Category Archives: Launching

Can Incoming Freshmen Launch?

If you are Cru staff, you may have seen this piece in the last QuickRead. Sponsored by Campus Renewal, the vision is to connect every incoming freshman with a campus ministry at college. It’s great seeing emails from these students expressing interest in our ministry. They can select from any of the following options, and many select all:

  • Being contacted by someone with Cru at my college.
  • Knowing when and where Cru meets.
  • Receiving Cru e-newsletters.
  • Getting the time and place of a Bible study.

You may have already received emails from these students forwarded by Pat Senkbeil, our Student LINC and Coaching Center Assistant.

Connecting them to a ministry on campus is easy. But if they are on a campus where the movement is small, re-starting, or you’re just beginning, it might be a bit more challenging to help them.

It is very possible that God has brought them along to help you with that ministry at this time. I think of the old “Cornelius Principle”, about God at work in ways apart from what the apostles were doing. While not everyone wants to, our team has found many incoming freshman do want to start something on their campus.

Whether you’re busy in following up survey contacts, helping with Hurricane Harvey clean-up, or your schools have been closed because of Irma, why not check out “Want to Start a Ministry on Your Campus?” page on Then suggest interested students read through the first six steps. They can also get a preview of some of the possible resources we might use in our movements under Prayer, Evangelism, and Discipleship at the bottom.

Fall Coaching Tips


Beginning the Year Checklist

Good Monday Morning,

It’s a new year. We eagerly anticipate what God might do this year.

Let’s get practical. Our time is limited. The first week on campus for the freshman is probably as important as all the rest of the first semester combined. This first week is when students determine who their friends will be and what they will value in college.

Who are your key student leaders in each of your movements? Coach them through each of these first four areas. As they see God use them right out of the blocks, it will build their confidence for the rest of the year.

1. Articulate your vision of what God will do this year.

2. Connecting with key players.

  • Call each one on your student leadership team to ask how their summer went. Inform them of the first meeting and what their individual responsibility is, and answer any questions they may have.
  • Give your faculty advisor a call to inform him or her of the first events of the semester and to give them specific prayer requests.
  • Make sure your meeting room is scheduled, tables reserved for giveaways or surveys, and ads placed in the newspaper. You want to make sure the details are covered.

3. Leadership team kickoff before freshmen arrive.

  • Share your vision for the year.
  • Lead a devotion from, say Nehemiah 1, about the start of a great undertaking. Nehemiah is a great example of leading in both prayer and action.
  • Inform them of the first few events and make sure that each responsibility is covered.
  • Take extra time to pray for God to move, for new students to connect, and for the impact you will make this year.
  • Encourage everyone to be familiar with the Campus Ministry Year.

4. Planning your first outreach.

  • If you plan some kind of info table or do a giveaway, decide on materials and the earliest time for distribution.
  • If you will have an open house, a “cower” or pizza party, etc., make sure the right “people” people are welcoming visitors. Have the opening talk be brief, visionary, and welcoming.
  • If you use a survey to find interested students, schedule the table or dining hall to take the surveys. Three easy to use surveys with transitions and nationwide tabulating tools can be found at QuEST Resources.
  • Start right away with posters.

Let’s take a mental pause here before proceeding.

  • If you are outside the US, you may have your own unique way of beginning your campus year.
  • If you have leaders on other campuses, why not forward these first four items to them, and schedule a time to talk through some of the details?

It is a huge confidence booster whenever anyone takes on ownership and sees God use them. And it frees you up to prayer walk or do an info table on a campus that doesn’t have student leadership already in place.

And now the final three…

5. Make sure your info is current on the infobase.
(For staff and interns in the US.)

First, edit your profile so that the information is accurate. You are the only one who can do this and it only takes a minute. This is essential for anyone trying to reach you with a contact for a campus. It is amazing how many campuses list out of date info here.

Then, see if your name is attached to the campuses you’re on and want to reach. Our ministry locators are visible to the public. Parents and friends do want their Christian students to get connected. If you have a ministry and it is not listed in the infobase, people see, “We don’t have a ministry at this location…”. They will be far more likely to contact you than email the default box.

6. Direct and delegate rather than just do.
I started driving tractor at 4 1/2 and a truck at 9. By now I think I am fairly good at driving. When it came time to teach my sons to drive, no matter how much modeling and teaching I did, I finally had to get out of the driver seat and give them the wheel. They made some mistakes at first. And I had some white-knuckle moments. But it was necessary.

We are developing leaders. They won’t/can’t lead if we continue to do so. A good starting place is Eric Swanson’s “The Art of Delegation“.

