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

Facebook

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.

College Is More Than Just Staying Christian

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Personal Development 0 Comments

Kent MurawskiThis week’s post is a guest post written by Kent Murawski. Kent is a father, husband, author and the lead pastor of Journey Church in Cambridge, MA (jcboston.org). Journey Church is a young church in one of the most influential areas of the United States. Home to Harvard and MIT, Cambridge is like no other place on earth. Prior to launching Journey Church, Kent was the Executive Director of BASIC from 2005-2009.

Fall is an exciting time of year. It’s back to school time and you might find yourself in one of several transitions. Maybe you’re just starting college, you have a year or two of college under your belt, or you’re done with college and considering grad school or the workforce. Here’s the most important question if you are a follower of Jesus: How are you doing spiritually?

Statistics tell us 70% of young adults between the ages of 18-23 stop attending church regularly for at least a year, even if they were active youth group attendees and leaders. Furthermore, only two-thirds ever return to the church, albeit sporadically.[i]

God doesn’t just want you to survive college with your faith intact. He wants you to thrive! Ask yourself a couple of questions: Would you deem it a failure if you went through college and didn’t grow academically? In the same way, wouldn’t it also be a tragedy if you went through college and didn’t grow spiritually – or worse yet, lost your faith altogether?

The goal isn’t to make it to the end of your college career limping over the finish line and thankful you barely made it out alive. The goal is to come out with a stronger faith than when you went in. College can be a deeply formative time in your relationship with God, and it’s also a time when many significant moves of God began throughout history.

Do It Again, Lord

Take Yale for example. Yale University has been the birthplace of many revivals over the years. During Timothy Dwight’s tenure (grandson of Jonathan Edwards) as the president of Yale, they experienced several moves of God that not only spread to the community, but to other universities as well.

For example, in 1802 a spiritual revival occurred that “shook the institution to its center.” Of the 230 students enrolled at Yale, about one-third were powerfully converted and nearly half of these went into full-time ministry! Yale experienced 12 similar periods of revival between 1815 and 1841, with the revival of 1831 being very noteworthy as 900 people in the surrounding community of New Haven were converted as well.[ii]

Navigating Transitions

Transitions are a proving ground. They leave you feeling vulnerable, unsure of yourself, and slightly off-balance. They can be disorienting as you chart new territory and pioneer new ground. Like any new thing, transitions are scary and exhilarating at the same time, but in the end there is always a choice. Will you lean into your relationship with Christ or will you trust in your own understanding to get you through?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Here are three ideas that will help you successfully navigate this challenging but important transition:

  1. Choose the right friends. I’ve heard it said, when God wants to bless us, He brings someone into our lives, and when the enemy wants to hurt us, He brings someone into our lives. The Scriptures tell us that, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20, ESV).

Who you surround yourself with will in large part determine your trajectory throughout college, so choose wisely. One of the best ways you can do that is to find a great campus ministry. That way you start with a pool of people who share similar passions and convictions. Don’t wait to find like-hearted people who will partner with you in your walk with Christ. Do it now!

  1. Be rooted and planted in God’s house. Though I love campus ministries, plugging into a vibrant campus group isn’t enough, and your campus ministry shouldn’t be a replacement for a local church. Sooner or later, you will graduate college and begin a much longer phase of your life. It’s called adulthood. In this phase of life, the church – not a campus ministry – will become the major vehicle of spiritual growth and relationships in your life. Why not learn how to navigate church while you are in college? Where else can you find grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, married couples, and single young adults in the stage of life where you will soon be?

Picture the local church as a greenhouse. In order for trees and plants to flourish, they need the right soil and to have the right amount of water and sunlight.

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalm 92:12-13 NKJV)

I came to Christ in college, but I really didn’t grow that much. Why? Because I didn’t connect with a vibrant local church. After college, God led me to a great local church and guess what? I flourished.

  1. Don’t put your relationship with God on the back burner. Your relationship with God is the most important thing about you. It defines you. You are a child of God. He is your Father. What could be more important than that? This is your highest identity. If you are going to thrive in the transition from high school to college and beyond, your relationship with God needs to be a priority, more than school, extracurricular activities, or anything else.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

Not only is your identity found in your relationship with Christ, but it is the source of anything of eternal value that comes from your life. As you hang out with God, fruit will grow from every branch. Let this sink in:

Our highest call is not to do for God; our highest call is to be with God.

