Recently, while on campus at Union University for their new student registration, we were overwhelmed by a torrential downpour that turned the campus into a sloppy mess. You know, the kind that makes you look like a soaked lost puppy dog stranded on the highway.
This one was a gully washer, but the UU team still managed to handle themselves and the crowd extremely well. I was struck by several things they got right.
While I’m sure there are other things that could be mentioned, I observed 3 key things that are worth highlighting:
1. Never let them see you sweat.
If there was ever an occasion to sweat it, this was it! On campus that day, was the largest incoming class in the history of Union University (515 new and 75 transfer students) which I would guess translates into well over 2,000 people by the time you add mom, dad, little brother and Granny.
If trying to handle the crowd wasn’t enough (think sheep without a shepherd), the monsoon had to ping on their stress meter. This wasn’t just a sprinkle, but a major deluge that decided to hang out with us for much of the day. It completely saturated the campus including the designated lunch space on the lawn—which turned into soupy slushy slop.
But, the UU team demonstrated an impeccable attitude and “can-do” spirit at every turn. In my experience, everyone I encountered (from top tier executives all the way down to the student ambassadors) exemplified the right attitude.
Take away #1: If you strive to do events well, you will sweat. It’s part of the scene and undesirable things just happen. When they do, keep your head clear, your attitude graceful and spirit hospitable.
2. Focus on your objectives.
Moving this size crowd through the process of registration and information download is no easy task. But, the UU team had it down. Though hit by serious weather-related obstacles, they knew what they had to accomplish and stayed laser locked on getting there.
Take away #2: Obstacles can either make you or break you. When you face them, see them as opportunities to demonstrate the Spirit of Christ and to discern God’s sovereign plan that far exceeds our puny efforts. He might be wanting to completely invade your space and could be using those downpours to do it! Full disclosure: I’ve directed a ton of events throughout the years and definitely can’t claim that I’ve always followed my own advice.
3. Nurture a healthy “resonance vibe.”
It’s easy for us to recognize things like organizational efficiency, a great attitude and leadership focus, but we don’t often think about vibe. Though I have no way of knowing if the UU leadership team is intentional about nurturing resonance vibe, it is clear to me that their approach facilitates and nurtures a healthy one.
I define “resonance vibe” as a dynamic that is at play between your organization and your constituents/members that just draws you together. It’s an organic sense that causes people to want to relate to you and engage in your ministry or church. It’s a sense that what you say and do in ministry really matters and resonates with the people you are ministering to and/or trying to reach.
Let’s face it. Not everyone gets this. Resonance vibe is one of those subjective intangibles that may not be on your radar and is hard to define. It’s one of those things that you appreciate (even if you don’t know what to call it), but have difficulty describing. Kind of like I’m having right now. ;)
I’m not really sure how to describe the campus vibe at Union University, but I know it exists and I like it. It feels comfortable, welcoming and approachable. It feels like something meaningful is going on there (probably because it is). It feels like the kind of place where good things happen. It feels like the kind of place where you would want (not dread) to send your teenager away to college.
There’s a new innovative ministry launching called Beloved Virus. The guys behind it are great and I like their vibe. I think what they are doing will resonate.
Take away #3: Resonance vibe cannot be manufactured, but it can be nurtured and facilitated. Everything you do should be intentional about building a healthy resonance vibe. If you want people to absolutely love your ministry or church and contagiously tell others about it, then give them good reason.
That’s great branding.