$16 on the 16th to be my 16%

well, 2 weeks ago today i launched my kickstarter campaign to help bring to life this little book i’m working on, affectionately referred to right now as “The 16% Book.”

and you guys blew me away. you absolutely crushed it.

i had hoped we could raise $2,500 by our target date to offset the costs incurred getting this book into the hands of as many as possible. as of right now, with two weeks left in the campaign, you have blown that old goal away.

we currently have 38 backers who have pledged $2,619.

i am completely humbled. simply saying “thank you” seems insufficient. you have validated the this project and you have validated me. i am so grateful.

however, i don’t want to stop here.

the total cost of this project is $4,200. and we have two weeks left in the campaign to raise as much of that as we can. every little bit from here out simply helps us get more books into more hands more miles away.

and so, let’s make today a special day in the life of The 16% Book. i’ll propose a resolution:

whereas, it is the 16th of july,
and whereas, a $16 pledge will secure the donor a social media shout-out, an acknowledgement in the book, and an advanced digital copy of The 16% Book,
and whereas, this book is all about identifying the right 16% of people in your context to catch the vision you hope to bring,
let it therefore be resolved to find as many people this day to pledge $16 (or increase an existing pledge by $16) to help reach the $4,200 goal and help others all over the world find their 16%.

give $16 on the 16th to be my 16%. it’s that simple.

you can read more about the project, see the incentives, and pledge here. after you have done so, would you please share this blog post far and wide, spreading the cheer of this grand day where’er you go?

huzzah!

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2 things to remember about college students and evangelism

i interviewed a veteran campus minister years ago, when i was just a newbie in the field. i was writing an article from the slant of “new guys asks old guy how things in campus ministry have changed.” i asked him to share how he personally had gone about sharing the truth of Jesus with college students over his four decades of campus ministry. this is what he said:

“when i get in an elevator, a student will ask me if i am going down. i always respond, ‘not when i die.'”

that story makes me think of this hilarious SportsCenter commercial:

now, this man led thousands to Christ during his lifetime. and so he was not saying that his preferred method of evangelism is “cute sayings in the elevator evangelism” like one would say “real life evangelism” or “sequential evangelism” or “the celtic way of evangelism” (all titles found at Amazon).

i’ve thought about his answer a lot over the 7 years or so since i wrote that article. if we are called to make disciples, we in college ministry must constantly be thinking about how we ourselves approach evangelism and how we equip our students to fulfill their mission of making disciples.

here are two things we must keep in mind.

1 // it’s all about relationship.

i hate when followers of Jesus use fear tactics to scare people into the Kingdom. the whole “if you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” line of reasoning is very frustrating to me. it communicates that Jesus is nothing more than a “get out of hell free” card and that being a Christian is all about what he can give you and not so much about what you can give him.

this approach undermines the relationship we can have with Jesus. imagine you came to my birthday party bearing gifts for me. i reach out to you when you arrive, but only to snatch the gifts away from you. i don’t really care that you’re at my party or that you desire a relationship with me; i only care about what you brought me.

yeah, it’s kind of like that.

(please don’t hear what i’m not saying. talking about heaven and hell and judgment and eternity are all vitally important. but if Jesus is simply an eternal fire insurance policy, i’m afraid we’ve missed the point.)

we must lead people to Jesus. and we must train those people to lead other people to Jesus. and not just his gifts.

2 // it’s all about relationship.

yeah, you’re reading that right. two main points; the same, but different.

the old adage rings true for college students: they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. that’s why “elevator evangelism” doesn’t work today. authentic relationship is the incubator where an eventual faith takes root. 

people are not projects. and neither is evangelism a task we check off our list. gone are the days, i think, of “large event” evangelism. smaller groups and one-on-one relationships is where the good stuff happens. we must think small; one who comes to faith leads another, who leads another. by thinking small, we impact big.

that’s how Jesus did it.

question for you: what do you think? how did you come to faith? how can we create better environments for healthier relationships in which the gospel can be declared and demonstrated?

