In February 2018, our Staff Development Director Tony Feiger and his team headed down to Orlando, Florida, for the latest chapter director training. We interviewed Tony for the first time about one of these training sessions. The people that attend come from within our ranks, whether they just signed up to lead a college chapter or are returning for a refresher, like some of our regional directors and national staff. We asked Tony:

Q: What is covered in this training?

A: We want to answer questions like, "What is Ratio Christi? What tools and resources can I use? How do we do basic campus ministry?" But we also discuss heart and spiritual issues – this is key. We may have great arguments and evidence for the Bible as truth, so why don’t people just fall on their knees and repent? The Bible says unless the Spirit draws a man, he will by no means come (John 6:44). Even if our gospel is to a world that is perishing, they may be so blinded that they may not see the Gospel. Our arguments won’t work without the Spirit. So we don’t train people to argue with others. We want to win people. Those who are ready will come. We look at prayer, humility, and having a heart for the lost.

Q: What has been the average number of people who attend?

A: We try to do this about twice a year, and our largest Chapter Director Orientation groups will include ten to twelve new leaders.

Q: Do they need to attend Orientation when they first come on board?

A: A chapter director needs to attend the orientation within their first two years. On average, they attend within one year. Many of them are supported missionaries who need to take time off of work and raise support to cover travel and hotel expenses, so it depends where the training is located. These people have already been through our process of being accepted as chapter directors and could be brand new, but also some of our veteran leaders attend to get a refresher course and see if anything new is being taught. We welcome prospects to come.

Q: How is the training done?

A: We generally have a team of 5-6 trainers, doing sessions on things like: The Necessity of Prayer; Communicating your Vision and Calling; How to Work with our Communications Team to bring attention to the chapters; an Introduction to other Divisions of RC; Cultivating Contacts; and Raising Support.

One highlight this time was Travis Barham from our legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who gave an overview of campus legal issues geared toward what campus ministries can and can’t do and the kinds of issues that come up. The attendees also get a ready-made notebook from the Conference to refer back to.

Q: Do you go out into the community during these trainings for hands-on experience, and what might that look like?

A: Yes. This time we had an outreach at UCF in Orlando, the largest student body in the U.S. with over 70,000. This is the first orientation where we went to a secular campus and interviewed students! We usually interview “the man on the street.” We took a video camera and interviewed people on campus. We concentrated on getting to know people, asking their interests, where they’re from, and then going into a question like, What are the most important things in life to you? Or, What do you think brings people lasting happiness? This gives a flavor for their persona and builds a relational bridge. Before we ever ask religious questions.

Q: And then, what kind of religious questions might you ask?

A: We ask questions about their exposure to religion as they were growing up, whether they believe in God, and why or why not. We also ask questions about what happens when you die, and what is your opinion of Jesus?

The heart of it might be, What do you think of the idea that Jesus died for your sins? Getting at what that means and an opportunity to share God’s story. Students are open and still forming their views.

Q: How does this help the new person decide how they're going to approach campus ministry with RC?

A: Before we go, we get ready with an “Equipping” session. Afterward, we have a debriefing to discuss the conversations we had. Everyone shares highlights. This helps prepare them to start the campus ministry. It's basic campus ministry training. Spiritual foundation, guiding of the Spirit, conflict resolution, skills and preparation, intro to Ratio Christi, our resources for chapter leaders, books for further reading, and more.

Q: When do they learn the apologetics?

A: This is not an apologetics conference. We train very little on apologetics during this time - they’ve already gotten that from studying on their own or seminary training. In order to be a part of on-campus leadership teams, everyone has to have a heart for apologetics and young people. When we were all done with this training on the last day, we decided to have a pool party. But all night long, people debated on apologetics and theological issues! That shows their heart for the subjects.

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?

A: We'd like to give a special thanks to Meagen Scott Cain who came to take the training but is also a directing specialist with a Master of Fine Arts degree in film production. She did many of our photos and videotaping during the sessions.

Enjoy a slideshow below from the training! If you are interested in becoming a college leader with Ratio Christi, please go to this page at our website and fill out the form, making sure to select from the options at the bottom right.