Tracking Harvest Engagements

The more time we spend out in the harvest, the more important it is that we work hard to track the hard work we’ve done. We never want to let any of the fruit the Lord provides slip through the cracks, so we need a system.

This is a simple tool for tracking weekly harvest engagement that I got from Josh Reed (NPL RDU). It’s the size of a business card.

The blanks refer to the following:

  • Homes/people engaged
  • Received prayer
  • Gospel shares
  • Red lights
  • Yellow lights
  • Green lights
  • Christians
  • Discovery Bible Studies

The back is for recording follow ups and location information.

I love how simple this is.

Simple Gospel Tool

Two and three years ago we were hardly ever sharing the gospel in our ministry. Part of the time we didn’t even notice it. Some of the time we felt guilty about it. All of the time we didn’t really know how to share the gospel succinctly, which really kept us from trying to share unless an opportunity presented itself to us on a silver platter.

This was one of the 2 keys for helping us drastically increase gospel sharing in our ministry. The following videos are 3 different representations of the same simple tool. The 3 Circles is one of the simplest, and most profound and flexible tools I’ve ever come across – that’s why it stuck for us so well.

Leading Leaders

In a recent post I shared about importance of training trainers. When we train people, we are transmitting skills. That’s the first priority. We are also training trainers. Because I had my team training with me, I was reproducing myself. They are both new to this process of training, but as they trained with me, they nailed it. We practiced together before we trained together. Had I been sick, or for some other reason unable to attend the training, they could have facilitated it without me.

Training trainers isn’t just about building a bigger training team. It is about multiplying myself and my impact. I spent an extra couple of hours with my team preparing for this training, but after we finished the training, they were even more capable of facilitating trainings and leading training teams than they were before.

It has been a paradigm shift to start thinking about what a Church Planting Movement is and how to spark movement in my context. I’ve been learning that multiplying movements require multiplying leaders at every level. That’s one of the key roles I need to fulfill. As I’ve been trying to shift from being a leader to leading leaders, one of my friends in ministry, Robby Christmas, developed this excellent and simple tool to keep up our progress in developing leaders.

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MAWL, as the image shows, stands for Model, Assist, Watch, Launch. This particular version is filled in with the tools we use locally. You could replace them if they don’t fit in your ministry process. On the left, you can fill in the Planter’s name and you’ll check off the boxes as you go through the process of “MAWLing” them on each of the tools listed. By the time you have checked each box, you have a leader who is ready to be launched to restart the process themselves. Robby has included a basic outline for a 90min weekly MAWL meeting. The link above the image includes both pages.

Whether you use this particular tool or not, I would encourage you to think about your process for identifying, developing, releasing, and leading leaders. It is easy to overlook, but so critical.

Tracking our Metrics

In my last post I shared about how our ministry vision and metrics have shifted and what that has meant for us. It’s one thing to talk about what we track and another thing to give a little insight into how we are actually tracking it. What we do may be helpful to you, and you may have some insights that help us further streamline what we do.

Because we can’t control salvations, baptisms, church starts, or generations, we set goals for what we can control – encounters/engagements, gospel shares, and trainings. The latter leads to the former. We have a culture goal (what we are striving for the the culture of our ministry to be) of 100% obedience – every single student and staff person is regularly sharing the gospel and making disciples. If that’s where we stop, then it would be a huge step forward for us. But we are trying to accomplish the vision of #NoPlaceLeft on our campus where the gospel hasn’t been proclaimed. We can’t accomplish that systematic and comprehensive of a vision with haphazard activity. If every student deserves to hear the gospel personally and have a chance to respond to it, we need to strategize differently about how to accomplish that task. This is why we are training as many believers to make disciples as we can, and we are sharing the gospel as broadly as we can.

It’s not enough to share broadly and train widely. We need to be able to track the progress of our mission the very best we can.