The Transition Book

This is why I wrote the book, The Transition: Thriving Spiritually from High School to College and Beyond. God never intended for you to survive college. He longs for you to thrive through this and every other transition.

In The Transition, I unpack practical lessons as well as deep spiritual truths to help you flourish as you move from high school to college and beyond. You will be equipped to:

  • Understand how God has stirred young people throughout history to bring spiritual awakening
  • Build a strong foundation by going back to the basics
  • Discover who you are in Christ
  • Develop healthy relationships that will help you on your spiritual journey
  • Grow in practical wisdom needed for this stage of life
  • Find and fulfill your purpose

Get Chapter 1 for Free!

The book will be available for pre-order in November. To get the latest updates on the book as well as life-giving leadership content, subscribe to my blog.

Those who pre-order the book (and email the receipt to kentmurawski@gmail.com), will receive several helpful resources, including:

  1. Rest Assured: Seven Days to Sanity, Stillness and the Sabbath You Need (e-book)
  2. Video interviews with three top leaders of this generation
  • Jonathan Burgio – director of BASIC College Ministries
  • John Decker – director of Believers College Prep
  • Tommy McGreggor – author, speaker, and veteran transitions coach

[i] http://www.lifeway.com/Article/LifeWay-Research-finds-reasons-18-to-22-year-olds-drop-out-of-church
[ii] Michael F. Gleason, When God Walked On Campus (Joshua Press, 2002), 26

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.

Passing the Leadership Baton

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

When I was younger, I was on my school’s track team. One of my favorite events was the relay race. Even if you have never participated, everyone knows the most important part is the handing off of the baton from one runner to the other. A poor handoff can be the difference between winning and losing!

In college ministry, we have some unique circumstances! Our students turnover every four years(or five if we can catch a super senior ;D)! A healthy college ministry loses and gains students every single year. That means that we have to be intentional about discipleship and leadership. If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves without leaders as our student leadership teams graduate! Much like a relay race, we have to practice passing on responsibility and leadership to each new cycle of students. While not always the easiest task, today I want to talk about a few practical strategies to making those leadership transitions as smooth as possible.

  1. Invest time into potential

There are a million and one resources to teach you how the newest and best methods of discipleship. However, in my experience, the best discipleship I ever received was also the simplest. If there is someone who sticks out to you as having a lot of potential, make it a point to develop a deeper relationship with them.

Take them out to coffee or shoot some hoops weekly. Ask them about their life and their walk with the Lord. Read a book together or walk through some questions in Scripture. If each person on the leadership team picks someone to meet with and invest their time into, you not only develop your own leadership skills, but you create deeper relationships and new leaders in the next class. Those new leaders can then in turn disciple the next class, so on and so forth. The growth and multiplication is simple and natural. Jesus sure knew what he was talking about.

    2. Invite them in

My hope is that each leadership team has a time to meet together to pray and plan for their group. Some of my favorite memories of BASIC were from laughing and praying with my leadership team. We met weekly and the bond that was created was indescribable. An easy way to encourage potential leaders is to invite them into your leadership meetings.

At my school, we had an “open” leadership meeting once a month. This gave people who were interested in leadership a glimpse into what leaders do. It was also a time for them to ask questions and learn more about leadership responsibilities. Most of the time, these open meetings drew in people who were really serious about serving BASIC and often did go on to becoming leadership the next semester.

    3. Give opportunities

The fastest way to figure out someone’s skill set or comfortability in leadership roles is to give them opportunities to show you what they’ve got. As leaders, we sometimes make the mistake of doing everything that needs to get done ourselves. If we shift our mindset, we see all of our tasks as opportunities to teach and raise up. 

You can start off by handing off small tasks like clicking through the slide show or welcoming people to your meeting. Over time, you can hand off bigger tasks or even invite someone to do a task with you. This communicates that not only you believe in this person, but that their time and effort is helpful and valuable. When a person feels useful and appreciated, they are more likely to get invested.

If we think about our ministry like a race, transition periods become incredibly important. If we don’t pass on the baton, then the race cannot continue. The smoother the pass, the more efficient ministry we will be. I hope you enjoyed these tips and can use some of them next semester as your seniors prepare for their own transition! What are some ways that your group has passed the baton well? We would love to hear some of your ideas as well!

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.