Thank you for your prayers! I really needed them, because the last two and a half months have been a whirlwind of conference activity for me:
I ran the song lyrics and speaker slides for the Indianapolis Winter Conference (December 27 – January 1). 1346 college students came from throughout the Midwest. During an outreach at a local men’s prison, 75 students and staff shared the gospel with 93 inmates, and 18 indicated decisions to trust Christ!
Emcee Lab, our weekend of personalized coaching for emcees scheduled in November, was postponed when our main instructor had a family emergency. To make up for it, we trained two staff members in December and six college students in January.
From January 13-29, I was one of 11 small group coaches for a two-week course on Bible Study Methods. I had the privilege of coaching 11 new Cru staff members who will serve in assignments across the U.S. as well as in South America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
I taught communication skills at a Worship Arts Weekend in Sharon, PA (February 21-23) to college students who lead musical worship for weekly Cru meetings on their campuses.
23 people came to Indy February 10-13 to attend Comm Lab, our annual communication training event. Here is what a few of them had to say about it:
“This was an amazing training. The coaches were so helpful and kind, and the community it built so quickly between the participants was so fun. I loved everything about this not just the irreplaceable training I received!” – Jenn, Cru staff member
“I loved how practical and applicable the sessions were and how easy it was to transfer those principles into practice. The coaches were incredibly personal and encouraging as they pushed us to dig deep and work hard. I have a degree in communication and think I learned more in 4 days than I did in 4 years!” – Maria, Cru intern
“This was the most practical training I have ever attended. It was focused and purposeful. The coaches were kind and pushed us to the next level. I finally have a little bit of a handle on my movement, eye contact, facial expressions, and voice. Wow!” – Lee, pastor
Thank you for your partnership with me in equipping messengers for God’s mission!
Thank you for your prayers for the Worship Arts Conference and Auditions! 76 students came from 29 campuses. 55 auditioned for the student band that will lead worship at the Cru Winter Conference in Indianapolis, while the others attended sessions on the essentials of communication. The students I interacted with gave encouraging feedback, and it was fun to help coach a band from Detroit and watch them gain confidence during our session.
In the next three months, I look forward to equipping students and staff members at other Cru conferences and training events.
Winter Conference: Thousands of students will attend conferences across the country where God will work in their lives in significant ways. I’ll serve on the production team for the Indianapolis conference, which starts right after Christmas.
Emcee Lab: A small group of students and staff members will come to our office in January for a weekend of personalized coaching. I do most of the prep work for this one, and even though it’s small there are still a lot of details to arrange.
Bible Study Methods class: January also brings me a chance to coach a small group of new Cru staff members taking a two-week course on how to study the Bible and teach it to others.
Comm Lab: Our annual communication training event will be in February in Indy.
And finally, right on the heels of Comm Lab, another Worship Arts training weekend, this time for students in Pennsylvania.
As Christmas and a new year approach, your prayers will play a significant role in all of these events. Please ask God to keep me dependent on His power as I follow His lead, and to work in the hearts of everyone who attends training.
I want to thank you for your partnership in ministry. You are helping me equip messengers for God’s mission!
“Public speaking terrifies me.” That’s why one Cru staff member decided to attend Comm Lab last month. She admitted her fears on a short survey I sent to the 35 attendees to find out why they came and what they thought of the training. Here are a few encouraging responses:
“…the talks were so well done and applicable, and the drills were incredibly helpful. I loved that the focus was on the message that the Lord has for us to give, and not on how we might look good before an audience. (Though you communicated well that we are called to excellence–not perfection–because of whom we represent!) The coaching time was invaluable!”
(Becky, human resources for Bridges, Cru’s ministry to international students)
“I was an education major in college and took a preaching class in seminary, but the Comm Lab was definitely the most intense communication training I have experienced. I had previously been taught a lot of the things mentioned at the Comm Lab (eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, stage movement, etc.), but no one ever really demonstrated why they are important and held me accountable to improve. Comm Lab did that for me; the coaches stretched me and pushed me. Now I can take that with me as I continue to improve as a communicator.”
(Justin, college pastor)
“…I now have a helpful grid for things to look for and continue to improve on. I definitely improved over the course of a week but what’s most encouraging to me is that I feel equipped to continue growing…”
(Juice, Cru’s campus ministry)
“I have never been so locked in to a conference, soaking everything up like a sponge. I didn’t miss a single session, because it was not only extremely valuable but practical. Practicing skills after each session was crucial for me to learn and grow. The whole conference was so helpful. I will take those skills with me the rest of my life! I believe that it was the single best conference I could have attended for personal growth in communication skills.”
(Danella, college and mobilization director for a church)
Prayer and Praise:
Praise God for how He used Comm Lab
Ask Him to speak through those who were equipped at Comm Lab.
Our annual Comm Lab will be in Raleigh, NC from April 8-11. It’s another opportunity to watch God transform people (this time Cru staff members and local Christian leaders) as they grow in both skill and confidence in public speaking.
That God will prepare the hearts of those attending Comm Lab. (As of today we have 36 registered; we’d love to have 40.)
That I (and the rest of the Comm Lab team) will rely on the Holy Spirit rather than our own strengths as we teach, coach, and run the event.
For safe travel and good health for all going to Comm Lab and for any of their family members back home. (I’m riding in a van driving there April 6 and returning April 12.)
The four conferences I told you about in my last newsletter went well. The schedule was tiring, but I was energized to see God work in the lives of those I trained. Here are some encouraging comments from two of the Cru staff members I coached in our small group practices during Emcee Lab (the fourth conference).
Beau will emcee a large regional conference for students during winter break. He wrote this:
Emcee Lab was one of the most practical trainings that I have experienced during my time on staff. The speakers and coaches made it very easy to stay engaged and locked-in during the entirety of the weekend because they definitely had the expertise. The tips were all extremely useful, the heart behind being an emcee was valuable, and the communication drills helped me become a more complete public speaker.
Angela emceed a conference for Cru staff leaders last week. This is from an email she sent the other day:
…Thank you for your work during Emcee Lab! You set me up so well to do what we were trusting the Lord to do. I’m sharing this feedback with you as it’s almost word for word what y’all challenged and trained us to do! Thank you!!!
———- Forwarded message ———
… I wanted to just tell you what an AMAZING job you did as an emcee. You were gracious and poised and had such a presence up there. I really felt like you led us through the sessions as one firmly planted, journeying with others, and reliant on the Lord. Thank you for all of your work…I know that is a LOT of work. You did a fantastic job!!
Although Emcee Lab was the smallest of the four conferences, I believe it will have a big impact through the Cru staff members (and one student) who attended. Some will emcee at large conferences like Beau and Angela. Others will emcee (or teach students to emcee) at weekly large-group student meetings on their campuses. Whatever the event, each one of them will have the opportunity to set the tone of the gathering and prepare the hearts of the audience to hear from God.
I want to thank you for your partnership in ministry. You are helping me equip Cru staff members, students and others with communication skills that will amplify their impact for Christ!