Destino Connecting Culture and the Gospel.

You may have seen my recent post, “Did you know…?” Many of our leaders contributed to this list of information and resources.

Many of those contributing sent enough info to make a worthy Coaching Tip. It was a shame to limit them to a sentence or two. Today’s tip is one such case.

Thanks to the Destino distance coaching team of Chelsea Hengeveld, Erin Brasher, and Devin Tressler, I’m passing on some Destino evangelistic materials great for various contexts when engaging evangelistically over culture, race, and ethnicity.

Soularium Culture Questions is one example that helps us enter conversations and bridge to the Gospel that isn’t just for Latinos. Another is an outreach called Colored Chalk.

Destino envisions many of their resources, found at, helping regardless of whether or not you’re launching Destino.

Finally, this team has developed a basic semester long coaching plan for those beginning Destino movements that may give you ideas for coaching a start up.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series

Using Summer Connect Content this Fall.

Bob Fuhs gave overall direction to this year’s Summer Connect. 890 students registered, but as many as 1500-1800 may have participated throughout the summer in 129 different Hub locations.

We continue to see the value of Summer Connect and the potential of what this could mean for spiritual development of thousands of students who do not participate in a summer mission.

In a report I heard this past week about Summer Connect, it was suggested that all eight of the archived summer sessions could be excellent semester-long Bible study or weekly meeting content. You can find all eight on the Summer Connect page. They are:

  • Week 1. Summer Refreshed. By James White.
  • Week 2. Refreshing Spirit. By Bob Fuhs.
  • Week 3. Refreshed Refreshers. By Timothy Muehlhoff.
  • Week 4. Refreshed by Experiencing Jesus. By Rick James.
  • Week 5. Life Refreshed. By Carrie Walker Louer.
  • Week 6. Relationships Refreshed. By Renee Begay.
  • Week 7. Refresh the World. By Rasool Berry.
  • Week 8. Back to Campus, Refreshed. By Roger Hershey.

Incidentally, there are specific training topics, other Bible study materials, faith action steps, and a blog, on the page, all of which are just as useful during the semester as over the summer.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series

Did you know…?

I polled a broad cross section of leaders in the Campus Ministry for this one. I asked for factoids, resources, and essential information that would be good for us to know. Enjoy!

Did you know…?

