There are currently 250+ Chi Alpha directors leading 300+ chapters across the United States that are reaching and equipping college students to become Christ-honoring laborers on campus and in the marketplace.

Chi Alpha’s New Director Training (NDT) looks to foster growth opportunities for even more directors to be released in pioneering new Chi Alpha groups and others to be prepared to assume leadership of existing groups in a director transition. Chi Alpha is committed to the development, coaching, support, and release of new directors.

The non-residential and limited travel design of the NDT program makes it ideal for distance education and the mentoring of new director prospects. NDT provides an opportunity for new staff (i.e., second career) prospects joining Chi Alpha, current associate Chi Alpha staff moving towards becoming a director, and church staff to grow in the vision, character, and skills necessary to make the transition to serve as a Chi Alpha director.

Ideal Participants

There are a diverse number of people for which this training has proven beneficial.  The most common fall into the following four categories: emerging new director, pioneering new director, second career new director, and church-sponsored new directors (volunteers).

Emerging New Directors

The emerging new director track is designed for a veteran Chi Alpha associate staff who has completed RUI, CMIT, is an AG licensed minister, and who desires to become a director. These leaders know Chi Alpha’s values, vision, and missionary/discipleship culture, desire to sharpen the skills for leading a staff team, and strategically growing ministry on campus to its next levels. The emerging new directors track equips great staff to become great directors of existing ministries.

Pioneering New Directors

The pioneering new director track is designed for a veteran Chi Alpha associate staff who has completed RUI, CMIT, is an AG licensed minister, and desires to pioneer or re-pioneer a campus. These leaders know Chi Alpha’s values, vision, and missionary/discipleship culture, and will spend the next year learning how to establish a ministry from scratch. The cohort of pioneers will become friends that learn and support one another through the pioneering process.

Second Career New Directors

The second career new director track is designed for a marketplace leader and/or veteran minister who has served the Lord through the local church or mission assignments. They desire to make Chi Alpha their career path, and are unable to relocate for a residential CMIT program. This leader must be solid theologically. Through the training leaders will gain the vision, values, and culture of Chi Alpha’s trans-generational discipleship strategy. This track also serves those who have already made the transition to Chi Alpha staff, didn’t complete a CMIT, and desires further training as a Chi Alpha director. The second career new director’s track equips leaders for group/team leadership and facilitates their acclimation into our missionary organization.

Note: A residential CMIT program is the ideal way for any leader to transition into Chi Alpha and be prepared for staff service. The residential CMIT program will equip a leader, and their family if applicable, to the culture, demands, and mission of Chi Alpha in a way that a long distance learning program cannot. It must be emphasized that all options for participating in a residential CMIT program should be exhausted before applying for New Director Training.

Church-Sponsored New (Volunteer) Directors

This track is uniquely designed for a church staff person who is being released by the local church to plant a healthy Chi Alpha group on a small college or community college in their area. The minimum age is 23, and directors must have some college (degree preferred) or professional certificate and have previous ministry experience. Theological training and biblical literacy is also assumed. The emphasis is on the basics of building a trans-generational discipleship ministry on campus and the personal spiritual disciplines that become the foundation for their discipleship plan. Relational connection with full time campus ministers will help to understand our values and practices. Campus visits to other ministries and participation in Chi Alpha events are required. We seek to empower the leader to shape an effective ministry in their context.

If you are not sure where you fit into one of these categories, contact Paul Austin.


April 1, 2023Applications deadline (Cost: $100. Apply here.)
May 1, 2023Approval process
July 7-9, 2023NDT orientation
July 9-14, 2023Reach the University Institute (if applicable)
July 10-11, 2023Pioneering Boot Camp (if applicable)
November 13-17, 2023NDT Intensive (NDTI)
June 2023 to April 2023Monthly coaching calls
June 2023 to May 2024Monthly Zoom call
March 25, 2024Final payment due

For further information or questions contact Paul Austin, Matt Herman, Mike Olejarz, or Jerry Gibson.

How It Works

Distance education provides so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Similar to a non-residential graduate program, New Director Training (NDT) utilizes both eight person cohort based learning groups, structured training experiences, self-guided learning, and relational support through monthly video conference classes and independent studies. Each of the four new director tracks will have specific curricula and a similar delivery.

Orientation and Reach the University Institute (RUI)

The whole process starts with a NDT cohort orientation prior to RUI in Springfield, Missouri. This lays the relational building blocks of vision and trust needed to move through each element of the NDT experience. For those who haven’t completed RUI previously will finish the cohort orientation and remain to complete RUI. Those who haven’t completing Pioneer Boot Camp the cohort orientation and stick around a couple more days for the pioneering track.

