I Know a Guy

Have you ever asked for a recommendation for something, like an electrician, a mechanic, an accountant or something else, only to get a response from a friend who says, “I know a guy.” Perhaps you’re the one who knows a guy and have recommended someone’s services to someone else.

Recently, I was meeting with my friend Vince, a Young Professional who shared a funny story. 

Vince is a Young Professional who is pursuing his passion to help teenagers succeed academically via his own tutoring business (vincecanhelp@outlook.com).

Vince was manning an informational table at church with another Young Adult named Wyat, whom he didn’t know. They started talking about the challenges they were facing in this post-college, single phase of life.

“It seems as if most churches are geared more towards families”, one of them said.

“True. Young Adults like us are often overlooked and under-served”, the other remarked.

“There is this one guy I know though, who seems to care about Young adults and has really helped me out.”

“Wait. You know a guy? I know a guy too. Who’s your guy? My guy is named Dave Lowe.”

“Dude…that’s my guy too! How do you know Dave?”

Scene from Ocean’s 11: “You know a guy?”

 

I love this story for many reasons. 

First, it confirms the unique challenges Young Professionals experience as they seek to find spiritual resources and mentors to help them navigate the unique challenges they face. 

Secondly, it shows the amazing power of networking, as I met both Vince and Wyat through a common connection they both had, though they didn’t actually know each other.

Third, it’s fun being thought of as “the guy” who cares about and ministers to the unique challenges of Young Adults. Actually, that is what we’re hoping for and trusting God to develop in our ministry.

Wyat is a recent graduate of UC Irvine, working as a Phlebotomist while he contemplates going to Medical School.

I was introduced to Vince last year through a mutual connection. When we met, I learned that Vince is from New York and received an appointment to West Point but opted instead to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he received a degree in engineering. After working a few years for a big engineering firm, Vince decided to step out in faith to pursue his real passion, helping high schoolers succeed academically.

It turns out Vince is highly skilled at teaching young people just about any STEM subject you can imagine. He not only helps high schoolers improve in the classroom, but Vince is also proficient in helping teens boost their standardized test scores and navigate University Admissions processes.

Starting your own tutoring business can be extremely rewarding emotionally, but difficult financially. This is especially true for Vince, who not only supports himself, but is the sole provider for his mother.

Like any startup, increasing your client base and getting the word out is always a challenge.

Saul Goodman (from Breaking Bad): “Let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy…..who knows another guy.”

 

Not long ago, I saw someone post on Nextdoor that they needed a recommendation for a tutor for their daughter, who was struggling in her Physics course. I was able to respond, “I know a guy”…and I shared Vince’s information.

When I met Vince, after sharing his humorous story about his interaction with Wyat, he thanked me for connecting me with the person from Nextdoor. He’s been tutoring this young woman and her understanding and test results have improved dramatically.

So if you find someone who needs help academically, you can say, “I know a guy” (vincecanhelp@outlook.com), or as Saul Goodman from the show Breaking Bad famously said, “I know a guy who knows a guy…”

And if you know a Young Adult who needs coaching or spiritual mentoring, you definitely “know a guy….and a gal.”

Please pray for Vince as he trusts the Lord to provide for his needs by growing his business, and pray for us as we seek to continue to serve the needs of Young Professionals in Orange County and beyond. 

Frequently Asked Questions – Part 2

From the outset of our ministry a few years ago, the number one question we are asked is “How do you find the Young Professionals you will work with?” It’s a great question, because we’ve wondered that ourselves. When we worked with college students, we had no problem finding them. We just walked onto campus and there they were! We had proven methods and strategies for engaging with students and finding those who were interested spiritually.

But finding Young Professionals is more difficult. There is no central place, like a campus, where they congregate. We have to find different ways to locate them and engage with them.

One of the primary ways we’re meeting Young Professionals is through networking and referrals. Jen met with Rayna, a recent college grad who is living in Orange County, after we got her name from one of the local Cru campus ministry leaders.

It turns out that the way we’re finding Young Professionals is through networking. Like many other fields and industries, we are building our ministry by utilizing our existing network of relationships and seeking to expand our network through the people we meet and the relationships we are developing.

Let me share an example. Over the summer, I contacted one of our local Cru campus teams about meeting up to share with them who we are and what we do. (see our newsletter from last month – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1).

We set a date to meet, but in the mean-time, I asked them to let us know if they had any recent grads who were living and/or working in Orange County with whom we could connect. I got an e-mail back with the name of a gal who had recently graduated and was living back at home in Orange County.

