Category Archives: Partnering

Mention Spring Break Opportunities Now

Before we finish the semester, it’s important to encourage students to talk with their parents about Spring Break opportunities while they are home over break.

There are the typical Big Break weeks, but with the many disasters this year, service opportunities abound.

Eric Heistand and the Gospel in Action team have put together a slate of Spring Break opportunities that both meet needs locally, as well as puts us in a light that others not yet involved with us might consider connecting around a common mission.

Check out the Cru Gospel in Action Opportunities page. You will find information about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts for all four weeks of Spring Break. But knowing that today’s students have a strong helps and mercy bent, there are several other care opportunities as well.

  • Filter of Hope’s Clean Water missions in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Currently, these missions are full, but there may be more coming available.)
  • Vision Trust’s Orphan Care in Lima, Peru.
  • Cru Inner City’s Urban Immersion opportunities in Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, LA, and Orlando.
  • House of Light is addressing Human Trafficking.
In addition, Global Aid Network (GAiN) offers numerous Humanitarian Trips.

Those not involved, but willing to connect with us around humanitarian concerns, often become more open to the Gospel and a deeper connection with us after. Let’s trust God together that parents will be encouraged by our students participating in these missions.

This is my last Coaching Tip until January 8.

Merry Christmas.

Fall Coaching Tips


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

25 Ways to Keep the World Before Your Students.

I spent the summer after my first year on staff in the Philippines. It was an incredible time with great highs and a few lows. I saw amazing opportunities for evangelism and movement development. But I contracted amoebic dysentery, laying me out flat for parts of the summer.

I’ve tried to maintain a heart for the world, as I’ve focus on launching and building movements in the US. Though I did not leave the US again for a number of years, I’ve been able to travel more internationally in the last decade and I have a trip to the other side of the world later this Spring. But I wish I had known some ways for keeping a vision for the world.

I’ve shared this list before by Mike Berk, PSW Associate Director for Global Missions. Since many found it helpful, here it is again.

25 Things to keep the World before your students.

  1. Read Missionary biographies with your small group.
  2. Pray for a location regularly with your disciples.
  3. Skype with a missionary during bible study.
  4. Send a care package to a missionary.
  5. Go on a vision trip together.
  6. Go on a summer mission together.
  7. Challenge one another to take a year together reaching students.
  8. Book mark the traveling team website and read the articles together.
  9. Eat ethnic food together.
  10. Go to the international student center and hang out.
  11. Initiate with someone different from you – practice crossing cultures.
  12. Start an international student ministry on your campus.
  13. Take a perspectives class together.
  14. Take a language course.
  15. Go to Cost Plus World Market and find some food or music from a different culture.
  16. Go to and regularly pray.
  17. Get a large world map and keep track of missionaries, trips you or your friends have gone on and parts of the world God is burdening you for.
  18. Read the world section of the newspaper (online).
  19. Do a fund-raiser for an international cause – human trafficking, social injustice, evangelistic missions…
  20. Memorize scripture on God’s heart for the nations.
  21. Read through famous missionary quotes:
  22. Read the book “Go, following Jesus to the Ends of the Earth” by Dave Dishman.
  23. Have your group practice sharing the gospel – practice by doing and practice often!
  24. Download the Jesus film App on your phone. It’s a great tool to have that can help you communicate the gospel to students from just about everywhere.
  25. Read a book about sharing the gospel with people of another faith. Some Recommendations:

Click here to access a pdf of Mike Berk’s entire article on 25 ways to keep the World before your students. And just out is Shane Sebastian’s, “This Change Is Everything“. A great read.

Spring Coaching Tips

Selected Tips from Fall 2016

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.

Strategic Planning Snapshot Links

– If you like strategic planning, this tip is for you.
– If you are interested in other contexts or like knowing what others are doing, you’ll find this interesting.
– If strategic planning puts you to sleep, well…I’ll have a different tip next week!

At our last national team meeting, we were shown the Strategic Planning Snapshot Links. It lists links to snapshots of the campus ministry’s Strategic Plan, as well as National Teams’ and National Ministries’ Strategic Plans.

The purpose of the document is to enable leaders and teams to be informed by the various plans and to collaborate with each other more effectively.

You can access the document yourself. Not all teams have theirs updated yet, but here is what you’ll find today.

Involving others who have a stake.

During these first few weeks of this campus year, I’ve been writing about the five areas of strategic focus of the US Campus Ministry.

  1. WBS Movements
  2. Multiethnic Organization
  3. Stakeholders & Partnerships
  4. Movement Accelerators
  5. Prayer Catalysts

Let’s look at the stakeholders and partnership piece today. I’ve talked about some of this before, but it fits this topic.