6 concerns of college students and my response, part 2

i’ve broken a major rule of blogging these last two weeks. last monday, i posted part 1 of my response to 6 fears and concerns of college students today as outlined by dr. tim elmore. the unspoken blogging code is that you post part 2 the next day.

yeah, that didn’t happen. and there’s a reason.

(cue shameless plug)

i was busy launching this bad boy. at the time of writing, we are at 58% of our goal. if you haven’t had the chance to jump on board, i’d love for you to partner with me!

(end shameless plug)

and so, finally…here is part 2, addressing the second 3 concerns as listed by elmore. this second verse is the same as the first: i will share a few of my thoughts and then i would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are currently a college student.

4 // they don’t see the world in black or white, right or wrong.

i’m not really sure this is a fear or a concern. it’s more of a characterization. and generally speaking, it seems to be true. college students don’t seem to sure about what to stand for. elmore says this generation wants to possess values, but there has been very little need for them to sacrifice for what is right.

and when no sacrifice is required, the value of what is right diminishes and the line between right and wrong gets a little fuzzy. and because, as elmore points out, life has been relatively sacrifice-free for this generation, they don’t often think in terms of black or white, right or wrong.

5 // their career plan involves “one big break” instead of steadily plodding up the ladder.

i don’t think this generation has an aversion to hard work. i think this generation has an aversion to what they feel is menial work. and unfortunately, there are times when climbing the ladder is going to feel menial. couple this with an “microwave” culture — where everything is ready in an instant — and you’ve got trouble.

i think what college students desire is value. it’s the proverbial forest for the trees; it’s hard to see the value in menial work, but students often fail to think long term about any given situation. working hard and completing the seemingly menial tasks earns the right for greater responsibilities and opportunities. like i said, college students don’t mind hard work. i think they simply sometimes forget that you occasionally have to work hard at that which is menial.

6 // they want their life to count.

i couldn’t agree with this statement more. however, we need to decide what “counts.” i think many college students want to accomplish something incredible that gives their lives great value and meaning.

however, does it “count” when you faithfully provide for your family? does it “count” when you invest in your children? does it “count” when you serve your customers well? does it “count” when you invest in a dozen young boys on a little league team? does it “count” when you are faithful in little things?

i think it counts. and so i feel we must help students today realize they don’t need to cure cancer or write the next great american novel to lead a life that counts.

question for you: what do you think? are elmore’s observations accurate? what about my responses? i’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are currently a college student.

6 concerns of college students and my response, part 1

a few weeks ago, leadership guru and all-around expert in all things Generation Y, tim elmore, wrote this great post about the 6 fears and concerns of college students today. as someone who works with college students, i thought i would take a couple of posts and share a quick response to each of these fears and concerns. today is part 1 and will address the first 3 statements.

1 // they list the need to grow up faster as among the biggest disadvantages of their generation.

there is no doubt, kids are growing up faster than they have ever had to before. and i also have no doubt that college students feel that pressure. but, i think many college students are resisting this felt need by refusing to actually grow up.

this is especially true for men. much has been written about the “boys who can shave” epidemic. the point at which a boy becomes a man gets later and later in life. first, you were a man when you quit school and worked in the family trade. then it was when you could drive. then, when you could vote and buy smokes and get a tattoo. then when you went to college. then when you could drink. then when you got a job. then when you got married. then when you had a kid.

the fact is, many college men may feel this pressure to grow up fast, but they aren’t doing it. in fact, a study in britain just revealed that the number of men between the ages of 20 and 34 who were still living at home has increased from 14% in 1997 to 33% in 2011.

failure to launch, anyone?

the bottom line is that college students are feeling this pressure to grow up fast. but they aren’t necessarily doing it. and those of us in campus ministry are left with the tension of helping to train a generation of students to actually grow up.

