Global Phokos is a dynamic ministry that is unique, unlike almost any other ministry Podcast Seminary knows of. Not only does it lead ministries of evangelism and discipleship around the world, but it specifically provides housing to godly men who commit their time to doing evangelism and ministry. It’s a dynamic vision, and this is an interview you must hear. Then, after listening, take time to learn more about the ministry of Global Phokos and founder, Corey Fifield. Then, after listening to the podcast, like and learn about Corey’s vision on the Phokos Facebook page.
No, this is not a post about how to use Snapchat (or any other social media) for growing a college ministry. Let me explain.
I had this crazy idea recently to flood all of the college students I know on Snapchat with an informal research question. For those who do not know, I have served as a college/singles pastor at Lenexa Baptist Church in Kansas City and I am currently a New Testament faculty member at Hannibal-LaGrange University. My point is, I know a lot of college students and I am always looking for wisdom on how better to engage in effective ministry towards them.
For the record, the number of students may not be statistically significant, but at least it was enough to arrive at some interesting conclusions. So, if you are currently doing college ministry or are pondering how to begin a college ministry, you may find what I am about to share helpful, or at least, insightful. Now, here is the Snapchat question I asked, “What is one Do and one Don’t of College Ministry?” I received a variety of response. Allow me to list a few of them for you and then I will draw together some observations/principles for those of us who seek to faithfully minister to this unique generation. Here is a sampling of what they said…
Do not expect an immediate response when starting your college ministry.
Form friendships with college students with the intent of sharing the gospel.
Do not dumb down the gospel.
Know your audience.
Do not isolate your students from the larger body of believers.
Open up your life to your students.
Do life with them.
Keep your ministry “missional,” get it outside the four walls of the church.
Be careful in choosing your leadership.
Use challenging material that will make them dig deep.
Do not have too much structure; the ministry should have an organic feel.
Teach theology to college students.
From these and from my experience in college ministry, here are a few observations/principles that may help you get on the right track. 1. The size of your college ministry is not as important as you think it is.
Very little was said about students wanting to be part of a large college ministry. What was noteworthy is that students appear to value substance over sheer numbers. Unfortunately, in the past and from a pastor’s perspective, we have used numbers to gauge success. From the perspective of students, this conversation is not on their radar. Therefore, you would do well as a college minister to not base your worth on the size of your group. Churches, I exhort you, stop playing the numbers game with your leaders. 2. College students do not want shallow teaching, they long for depth.
Over and over again, from a majority of the students polled, I heard that depth of teaching was a major factor in whether they were attracted to or stayed connected to a college ministry. One student sent me this response,
I once had a Bible study on campus with students through Romans. You would not believe how hungry they were for depth. They had been given Sunday School answers all their life. Students love being part of meaningful conversations. I had one student so shocked that the Jews rejected Jesus, she slammed her fists on the table and yelled, “We need to tell them!”
In other words, put away the games you played in youth group and start digging deep into Jesus. 3. Relationships are more important than structure in college ministry.
Often, we begin with the opposite strategy. We are taught to develop the structure (what we do) and then, when we attract students, the focus shifts to building relationships (who we are). Almost every student responded with something about the importance of relationships. None of them were concerned at all with the format of the ministry. As a caveat, this is not to say that you have zero structure, throwing caution to the wind as you drink coffee with your students in a casual atmosphere. What I am noting is the priority you place on building relationships. In other words, focus more on who you are rather than what you do. As one student boldly declared, build a relationship with me before you lecture me.
4. College students need engagement with the wider body of Christ, not isolation.
Here is a secret worth its ministry weight in gold. College students want to serve in your church. Give them leadership opportunities, however, as one student rightly said, do not allow students to serve if they are living a life of unrepentant sin. Connect students with married couples, senior adults, and above all, find places for them to serve out of the gifts they possess. Just because they are college students does not mean that they share in less of a portion of the Holy Spirit. 5. Patience is a must as you seek to disciple college students.
One of the first “snaps” that I received back read, do not get discouraged when students seem to be living double lives, continue pouring into them. Another remarked, do not make decisions for your students when they come to you for advice. Help them make their own decisions. I have discovered that ministry to college students is often messy, but you know, so is ministry to any other age group. It takes a calm, wise, and patient leader to help guide students into Christ-likeness. 6. You have to be willing to open your life before college students.