Jen arranged to meet with Rayna, who, as it turns out, lives very close to us. Jen explained what we’re doing and how we’re seeking to help Young Professionals stay connected to Jesus and live with purpose. Jen invited Rayna to be a part of a new Leadership Development Group that she is starting up. Rayna was excited to be a part of the group and began recruiting other women in the area whom she knows to be a part of the group with her.

Rayna invited some friends from her own local network to join her in being a part of Jen’s new Leadership Development Group

Rayna then told Jen about her college friend Chris who is a PhD student at UC Irvine.

I met with Chris and shared about what we’re doing, inviting Chris to be a part of my next Leadership Development group. Chris was not only interested but suggested I talk to his friend Arthur about the group.

Rayna connected Dave with Chris, a college friend who is a PhD student at UC Irvine.

The next week, I met with Arthur, heard his story, shared about our ministry and invited him to also be a part of my next group.

One simple e-mail and question ultimately led to us connecting with over half a dozen new people.

Chris introduced Dave to Arthur, a friend from a small group who is recent grad, living in South Orange County and working in Irvine.

While it may not be as easy to meet new people as it was when we were on campus, we’re starting to see the fruit of our networking efforts, as more and more Young Professionals are engaging with us and connecting us to their relational networks.

We are so grateful for your partnership which enables us to meet with people like Rayna, Chris and Arthur and others. Please continue to pray that we would connect with even more Young Professionals as our extended network continues to expand.

Crossroads, Chicago and Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Chicago was cold but it was fun to see the city and also connect with some of our colleagues from around the U.S.

At the beginning of December, Jen and I got a chance to spend a few days in Chicago with some of our Cru colleagues from around the nation who are also reaching out to Millennials in their respective cities.

It was bitterly cold, but it was a great time of connecting and learning from one another as we’re all in various stages of pioneering this new venture to reach and minister to Young Professionals.

The headline on this newspaper aptly describes how our ministry feels.

Ironically, one morning as I was waiting in the lobby to meet someone, I noticed the title of a newspaper, which read, “Chasing The Millennials”. Sometimes, that’s what it seems like we’re doing. We’re chasing the Millennials and we’re not quite sure where to find them or how to catch them when we do encounter them.

One of the questions we have been frequently asked since starting this new venture is: how are you going to find Millennials? It’s a good question.

When we were working on campus, it was easy to find students. We just showed up on campus and there they were. It was simply a matter of engaging with them and seeking to connect them to our specific campus community.

But reaching Millennials in Orange County is more complicated. There’s no “campus” where they all naturally congregate. There’s no Student Union where they all relax and hang out. They’re everywhere and nowhere at the same time. For us, it’s a matter of finding the natural places where they live, work and recreate and engaging with them there.

We believe that our ministry is going to grow through the natural relational networks that already exist among Millennials. For that reason, we’ve been focusing efforts on meeting and connecting with as many Cru grads as possible who are living and working in Orange County. The hope is to connect with Young Professionals in our area who already have a familiarity with Cru and then expand by tapping into their relational networks.

Attending the Crossroads conferences allowed me to connect with students and many staff friends, including former UC Davis students Paul (left – San Jose State), Chris (Univ. of Arizona) and Josh (right – Chico State).

Right before Thanksgiving, I attended Crossroads, a yearly conference for Cru juniors and seniors designed to help them navigate life’s choices as they seek to pursue Christ while making decisions about their vocation.

Being at the conference gave us a first-hand opportunity to talk to students and share with them about our ministry in Orange County. Perhaps the biggest benefit though was connecting with many of the campus staff we’ve known throughout the years. Many of them were reminded of grads who are now living in Orange County whom they can connect us with.

One of our former students who is now directing the Cru ministry at UC Irvine and Chapman invited me to dinner to hang out with his team. While there, I met Jeff, a recent Cru grad who is serving as an intern with Cru here in Orange County. Jeff expressed an interest in what we’re doing because he works with students all day and he wants to have more community with guys who are in a similar life stage.

Jeff, far right, not only won our Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, but he connected us with (left to right) Josh, Andrew and Tim.

I invited Jeff to come to our Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. To my surprise, Jeff not only came but he invited some of his cycling buddies to come as well.

Through a series of natural relational networks, I met Jeff who then introduced me to Tim, Josh and Andrew.

Our hope and prayer is that the scope of our impact will continue to expand as we tap into the natural relational networks that already exist here in the OC. Please pray with us as we continue to reach out to Young Professionals and seek to help them thrive spiritually and live missionally!