Yesterday we released an April Fools Day post for CampusNavs.org, the national website for The Navigators collegiate ministry. This year I wrote a spoof on the Topical Memory System (TMS), the tool Navigators use to help them memorize Scripture. The original TMS has 60 verses, each one paired with a topic to help a person recall and use those verses when needed. Memorizing Scripture isn’t an easy discipline, and it’s something I have heard college students lament over for years. So, with that in mind, this year I wrote that the Navs had released a new Scripture memory resource called the Topical Memory System Lite, composed exclusively with the shortest verses in the Bible.
The Navigators Collegiate Ministry
The collegiate ministry of The Navigators ministers to college students on nearly 200 campuses across the U.S. Its aim is to help young men and women grow in their relationship with Christ through discipleship and train them to pass on what they have learned to others. I served on staff with The Navigators at Florida State University from 2007 to 2014, then in the National Collegiate Office at Navigator headquarters in Colorado as the director of collegiate communications from 2014 to 2016.
In addition to my efforts on the campusnavs.org website and its social media presence I also work closely with our in-house IT department, interacting with their team to create websites and online tools that will benefit our staff serving on college campuses across the country. My background as a web developer provides me with knowledge of the technical side of things, and my years with the FSU Navs give me insight into field ministry needs.
One such tool made by IT is an event registration system that provides our staff with a free option for collecting payment for conferences and retreats. Other systems charge a fee upwards of $4 per registration, and that adds up quickly when your event has several hundred attendees. Over the course of a school year this system will save our staff thousands of dollars.
The system was only just released last August, so whenever one of our collegiate staff wants to use it for the first time I help them get started. I also gather their feedback for how they would like to see the system improved. This month I presented that feedback to IT, beginning the process of creating the system’s next iteration. It will likely take several months from start to finish. Our aim is for the improved system to be finished by the start of the Fall 2015 semester.
One part of my job as the communications director for The Navigators collegiate ministry is to develop a vision and strategy for the Campus Navs website and its related social media presence. I am always looking for opportunities to learn from the success of others and apply their tactics to what we’re hoping to accomplish with our collegiate online initiatives.
I took advantage of one such opportunity this week by attending the Platform Conference here in Colorado Springs, an event that focuses on how to create a successful online presence. I was exposed to an abundance of very helpful information from industry experts. It’s given me ideas on how to become a more effective online communicator, attract a great number of students to our blog content, launch a successful podcast of messages given by our staff, and much more. I also was able to network with dozens of likeminded individuals, many of whom were Christians themselves.
I’m excited to start applying all that I learned!
Meeting the Keynote Speaker
I had the privilege to meet Michael Hyatt, keynote speaker of the Platform Conference, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, and one of my favorite bloggers. Fun fact: Michael was once on staff with The Navigators at Baylor University.
One of my top priorities in my role as the director of collegiate communications is to help our field staff succeed with the communication needs at their campus. With so many different kinds of resources for communication available today (Facebook, Twitter, email, text messaging, and so on) it can be difficult to decide which are best suited for each campus.
I desired to create a resource for our staff that would equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to carry out a successful communications strategy. This month I launched the new Collegiate Communications Handbook website to address this need. In the “Getting Started” series I describe best practices to follow and help prioritize the initial steps to take. On the website’s blog I will be answering specific questions submitted by our staff.
All this week I’ve been taking a refresher course in fundraising best practices. It’s been great and long overdue. A surprising amount has changed since I first took this training back in 2007. Everyone taking the training is provided with fundraising materials, including prayer cards to give to supporters and potential supporters. Check out mine!