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.

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.

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.

Managing Momentum

Managing Momentum

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

Momentum is one of the most valuable forces in any organization. When you have individuals within who are connecting to your organizational vision and mission—then there is likely real movement happening. When you combine fervent prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, and some good ole fashion momentum—even better!

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines momentum as a “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” Ultimately, momentum is powerful. Imagine yourself standing at the top of a hill with a ball at your foot. With one small kick you can send the ball rolling down the hill, quickly gaining momentum. Suddenly, the ball is rolling faster and faster—with only a small amount of energy exerted. Now imagine standing at the bottom of this hill, trying to kick the ball upwards. You kick the ball upward only to have it continuously rolling back down again. You are now exerting tons of energy to try and get this ball up the hill—seemingly pointless.

In ministry, there are times when things seem to be going well and your efforts are easily met with reward. Then, there are other times where your efforts are met with resistance. Your actions and good intentions are like that ball rolling back down the hill over and over again. We want our ministries to make the best from momentum because it is the key to success. Let’s take a look at the three ways to manage momentum within your ministry.

Creating It

It makes sense that you have to build momentum in order to manage it. How do we build momentum in our ministry? Well, it is not always as easy as giving the ball a small nudge down the hill. Oftentimes, we may have to push a heavy stone ball inch by inch until momentum occurs.

Perhaps this manifests by continuously casting vision over your group. It isn’t uncommon for progress to be slow when sharing vision. Some members may not understand the vision or know how to practically latch onto it. One way to persevere through these challenges is to continue to share the vision. Our humanity often requires repetition for real change to happen.

You may wish to consider making the vision less ambiguous by providing practical ways your members can participate in the organizational vision. For example, if your group’s vision is to improve outreach then you should consider having a “Bring a Friend Along” night to give members a structured opportunity to practice living out the vision.

Lastly, it’s important to note that perseverance is key when trying to build momentum. Keep pushing that big boulder—with confidence that God is guiding you and directing you.

Maintaining It

How do you keep momentum going once you have it? It’s a good question, and the answer is passion. While all of our ministry work shouldn’t be driven by emotions, feelings of excitement can really break through the mundane. It’s important to note that, at this point, some individuals will have connected with the ministry’s vision. However, we must continue to cast and recast the vision over and over again to keep people inspired throughout the routines of ministry.

It’s easy to instill passion at the starting line of a race. It is harder to do this when runners are in the middle of a course. Continue to find ways to bring clarity and practicality to the group vision. As the group leader, it is also important to look at what your group members are currently passionate about. Is there a way to steer their current excitement towards the direction you feel the group should go?

Guiding It

By this point, the ball is rolling and you may be thinking “Thank God!” Remember that momentum is powerful, and if that ball hits a pebble or a groove it can easily get off track. The main point here is focus. You will want to create sturdy tracks to guide momentum and prevent wasting of momentum.

Wasted momentum refers to those well-intentioned, flashy, time-consuming projects or events that we often spend our organization’s energy and resources on, which unfortunately do little to accomplish the mission. Sure, it may feel like a great idea and energy well spent but does it bear good fruit? Does it move people towards the desired destination?

We need to create tracks or safeguards that guide our ministry. These tracks should pinpoint members to the mission and should fulfill the group’s purpose. It is the job of the leader to develop well-defined boundaries that keep the ministry moving along in the right direction.

Momentum can be stagnated by poor decisions, changes in leadership, or resistance from members. It is best to observe that things happen and we can oftentimes plan ahead for them. Take a second right now to observe what your group’s mission may be. If you don’t have a mission or vision, seek one out from the Lord! Then, find ways to develop momentum and guide your ministry towards achieving its purpose!

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.

Spirit-Led Decision Making

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

There are many occasions in ministry when we withdraw from our bank of creativity and great ideas. Then there are other times when we really just need God-breathed inspiration. We want to see things happen not by our own strength, but by the power of our awesome God who activates with perfect timing and heavenly tactics. We can only accomplish this through making decisions with the guidance of the Holy Spirit! Remember that: we walk by faith and not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)!