This is an important time of year to launch new ministries. It’s when those so inclined are looking for a Christian group to be a part of.

Here is a general principle:
“When you launch a ministry, look for long-term, indigenous leaders as part of your critical mass.”

Most of us have seen movements start over the years with a great student leader or leaders with good chemistry. But when those students graduate, sometimes it’s difficult to replicate that same vision in the next generation of leadership. Many of us find that start/restart cycle frustrating.

Now we love it when students lead. But having a faculty member, someone in the administration, a volunteer in the community, or an alum can help provide continuity from one year to the next.

Lee Davis, former staff in Oregon, made a habit of meeting volunteers as a part of his campus visits. He called it his “1/3, 1/3, 1/3” plan. He normally coached students from a distance, but when he visited a campus, he would meet for two hours with the student leaders, two hours with the faculty advisor and other volunteers helping out, and two hours in the community raising support for the ministry there. This took work and planning on his part. But having stakeholders and partners involved ensured the long-term growth and impact of that movement.

So before you head out to that campus on your launching visit, why not

  • Consider if there are any alumni from other movements somehow connected with the campus.
  • Ask Faculty Commons staff if they are aware of any faculty there.
  • Find out where students attend churches and call to see if they have any faculty or administration folks interested in seeing a ministry start.

Imagine how just a few minutes decoding a campus on-line and making a few phone calls could reveal some of what God has already placed there for a successful launch. It could also help that movement enjoy many years of impacting students there and wherever they go.

Hero Spot

For those of us attending our Cru15 national staff conference, we have had a lot to think about this past week.

We’ve talked about…
…being people who share the Good News,
…moving toward ethnic diversity,
…building partnerships and being good partners, and
…taking the Good News everywhere.
We’ve been challenged in big ways.

Maybe, like me, you’ve followed the #Cru15 tweets as well as the activity feed on the Cru15 app. It’s been great seeing what God is doing in many of our lives.

One session was particularly meaningful for me in terms of my day-to-day work. Joshua Ryan Butler, a pastor at Imago Dei Community in Portland, shared some great perspectives for partnering with others in furthering the Kingdom.

Here are just a few of my notes of his session and some musings related to launching and building new movements.

  • We like to see ourselves in the hero spot, even in missions.
  • But to make a lasting difference for those we minister to, we need to help the locals on the ground become the owners.
  • I think this is just as true in our efforts to launch ministries on new campuses and in new communities.

Butler offered three paradigm shifts.

1. The locals make better rangers.

  • We like to see ourselves as the Lone Ranger and they can be Tonto. It makes great newsletter material, but does it help?
  • We should serve, keeping in mind the locals’ pride and dignity.
  • There is a role we play, but we must put those indigenous in the lead role.
  • When we leave they’re still there.
  • From the beginning give them local ownership.

Principle: Give ownership to students, volunteers, and faculty from the start.

2. See them as agents, not recipients.

  • We tend to look for leaders who look just like us.
  • God often takes the last kids picked to make them leaders.
  • His story of the woman with HIV had the least qualifications to be leader.
  • Are we willing to have God pick those least likely to lead and invest leadership in them?
  • Their faith just might surprise us.
  • I know the Lord is in control of everything, so will I trust Him to use even the “least of these.”
  • The most tragic aspect of life can become the very thing that will bring Him the most glory.

Principle: God calls many who do not have natural advantages into leadership.
Case in point: Me.

3. They have better ideas than I do.

  • I think this one is the hardest for us staff to swallow, but we would do well to believe it.
  • Imago Dei has a saying that pastors can’t start ministries.
  • If we truly believe that God cares more about the eternal condition of every student on that campus or community than we do, then he has the seeds of His work already there.
  • Do we believe that God has given them the vision for their community?
  • Students are insiders. Tap into that.
  • Our goal should not be to contain, but to unleash and shepherd.
  • When we create space for them to lead, we give them dignity.
  • Imago Dei uses a screening process to vet leaders who start ministries.
  • He told about taking sports equipment to a mission site and asked the teachers to put it away until two weeks after they left. In that way, the teachers were the heroes.
  • We want to be heroes.
  • Listen first, then resource.

Philippians 2 contains a Eucharistic hymn.
Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped.

  • He bent down to serve us by lifting us up to God.
  • What He did in humility on our behalf, He will be exalted for it.
  • Those who humble themselves will be exalted.
  • Jesus said that it’s better that He go away, so that the Holy Spirit can work in us and we become one.

Principle: The test of my leadership is not what I do, but what others do because of what I do.

Butler left us with two questions.

  • Where do I have influence?
  • How do I give my spot away?

They are helpful in thinking about launching in new places and communities.

A Better World Series: