Tabling 101

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

I know what you are thinking, tabling? Really? I know, I know.  In the world of social media and well designed flyers, who needs to table? Well my friend, YOU do.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, tabling refers to setting up a table outside of your dining hall or in your student union to advertise your group. Many groups miss out on this awesome opportunity to easily reach their campus because they just don’t know how to do it well.

Tabling is important because it is a free and easy way to advertise that takes just a little effort on your part. Think about it. Most schools allow groups to reserve tables as often as they would like. That means every week you could be meeting and talking to new students that might not ever have wandered into your weekly meeting on their own. Here are a few tips to take your tabling to the next level.

Make it a Habit

I challenge you to make tabling a regular part of what you do on your campus. It’s easy to table at the student activities fair, or the first few weeks of school, but often tabling drops in importance as the semester goes on. When we make tabling a habit, your campus will start recognizing your group name and have a better understanding of what you do. No matter how big or small your campus is, regularly being out there making connections makes a difference.

Get Creative

Tabling doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t have to just be passing out flyers for your group. Brainstorm ways for your  table to stand out. Do you want to do a Midterm Munchies giveaway and pass out snacks during that week with encouragement? Do you want to make an interactive board and ask passing students to answer questions about life and purpose? Do you want to play games and engage students about the Bible or spiritual questions they might have (click here for a fun game idea)? You know your campus best, so engage students in ways that they would be most intrigued by.

Students always love food and they love free!! Check with your school’s tabling rules and use your budget to help you make your table the coolest around. Think of key holidays ( Valentine’s day, Christmas) and times in the semester (midterms/finals) to reach the most people. Tabling can be a creative tool to love and serve your campus. Check out more ideas here.

Make it Nice

Listen friends, aesthetic is important! Take the time and effort needed to make your table look presentable. That means getting a tablecloth that fits and isn’t dirty. That means having a sign that doesn’t look like a kindergartener made it. That means having a nice and neat table. It might not seem like a lot, but when you put in the extra effort to make your table look appealing, you will see an increase in your table traffic. A clean and well designed table communicates to your peers that you have integrity in all that you do, even the little things.

Be Ready

You may think there isn’t much to tabling, but that just isn’t the case. Not only should you be prepared practically with all the materials you need to set up your table, but spiritually and mentally as well. Pray before you and/or your team tables. Ask God to give you open doors and divine connections. Your attitude at that table speaks volumes to your peers. Are you engaging with people? Are you friendly and kind? Are you genuine? Students will just walk by unless you are willing and ready to break the awkwardness and grab their attention.

Tabling might be one of the most overlooked resources we have on our campuses today. I hope you will use tabling as a tool to reach more people on your campus and get them thinking about God.

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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.

New Year, New Vision

Anna Marie Magyar Advisors & Student Leaders, Event Ideas, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:19

Hello, friend! I hope this blog finds you well and with a great big cup of coffee! I would be dishonest if I did not share with you that as I write this it is currently 8:00 at night, and I am enjoying the most delicious vanilla sweet cream cold brew!

As a sixth grade teacher and a volunteer serving in college ministry, the summer presents itself as an invaluable time. I am intentional to rest and recuperate, but also in preparation for the new school year. I begin to pray and ask the Lord what new and exciting things He will do. I celebrate as I recall His marvelous works the year prior, and recount the ways He provided, opened doors I thought were sealed shut, and gave us opportunities I could not have asked nor dreamt of.

I also bring to the Lord the areas I may need wisdom in, situations I felt were challenging, and things I feel we need to do differently or completely get rid of. Without failure, the Lord meets me in this time of dreaming and visioning for the new year. I am filled with a new hope, new excitement and joy, and a new vision for how we can show the unconditional and unimaginable love of our God to our campus.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” -James 1:5

As the topic for this blog began brewing in my mind, I was reminded of James 1:5. For so many of us, we expect the same from the Lord that we have received or encountered with people. Circumstances with influential people in our lives begin to influence the lens through which we see our Heavenly Father. It becomes easy, even natural, to question if we deserve what we seek from the Lord, or if Jesus is truly faithful to give as generously and freely as He has promised.

It is for this reason I am so thankful for the Word, and the wisdom James received and shared. The Lord is faithful to give to you generously and without finding fault; not because He gains anything, but because He made you, He loves you, and He is pleased with you. If you question this, I challenge you to put it into practice. Seek the Lord, be open to Him doing a new thing, and watch as He amazes you with His faithfulness.

I am so excited for the new things the Lord will do this year. I am seeking Him as I embark on the new challenge at my job in doing math centers to improve learning opportunities for my students. Excitement fills me as the leaders and advisers of Saint Rose BASIC begin a whole new structure to our weekly meeting schedule (read on below if you are interested to see what this format will be). And I am filled with joy and wonder in the new thing the Lord has for you!

My friend, I want to encourage you that there is new vision for your future, your family and your life. The Lord promises to do a new thing, and I believe that is possible for you regardless of your season of life. I pray you seek His face diligently knowing that although change may seem difficult at times, you have a God who is so passionate about you that He would never leave you nor forsake you in the midst of these changes (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5).

Saint Rose Basic Meeting Schedule: Fall 2017

Starting in the fall, we will run our meetings in a four week rotation, as follows:

Week 1: Meeting will include a worship set of three songs and a message from an in-house speaker, like our advisor. A student leader will be asked to take notes on the message to share a summary of at the next week’s meeting.

Week 2: We will have worship, most likely a shorter set to account for time, and then the student leader who took notes the week prior will come up to briefly share a summary of week one’s message. This is done so that anyone who missed the week prior will not be left out of the small group discussions we will be transitioning to after the summary. Small groups will be led by student leaders who will have focus questions that will build off the week prior. We will end our meeting with a social activity of some kind.

Week 3: During this week, we will have a typical worship set of three songs, and a guest speaker. The plan is to get guest speakers from our sponsor church to help our students get even more connected.

Week 4: On the final week, we plan to have a fun get-together. We chose to incorporate this into our meeting schedule for several reasons. Firstly, many of our members already plan to attend the BASIC meetings Thursday nights. Trying to plan an event on another evening often loses several people who can’t come because of classes or other commitments. Additionally, our leaders work so hard and pour so much of themselves into the bi-weekly leaders meetings, weekly BASIC meetings, getting together with students, and their own personal to-do lists and responsibilities. Oftentimes planning additional events on top of this can be too much for our leaders. We’re making this change to avoid burnout in our leaders, and to prevent what is supposed to be a good thing becoming a burden upon them.

Words cannot express how excited I am with the changes we are making! I hope to update you on the progress of this shift in the future. 

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar

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Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help out with the group after graduating.

Making the Most of Your Summer

Making The Most Of Your Summer

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

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

Connect

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

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

Reach out to Newbies

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

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

Do your homework

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

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

Set goals

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

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

Rest

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

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

Spend time with Jesus

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

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

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

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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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.

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

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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

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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.