  • Of the 4,701 institutions of higher learning in the United States, 3,072 are four-year schools.
  • There are 21 million college students in the US. Here is what’s true of this year’s freshmen.
  • 15% of all high school students travel less than 10 miles to college.
  • A breakdown of students by ethnicity by region.
  • 1 out of every 5 (21%) people who reside in the United States speak a language other than English at home.
  • The average undergrad spends nearly 2,000 hours in a classroom to complete a 4 (ish) year degree.
  • An average professor will teach 5,000-10,000 students in a career. Dr. Elzinga, at UVA, who teaches large intro sections, has taught 45,000 students in his career.
  • Christian faculty are influential. Set them up for impact at, helping them start Faculty Commons on campus, speak at your weekly meetings and outreaches, and join you on spring and summer missions.
  • 200 different spring and summer Cru mission teams go to over 50 countries each year
  • 17 ministries outside of the Campus Ministry regions host summer missions.
  • Most of our 65 stint teams will take time during their stint year to launch a movement in a new location, open up hundreds of universities around the world and maybe in nations with no campus ministry.
  • 90% of all youth ministry takes place INSIDE the US. Yet 97% of all youth live OUTSIDE the US.
  • The High School Ministry has the START booklet for starting middle or high school ministries as well as the Global Start booklet for broader teenage contexts. Available at 1-877-Go-Campus.
  • The “Here to help.” brochure is designed to describe our high school ministry to educators, administrators, parents, and volunteers.
  • There are free online classes for senior staff development.
  • We have artists ministries in Cru, Creatives on Mission and TransFORM.
  • There are matching grants available for Speakers Forum events.
  • Describing your ministry as a “Christian group” can be alienating to students from Catholic backgrounds. Destino describes our ministry as “Christ-centered”.
  • Here is a complete list of EFM Winter Conferences this year. Bring someone with you.
  • Ethnic Field Ministries and Leadership Development, are working jointly on developing cultural competency training for all staff, both for what we need right now and a future more holistic plan.
  • Executive leaders in all Field Strategies (CFM, EFM, High School, Bridges, Faculty Commons) meet monthly to increase internal collaboration and partnership, and to skillfully coach field staff and to accelerate fulfilling our mission.
  • We have articles, strategies, Bible Studies, and evangelistic initiatives to help campus movements address modern day slavery and sex trafficking. For more info contact Libby Swenson.
  • Friends and connection are the top felt needs of international students. Overcoming loneliness. Most come from interdependent cultures and are not used to being alone or doing things alone.
  • Even if international students come from an atheistic worldview, most are curious about Jesus and will listen respectfully when you share about your relationship with Him.
  • We offered some of our best training and resources for helping students share their faith at to hundreds of thousands gathered on the Washington Mall this summer.
  • has lots of helpful training videos.
  • Soularium has great questions for conversations with students about culture and their ethnic identity.
  • The Life On Mission (100% Sent) Site  with the 5 Things, The Decision Making Suite, tips on ministry in the workplace, and more helps students live missionally on campus and after graduation.
  • Former STINTERS, interns, and marketplace-bound seniors can receive help in adapting their training to the marketplace. or
  • The Valor Movement has 609 leaders from summer camps to follow up.
  • When you recruit personally and intentionally to Summer Missions, more will attend and it impacts the maturity of your movement.
  • Plan your campus year with the cycles of momentum in mind. Your students will see the wisdom and will be spiritually healthier because of it.
  • 20% of graduating Cru students go on to graduate school. Grad Ministry is creating resources and mobilizing staff and volunteers to help them launch movements among grad students.
  • Cru campus has an orphan care coordinator assisting Bible Studies Leaders, Movements, Summer Missions, and STINT teams to meaningfully engage in caring for and praying for orphans in your city, Natalie Back.
  • What is to evangelism, is for new believers wanting to grow. They extend our reach beyond what we can do face-to-face with students, and even more so when we train students to use them. is your resource center. It has training videos, a FREE short ebook, and links to the app stores for the new app. You can get FREE business cards by calling 800-827-2788. (1 box per 10 Cru students is suggested.)
  • MissionHub can do more than managing contacts and communication with large numbers of students. It also helps us care better for those with whom we work most closely.
  • The Thrive Studies were written for the high school audience, but college students also find them helpful in building our core Win, Build, and Send DNA.
  • Since August 1, nearly 25 have contacted us about starting a movement after reading Starting a Ministry on
  • With only 12% of the nation’s black college students enrolled at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), 70% of the country’s physicians and dentists and ½ of our nation’s African American public school teachers are HBCU graduates.
  • Backstory is helpful for sharing the gospel with those unfamiliar with the Bible story line. It’s interactive, engaging, and visual, and works for one-on-one conversations and small groups.
  • Parents appear to have a closer connection to the ministry their high school aged children attend than where they went to college.
  • Consider 50% or more of a meeting with staff, students, or volunteers to be about vision and shepherding, with no more than 50% the details of the ministry.
  • No one else can walk with God for you. They can do many helpful and significant things, but it’s up to us to keep our walk with the Lord in the right priority.
  • Ministry leaders are always going to feel stretched as we live by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit. It comes with our role. We think about the present and the future, as well as the next group of people to reach. The work won’t be complete until Jesus returns.

Wow! Did you know all that?! This was a lot, and pretty cool, huh! Why not bookmark this page for future reference? I’m sure I have left out some things that are really important for us to know about our ministry. Maybe I will do it again sometime and catch those. Finally, a big thank you to you who contributed to this list. I am grateful for your help.

Fall Coaching Tips


Last week a couple of us met with a pastor of a local church planning to implement Prayer/Care/Share with his congregation. Lots of organizations use the strategy. And we do too.

One simple approach is to devote two weeks for each, prayer two weeks, care two weeks, and outreach two weeks. You could even use the six weeks to build up to some campus wide outreach.

Obviously, there are lots of tools you could use, but here are a few ideas for training your students.




So if you are looking for a something to rally everyone in your movements toward outreach around simple actions, you may want to think about Prayer/Care/Share.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series

August Tips for Engaging South Asian Students

You’ve probably trained your students to follow up interested students from surveys or gathering events. You most likely have given them some very practical how to’s on what to say and how to develop relationships.

Dale Schlack, Director of the South Asia Network with Bridges International, sent me a great piece that David Stuckenschmidt and Steve Edwards developed in connecting with International Students from India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Engaging South Asian Students

Bright smiles, a harried countenance, and a desire for friendship, often describe our newly arrived international students. Those from South Asia are no different. They may not be sure what to make of you (as a Christian staff worker or volunteer) and they might be initially shy and cautious. But don’t let that discourage you…most really would like to meet and get to know you.

Some South Asian students are familiar with Western culture and fit in with our typical methods and events. Too often, though, our methods to meet, follow up and filter large numbers of contacts create formal or awkward situations. If that is your experience or you have difficulty meeting South Asian students…consider doing some different things or a few things differently.