It started with this:

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I keep this little notebook in my pocket or in my bag constantly. When we send out Entry Teams (2 x 2 groups) on a House of Peace Search (HOPs), they engage with people and offer prayer and the gospel. The only 3 responses a non-believer will give to the gospel is Red / Yellow / Green – Not Interested / Cautiously Interested / Ready to Turn and Follow Jesus. We have a next-steps process for each of these responses. You can see in my notes above, we are tracking total engagements, R/Y/G responses as well as Christians (indicated by †) and number of gospel shares. The bottom figures are the cumulative metrics since the start of the school year. Every week in our discipleship training group, I share the updated metrics to celebrate with our students as we share the stories behind the numbers together as a group. This has been incredibly helpful for us.

We use this time doing HOPs out in open space on campus as training time – it’s a bit like a scrimmage. It matters. We have seen fruit from it. But it is incredibly hard to track comprehensively and it can be hard to follow up with people we encounter.

Our intent from the beginning was to train students by MAWLing (Model / Assist / Watch / Leave) them in this process so that we could send them in Entry Teams on a Dorm of Peace Search (DOPs). Rather than encountering “strangers” on campus, they could encounter their neighbors, and we could track our progress as we go. Now, I am getting reports back from a DOPs that look like this:

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This information can then be turned into something that looks like this:

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Each number represents a room in this dorm. In this case, the dorm is 4 floors. The background colors mean the following:

  • White – unengaged
  • Gray – knocked but no answer
  • Red – red light
  • Yellow – yellow light
  • Green – turned and believed in Jesus
  • Purple – Christian
  • Black triangle – note was added with contextual info

This is the progress map for our Entry Teams in one dorm. There are 19 more dorms on our campus. When we finish engaging all the rooms in the dorm (i.e. they are R/Y/G/P), we can declare that there is #NoPlaceLeft in that dorm! When we have completed this for every dorm on campus, we will be halfway to #NoPlaceLeft on the whole campus. Every single school year, the clock will be reset and we’ll start over. We need at least one student who lives in the dorm to own the mission and take another student with them in a Entry Team. We as staff aren’t allowed in the dorms, so it is of critical importance that we find a person of peace who will drive the #NoPlaceLeft mission in their own dorm.

If that feels overwhelming to think about, then welcome to the party! This kind of pioneering work appeals to a certain kind of student – they are just waiting to be equipped and unleashed, and that’s what we’re really after. We don’t want to check off a box by each dorm room on a spreadsheet to make ourselves feel good. We want to make disciples who make disciples who can plant churches that plant churches to the 4th generation and beyond. This isn’t our outreach ministry – it is our ENTIRE ministry. We don’t have time for anything else! As the years go by and we keep having the clock reset on us, and as students keep graduating and moving away, we don’t get frustrated with our loss of progress. The progress itself isn’t nearly as important as how we’re developing disciple makers before they leave. We used to be excited to graduate healthy church members. Now, I want to graduate healthy church planters. We are casting vision for that from the first touch we have with them.

Four Fields of Kingdom Growth

  
T4T (Training for Trainers) is the general model/posture we have been taking with BCM. Our desire is to train students to be reproducing disciple makers. While T4T speaks directly to this, Nathan and Kari Shank’s book Four Fields of Kingdom Growth is the best comprehensive implementation of T4T that I’ve found. I’ve only just discovered this great resource, but I’ll be digesting and internalizing it for quite some time. 

Video: 411 Training

Back in January I participated in a training that we call “411 Disciple-Making Training.” It is a simple and reproducing way to make disciples who make disciples by answering 4 questions, in 1 hour, on 1 piece of paper. Troy Cooper is the lead facilitator of the training and I’m assisting him. Troy trained me in the same way previously, so my assistance was a continuation of my training. Josh is on mission to multiply disciples, churches, and movements in South Asia. These guys are gospel-beasts. We are all reproducing this training anywhere and everywhere – often over video chats just like this one, and where possible, in person. It can be done 1:1 and it can be done in very large groups.