Walking by the Holy Spirit is quite simple…and seemingly arbitrary at times. Ultimately, it comes down to how you live your life on the daily. Being Spirit-Led is not an event or an action; rather, it is a lifestyle that must be fully embraced. This means that we invite the Holy Spirit to be an active participant in our lives and we allow Him to have authority over our lives. We have to surrender our lives each day to His will and not our own. When we make these daily sacrifices, I believe that heavenly revelation and power will be more so in our lives. Right now, say to God: “This day is Yours Lord…do what you want with me.” It is so powerful when we do this with our heart fully involved.

This may sound crazy, but you will also have to practice being Spirit-Led. I find that rarely do we observe anyone’s motives or agendas outside of our own. We need practice recognizing the Spirit’s voice and hearing His specific promptings. If we want the power of God over our lives and in our ministries then we cannot settle for a quick “give us wisdom” prayer all the time. We have to really buckle down and ask the Spirit to move—recognizing that He can move in unimaginable ways compared to our meager efforts. The Holy Spirit is an important member of your ministry team—do not forget to invite Him to your meetings!

I wish there were surefire strategies that I could share with you that aren’t so obvious. However, I feel that each person and their humanly nature dictates what type of approach to take when making decisions through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It may be more beneficial to cover a few go-to mindsets and how to find balance when working through them.

Prayer Mindset

Healthy Habit: Let me be up front and say that there is nothing implicitly wrong with this mindset. In fact, Scripture recommends that we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How else can we hear from God amidst the plethora of opinions, ideas, and general noise? We need to seek God and find His direction for our ministry. I find that there are times when we really need to buckle down and pray.

These are the times when we have some self-awareness that things are not “smooth sailing.” It’s during these tough times when we question our sense of direction and do not see much fruit currently coming from our ministry. I believe that it is important to note that God is trying to communicate something through these dry spells. His message is most likely either: “Persevere and keep going my beloved” or “Come, sit at my feet, and we will work out something new together.”

There are times when we feel in our spirit that we need to sit at Jesus’ feet to hear what He is saying to us. We may have to pray with more focus than usual—we may even be led to fast! It’s important that we respond appropriately during these times of realignment to what God is doing.

Possible Pitfalls: I know what you are thinking—“How could praying possibly be a pitfall?!” My answer: it’s not. However, there are times to pray and then there are times to act. I tend to think of this story that was told to me that illustrates what I am trying to say.

It’s a story about a man trapped during a flood. He prayed that God would rescue him as he was stranded on some type of fixture. A lifeboat came by and called him aboard. “No, I am waiting on God to rescue me,” he said. The lifeboat left to grab other people in need. Eventually another lifeboat came along and then another. His response was the same—“I am waiting for God to rescue me,” he said again and again. Eventually, the man perished in the flood. When he arrived in Heaven he asked God, “ Why didn’t you save me, God?” The Lord said, “I did try to save you. Those three lifeboats you turned away were all sent from me!”

My point is that sometimes we do not always get the clearest picture of what God is saying to us. Our eyes need to be open and alert to our surroundings because He may be moving us to act while trusting Him. There are times to pray and then there are times to act—trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us as we move forward in faith. There is a verse in the book of Ezra when the people around encouraged him to take courage and to act.

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4 (NIV)

After spending time in prayer, we need to recognize that sometimes God is supporting us and wants us to move forward in faith. We have to trust that the Holy Spirit will direct us and, like a GPS, recalculate our paths according to God’s plans.

Advice Mindset

Healthy Habit: If you are like me, then you like getting spiritual guidance from other trusted individuals. Sometimes it is great to have a tangible support system when you are unsure of yourself and the decisions you need to make. Plus, tapping the opinions of someone well seasoned in ministry and who is wise in the Lord can bring a refreshing perspective when you are feeling a bit lost.

