Dec 15, 2014


The Fuel and the Flame: 10 Years Later

Paul Worcester interviews Steve Shadrach about his signature book, The Fuel and the Flame.

10 years ago Steve Shadrach wrote one of the most influential books on collegiate ministry. I caught up with him and asked a few questions about the book “The Fuel and The Flame: 10 Keys to Igniting Your College Campus for Jesus Christ.”

For many campus ministry leaders that I know “The Fuel and the Flame ” is THE book they recommend on making disciples on campus. God used it to call me to college ministry!  The tools and principles have made a huge impact on our ministry strategy. What inspired you to write the book in the first place?

In 2001, I had been involved in grass roots campus ministry for over 20 years, but I could not find anything to help me that was principle oriented and very practical. It took me five years to get frustrated enough to finally carve some time out to start writing. I have learned so much from CRU, the Navs, Campus Outreach, InterVarsity, Student Mobilization, and other groups, I wanted to try to incorporate much of that into my writings too.

What principles in the book do you think have made the greatest impact on collegiate leaders? If you could choose just one chapter from the book to give away free to every collegiate leader which chapter would you choose?

The permeating principle is this: E D M. Evangelism, Disciplemaking, Mission Mobilization. College ministry across the U.S. and beyond has wandered away from the historical, traditional, biblical Great Commission of E D M. As great as many of these social justice causes are, we have left the basics of E D M. How do we get out of the ditch and back on the road? How do we refocus collegiate leaders around the world from trendy, popular exit ramps back to the intense spiritual warfare of daily winning students to Christ, building them up in the faith, and equipping them to win, build, and send others–the rest of their lives?”

Are there any parts of the book that have proven controversial or got you into some trouble?

The section in the appendix about reaching the influencers on your campus. I thought about putting that in the book itself, but elected to put it in appendix where it would not be as obvious! I do believe the very strongest collegiate ministry movements in the country are the ones who stay focused on evangelism among main stream students. If you remember, I list three groups on each campus: the isolated, the interested, and the influential. As intimidating as it might be to some, if you can build your core with influential students you have led to Christ and now equipping….you are going to have a powerful campus wide movement.

If you could change anything about the book what would you change? If you could add a chapter what would you add?

I would take out some of the more technical language that is really meant for college staff leaders and not as helpful for students reading the book.

I would emphasize more how essential it is for EVERYTHING that you do with students be super simple, transferable, and reproducible.

I would add some very practical helps on what I would do the first 30 days on campus, the first 60 days, 90 days, etc…I would emphasize more how essential it is for EVERYTHING that you do with students be super simple, transferable, and reproducible. So basic that they walk away from every appointment with you with a smirk on their face saying, “Even I could do that!”  EXACTLY!

What advice would you give to a collegiate leader who wants to take their student leadership or staff team through the book?

Every student who has any interest in sharing their faith, starting a bible study, beginning to disciple someone, or just influencing their friends for Christ would benefit from Fuel and the Flame. Taking staff or students through it in a group is of maximum benefit where they can read a chapter or two each week and bring questions. The leader can pick and choose which questions in the discussion section (at the back of each chapter) they want to ask their group to stimulate discussion. Make it very applicable though. After each week’s discussion, SPAM yourselves real good! In other words, make the applications Specific, Practical, Attainable, and Measurable. Remember, convictions are not what you believe, but what you do!

What advice would you give to leaders like me who are hoping to create content that will help a wide variety of collegiate leaders?

Share the stuff you are doing. That is the most powerful and credible. Not just war stories from years gone by, but students you led to Christ this semester, someone you are discipling now, a conversation you had last night, etc…

What lessons have you learned about sharing ideas?

Be willing to share the mistakes too. I get to talk to large groups of staffers from various collegiate ministries at their conferences or staff training weeks. The most popular talk of all I give is, “The Top Ten Mistakes I Have Made In College Ministry.” Oh, man, do they take notes and ask questions on that one!

I am thinking that my next book might be “The Top 50 Mistakes I Have Made in Ministry”, but I don’t think I could narrow down to 50!

about the author

Paul Worcester

Paul and his wife Christy planted Christian Challenge at California State University, Chico from scratch. Since then hundreds of students have indicated decisions to become followers of Jesus, with many growing as disciples and learning to multiply their faith. Paul is the author of "Tips for Starting a College Ministry." He has a a passion for equipping and encouraging fellow collegiate leaders to make disciples on campus through his writing, speaking, consulting and social media. Paul and Christy have two children. Paul loves to surf and play other sports when possible.

about the author

Steve Shadrach

Steve is the executive director of the Center for Mission Mobilization and founder of Student Mobilization. He is the author of several books, including The Fuel and the Flame: Ten Keys to Ignite Your Campus for Jesus Christ.