What are the expectations of a NavFusion coach?
A NavFusion coach is a Navigator staff person from ANY mission (entity) who has a heart for student ministry. Generally, volunteer campus leaders either work at the university, are in the surrounding community, or are students. They will keep up with the student ministry. A coach needs to keep up with the volunteer campus leader. That means a coach is not expected to visit the dorms or orchestrate a Nav Night.
Some of the campus leaders need very little help. Maybe they came out of a Nav collegiate ministry some years ago. Maybe they were discipled and equipped by the Navs in the military and are now out of the military and in college. One campus leader is a professor who was discipled by the Navs and is now writing a book on discipleship. He doesn’t need help! However, even these campus leaders need occasional contact to keep encouraged and focused. They need to be in the communications loop to know when conferences and summer training programs are coming, when campus leaders are gathering for training, how to recruit for EDGE Corps and so on.
Others may have the heart to do ministry but need some coaching and resourcing. Ideas on how to launch the school year, team dynamics, what to cover in one on one meetings, training leaders and so on. Maybe they need Bible study materials or ideas. Maybe help in associating with university officials. An experienced Nav rep would have a multitude of ideas for each of these needs.
Occasionally, a volunteer campus leader needs equipping. Maybe he or she has the heart, but not the know-how. So you might develop an active equipping relationship. But as always, you keep up with the campus leader, he or she keeps up with the students. If there is a leadership team on a campus, you may have contact with the team, offering training, but generally you work with the primary leader.
If you can make meaningful contact with the campus leader at least once every four to six weeks, and maybe a little more often in the beginning, a volunteer campus leader can thrive. We call this a vital connect. With a healthy vital connect, there are Nav-trained disciplers next door to every campus in the US who can have a meaningful impact on campus. Their ministry probably won’t look like a staff-led ministry, but they can still pass on Navigator DNA. Your part will be to answer questions, offer a sounding board to help solve problems and plan and evaluate, pray together and maybe even look at the Scriptures together. Their job will be to make the student ministry work.
A NavFusion Coordinator will likewise be a resource for you, establishing a relationship with you and doing much of the same to enable and resource you to be an effective coach.
How often should I contact a campus leader?
As a minimum, the coach should contact a campus leader once during the summer to gauge interest and availability for the coming year and visit the campus once during the school year to maintain visual contact with the leader and the ministry. Ideally, the coach should establish a “vital connect” with the campus leader making meaningful contact at least once every four to six weeks, and maybe a little more often, when the leader is getting started.
How do I conduct a successful and respectful campus visit?
Volunteer campus leaders have many and varied needs and desires. Nevertheless, there are several basic functions that most will benefit from:
First and foremost, it pays to see the turf, meet the key people and observe campus life. Meet at the student union for a meal and then go for a walk. Maybe not every visit, but enough to sense the lay of the land.
Thinking about a ministry strategy together. Once you’ve seen, met and observed, the questions will be forthcoming and you’ll know the context enough to speak into the situation. Brainstorming, answering questions, sharing ideas and solving problems will naturally flow out of this. You don’t necessarily need to offer a plan, but rather help the campus leader come up with his or her own plan. If your campus leader is well qualified, a timely question may do more to point him or her in the right direction than 15 of your own ideas. A big part of coaching is helping a person do what they already have the knowledge to do.
Praying together. Labor with campus leaders in prayer. Learn more about their heart for the school and vision for the ministry by hearing their prayers. Engage in spiritual warfare together.
Opening the Word. Sometimes this may be just to sharpen one another’s walk with Christ. Other times there may be a specific need that the Scriptures will address. As you deepen in your walks with Christ together, the Word can be a common language you use to converse on a variety of subjects.
Be sure to minister to the whole person. If there’s a fiancé in the picture, your wisdom on how to balance ministry and romance may be invaluable. Sometimes career pressures impact ministry and a timely word can help avoid much distraction or heartache. Occasionally circumstances will change and you may counsel the campus leader to back out of ministry for a time. The minister comes before the ministry.
Offering closing insights as you prepare to leave is often where you hit pay dirt. You’ve rambled on and off and around many topics. A closing thought that pulls things together can be the key to taking the ministry to the next level. One key function you can perform is to leave by “Catching the leader doing something right.” Giving a word of encouragement about what’s going well, how their contribution is being used of God, or why their gifts well-suit them for the job. If someone is doing the right thing, acknowledging and praising that right thing will pay dividends in the long run.