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


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 with the group as a co-adviser.

17 Books to Read for 2017

17 Books To Read In 2017

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 2 Comments

So, you made a New Year’s resolution to read more or to be more intentional about learning. Or maybe you didn’t make that resolution. I won’t hold it against you. Either way, I’ve found that reading is a great way to jump start my brain and help me learn from those with different experiences and perspectives. It’s like getting mentorship from a well known leader while never having to leave your couch.

There’s so many good books out there that I couldn’t possibly include them all, but here’s a list of 17 (chosen to fit the theme of 2017) that I think could help you as a ministry leader. These are not arranged in any particular order, but I have separated them into books that are specific to campus ministry and those that are on the topic of general leadership and personal development.

Campus Ministry Specific:

The Fuel and The Flame: 10 Keys to Ignite Your College Campus for Jesus Christ by Steve Shadrach

Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith. . . and How to Bring Them Back by Drew Dyck

God on Campus: Sacred Causes & Global Effects by Trent Sheppard and Pete Greig

College Ministry in a Post-Christian Culture by Stephen Lutz

General Leadership & Personal Development:

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and Jon David Mann

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff

Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney by Lee Cockerell

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John Maxwell

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones

This list is by no means comprehensive, but these are some of the ones that I’ve found very helpful over the years. I hope that you find some good ones on this list that can help you too. Happy reading! 

About the Author

Chris Zeigler


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.

Coffee and a Book

The Principle of Self-Investment

Jamie Sinclair Advisors & Student Leaders 0 Comments

This idea isn’t original to me, nor am I the best practitioner, but I have found that self-investment is important for every leader because we impart who we are. So an important question might be, who am I? And more important than how I measure up for a given healthy/unhealthy metric is this: am I growing healthier? No one is perfect, but if I am becoming more like Jesus, that is worth imparting to others!

As leaders, we have an obligation to keep our edge sharp. Thus, it’s important that we take stock of our personal health. This is something to do year round, but for those of us in college ministry, the early summer is a perfect season to step back and evaluate and maybe take some fresh steps.

Obviously the foundation is spending time with Jesus. It is all about Him; apart from Him we can do nothing! Spending time in His presence changes who we are (2 Cor 3:18). But Jesus created us and wired us to learn and grow through a variety of means. And I would like to share three areas to which I am looking as I consider self-investment this summer.

1. Reading

Leaders are readers, right?

Regular Bible reading is a must. If you aren’t already following a reading plan, they can be helpful. Personally, I’ve used several plans on the Bible App via my iPhone (also available on other platforms including any web browser) and loved them! There is one plan I’ve read multiple times and has been great for me and many others: Jesus Culture Bible Challenge: A 30 Day Journey.

But what else might we read?

Have you received prophetic words in the past? What about your church or college ministry? A few years back I collated a number of words I had personally received into a single document, that way I can easily review and be encouraged and inspired by them. In Paul’s first epistle to Timothy he says to wage warfare by prophetic words and for Timothy to give himself to them (1 Tim 1:18, 4:14). When God speaks, listen! Further, this summer I plan to spend some time reviewing prophetic words spoken over my local church.

Beyond that, read some books written by Christian leaders who’ve seen God move and have advice for us. I could recommend books all day, but to keep it simple: I just finished (and loved) Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities, and in a couple days Finding Your Way Back to God: Five Awakenings to Your New Life will arrive, and I very much look forward to reading it.

And if you’re more of an audio learner, that’s cool too. Listen to messages and books on tape! I semi-regularly listen to Steven Furtick, Jim Cymbala, Matt Chandler, and Greg Boyd just to name a few.

I find that I rarely read anything that isn’t the Bible or a book directly related to an aspect of my faith. But such books can be helpful in expanding my imagination and understanding of various perspectives. A couple months ago I jumped at the opportunity to join some friends in a book club. First we read America by Baudrillard, then Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, and now some poems by Theodore Roethke. I am not specifically recommending these works, but they are definitely interesting and I appreciate reading them!

2. Running

I know, not very spiritual, right?

But for me, putting effort into running is healthy both physically (I used to weigh 270lbs) and spiritually; it is a very specific opportunity for me to grow in discipline. I have some goals, which I am very interested in reaching, but I will consider this a win if I’m running at least a couple of times each week.

God hasn’t called me to be a super athlete…I don’t have the genetic potential for such a thing, and trying to become one would waste a lot of time. But He has called me to take care of myself and to be self-controlled and diligent.

3. Friendship

The point of life isn’t information, it’s transformation. And the point isn’t even to read more and run more, it’s to be more like Jesus and closer to Jesus.

I need a few people in my life who will support and encourage me in these specific goals, and also be there to sharpen me in other areas, maybe concerning things of which I’m not yet aware! And, unfortunately, in the business of life, sometimes relationships grow a little distant. This is a good time to approach a couple of my closest friends and strengthen those connections, for their sake and for mine.

We need someone else to be a part of our personal growth. For support, for encouragement, for accountability.

These three areas are not the end all, but hopefully they will help you as you consider your own self-investment.

photo credit: What I’m Currently Reading 4 via photopin (license)

About the Author

Jamie Sinclair


Slang, theology, history, computers, politics, and more; Jamie is a guy of many interests...but living with Jesus tops them all. His life is full, simple, and crazy...and he strives (imperfectly) for both contentedness and godly ambition. He lives in Potsdam, NY where he serves his local church, working primarily with college students and young adults. You can find his infrequently updated blog at

About the Author

Jamie Sinclair


Slang, theology, history, computers, politics, and more; Jamie is a guy of many interests...but living with Jesus tops them all. His life is full, simple, and crazy...and he strives (imperfectly) for both contentedness and godly ambition. He lives in Potsdam, NY where he serves his local church, working primarily with college students and young adults. You can find his infrequently updated blog at