7. Decide where and when to launch.

If it’s in your calendar, it gets done. As a team, decide which campuses or communities you want to launch in and when. Three easy things to do.

The ideal time for pioneering is during the first month of the semester. Students are the most open and available during this time. You may feel like you’re taking time away from existing ministries. Prepare your leaders the week before by saying that you will call them to talk through their responsibilities and answer any questions at that time. Begin to pray that God will use your time of pioneering on new campuses to help the students on your launched campuses grow as leaders.

I tried to focus these final three on what you as a leader must do. Leaders think strategically with the big picture in mind. Let us pray together that God opens doors on more and more campuses and within more communities, so that more and more students can hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Have a great week launching and building new movements.

Helping Churches Reach Students

For those of us in campus ministry, summer is a great time to have the kind of conversations we typically don’t have space for during the busy campus year. When we are home visiting partners we have an opportunity to cast a broader vision than our own work, and possibly help them take steps toward their own vision.

Here is an example. Many churches share your passion for reaching students. Often they don’t know what to do past vision for reaching lost students.

Jeff Grant, Partnership Specialist on our Student LINC Team, recently gave a metro team some practical ideas on the how and why of partnering.

Let me encourage you to go to his page and take 10 minutes to listen to three of his short clips:

  • 101 – Vision: Selling More Dresses,
  • 201 – How to Partner, and
  • 301 – Examples of Partnership.

Then before you listen to any others, consider which church might you have a conversation with about reaching out to a high school or college nearby when you visit this summer. Most of the eight clips currently available are only a couple minutes long.

Some time ago, I met with Abby and Johnny Schuler on Cru staff in Miami. They had a passion for pioneering new ministries and for engaging churches and volunteers to reach out to college campuses. They were given an open door in their own church to offer training and resources, as there was a significant core with a deep concern for college students.

The posture they took was one of “We want to help you accomplish what God has called you to do.” Such a posture lets churches see us as catalysts in their vision, and as having a kingdom mentality.

We in Cru have not always had such a partnering perspective. If we intend to see more than a million life-long laborers raised up, if we hope to give every student an opportunity to say “Yes!” to Jesus, if we hope to see movements of multiplying disciples established on every campus, and if we hope to see Christian leaders raised up in every nation, we will want to look for ways to partner with others.

Spring Coaching Tips

Where we’re seeing both fast starts and fast growth.

A question: What do these have in common?

  • College national directors taking a team of high school staff to Hawaii.
  • A “Fast Food Outreach”.
  • 25 students at Big Break sign up for more because they found spiritual openness in this demographic on the beach.

Here are the back-stories.


Amanda Gagnon and Jim Kercheval (CFM NDs in the PSW), in partnership with seven Cru High School staff leaders led our first Aloha Expedition. The Expedition Leaders were CJ Neal (Indianapolis Cru HS) and Yaneth Diaz (Houston Cru HS). The goal of the expedition was to go to Oahu and the Big Island to meet with and encourage pastors, teachers, parents, to look for opportunities to resource, to start, or accelerate high school ministries on the islands. The hope is that those involved in the lives of high school students would be able to tap into our online resources and coaching center to help them to eventually grow and send local middle school and high school students to the universities where there are Cru and Epic Movements. The vision is to see more local Hawaiians reached with the Gospel and involved in our college movements and sent to the world.

Fast Food Outreach.

Camryn, a University High School student attended a high school Fast Break last year and placed her faith in Christ. This year she went back and heard talk about conducting a Fast Food Outreach. The night of the outreach, Camryn brought Bri, who had questions and was wrestling about deciding to trust Christ. Sitting at the table were three students who had just two days earlier placed their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. They really encouraged her to take that step of faith, which she did. Last year at this time, University High did not have a movement. Today, with 40-50 students involved, it is seeing rapid multiplication.

Big Break interest.

Glen Nielsen, giving leadership to the three week-long Big Breaks in Panama City Beach told me that what they are seeing this year is consistent with previous years. High school students are more open and responsive to the Gospel in higher numbers than those over 18. Students sharing Christ remark how surprisingly open high school students are compared to the students on their college campuses back home. 25 students at the first week of Big Break have indicated an interest in starting a high school movement when they get back to campus.

And now to connect the dots: We’ve known all along, and continue to see evidence, that those under 18 years of age are very responsive to the Gospel. Movements launched in high schools often see rapid replication. And there continues to be an interest among college students in reaching out to high school students. I think it bears out that college students have a genuine concern for their little brothers and sisters and want them to face the world with Jesus right there with them. Anything we can do to open doors for ministry to teenagers can potentially make a difference in our college ministries too. Here are some helps.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016

Natural mode launching.