I believe that some of us need to learn how to ask for help every once in a while. It is okay to borrow inspiration from others! Then you do not always have to “recreate the wheel” so to speak.

Though it may seem strange, the Holy Spirit can bring newness to your ministry through the thoughts and advice of other trusted individuals. God has put people in your life that can unlock blessing in your own life and, therefore, bring blessing to your ministry. If you are currently feeling stuck, take a second right now to evaluate who is in your life that can bring a fresh and Spirit-guided perspective! But remember to bring it all back to God: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God […]” – 1 John 4:1

Possible Pitfalls: While seeking advice from others can bring great blessing, it could also be a hindrance to what God may be trying to reveal to you about your ministry. The opinions of others can be a distraction and they can even cause us to error when making choices about our ministry outside of seeking the Lord. This is not always the case—as we just talked about the positives for seeking the counsel of others. Sometimes God wants to conference with you—and you alone—regarding His guidance and direction for your ministry. Do not be afraid to put an “opinion shield” up to focus on His voice alone for a period of time.

I hope that you clicking on this post means that you are open to being Spirit-led in both in your personal life and in ministry. Please recognize that God wants to do incredible things through you! We need to be humble and give the Lord all the glory, but it is very exciting to serve God and see miracles happen. I pray that the Holy Spirit moves mightily in your life and that others may benefit from your lifestyle of surrender to God.

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.

Ministry outreach ideas

Optimum Outreach

Sam DiStefano Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Event Ideas, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

Whether you have been an advisor or student leader for ages or you have just started, it is always helpful to get new ideas to spark creativity and bring fresh momentum to your ministry. Ultimately, you and your students know your campus best. Take a look at this list of outreach ideas and think of ways your group can adapt it or make it better for your school!

Our heart is to see students encountering and being forever changed by Jesus. You are the hope to your school and I believe God is going to use you to make a difference!

Hold a Campus Blitz

If you are finding a lull in attendance or that students just don’t know your group exists, consider doing a Campus Blitz. You can contact the BASIC office if you would like staff to come and do a focused time of outreach and advertising for your school.

If the staff can’t come, there is no reason you can’t put on one yourself! Get your team together and plan to do a two day event where all hands are on deck. Set up a table in a highly trafficked area, play music (if you can), hand out candy, play games, and most importantly invite people to your meeting!

Have other students handing out info cards throughout campus on this day. You can chalk, paint, set up flyers, make announcements, write on whiteboards, do whatever you can to get the word out about your group! It works best to do this the day before and the day of your meeting.

That night have pizza or snacks, a sign up sheet, and a clear gospel presentation. It is a surefire way to stir up interest and attention for your group, as well as get new people involved and invested!

Organize Major Events

Though this takes effort, pulling off a major event well speaks volumes about your group to your campus. To regularly attract students, consider doing a major event at least once a semester. Here are a few suggestions:

-Bonfire

-BBQ/Pizza Party/Taco Tuesday

-Ice Cream Social

-Hot Dog/Hot Chocolate/Lemonade Giveaway

-Coffeehouse Open Mic Night

-Evangelistic Concert (Check out Circuit Riders)

-Kickball/Volleyball Game

-Campus Wide Capture the Flag

-Campus Wide Scavenger Hunt

-Operation Christmas Child

-Host a Movie Night

-Host a Food Tour Around Local Coffee & Food Stops

-Host a Debate

-Partner with Another Ministry (Guitars for Glory, Ugandan Water Project, etc.)

Holiday & Everyday Hand Outs

College students love free stuff and free food. Think about ways you can work this into your group’s budget. There are many excuses to give out some encouragement and love. Christmas and the candy cane opportunity may have passed, but there are still plenty more.

