On July 1, 2017 I will become the Assistant Director for Leadership Training. This is a new national position and I will be responsible for equipping Area Directors around the country. This past fall, I had the chance to tell my colleagues why I thought the Area Director position was the most important role in InterVarsity. If you want, you can read my notes. Now, I am privileged to be responsible for training this crucial role for all of InterVarsity.
In many ways, it feels like this is something I have already been doing in my region. For example, when my family moved to Duluth, Jacob Fisher also moved to Duluth to attend UMD. We started a freshmen small group that grew and multiplied into several more groups. For the past four years, Jacob has been equipping and empowering students. This year, Jacob will replace me as the new Area Director for the NORTH area. I also developed Luke Olson who became the Area Director for Milwaukee last year.
As an Area Director, I empowered and equipped campus staff to reach the 100,000 students in the NORTH area. As a trainer for Area Directors, I hope to empower and equip people to reach the 21 million college students in the United States.
Hashtags are an important part of Twitter and are confusing for a lot of people. Let’s start with the basics. Hashtags originated as a way to group tweets. Chris Messina borrowed the idea of hashtags from the old Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels. According to the Twitter Fan Wiki, “Hashtags were popularized during the San Diego forest fires in 2007 when Nate Ritter used the hashtag ‘#sandiegofire’ to identify his updates related to the disaster.”
Hashtags have evolved as a way of adding punch lines to a tweet. For example, “I just dropped a McRib in my lap. I’m wearing white. #fail”. Or another tweet by the writer Susan Orlean, “My 7 yo has taken to calling me ‘Lady,’ as in, ‘What’s for dinner, lady?’ #wheredidigowrong.” These tweets add irony and sarcasm. Others have used hashtags to create large slumber party like conversations with hashtags like “#IWannaKnowWhy.” Read more
Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging site where users share thoughts of up to 140 characters, known as a tweets. There are 200 million active users who tweet an average 400 million tweets per day. The site launched on March 21, 2006 . It is the fastest growing social media site today. Twitter is a snapshot at any moment in time of the collective diverse thoughts of our global society.
Lets go over some of the basics of twitter. Read more
I think every leader experiences it at some point. It feels like there is nothing left to give. We get tired. Sometimes it seems the effort we put into something is all in vain. Where do we go? What should we do? Is it unspiritual? Most importantly, how do we recover?
I got my inspiration for this in a place I wouldn’t have expected, the book of 1 Kings. Read more
One of the realizations I believe we all have at some time in our life is that we have a limited amount of time. There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. It seems as though there is never enough time to accomplish what we might want to do. This seems to become more evident as I have stepped into leadership positions where my responsibilities have grown, but the amount of time I have to get them done has not increased. I want to focus one way I have learned to multiply my time. Read more
The funny thing about working with college students is that while I keep getting older, they are always the same age, 18-22. There are always students graduating and students who are just getting started. Therefore, it is important to developing the next set of leaders. I want to focus on one way to that I use to develop leaders, 5 minute mentoring.
A few years the Bemidji State InterVarsity chapter was at the lowest point of involvement in about 20 years. We had a small leadership team and my wife and I were newly married. We decided that we would both lead two small groups and at the end of that year we had about forty students involved in the four small groups. Last year we had about 120 students with eight small groups and 37 conversions. God has been moving. Read more
Does it ever seem like everyone you talk to is “busy?” Do you ever catch yourself answering the question, “how are you,” with “busy?” Why are we so busy? Is busy good? Are we trying to impress people by being busy? Does busyness indicate that we are important people? Are we trying to avoid people or commitment? What are we busy doing? Why do I struggle to get people to commit to an event? Why do I struggle to get people to commit to leadership? Why are volunteer organizations always looking for more volunteers? Why do 20% of the people do 80% of the work?
Yet I am no better in my own life. I have been thinking about my time commitments. I guard my time. I am slow to commit. I am so good at guarding it that I can justify my lack of commitment. My excuse: I have a family and I need to spend time with them. I have even had students tell me that they know I’m busy. Ugh. So what is the answer to all of this business? Read more
Somewhere between 60% and 80% of high school students will leave their faith in college. Depending on where you live and who is doing the research. That is a LOT of students leaving their faith. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed much over the past decade. I remember hearing the same statistic quoted to me when I was leaving high school in 1998. The question I want to tackle is why do so many students they leave?
I remember hearing that statistic over and over again as I finished my senior year in high school. I remember that I was determined not to be one of those people who left the faith as they went to college. So when I showed up at North Dakota State University as a Freshmen I went looking for the Christian fellowships on my campus. I got involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for two reasons. One was that they played Ultimate Frisbee on the field behind my dorm. The second was that the first three meetings I attended the dean of the college of engineering and architecture was speaking and he gave a phenomenal defense of the faith. I loved it!
As a campus pastor I help college students move into the dorms every fall. I meet hundreds of students and their parents. As I move students into the dorms I always do an informal survey. I ask the student if they have a religious or church background. Working in a rural MN setting I have found that roughly 60%-70% of the students say yes. While the number has declined over the years, it is still high. I used to get excited about how many said yes. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to translate to involvement in fellowship on campus. So what happens? Read more
Since I was a little boy I have always loved building. When I was real young, I would line rocks up in order using the size and shape. The rocks were the building blocks. As I got older I moved on to tinker toys, lincoln logs, legos, snow, and eventually computers. I built my first computer when I was 15 years old, but I had torn my family computer apart several times before. I remember one time I completely destroyed it. My parents didn’t get mad at me because they knew I would do whatever it took to get it back up and running. After a few visits with friends and the computer store. I got it up and running again.
As a campus pastor I’m called to build the Kingdom of God. I love it. I still get to build! Practically speaking, I build teams; teams of students to oversee a particular ministry, teams of students to oversee the campus and teams of staff to work alongside the students. I believe it is what God has called me to do. I also believe it is something we are all called to do. Read more