Christmas Hope

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new a glorious morn.

I listened to Hannah, the lead singer of our band Anthem City, recount how God met her during a time of deep grief when she desperately needed the hope “O Holy Night” proclaims. She told how God used a little girl to show her that He is intent on pursuing us and bringing us peace in the midst of difficulties. Her openness and genuine emotion touched my heart as she spoke.

Hannah was trained as a communicator at our Comm Lab last spring. She will proclaim the hope of Jesus in prisons, homeless shelters, teen centers and elsewhere as Anthem City presents their Christmas Experience concert to thousands in the coming weeks. I’m confident that God will use her story to touch many of those hearts and draw them to Himself.

Our world today is pining because of sin and error, and weary souls are all around—next door, across town, or on the other side of the world. They need to experience the worth and the thrill of hope that Jesus alone brings.

In 2018 we have the opportunity to engage hearts around the world with this message. Through communication training and other creative tools, we are equipping many more people like Hannah to share Christ’s hope with those who desperately need to hear.

Because of your partnership with me as I coordinate communication training events and tools like Comm Lab, many other missionaries and volunteers like Hannah will be equipped to share the hope of Jesus. Thank you for your part in reaching people around the world with the hope of the gospel!

Equipping Aussie Missionaries

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping missionaries from all over the world grow as communicators. In May we sent communication coaches to Australia to teach curriculum that I helped write and edit. Power to Change (Cru’s Australian ministry) handpicked a group of influential staff members to receive our training.

Teresa, one of our coaches, gave a glimpse into what God did:

“The Aussie [team] has been amazing to work with and so responsive to the coaching and teaching. Several of them have thanked us for how they are being stretched and challenged. I’ve never seen such an eagerness to learn and grow.”

Australian communication training

One trainee later wrote this:

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but had heard great things about this training. Well, I can tell you now that the training certainly lived up to all the hype…Needless to say, we were all so grateful for this training and to our coaches who ran it and guided us each step of the way. Now for the next step: to keep putting what we learnt into practice and to continue growing in the skills we were taught :-)! For His glory!!”

Thank you for partnering with me in ministry! You are helping missionaries around the world become more effective in communicating the life-changing message of Christ!

Prayer Requests

  • For the Australian staff members who received training to continue to learn and grow as communicators.
  • For safe travel and open hearts to hear God for all Cru staff members and guests who will attend our biennial staff conference in Colorado next month.

Comm Lab 2017

Just one week after the end of the three Big Break conferences I worked at in Panama City Beach during March, I headed up another week-long conference in Orlando. This was our annual Comm Lab, held this year in Orlando from April 3-7.

Comm Lab main session

Compared to the hundreds of college students who attended each week of Big Break, the 37 attending Comm Lab sounds small. Yet these staff members of Cru and other ministries have far-reaching influence, so it’s a privilege to help them develop as communicators of God’s message.

As the event planner, I coordinated both the team and the curriculum. Messages discussed a wide variety of topics: insights from the Book of Proverbs on the power of words, how to build bridges with those who need to hear the gospel, steps to writing a talk, writing and using stories from your personal life, delivery skills such as eye contact and gestures, and more. Our team of very capable coaches did a wonderful job with both delivering and demonstrating the material.

leading a workshop

In addition to teaching a workshop on a talk-writing technique called storyboarding (above), I co-coached one of the small groups where participants practiced their delivery skills during what we call “Comm Drills” (below).

coaching at Comm Lab

I loved being part of what God was doing that week in the lives of these precious servants of the gospel! You were also part of God’s work during Comm Lab through your partnership with my ministry. Thank you for helping equip missionaries to communicate the message of Christ to those who need to hear!

Responses to Comm Lab 2017

“I loved getting feedback from experienced coaches. The content was relevant and easy to refer back to when needed. My communication skills were honed, making me more comfortable with taking on speaking engagements.”
– B. H.

“The lectures and the drills were extremely beneficial. We were given the theory of speaking then allowed to practice, practice, practice. That really helped me to internalize and put into practice the theory. In addition, having a great coach (go Don!) to help give guidance while practicing was critical. I also enjoyed the time/space we were given to meet with God. I was impressed by how much focus was given to intimacy with the Lord. It was encouraging and meaningful.”
– C. B.