If you take the time to watch the video, you’ll likely find yourself thinking about how simple (even elementary) the content is. The focus is more on the method of modeling and practice through immediate reproduction. Training isn’t about knowledge, it is about skills and practices. Most Christians (at least in my part of the world) don’t need more knowledge, they need to practice and obey what they do know.

Becoming Storytellers

Over the last year BCM has gone from a traditional model of a single staffer, a building as the central meeting place, and a budget funded by the denomination to a multi-staff, decentralized, support-based organization. There is much to share about why this transition happened, growth points, and what we’re learning along the way. I want to do a better job of sharing the things I’m learning and the resources I’m using. 

I’ve written a little about decentralization here, here, and here. Without a single time and place where our ministry “happens,” we have discovered some pain points. It is rare for us all to be on the same page with what is happening in our ministry naturally. We are learning how to be a (somewhat) distributed team. 

Formerly we all attended the same large group gatherings. Now we are all involved in different Gospel Communities spread across the week and across the campus. In a decentralized ministry it can be deceptively easy to lose touch and be out of the loop. The single tool that has helped us the most is Slack. It is our asynchronous communication hub. It’s a group messaging platform. We create “channels” based on the topics we need to address so that our conversations remain unified and (somewhat) coherent. It has eliminated nearly all email and text messaging for us. 

 Each of the words in left sidebar represent the various channels we currently have active. Each staff accesses Slack from their phones and their iPads – they could even log in on the web from any computer. Since we are only in the same room all at the same time once per week at most, we have to work a little harder on communicating consistently and clearly. 

Every month everyone on the BCM team is sending out their own personal newsletters to their supporters. It can be tough to recall what happened over the last month, but I am finding that Slack can be really helpful for this. In Slack you can “star” any message to save it for later. My list of “starred” messages is my list of celebrations and a list of potential topics for future newsletters. We are committed to improving our ministry, but we must be just as committed to telling our stories well. 

How do you communicate with your team, and how do you record things to celebrate as a team and with your supporters?

Tracking My Support

Almost a year ago I started my journey of transitioning from a salary to support-based ministry. This is fairly novel in the Southern Baptist world. I’ve come across some great resources, tools, and services that help tremendously with support raising – especially for someone who is not serving in an organization with a long history of support-based staff. In lots of way we are building our own in-house system for training and coaching support-based staff.

I’m learning is how easy it is to lose track of who is giving, how much I’ve raised, what percentage of my total goal I’ve raised and what the split is between monthly and annual givers.

A key service I’m using as my Source of Truth is Support Goal. It’s a great service for keeping track of even the most minute details – attempted contacts, birthdays of supporters, notes on supporters, etc. It is the cornerstone of my support raising system. One key thing I would like to refer to is my monthly and annual supporters, the total amounts of each, and my current percentage of my goal. Support Goal will do this, but this spreadsheet I’ve created simplifies it further – and hey, I like it.

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There’s really nothing special about this spreadsheet. It’s just a list of supporters and how much they give. I’ve added 5 formulas (each with a note on the cells) to auto-total the various columns and total percentage. The total monthly and percentage cells have 3 conditional values added to turn the cell RED, YELLOW, or GREEN depending on whether the value is below 50%, between 50-99%, or 100%+. It’s a simple way to indicate progress.

The point: simple and clear data.

If you’d like to play around with this template, you can click the link above. You’ll need to click FILE > MAKE A COPY to edit it for yourself. More than likely, this isn’t even the best way to do what I’m setting out to do. I’m new at this – that’s the whole point. If you have suggestions for improving the system, let me know! Drop me an email or a tweet.

We collegiate ministry practitioners need to do a better job of sharing the resources we use. It may be a document, a spreadsheet, a service, etc. Tim Casteel said it well. Collegiate ministry can be isolating. Let’s do a better job of sharing than siloing.