I would note, if you are going to do effective, long-term ministry to college students, this principle is non-negotiable. They want to have fun with you as a leader, but they do not want you to act like a college student. They crave examples that they can follow and imitate. They want encouragement, but they value transparency the most. One student wisely said, be willing to just hang out with me – but remember, it doesn’t always have to be about coffee. Some of our deepest relationships have been and continue to be built as open our home and our lives (for better or for worse) to college students. 7. Food, food, food…
It may seem simplistic, but if you feed them, they will come. One of the replies was telling as it got right to the point; food – it is hard to hear over a grumbling stomach. Remember this well and get this next sentence embedded in your strategy. A home-cooked meal may be the lifeline that a college student is longing for, especially if they eat off of a meal plan in their campus cafeteria, but even more importantly, if they are struggling with homesickness and afraid to tell someone. For many, this is the first time they have been separated from family. Your family could become their family.
Again, this post is a somewhat unscientific assessment on the best practices and common pitfalls of college ministry, the do’s and don’ts. But, I believe what is important to consider is that these principles are drawn from college students themselves. So, if you are doing college ministry or thinking of starting one, heed this practical wisdom. I truly believe that the generation that is in college right now is poised to do significant kingdom work. My prayer is that we see incredible gospel results as we faithfully minister to them.
Adopted from the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home in St. Louis, Eric Turner is a Hannibal, Missouri native who recently joined the faculty at Hannibal-LaGrange University. Before accepting the position as Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek in 2014, Eric served as Interim Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, MO, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Braymer, MO and College/Singles Pastor at Lenexa Baptist Church in Lenexa, KS.
Dr. Turner currently holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies – New Testament Emphasis from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. His dissertation research focused on identifying and interpreting linguistic metaphor in Second Corinthians. The ultimate goal of the research was to show that a modern linguistic model for English metaphor can be applied to the Greek New Testament with profitable outcomes for the interpretation of historically difficult passages.
Outside the classroom, Dr. Turner can be found running, playing guitar, riding motorcycles, or traveling. He has been married to his wife Stephanie for 23 years and together they have four children. He and his family are avid St. Louis Cardinals fans.
We’re excited about how well our 3-month old podcast has been received. This is a special thank you for the more than 6000 downloads our podcast has received in only the first 3 months.
Here you’ll see the covers of each of the first 20 episodes. You can click it and link to our new podcast page OR go below and see our new audio courses that we think are the cat’s meow. Thank you for your support of Podcast Seminary as we help people grow in their faith and relationship with God.
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The gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ has saved my soul and completely changed my life. Having no religious background in my upbringing, I experienced a radical conversion to Christianity in my early 20’s. I immediately joined a Bible believing local church, was baptized, and made discipleship in the faith a priority. Two years later, with a hunger to dive deeper, I enrolled as a student at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies in 2006.
Corey’s Ministry Story
While a student at Moody, I developed a heart for missions, and later founded a non-profit organization named “Phokos” (On Facebook @globalphokos). I’m so grateful to God for my salvation, and I want to see others saved. I want to see churches strengthened. I want to see the tides of our time shift. Romans 1:16 says, “The GOSPEL is the POWER of God…” I believe it STILL is. John Wesley said, “Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”
How Corey’s Story Connects with Podcast Seminary
As important as evangelism is to me, I cannot overstate the great emphasis the New Testament places on DISCIPLESHIP. Equally important to the New Testament call of evangelism, is the call to DISCIPLE. For this reason, I applaud Dr. Freddy Cardoza and his work with Podcast Seminary. True to their mission, “Podcast Seminary wants to help you grow spiritually, and will give you a step-by-step spiritual growth strategy for personal growth.”
Podcast Seminary likens their step-by-step spiritual growth strategy to climbing an “ivory tower.” This is a great comparison, and shows why Podcast Seminary will prove to be a great resource for Christians of every level of spiritual maturity. There’s one kind of beauty at the entrance, but there’s so much more to see! Even if you’ve advanced to a certain height, you may find something that you needed to rediscover.
Just recently, my eyes welled up with tears as I watched a Podcast Seminary Vlog. Life can be challenging, and even Christians face hardships and trials, but I was so blessed to be reminded of “God’s Omniscience” (Part 5 of the “Enjoy the Ride” series).
God used Dr. Freddy Cardoza to remind me that “God is ALL-KNOWING” and that “God’s knowledge allows Him to calculate the events of our lives in perfect timing.” I was reminded afresh that “God knows everything,” and because He is good, I can trust Him through anything. A big heart, a deep mind, and a sincere desire to see people grow in their faith is what’s behind this great work. Tune in, and tell others!
