So, you see the heart we have to help students reach their campuses for Christ and our desire to put that in the hands of churches, but Karen and I can by no means do that alone! We are trying to shift the culture of Cru from doing everything on campus by ourselves to mobilizing and equipping local churches all over the country.
So, I’ve begun training staff teams on the importance and process of building those kinds of partnerships. Johnny and Abby Schuler are a perfect example. Faithfully serving in Miami, my team helped find key student leaders on 13 new campuses in their area this past Fall, way more than this couple could handle. I hosted an online training with them and their interns with delightful response. In addition to coaching pastors directly all over the US, I’ve gotten to host these trainings like this in NJ, NY and MO.
I’m even more excited to introduce you to Ross Olson, who is like me only young and single and traveling all over the country taking this church partnership training to teams in LA, NYC, Boston, AZ, etc. Please pray for our impact together, and the future of our ministry in partnership with the Church!
We believe that agreeing with Jesus’ last supper prayer that we would “be one” is key to seeing the world reached for Christ. We’ve been helping instigate and foster multi-church efforts wherever we can find them. One of my favorite examples of this has been right here in Orlando, called Saturate.
17 “anchor” churches received pallets full of JESUS Film DVDs, gospel booklets and door-hanger bags. Then, 120 partnering churches came and stuffed their own contact information into the bags with the DVDs and took neighborhood maps to make sure they were all reached by churches close to them who can actually be a part of their lives. All the Cru staff joined in yesterday, dropping off 25 bags each in one hour during our “Day of Prayer.” They told us (on average) that one person comes to Christ for every 10 homes reached. As of last night, 543,503 homes in Orlando received the package. Please pray as this spreads to other major cities too!
Karen and I are praying with students and coaching them to build a proliferating movement to saturate their entire school with the life-changing love of Jesus.
This was my role on
a campus a few weeks ago:
“Hey, we’re giving out free pizza in Building E today.”
“Yeah, we’re celebrating Easter with food, music, games, dance and videos. Go check it out!”
“Heck yeah, we will!”
Faculty and staff (like David to the right) help guide the students in navigating the complexities of student activity requirements, while reaching out to their fellow students boldly. Local pastors and volunteers (like Pastor Kortney on the left) are able to disciple the students and invite them into a larger multi-generational community where they can grow.
Pray with us that every Christian student would be made aware of peers on campus who are running with Jesus within days of their arrival on campus, before they have a chance to get sucked into different crowds, or even beforehand as prospective students with the help of parents and pastors from back home, and that they would be bold sharing with friends!
One of my favorite aspects about the Kingdom of God is encountering more of our brothers and sisters who are dedicated to God’s rescue mission. Pastor Paul contacted me recently about helping to launch a Cru movement at Brooklyn College, and I’ve been so blessed to work with him!
Starting any ministry in the city is no simple task, but it becomes much more natural when p
artnering with God’s children who are invested in that community. Pastor Paul has a heart for prayer and a powerful vision to reach the young people near his church, which is just blocks away from the college. He sees it as an opportunity to stretch his church in the area of evangelism as well. I have been coaching Pastor Paul through the first steps of building a campus ministry, as the NYC Cru team had not yet had capacity to expand to that campus or to work with additional volunteers. Now that Cru is launching a new staff team in Brooklyn, I am excited to see how Paul’s church can be a home base for them to reach multiple schools for Christ! Pray for Pastor Paul and the students of NYC!
Cru is certainly not the only college ministry operating in the US, and it would be arrogant for us to think we have a monopoly on how to reach students with the gospel. To the contrary, Jesus said that it is when believers become ONE that the
world will accept our message (John 17:20-21). The desire to grow and connect is why we were so excited to be invited to the Campus Ministry gathering hosted by Campus Renewal, whose mission is to
bring all the campus ministries together in prayer.
Karen and I got to spend 4 days with 50 other pastors and campus ministry leaders at Chic-Fil-A’s beautiful WinShape Retreat in northern Georgia, building deep bonds and soaking in a ton of ideas for ministry. We were overwhelmed (in a good way!) by what God is doing through other ministries, and others were thrilled to hear about our own experiences as well 🙂 It was such a rich time of mutual encouragement and sharpening (see my notes here).
One great connection was with Angel, a recent graduate from University of Florida (UF). Still processing the difficult emotions from his college friends graduating and going their separate ways, he is facing yet another major transition as he finishes an internship with his UF campus church. Angel came to Christ from a very tough past, and wants to see the Lord use his gift for preaching to bless others. He was so grateful for our prayers and pouring into him. Please pray that we can continue to bless him.
The other week, I was contacted by Jon, a minister in Minnesota who oversees 240 churches. He said they’ve been looking to grow in their ability to reach college students. They knew that was something Cru excelled at and wondered whether Cru did anything to help equip lay people.
Because God opened up this role for me in Orlando, Cru was able to say “yes” where they would previously have needed to say “no.” I took him through a brief overview of the training and resources that I provide and he kept exclaiming how overwhelmed he was at the quality, at the care, and how we provide this as a complimentary service to lay people and churches. We closed in prayer together, both of us brimming with excitement for what the Lord seems to be doing in our hearts and in the united Bride of Christ!
As many areas of the world seem to darken, watch carefully for the light of Christ to shine brighter among his people and pray for unity (John 17:20-23).