Mission Summer

As I look back on each summer of my college career, certain things stand out.

  • Summer one. I was a new believer. A high school friend took me to his church’s youth group where I was discipled.
  • Summer two. I continued to be discipled in that youth group, but I began discipling others in my home church.
  • Summer three. The Hampton Beach summer project changed my life and put me on a full time ministry career path.

I was fortunate to have an environment of growth each summer. Otherwise, I question if I would be doing evangelism and discipleship today.

We all know the value of summer projects. But financial, school or even family obligations can keep many home who wish they could go. We also know that students can go home summers to difficult spiritual environments. Not all have positive environments of growth like I had.

Until now cost, staff participation, and number of venues limited project participation to just 6% of involved students. Until now…

Read on about Mission Summer, a new summer project-type experience that meets your students’ need for growth wherever they are this summer. The following information was sent to MTLs recently introducing the project

Mission Summer

The Summer Projects team is excited to announce a new summer project strategy, Mission Summer, which is designed to be an excellent complement to traditional summer projects, as well as a summer strategy for your movements.

In 2012, a group of local and national ministry leaders (including students) assessed some of the realities of our summer mission and training projects. Here are few of their findings that probably won’t surprise you.

  • Relatively Low Summer Project Involvement – Just 6% of our involved Cru students participate in a Cru summer project in any given summer.
  • Student Obstacles – Many students are unable to go due to finances, school, or family obligations
  • Higher Than Expected Attrition Rate– Only 1 in 3 students who start a summer project application end up participating in a Cru summer project
  • Lack of Spiritual Accountability –  Students who don’t participate in summer projects have, on average, a harder time walking with God and having missional impact during the summer than when they are on campus and involved with Cru
  • Students Want to Grow –  Involved students desire to grow spiritually and stay connected with Cru and their Christian friends over the summer, but often lack the structure to be able to do so.

As our team contemplated these realities in light of the Parable of the Lost Sheep we considered how Jesus left the 99 to go after the 1 or in our case leave the 6% to go after the 94%. This is in no way to suggest we are walking away from our traditional Summer Projects. We simply see a need to create a summer opportunity for the 94% of students in a way that meets them wherever they are this summer, complementing our traditional Summer Projects and local level summer strategies for each movement.  This is why we’ve created Mission Summer.

Mission Summer Described:

  • Open for All – a mission and training experience open to any student anywhere in the world
  • Local and National Connections – Driven by a priority to connect with people both locally and nationally, it will continue the great tradition of building deep relationships during the summer.
  • Prioritize Walking with God –  Mission Summer is driven by a priority of training students to go deeper in their walks with God and to live out His priorities.
  • Utilizing Technology and the Internet – Mission Summer takes advantage of technology to guide students through outstanding educational and experiential training all summer long.
  • Meets all Desired Outcomes for Traditional Summer Projects – The framework is being built around a core structure of Cru evangelism and discipleship training, weekly online LIVE webcasts, and possibly including IBS options. The core content will be made available in the coming month.

How will Mission Summer operate?

  • Dates – Sunday June 8th – Sunday July 27th.
  • Simple Enrollment Process – Students enroll (simplified application) through the project website: http://gosummerproject.com/projects/846. The National Pilot for Mission Summer will be free with the exception of the $25 summer project application enrollment fee.
  • Leadership – National and local leadership have enthusiastically endorsed this strategy. Mission Summer weekly webcasts (Sunday Night LIVE) will be hosted nationally, and the training content is being developed with coordination from national and local level leadership. Though Mission Summer is nationally directed, we would encourage identifying local leaders (students, staff or volunteers) because this is where we saw the the most positive ministry results in 2013.
  • Communication – Weekly theme and training points are emailed to participants, information posted on a web page/blog/facebook, with coaching calls for key student leaders as we have capacity to serve students.  Sunday night LIVE provides an hour for online connection, interviews, stories, content dialogue and celebration along the way. These nights will launch each week’s theme and encourage groups to stay connected.
  • Leveraging Technology to Learn & Connect – Cru is continuing to discover and use the best methods of leveraging technology that is helping faculty and students with Cru to connect and learn socially and lead more effectively.

How Does it Serve Students?

  • Every high school or college student from every ministry context has access to a summer project experience wherever God might call them as long as they have internet access.
  • Overview
    • Week 1 – Moving Where you Are – Spirit-filled Life
      • God is moving where you and invites us to live the Spirit-filled life.
    • Week 2 – God Moves Around Me – Personal Testimony
      • God moves around us and is inviting us to discover and use our stories to join Him in this work.
    • Week 3 – God Moves Through Me – Discipleship
      • God moves through us and is inviting us to walk in obedience in light of the Great Commission to disciple others.
    • Week 4 – God Moves Mountains – Sharing the Gospel
      • God moves mountains as we step out in faith to share the Gospel with other.
    • Week 5 – God Keeps Moving – Eternal Perspective
      • God keeps moving, an eternal perspective will help us to see that he is always moving–no matter our circumstances.
    • Week 6 – God Moves Me – The 5 Things
      • God moves me…this week we will talk through 5 Things to help you think through your unique gifts and talents, how to involve yourself in meaningful community, and ways you can make God known wherever He may lead you.
    • Week 7 – God Moves the Nations – Prayer for the Campus, Cross-Cultural Ministry, the Nations
      • God moves the nations and invites us to partner with him in prayer for our campuses and the nations.
    • Week 8 – Moving Out – 6 Week Plan for Returning to Campus. 
      • God has moved this summer. How is he calling you to move out?
  • Three “Routes” of involvement are available to students, to tailor their commitment based on their availability.  Each route includes Sunday night LIVE webcasts, steps for training and development and varied outreach and community events. Minimal involvement will mean connecting to the webcasts on Sunday nights.
    • Route 1 – Show up, read article, discuss
    • Route 2 – Step of Faith, Read an Article, Listen to a Talk
    • Route 3 – Step of Faith, Read an Article, Listen to a Talk (More Involved than Route 2)

How does Mission Summer serve our field staff and local movements?

  • Continues movement building into the summer.  Students will connect with each other locally and nationally for 8 weeks. As they continue to grow where they are for the summer, the hope is that they will stay connected with God and others, and be ready to lead from day 1 in the fall.
  • Multiplies the efforts of field staff into the summer, as students are trained and challenged in outreach and community building.
  • Invites field staff and/or local volunteers who have fewer summer responsibilities to coach student leaders, even if not on location with them.  Weekly coaching calls and emails provide encouragement and accountability for student groups.
  • Increases vision of student leaders in your local movements as they see and experience how God is at work over the course of the 8 weeks in other campuses and cities.  We hope this will spark each student leader’s motivation to continue be involved in your local movement and invest globally in God’s mission.
  • Sunday Night LIVE “broadcasts” also expand student vision for global missions through student testimonies from around the world, etc.

Action Steps:

  • Consider where you are in your summer strategy planning. How could individual students or your movement as a whole benefit from the Mission Summer experience of students growing in their faith and living on mission at home, their internships, or summer school?
  • If you offer a Summer Cru option, consider incorporating Mission Summer as part of the plan.
  • As you and your team transition from recruiting for traditional summer projects, challenge your key and emerging leaders who are unable to go on a traditional summer project to apply and give leadership to Mission Summer for your movement this summer.
  • Application Link: http://gosummerproject.com/projects/846
  • Want to help continue to shape Mission Summer with us? More Questions? We are here to help: E-mail or call Karl Glendenning, the Mission Summer project director – Karl.Glendenning@cru.org or (407) 826-2063.

Karl Glendenning for Mission Summer and the Summer Project Team


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