering & Success

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

Whether we like it or not, suffering and success are closely linked together. When I was in college I came across this quote from a little devotional I picked up and it deeply impacted me.

“Suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is so that others after you may succeed.” Dr. Edward Judson

Today, I want to encourage you campus minister and student leader. I know that you work hard. I know that you give of your time, your effort, and your heart to make your ministry function. I know that you care deeply for your students, probably more than they recognize.

I know that you have cried over students who have walked away after making so much progress. I know that you have stayed up late wondering if you are doing a good job. I know that you have been frustrated, exhausted, and probably at the end of your rope more times than you would like to admit.

I know that sometimes it feels like for all that you have put in, there is still so much that has yet to be done. I know that sometimes it feels like you haven’t even scratched the surface. But today, take heart. Your effort, your work, your suffering IS for a purpose and it DOES make a difference.

I love how each campus is unique and has it’s own culture and it’s own difficulties and hardships, as well as joys and triumphs. I don’t know your circumstances or the journey you have been on with your students, but I do know that somewhere down the line there was some amount of suffering that took place.

I am reminded of the verse in James 1:2 that says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.”

Be encouraged today that each time you have had to walk through a difficult conversation or deal with an administrative tangle, you are preparing the way for others after you to enjoy the fruit of your labor. And rejoice if you are in a season of abundant fruit and blessing in your ministry. Know that people have gone before to plant and tend and water the seeds that are beginning to bloom.

In either case, know that your efforts and your work are cherished and greatly valued. Keep pressing on friends!

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.