My pastor told us today that the Gospels record 132 meaningful conversations that Jesus had people. Interestingly, 4 of those occurred in the temple and 6 in a synagogue. Where did the rest happen? In the normal ins and outs of life, the comings and goings of the everyday.

It brought to mind something that Lee Cooksey, Chief of Staff for the High School Ministry, said recently about the simplest possible way to launch a high school ministry. Take some friends to a high school game, or, really, anyplace where students hang out. Have conversations using whatever tool you want. Then ask to get together again to continue the conversation.

You know how to start conversations. You know how to get back together with interested people. You know how to continue gospel conversations. You know how to invite to an evangelistic study or basic Bible study. You know how to train others to reach out and gather others. That’s all launching is in it’s simplest form.

If we could say that launching new ministries can take place in different modes, the way evangelism does, we might think of what I just described as launching in the natural mode. It is similar to natural mode evangelism in which we share with others in the context of our natural connection with them.

In contrast, evangelism in the ministry mode occurs when we intentionally reach out to others with the purpose of witnessing to them. That’s how we typically think of launching with scheduling, planning, and going to a new location like I talked about in A Staff Team Pioneering a New Campus Together recently.

Why not sit down with your disciples and brainstorm an audience or community that you would like to trust God to launch through natural conversations.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016

A Staff Team Pioneering a New Campus Together

Last November, my son, Rick, MTL at Florida State University, told me that their team wanted to visit Valdosta State to see about launching a movement there. Could I send him some suggestions? What follows is a generic version of what I sent him.

Before the campus visit.

  • Pray. Ask God for divine connections.
  • Some virtual decoding. Purpose: Decide initial first steps in finding potential Key Leaders.
    • Look at info on
      • This looks at all campuses through the same criteria.
    • Read info on the campus’s own website.
  • Attempt to find interested students/faculty to meet with on the day of your visit.
    • Contact churches and ask if they have students/faculty that attend?
    • Ask Cru MTLs to ask their students if they have friends who attend and might be interested in Cru.
    • Ask long-term staff if they know of alumni who have moved nearby or work there.
    • Ask Faculty Commons staff if they have faculty connections there.
    • Ask our high school staff if they have alumni there.
    • Schedule meetings with any who surface to cast vision for launching Cru there.
  • Determine if you will do a table for give-aways/ informational/surveys, Soularium, etc. Schedule times for manning the table.
  • Determine the resources you will need. You are going to want to give students an opportunity to continue checking out and receiving input after you leave. This is the God factor.
  • Determine meeting places and prayer walks.
  • Schedule a campus tour. Who knows? Maybe the student conducting would be interested or knows someone.

The day of the visit.

  • Prayer Walk the campus.
  • Take a campus tour.
  • Do evangelism.
  • Meet with anyone with whom you have appointments—Faculty, Cru alumni, students, potential volunteers, etc.
  • If you intend to do a give-away/informational table/surveys, Soularium, etc., plan to divide up folks so that everyone has an opportunity to be at the table, but also has a variety of experiences throughout the day.

Following up the visit.

  • Determine if there is someone on the team that had a meaningful connection with someone that day, has the desire to stay in touch, and has capacity.
    • If there is someone, have them call all the interested students back within the next few days.
      • The Student LINC team can give training on first steps to help the students launch.
    • If there is no one able to coach the campus, collect the names of the most likely students to launch and email that info to the Student LINC team launch specialist.
  • Determine the extent and frequency of connection your team wants to have with the school going forward.
  • It is certainly permissible to hand over to Student LINC all responsibility, but we would be glad to equip you if you would like to retain it.

Staff generally enjoy doing ministry together. Pioneering can be a great staff team building event. It allows everyone with different gifts and interests to have a part and offers the potential of seeing a successful launch with far-reaching impact.

Key Volunteer Challenge

This is about being a spiritual multiplier.

This is something I could share with just about every Christian I meet and be excited about it.

This is easy.

You bring the principles of Matthew 28:18-20 and 2 Timothy 2:2 together and ask your friend to screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-12-24-12-pmmake a difference on his or her campus or community. And all you need is a sheet of paper and a Bible.

Let me encourage you to watch this four minute Key Volunteer Challenge video and consider who you might share this vision.

If you happen to talk with someone who accepts the challene, you can coach them yourself from a distance, or you could send them to Want to Start a Ministry. It will take 5 to 10 minutes for them to read through these brief pages. There is a way to contact us on each page.

Fall 2016 Coaching Tips