Consider handing out Valentine’s with scripture on them, or candy with encouragement. Earth day and Easter also present themselves as opportunities. Every year finals come around and giving out granola bars or water bottles with a smile can really be the bright spot in someone’s day.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Feel free to comment or share any events or outreach ideas that you have seen to be successful! You are making a difference on your campus AND having fun! Keep pressing in and watch what God can do!

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 Make Better Decisions

How To Make Better Decisions

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Planning 0 Comments

Who should be making the decisions in our ministries? Should it be the church advisor, student leaders or a group effort? I recently read The Decision Maker by Dennis Bakke and wanted to share what I learned about making decisions with you. As co-founder and CEO of AES, Dennis Bakke built his company into a Fortune 200 global power company with 27,000 people in 27 countries.

Afterwards he also used the principles shared in his books to create Imagine Schools, the largest non-profit charter-school network in the U.S, and established The Mustard Seed Foundation, which provides scholarships to Christians pursuing advanced educational degrees in preparation for leadership roles in society.

The book primarily focuses on how businesses and organizations make decisions, but I think most of the concepts can be applied to our BASIC groups. When planning for a BASIC meeting, event or outreach, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made.

The author suggests that the way decisions are made tells you more about an organization than anything else it does. I’m sure you can think back to decisions that were made in your ministry and see the effect they had on where you are today. But, can you remember how those decisions were made? We all go through a process when making decisions and some processes are better than others.

We tend to think that whoever is “in charge” should be making all the important decisions, but maybe the boss isn’t the best person to make the call. In The Decision Maker, Bakke describes bosses as coaches who often try to play the game too. He says, “You can’t tell a player what to do every single play. It’d ruin the game…People are happiest when they have the ball and are in a position to make the decisions that affect their world.”

Essentially, he encourages the reader to release ownership of decisions to others, which will in turn encourage them to be more engaged. Often, students have more knowledge about what decision would be best because they are closest to the situation. They know the student body and campus better than anyone else.

Does this mean we should just do away with advisors altogether? No, there will be times when you see potential problems or opportunities that they don’t. This is why seeing yourself as a coach is important. You can point out the things that they don’t see without making decisions for them.

Why wouldn’t you just make the decision? Well, Bakke has observed that distributing decisions more broadly and inviting more people to be part of the process will lead to more engaged people and better decisions. Better decisions lead to a healthier and stronger ministry.

The person who’s in charge does have one big decision to make. They are the one that decides who makes the decisions in the same way a coach decides who plays. There are factors that go into deciding who should make a decision. The decision maker should be someone with expertise, a good listener with a history of making good decisions and someone who is close to the situation.

The decision maker is responsible for getting advice from others. Most of us do this anyway when we have a decision to make, but there are some guidelines for who is best to ask for advice. They should ask someone with experience with this problem, people in different positions (a leader, peer, someone below them and possibly someone outside the organization) and those who have a responsibility and ownership associated with the project.

It won’t always be easy to trust and empower others to make decisions, and there will be mistakes made along the way, but our job as campus ministers is to train up and empower the next generation. We can’t do that if we’re always the main decision maker.

There’s no better way to empower others than by releasing some of the decision making to others in your group and it will most likely help you identify future leaders as well. Give it a try as you go throughout this semester. Look for opportunities to put the ball in student’s hands remembering the principles of who should make decisions and how to ask for advice. If you want to learn more about the decision making process you can purchase the book or check out this summary.

I bet in many ways you’ll find it freeing as you are able to pass on responsibilities to others and clear your plate a little. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

 

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.

Midterm Examination

Midterm Examination

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

It’s a new year and with that comes the time when people are most likely to reflect and examine their lives. We often determine resolutions or goals that we want to work toward throughout the year. It’s a worthwhile practice and one of the most notable philosophers of all time advocated for regular examination of our lives.

The life which is unexamined is not worth living.Socrates

If you’ve already started working on your goals for 2017 that’s great! Setting and achieving personal goals is a big part of being a successful leader. I always feel so good when I set a goal and I’m able to see progress and eventually achieve it. But have you considered setting some resolutions or goals for your ministry in this new year?