General Tips

  • Pray specifically for these students on your campus. There are real spiritual barriers.
  • Aim to connect well with at least one new student from South Asia. When you meet one, you’ll soon be friends with many more.
  • Drop by and visit them in their apartments or labs. You can just knock on their door or text them before going.
  • Consider setting aside [time] each week to engage South Asian students in a way that fits them (rather than what is familiar to you or just inviting them to your events).
  • Be a good host. This is your city/country so you get to welcome them.
  • Introducing yourself: “We are a faith-based non-profit student organization that serves the social and spiritual needs of international students.” or “We are a faith-based (or Christian) group but serve students from all backgrounds.”

Using Technology

  • Social media—students connect and communicate using Facebook. Sharing Facebook contacts when you first meet makes it easier to put a name to a face and to contact them again.
  • Text instead of email—Texts, Facebook messenger or Whatsapp are the best ways to communicate. For an event it is better to start with a general future plan to meet (let’s meet up next week for lunch) and then text a day or so in advance.
  • Except for really big events most students make plans on short term notice. It is okay to text with last minute invitations.
  • Pull up an India map on your phone and ask them to show you their hometown.

Follow-up and Appointments

What do you do with that stack of response cards? It is hard to know what South Asian students really intend from their follow up card responses. The questions may mean something different to them. For example, “Yes, I would like to visit a church” probably indicates a cultural curiosity like “I’d like to see one of your cathedrals”. Interest in a Bible study could indicate more spiritual curiosity. Here are some follow up tips to consider:

  • Sending an email to suggest a follow-up appointment to meet on campus for coffee or a coke will occasionally work, but typically this will be met with no response. It feels awkward and formal to them with someone they don’t know.
    • If you get no response, it is still okay to try to meet them another way.
  • Go visit them. Really! Go knock on their apartment door and welcome them and see how they are doing and if there are any ways you can help them. You’ll usually get invited in treated with hospitality and meet their roommates. They will be honored that you visited them. What are you waiting for?…just go!
    • You can text them earlier in the day (or the day before) and see if there is a good time to visit them. But you can also just drop by.
    • If you’d like you can bring a plate of home baked cookies or some salty snacks from an Indian store or something like that to leave for them to enjoy.
    • Best times to visit would be in the late afternoon or early evenings. Indian students will usually come home to cook dinner around 8 or 9 pm and eat at 10 pm.
    • Don’t bring a Bible to give away. This might be misinterpreted and it will be more readily accepted after a connection is established.
    • Feel free to invite them to your weekly meeting or other welcome ministry events when meeting them for the first time. But do not leave the impression that your main reason for seeking them out is to get them to come to your event.
  • Go visit one of their events. Try to find and attend an event sponsored by your campus Indian student association.
    • August 15 is Indian Independence Day (their July 4th) and some organizations might have a cultural event for the occasion.
    • Some student associations will have a welcome party for new South Asian students (called “freshers”). If you are friends with students from India, you might get invited. If so, make it a priority to attend. But don’t use their party as a place to invite to your events. Just go.

Practical Needs and Service Opportunities

  • Furniture: Inexpensive furniture (mainly desks, tables and chairs) are needed for their apartments along with help moving any furniture they purchase. Some ministries have a furniture giveaway or mobilize pickup trucks and divers to transport furniture from second hand stores or state/campus surplus auctions.
  • Transportation: Getting around is often a challenge. Uber or Zipcars help provide new options but a personal ride is very welcomed and saves time. A ride to Walmart…or more importantly to a local Indian grocery store for cooking supplies is helpful. Some can use help obtaining a driver’s license.
  • Food: Offer to take some students to a local Indian restaurant. After a few weeks of American food and cooking on their own, students are often happy to get a ride and go out to eat. Let them choose the time and the restaurant.

I thought that if you have had the thought of reaching out to South Asians, this might encourage you to take the first steps. But, also, while this is South Asia specific, it also might spur your thinking in how to train students to reach out to other contexts.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series

Ways a coach helps.

One of our Student LINC coaches, Chris West, recently sent a letter to his partners about what he does as a distance ministry coach. With over 20 years of field ministry experience, most of it at the Ivy League, Dartmouth College, he offers unique insights, that I thought you might find interesting. Thanks, Chris.

If Jesus wanted to start a ministry on every campus in the world, how would He do it? He might start with 12 disciples, teach and empower them, and depend on the Holy Spirit for everything. This model is not far from what we do as coaches in Student LINC.

So what does a coach do?

