Monday, May 14, 2012

Six Questions Every CU Leader Should Ask

Andy Stanley recently released a podcast of six questions every leader should ask. Read Six points or better still, listen: Podcast
  1. Which gauges should we be watching?
  2. Where are we manufacturing energy?
  3. Who needs to be sitting at the table?
  4. Who is not keeping up?
  5. Where do I make the greatest contribution to the organization?
  6. What should I stop doing?

Leadership (or Administration) is a grace gift. The questions leaders face might feel less than spiritual but they need asking. What we do is based on what we think matters - for good or for bad. Stanley questions are asked in a growing church situation. Let me translate them to a CU where leaders serve the University by leading the Christian students in mission.

Lots of the life of CU isn't 'organised' but relational involvement in the mission of God. Leaders will choke that mission, or they can faciliate and resource it. Asking good questions will help.

1. Which gauges should we be watching? 
This might not be the president's job but someone should be measuring what's happening. 
Sometimes we can get oversensitive against numbers but numbers are people - and there are a lot of them who don't know Jesus. In the South West we're 750 Christian students among about 75,000 under-graduates. Ninety-nine of every one hundred students isn't a Christian. Perhaps 98 if you account for Christians not in CU - but 'student in church' suggests that's all.
The student-world is fast paced and has a short memory. Past performance indicates future trajectory and we need to learn quickly. When are the peaks and troughs in the student year? When do events draw a crowd and when don't they - and why? Who are we reaching? Are we reaching anyone? How are the numbers at the prayer meeting? Which people should be in the CU who aren't - and how can we win the because we need them? Who is tracking guests who come to event? Are you using an effective 'Like to know more' system to help people journey with Jesus? Are people quickly contacted?
Some people in your CU will be data-geeks - deploy them to serve the CU's mission.

2. Where are we manufacturing energy? 
What are we doing because it's always been done rather than because we believe in it.Ask around, try to learn why it was happening - should it be rebooted? Or should it be axed to make space for the next thing? A common temptation here is to cut time where students have the Bible open because it doesn't appear to have immediate mission cash-value... you can over-fill someone's diary but if we're not encountering Jesus together in his word we drift to apathy or guilt-driven mission.

3. Who needs to be sitting at the table? 
Decision making. CU committees can spend huge amounts of time in committee meetings trying to make all  the decisions. A CU team can afford to meet briefly, fortnightly, to check the gauges. Most decisions don't need 8-10 people to make them. A camel is a horse designed by a committee. Release control and let the right people make the decisions.  Different decisions need to be made by different people.

Also, who are the key leaders in the CU for the decisions you need to make? They might not be 'the committee' in every case. Planning evangelistic events think about your most gifted evangelists. Have them in the room. What kind of opportunities can your best inviters make use of? What kind of contexts allow your best evangelists opportunities to talk with those who aren't Christians? What opportunities can involve the best evangelists the local church has?

4. Who is not keeping up? 
In a church context, someone might start out leading a youth group of 10 and help it grow to 100 but then not actually have the capacity to maintain or grow the work further. In CU the best translation is to ask, do we have the right people in the right places? Are we giving time consuming pastoral or administrative roles to evangelists? Are we burying pastoral people in paperwork? Etc. 

5. Where do I make the greatest contribution? 
A question to ask of myself and to ask others to observe about me too. The CU exists to give every student at our University the opportunity to hear of Jesus and respond to him. What role am I playing in that? How do I need to change? Who am I discipling? Which Christians and non-Christians am I teaching about Jesus? Which friendships should I invest in more?

6. What should I stop doing? 
If you're a Senior Pastor in a big church like Andy Stanley is, you might get to write your own job description and staff for your weaknesses....  the point though is about giving yourself to what you're best able to contribute to the CU's mission. Not an excuse not to do the hidden, weak and uncool acts of service - but an opportunity to ask: what - that I'm responsible for doing - could someone else do better now or grow to do?
Ask yourself - what would the next guy do? If (and when) they get rid of us... do what they'd do.
What would a great leader do - entrusted with our vision?

There are other questions a CU leader should ask too, like what does Jesus mean to me?

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