2 // they are not happy with the direction of the country.

elmore says that 62% of generation y believes the country is headed in the wrong direction. and, my facebook feed today (on the day the supreme court upholds obamacare) confirms this.

i’m not sure that students completely understand the potential they have within them to bring about real change. it’s so much easier to whine on facebook than it is to get our hands dirty. students don’t feel they can make a difference in a machine as big as american politics. or in the world for that matter.

can we convey to students the truth of ghandi’s statement that they must “be the change [they] want to see in the world.” we must equip them to think in terms of smaller is bigger. Jesus taught this concept. and so of course, we must center this change on the principles of the Kingdom of Christ.

3 // in some ways, they are at odds with their own beliefs and values.

this is an interesting statement. the students i work with tend to know what they believe; they just aren’t sure how to express those beliefs. they love Jesus, but they aren’t so sure about folks in the church. they struggle to find their place in the community of the saints.

the desires of college students in the faith arena are, in my estimation, shockingly simple: honesty, transparency, and authenticity. if we (the “grown ups”) could express our faith in these terms, it would go a long way in discipling our college students.

question for you: i would love to hear from my college students today: do you think elmore’s observations are right on? what about my thoughts? what would you add?

how often do you use the word “we”?

last week, drew brees (the quarterback for the new orleans saints) broke the single season passing record that has stood for the better part of 30 years.

while this is clearly an amazing personal achievement, drew brees is a great leader and a great team player. in his post-game interview, he used the word “we” 11 times. he says, “it’s not about me” but that it’s about the team, the city, and the fans.

the best line in the interview is when brees says “we beat the record.”

i am guilty of not using the word “we” enough. i don’t think it’s because i am selfish or because i am suckered into thinking it’s all about me. i simply think my posture as a leader has not developed my vocabulary to the point where i always says “we” before “i.”

for 2012: my goals

2012

here is my third post leading up to 2012. for your reading pleasure, you might check out the previous two: measure progress and find your themes.

i have found i am a guy who likes the in-between spaces. what i mean is, i don’t like being overly scheduled or rigid. i don’t like to-do lists that are prioritized with due dates. i don’t enjoy each day being meticulously planned out to the minute. i feel as though this rigidity stifles spontanaity and creativity.

at the same time, i don’t like having a completely blank page. i need some direction or the day (or year) will be wasted. i need a vision, even if it is not a map.

and so, my goals for 2012 are meant to be the vision. they give me the direction i need, without dictating to me every minute of every day. here they are:

  • i plan on paying off my van loan in 2012 (nearly $6,000).
  • i plan on posting regularly to this blog in 2012 (at least 3 times per week).
  • i plan on writing at least 24 poems in 2012 (at least 2 per month).
  • i plan on writing and publishing at least 4 articles in 2012 (at least 1 per quarter).
  • i plan on reading at least 3 leadership books in 2012.
  • i plan on intentionally “retreat-ing” for at least one day a month in 2012.
  • i plan on working out each day after my shift at my part-time job at the local community center (2 to 3 times per week).
  • i plan on “dating” each of my kids every month in 2012 (one kid every wednesday afternoon).
  • i plan on romantically and creatively pursuing my wife in 2012.

so, there you have it.

now it’s your turn to share. what are your goals for 2012?

for 2012: find your themes

c.s. lewis has said, “every life is comprised of a few themes.”

the founder of twitter, jack dorsey, gives a theme to each of his days. he says themes provide a general direction for each day, but are not over-structured to allow for interruptions and distractions. his themes are:

mondays: management and running the company.
tuesdays: product development.
wednesdays: marketing and communications.
thursdays: developers and partnerships.
fridays: enhancing company culture.
saturdays: recreation.
sundays: reflection and preparation.

(see an interview with dorsey below.)

i think, heading into 2012, this might be a valuable strategy to adopt. themes would serve as a guide for each day, and not a dictator. here are my general themes:

mondays: meetings with students and teaching preparation.
tuesdays: large group meeting preparation.
wednesdays: recreation and family-time (if working on the weekend) or soul care and “dates” with my children (if not working on the weekend).
thursdays: meetings with students.
fridays: ministry administration.
saturdays: recreation and family-time (unless working; see wednesday!)
sundays: worship and rest.

what theme days will you adopt in 2012?