Strategic Alliances with Christian Colleges

Early in the Fall semester, I wrote about each of the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry. You know that one of those five concerns Stakeholders and Partnerships.

I recently heard about the work that Steven Ose in the Upper Midwest Region is doing in the area of strategic alliances. I asked if he would share with me what he is doing. He sent me the report that he gave at their regional MTL conference.

Vision: Engage like-minded believers on Christian colleges with a compelling vision for the world.

Goal:  Long-term double sending in the UMW.
Short-term metric is to put a compelling vision for the world before an increasing number of campus pastors, students and faculty.

Track record:

I gave two days/week last semester to reaching out to four schools and went there weekly/monthly not really knowing what I was doing but was making myself available. In December I counted up 30 students and faculty that expressed interest in Cru global missions, Cru conferences or other. This was from a pool of probably 300 that I met and attempted to put a vision before.

What I’ve learned:

  • No one is looking for Cru. There are plenty of global missions organizations already sending them stuff. People are looking for relationships with others that care about their goals.
  • Our “best foot forward” is Cru summer missions. Stint/internship are good because they allow for post-graduation service.
  • I always utilize our post card and my business card.
  • However, we need to be able to ask good questions to discover what the person is looking for and then seek to provide that. As a result, I can connect people with AIA, Cru High School, partnerships from other regions, Jesus film or other non-Cru mission orgs.
  • Prayer walk everyday when on campus.
  • Broadcast to surface hot contacts: I have had 5-15 minutes presentations in classrooms. I have also been given the full 50 minutes. I am getting invitations to speak in chapel. It is all based on relationship, however.
  • If you ask staff or faculty why they are serving there, they will give a gospel/mission focused answer about reaching the world through students. Therefore, boldly email campus pastors, mission directors, dept. heads and professors as an introduction and then buy them each lunch.
  • Invite them into our world and pay their way: we had six missions’ directors at the Summer Mission Leadership Training in January and everyone of them came away with a vision for summer missions and more.
  • Candice [Siewert, Global Missions] is only an email away: I get requests from students often for locations the UMW is not in. Emailing Candice is my go to and she always comes through.
  • Decide that you are starting a long-term partnership. Therefore, send senior staff or even yourself.
  • If you bring a faculty who brings a student on a vision trip Faculty Commons offers $1,000 each to you and the faculty.

Steven wrote to me again with a snapshot of some of the results.

  • 3 applicants for STINT (not all my work).
  • 11 applicants for summer mission (not all my work).
  • 4 schools that now see Cru as a premiere sending partner; Bethel, Crown, NW, St. Olaf (which are the 4 schools I invited to SMLT, which was a win).
  • Favor with one college president, departments, campus pastors and certainly students.
  • New budget monies.
  • Hope for building future partnerships with all our SA schools in the UMW.
  • Hope for SA hubs in Sioux Falls, Milwaukee and more.
  • Traction with other Cru lanes.

Mike Whipple, heading our Strategic Alliances efforts nationally, asks the question, “Would it make a difference for MTLs if they had a new intern?” With 500,000 students in Christian colleges, many could help us with critical HR needs and present a tremendous opportunity for greater impact.

Steven is engaging these who are “kingdom-minded outside the organization”. We know how significant our mission is. By building these key relationships we find the intersection point between their mission and ours. If your region has a Strategic Alliances person, why not invite them into a staff meeting and learn what you could do.

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