“I thought the emphasis to stay connected to Jesus was great. ‘It’s out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks’ We can’t expect to glorify Him with our words if we’re not in His. The practical techniques were very helpful. Dan and Vicki were great coaches. I appreciated the vulnerability of the speakers in their messages. Thank you all so much!”
– M. G.

Prayer Requests

  • For those who attended Comm Lab to continue to learn and grow as communicators.
  • For spiritual and emotional refreshment after a very busy spring.
  • For focus, discipline and God’s provision as I seek for new financial ministry partners in Indiana this summer.
  • For healing from recent dental work. After breaking a tooth in February, I had a root canal on that tooth April 27 and had a temporary crown put in May 11. Pray that all pain will be gone by June 1 when the permanent crown is put in.

Thank you for praying!

Looking Back and Looking Forward

calendarI sat at a restaurant Tuesday enjoying breakfast with my leaders and fellow project managers. We gathered to celebrate what God has done this semester, and I smiled as I listened to my friends tell stories of how they had seen God work.

  • One told about prison inmates coming to faith in Jesus through concerts by Anthem City, our new Christmas band.
  • Another explained how she created a website filled with resources to help Cru missionaries transition back to the U.S. after serving overseas.
  • One of our graphic designers announced that the book he wrote and designed has been sent to the publisher; High Ground is a mentoring guide to help free people caught in porn addiction.
  • I praised the great work my Emcee Training team did equipping 15 staff and student emcees to shepherd audiences toward Jesus.
  • Someone else reminded us of all the people who heard the gospel through our bands that toured Australia and the Republic of Georgia.

As I listened to these stories and at least half a dozen others, I sensed the hand of God directing our small team. I was encouraged to see how He is using our creative endeavors to accomplish His mission to win people to Christ, build them in their faith, and send them out equipped to reach others.

God is already providing significant ministry opportunities for me for the start of 2017:

  • Editing and promoting another set of 10 Rock Your Meeting videos for our growing library of free online lessons at or
  • Doing research and analysis for our team that is updating a Cru outreach strategy called Freshman Survival Kits
  • Serving on the event team for three one-week Big Break conferences in Panama City Beach, FL (March 4-25) where college students will learn through experience how to share Christ
  • Coaching and running sound and video at Comm Lab, our annual communication training conference, which will be held April 3-7 in Orlando, FL

As I look forward to a new year with so many exciting opportunities, please join me in praying for continued sensitivity to God’s leading, both for me personally and for everyone on our creative team.

Planning an Event

Our little creative team in Indy is working on a boatload of projects and events that will help Cru win people to Christ, build them in their faith and send them out on God’s mission. Each band tour, conference and project has its own project manager and team; I’m currently on two teams and I manage three more.

Emcee Training logo portraitOne event I manage is our annual Emcee Training. Staff members and students throughout Cru have opportunities to emcee ministry events of various sizes. We want to help them grow in their skills and cultivate their hearts so they can serve in that role with excellence and effectiveness.

If you’ve ever been involved in planning an event, you know that a lot of advance planning is required if the event is going to run smoothly and accomplish its goals. While this year’s Emcee Training falls on the first weekend in November, the planning started back in May with meetings to discuss updating the curriculum. (These were the meetings I wrote about in my June post titled “What Does a Squirrel Have to Do with an Emcee?”)

We continue updating the agenda and session content, and I’m working through a list I made of what needs to happen eight weeks prior to the conference, six weeks prior, four weeks prior, and so forth. I’m coordinating the services of coworkers with expertise in areas like finances, photography, and catering. The work is challenging, fun and rewarding.

Thank you for being part of my event team through your partnership in ministry with me! You are playing a vital role in encouraging and equipping Cru emcees to help their audiences hear from God!

Prayer Requests

  • Emcee Training attendance: that God will bring emcees who need to be encouraged and equipped (nine are currently registered)
  • Wisdom for me: that I will manage the project and my team well
  • “Juggling” skills: that I will make wise choices as I juggle the demands of the teams I am on and the ones I manage.

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