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.

Leaders are Readers

Sam DiStefano Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

I love books. I love stories. It was a love that started when I was a child. The day I got my library card was one of my favorite childhood memories. However, I know reading isn’t natural or a favored activity for everyone. Today I want to talk about the benefits reading can have on you as a leader and your team.

Reading Gives Perspective

There are various types of genres that exist in the world. Just because you are a minister or campus minister doesn’t mean you have to only stick with the Christian authors. In fact, when we read the news, biographies, history books, and poetry from various backgrounds and belief systems, we are expanding our minds to see the world differently than we do. Reading lends us the ability to see through the eyes of another. The result is humbling and usually quite fascinating.

Reading Expands Knowledge

Because I grew up a reader, if I wanted to know anything about anything I would find a good book about it. There are so many books in the world on just about any topic you might be interested in. As a campus minister, I have loved reading books that help grow specific skills. For my ability to communicate effectively I read Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and for discipleship, Multiply by Francis Chan. I love these books because I learned things I never knew before by seeking it out. In the same way, I encourage you to seek out books in the areas you want to grow in.

Reading Keeps Us Sharp

In almost any field, there are regular trainings to inform the professionals of new trends, update them on best practices and notify them of any changes in data. It is no different for a minister. Working on a campus makes this all the more important. I personally love reading articles about the trends in millennials, the changing college landscape, and surveys on what college students are feeling and experiencing right now. By staying up to date, I am making sure I can speak to topics that are relevant and important to my students.

Reading is Good for Community

Most people think that reading is quite an introverted activity but I believe reading actually is very good for community. Besides the obvious book study, in which people can gather around a book and dialogue about it together, (which is really very wonderful for small groups) books also enable us to connect with more people. I can not tell you how many times I have been talking to someone and our conversation reminded me of a story from a book or a statistic from an article. Being able to share what I’ve read usually sparks discussion, opens the door to relationship, and sometimes offers wisdom I didn’t have on my own.

Reading Inspires Creativity

Reading for the most part requires us to think. When we are processing what we read, we most often try to take the new information we are receiving and make it mesh with what we already know. It is in this place of figuring and considering that beautiful ideas are born. I challenge you to take time to really reflect the next time you read. Ask yourself questions like:

-How does this book make me feel?

-What am I learning from this?

-What is a practical take-away from this? How can I make these ideas my own?

-How can I use this information to change something in my own life? The life of others?

I hope you are inspired today to pick up a good book. Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” I think he was on to something. We have the privilege of gleaning wisdom, encouragement, and direction from the coolest book around town, the Bible. If you are serious about growing as a person and as a leader, make time to read! If you want a place to get started, check out the book list at the back of the resource guide on thebasicsite.org!

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.

love

The Way of Love

Sam DiStefano Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

With everything going on in the world today, things can seem pretty hopeless. I have seen and heard so much venom and hatred spread so quickly and easily through social media and television outlets. My heart, like many of yours, has been distraught. There has to be a better way than this, and I believe there is.

In recent weeks, I have seen and heard many desperately give a call for all of us to love each other. With the tension in our nation rising with every moment, the need for reconciliation and love seems obvious. Everyone seems to genuinely and whole heartedly believe love can save us all. And I believe that is true, just as long as we get our definition right.

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

God gives color and shape to the word. We can’t know love until we know Love Himself.  In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul gives us a different definition of love that I wanted to share with you today. Though I’m sure you have seen this verse on mugs and pillows, and most likely heard it at a wedding ceremony, it’s significance is worth our study.

In the previous chapter, Paul writes to the Corinthian church about functioning together as one body with many parts, even going as far as to say, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Cor. 12:26) Paul concludes this chapter by saying all the talk about gifts and roles and procedure are great, but there is a more excellent way to live, and that is the way of love. Take time to read this slowly, maybe even a few times to let it speak to your heart:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)

Paul makes it clear that the greatest gift, the wisest mind, the most wild faith, the most generous and sacrificial heart mean nothing if they are not motivated from a place of love. My prayer and hope is that our love would be genuine. Outwardly we can think we are doing a world of good, but if inwardly our hearts are cold than we have nothing. The Lord is not impressed with lip service. He looks at our hearts and is asking us, even in the darkest nights where fear and hate are ever rising, will you dare to walk in the more excellent way of love?

Paul continues to define love for us. Again I ask you read this slowly, and marinate on each part:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never ends. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

When I read this in the context of our world today, I see something entirely different from the love we know. We know selfish conditional love, but God’s way is completely other. In the past week amongst all the social debates, how many times have you found yourself demanding your own way? How many times have you been arrogant or rude because you felt like you were right? This isn’t just for romantic relationships, this is for all of us. There is a different way, and it is the way of love. This kind of love changes us. This kind of love makes us better. This kind of love makes us more like Jesus.

If you replace God with the word Love in the above passage you will get a glimpse of His character. God is patient, God is kind, God rejoices in the truth. I pray that all of us would have a deeper revelation of the Father’s love. Without it, we are like clanging gongs, making a lot of noise, being annoying, and really not much good for anything. I pray that the broken state of our world would lead us to pray.  Let us seek to love God and love others more deeply and fully. And finally, let our love be genuine and defined by the One who created it.

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.