Being in college ministry and working within the academic calendar we tend to evaluate our ministries during the summer, but I think we can gain just as much by conducting a midterm evaluation. It may not be the best time to make sweeping changes to your ministry. Sometimes over the summer we almost have to start over from the beginning. Think of this as more like editing the final draft of a document.

There’s a few simple questions you can ask to evaluate and tweak your ministry heading into the spring semester. Questions like:

What is working?

What isn’t working?

What part of our ministry is thriving and why is it doing so well?

What area is struggling and how can we improve it?

Are we hitting our goals?

If we didn’t set goals in the fall, what goals can we set for this semester?

Once you start having these conversations I’m sure you’ll come up with even more in-depth questions. I’m writing this to serve more as a reminder about the importance of evaluating your ministry regularly, but it’s also a great way to ensure that your leadership team is all on the same page. If I were to apply Socrates’ principle to ministry I would go so far as to say, “The ministry which is unexamined is not successful.”

I’m praying that 2017 is a great year for you and your ministry!

 

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.

Top 10 Posts Of 2016

Top 10 Posts Of 2016

Chris Zeigler Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Event Ideas, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning, Resources, Social Media, Technology 0 Comments

With a new year right around the corner we like to take a look back at the top posts from this year. We appreciate you taking the time to read the blog this year. We know that there are plenty of resources available to leaders and we’re honored that you have chosen us. Our goal is to empower you to take your ministry to the next level and we hope that what our team shares has helped you do that.

Before we close out 2016 here’s a look back at the top 10 posts from this past year determined by how many times they were viewed.

  1. Fun Idea For Meetings: Interactive Trivia Games

    This idea incorporates a fun trivia game that anyone can set up and run for free. You could have it be a fun activity leading up to your meeting or as a way to break up the night.

  2. Why Everyone Should Pray To Be Baptized In The Holy Spirit

    There’s a lot of different perspectives on the third member of the Trinity and His role today. This post breaks down misconceptions about the Holy Spirit and explains why having Him in our lives is so important.

  3. Intentional Leadership Education & Training

    This was a guest post from Ryan Raflowski, a leader at the SUNY Oswego BASIC group. He shares about a workshop series they put together to communicate more intentionally with their group leading up to the election of student leaders.

  4. Rejoice In The Middle

    In life, we can allow ourselves to be disappointed with the process of becoming. Sometimes we need help to refocus our gaze from the struggle and circumstances we are in to the greatness and faithfulness of Him who called us.

  5. 16 Inspirational Quotes for 2016

    This post is exactly as advertised – 16 quick quotes that we gave you to kick off 2016. If you keep an eye out you might pick up on a theme next week.

  6. How Anyone Can Do Great Graphic Design For Free

    Great graphic design is hard to come by and often costs a lot of money. But it doesn’t have to. Here are some free resources that can take the headache and hassle out of designing something for your ministry.

  7. Authenticity In The Age Of Duplicity

    Students have been taught to question everything and they do. In this ever changing time, students long for some stability and authenticity. Let’s lead them to the most authentic love they will ever encounter.

  8. The Why Behind What We Do

    This short post from Sam DiStefano is a great reminder of the effect campus ministry has had on history and why it’s so important.

  9. 3 Practical Ways To Activate Your Prayer Life

    Prayer is something we all know we should do more of, but often it gets overlooked. Most of us have a desire to pray more, but saying it and actually doing it are two different things. Here are some practical ways to increase your prayer life.

  10. How To Be A Leader Amal Zeidan shares about how the secular leadership principles from the book The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership have a Biblical foundation that can also apply to those leading in a Christian context.

So, those are the top 10 posts from 2016 all collected in one place so you can easily catch up on anything you missed. Thanks for reading and have a happy New Year!

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.

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.