It’s not uncommon even for Cru staff to question the value of “distance coaching.” Most staff prefer to be in-the-mix, and on-the-ground with their students. We want to be where the action is. Of course! However when we shift our primary energy from staff-doing to staff-coaching we are better positioned to mobilize others to lead. Ideally, we do both!

Whenever we begin coaching a student leader it helps to explain how we can help them. For example, when I first met Joseph and his friends at UMaine in April, I started with a “DTR” (define the relationship.) I explained …

First, as staff coaches we provide student leaders with a point of connection to Cru.  UMaine already had a fledgling CRU ministry, but almost no support. Our first job as coaches is to connect regularly with the student leaders and adult volunteers we coach. We strive to understand who they are, the unique features of their campus, and what they need to be successful.

Staff coaches also function as “tour guides” to the wider world of Cru.  As a major campus ministry organization, we have a TON of firepower and can familiarize our student leaders with resources and opportunities they might not otherwise know about.   We can introduce them to ideas, events, and methods to help them build their local ministry.

The whole coaching arrangement is based on the Home Depot® motto, “You can do it.  We can help.” Coaches assume that God is already at work. We believe He already has people like Joseph on every campus that we can link with and mobilize.

More ways a coach helps.

  • We help students like Joseph form a team.
  • We are a sounding board — we listen… and offer ideas.
  • Help with problem solving.
  • Help students think through planning — (student-led ministries are notorious for starting too late.).
  • Help students see the bigger picture. Not just the next activity, but the overall vision, goals, etc.
  • We encourage — when things don’t go well, we’re there to talk it through.
  • Connect our students to a “world” of summer missions opportunities with Cru.
  • Introduce our conference and retreat events.
  • Evaluate — we help students think through what’s working well, what isn’t, and what adjustments are needed.
  • Staff provide a voice of experience. We’ve done this before!

It’s most helpful when student leaders understand the role of their coach from the beginning. Typically, we ask our student leaders commit to a few things from their end:

  • To maintain a growing personal walk with Christ.
  • To stay in regular contact with their coach.
  • Agree with Cru’s mission and purposes – finding appropriate and meaningful ways to share the gospel, and help others grow.
  • Be willing to consider Cru opportunities such as conferences and summer missions.
  • To serve as a liaison – spokesman between the Coach and other student leaders.

Sometimes there are misfires. But when it’s working well, staff become multipliers and mobilizers. Then the sky is the limit! Maybe this is what Jesus has in mind. Working with hungry students like Joseph, strengthens my own confidence that we’re on the right track. And we won’t stop looking for ways to do it better.

Fall Coaching Tips

Summer Tip Series


With the beginning of the campus year, our evangelistic efforts are typically focused on reaching Freshmen. Rightly so. It’s during the first weeks on campus that they are the most open spiritually. It is then that many determine their beliefs, their values, and set the direction of their lives.

So filtering to find the most interested students, connecting with them over the Gospel, and involving them in our ministries is a large part of what we do in these weeks. We also give priority to training our involved students to help in these ministry efforts.

However, an often-overlooked aspect of training is in helping our students have ongoing spiritual conversations with those in their dorms or classes. They might share their testimony and possibly the gospel and then may not know what to do next.

My wife, Chris, is coaching, Megan, a former stinter, now a graduate student studying in London and involved in our campus ministry there. She was exposed to their “Snippets” training (also called, “Biscuit Trail”) on a spring break trip. She found it to be very helpful for natural, ongoing conversations with those she sees regularly.

Definition: Snippet: a small and often interesting piece of news, information, or conversation.

Conversations bounce back and forth between people, each having a part in the dialogue. Sometimes they can be short and disjointed. So, while it is good to think through the elements of a testimony and be prepared to offer it, launching into a three minute monologue can seem daunting and might even come across one-sided, closing down further dialogue.

The Snippet is a different way to communicate your story. With brief descriptions and few sentences, answer these questions. You might even answer them from different angles and have more than one answer.

  1. What was my attitude before I took Jesus Christ seriously? or What were one or two things that used to characterize my view of life/God?
  2. Why did I say ‘Yes’ to Christ? or Why do I still want to put Christ first in my life?
  3. How did I say ‘Yes’ to Christ? or Were there any particular points in my life when I reinforced my earlier decision to say ‘Yes’ to Christ?
  4.  What difference does Christ make to my day-to-day life?
  5.  What is a ‘Christian’?

These snippets of information contain the typical elements of a three-minute testimony. But they are packaged in a way that invites dialogue. One more thought: a verse of Scripture could be a great snippet.

Summer Tip Series