Do you have a story? I want to hear about it. I am even willing to consider featuring your story on PodcastSeminary.com/blog in a future post like this one.
Connect with me through leaving a comment below or by going to the Contact page, and we’ll get started!
Everybody should know what God wants to do in and through his or her life– and a big part of that is understanding Christian Discipleship. In this brief quiz, you’ll learn your level of mastery over the very basics of Christian discipleship.
Envy. Entitlement. Those are two words I hate.
That isn’t to say I haven’t ever practiced those vices. But I really do hate them.
Envy is, of course, inward turmoil stimulated by a heart that cannot celebrate another’s good fortune. It involves wanting what another has. Jealousy, envy’s evil twin and hellacious handmaiden, involves personal resentment toward the one in question. Whereas an envious person wants what another has, jealousy [at least] simply doesn’t want the other person to have it.
Clearly, both usually go together: The envious person sometimes, if not usually, becomes jealous. The results of envy-jealousy includes the dropping of one’s countenance toward the fortunate (or blessed) person, then self-justifying (and sometimes-irrational) frustration which often deteriorates into further ungodly manifestations. Self contamination If I can take a bunny trail here— let me share a word about those ungodly manifestations. It seems to me that jealousy-envy often contaminates and/or wounds both the perpetrator and its victim(s). What I mean is that, once envy erodes into jealousy, it is not unusual for the jealous person to be contaminated by seething anger, internal rage, and finally contempt. Sometimes these emotions are accompanied by abuse and violence– verbal, physical, or both. As a result, the jealous person often ends up suffering a sense of guilt, personal condemnation, self-loathing, and, at worse, despair.
And if that were not enough, the victim of jealous envy also suffers, wittingly or not.
But this post is not only about envy; it’s also about entitlement. But I mentioned both because envy is often accompanied by entitlement. But entitlement can also be an “independent vice.” So entitlement doesn’t require the presence of envy though, like women who go to public restrooms in groups, they often appear together. So, what of “entitlement?”
Entitlement is a perspective… a mentality. It usually manifests itself as an assumption that one DESERVES something– an expectation of a perceived (or moral) right. Now keep in mind that there ARE legitimate entitlements. But those are not my concern, nor are they the topic of this post. Rather, I am concerned about the general and pervasive “entitlement mentality” that hangs like a dark cloud over many people, including certain sections of the American populous. And just as “groups” of people develop entitlement mentalities, individuals do it as well. Those who do so consider it an outrage that they sometimes must “do without” or otherwise should actually “do something”– rather than doing nothing but having an expectation of receiving something nevertheless. All this serves as a long introduction to the central idea of this post: The Elimination of Envy and Entitlement. In the past, I assumed several things… Things like:
BLESSINGS SPOIL PEOPLE
MATERIAL NICETIES STIMULATE THE BASE INSTINCTS OF OUR HUMANITY AND DRIVE ENVY INTO PEOPLE
THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN MUCH ALWAYS DEVELOP AN ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY THAT SPOILS THEM, AND FINALLY…
BLESSINGS PRODUCE ENTITLEMENT IN THE PERSON WHO RECEIVES THEM AND ENVY IN THOSE WHO DO NOT.
But I no longer think those things.
Oh, sure, we’ve SEEN EXAMPLES of those ideas– but I have come to believe that no cause-effect relationship exists between blessing and entitlement or envy. I remember when my elder son, Dakota, turned 11. For his birthday he got this insanely great gift that virtually no child his age has. To boot, Dakota enjoys a life foreign to my own early years. He (and his brother Christian) is, in many ways, a child of plenty. He has never known “need.” He would hardly even understand the concept of “want.” And yet, the enormous blessings he enjoys are (a) not “expected” by him, nor (b) have these opportunities and experiences soiled or spoiled him. Dakota is genuinely thankful and grateful. And though all the results aren’t in– his life and demeanor has shown me that envy, entitlement, and blessing CAN BE mutually exclusive. So what makes the difference? I believe that envy and entitlement are eliminated from blessed people when those people possesscharacter. Character (or its absence) is, I believe, the single arbiter of envy and entitlement mentalities. With character, those bad character qualities are not present. Without character, those vices breed, mutate, and multiply.
So now, instead of withholding “good” from my child/children, I feel the freedom to bless them liberally. And rather than spending all my energies regretting my generosity and battling their growing envy and entitlement, I work on ensuring that they are developing character. I think that’s the way God intended it to be, and it helps me enjoy being a generous father– just as my Heavenly Father is.