Monthly Cohort Calls

Each new director cohort has a maximum of eight participants. Each person prepares and submits homework to a Google classroom from books read, videos watched, and/or other assignments, posts their work, and then joins in on monthly three-hour video conversations. Their cohort experience includes opportunities for members to teach their peers and engage in conversation and application around given materials. The eleven sessions cover core leadership skills and expose each leader to a variety of veteran Chi Alpha leaders. These guided conversations and posted homework assignments allow for the instructor to gauge the comprehension and creativity that each participant is developing around core director competencies.


Each trainee is partnered with a veteran Chi Alpha coach. These conversations model a discipleship relationship and are designed to give each the experience needed to disciple students and staff under their leadership. Two learning plans are developed and implemented through the mentor/coach relationship that address identified growth areas of each candidate.

Campus Visits

Working with district leadership, a coach, and NDT staff, each participant will spend time on campus with existing Chi Alpha groups. These visits are evaluated through post-visit projects and papers that reflect the experience and insights gained that could contribute to recreating similar dynamics on their campus.

NDT Intensive

All participants converge on the National Chi Alpha Ministry Center (Springfield, Missouri) for intentional relationship time, training, and exposure and connection with the entire residential national Chi Alpha team. This time also includes presentations and projects by each trainee demonstrating their skills as a director, small group leader, and one-on-one facilitator.


The non-refundable, non-transferable application fee is $100. Once accepted into the program, the cost is $1,400 for the year. This includes all on-site costs for the cohort orientation and NDTI, materials, and coaching. This does not include travel costs to and from the cohort orientation/RUI and the NDTI events in Springfield, MO or the campus visits. There is a spousal discount of $500 for full participation. Payment options are:

  1. Pay the amount in full when accepted or
  2. Pay a deposit of $400 by May 1st, and ten monthly payments of $100 afterwards.


Not all get ribbons for participation. The New Directors Program is not an event to experience, but an evaluated training with strong recommendation upon completion. The extensive application and assessment process at the beginning builds expectation and focus for growth for each leader who enters. At the end of the program, each participant will receive a letter of recommendation and affirmation based on the objectives of the training, which reflect the skills identified through a Chi Alpha director job description. Candidates receive one of the following recommendations:

  1. Full recommendation to direct a Chi Alpha group and host a CMIT program when able.
  2. Endorsed to direct a local Chi Alpha group but recommend further development prior to applying to host a CMIT.
  3. Not recommended to be a director and encouraged to complete a full CMIT or further experience under a veteran Chi Alpha director in a healthy group prior to directing.

Meet the Faculty

Matt Herman

Pioneering Specialist

The Pioneering Specialist facilitates the expansion of Chi Alpha’s mission through the training, coaching, and developing of new directors and pioneering teams.

Delyn Cole

Coaching and Support Raising Training Director

The coaching and support raising training director works alongside Chi Alpha’s certified coaches and support raising trainers to raise up fully funded, effective, and healthy missionaries.

Paul Austin

Pioneering Director

Paul has served as a Chi Alpha missionary since 1990 on campuses in Montana and Idaho and five years as the Big Sky area director. Currently Paul serves as the national pioneering director and directs the New Director Training Program. Paul spends his time training and coaching leaders, developing pioneering strategies. When out of the office is chasing down golf balls on his favorite golf courses. Paul and Jenny live in Springfield, MO with their youngest son Thomas. Their regular adventures include hiking, a little fishing and a lot of Andy’s custard.


Jerry Gibson

Local Church Specialist

Jerry Gibson serves on the national field team as point person for church-sponsored Chi Alpha ministries. Jerry has spent his adult life serving others. He and his wife Gwen served 24 years as missionaries, building ministry teams in Mexico, United States and Spain. Jerry’s passion has always been to help people grow and fully engage in their God-given purpose. He has serve four years as campus pastor at Horizon Community Church in Tualatin, OR. He is a certified facilitator for transformational leadership with Ford Taylor. Jerry holds a Masters of Science in Administrative Studies from Missouri State University and a BA from Northwest University in Kirkland, WA.

Jerry enjoys riding motorcycle, playing golf, and hunting big game.


Mike Olejarz

National Field Specialist

Mike has served as a missionary with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries since 1982. He directed Chi Alpha at Ohio University from 1982-1990, served on the first national staff team as the eastern U.S. director from 1990-1995, wrote the first support raising materials in 1991, directed Chi Alpha in Boston, MA and Southern New England from 1996-2011, and rejoined national Chi Alpha leadership in 2011. He has been married to Barbara since 1982 and they have two adult children, Sarah and Josh. Mike enjoys golf, biking, and racquetball, reading Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, Spiderman comics, and watching The Profit on CNBC.


NDT Application

Applications are being accepted for the New Director Training until April 1, 2023.

Find A Chi Alpha Group Near You