Category Archives: Volunteers

Sending and Recruiting Starts Now.

Cru’s vision is for “Movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.” Read on for some simple steps you can take this week to mobilize others to this worthy mission.

I was recently given a reading assignment for an input group I’m in. It was the summary of a Senior Leadership Initiative action learning project on sending and recruiting. Team members, Dan Allan, Lucas Lopez, Dan Miller, Chris Millheisler, and Emma Tautolo looked at our current sending and recruiting efforts, compared it to what our organization has always believed we were called to, and made some recommendations.

I was struck by their call for Cru to “give greater focus to the opportunity to mobilize others (outside of Cru) to reach beyond its current capacity. In order to do this, Cru needs to shift from an organization that primarily does ministry to an organization that primarily mobilizes others for ministry.”

The team pointed out that “Since 1951, the purpose of Cru (as stated on the official website http://www.cru.org) is: “Helping to fulfill the Great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, building them in their faith and sending them to win and build others; and helping the Body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship.”

You are participating in very significant efforts to reach middle and high schools and college campuses in the US and globally. But we also know that the task is much bigger and that there are many outside our organization willing to participate if given the opportunity.

My friend, Barry Bowling, and his wife, Laurie, Cru’s high school and junior high team leaders in Houston, recently told me about a pastor and his wife that he met in southeast Houston. He wants to launch Cru in two high schools, a junior high, and a local community college. He wants to do this for us!

If Barry was thinking about this in a traditional way with a team of staff and interns, he would not have driven way across Houston to have that conversation. He just doesn’t have the capacity. Instead, he was thinking about how to connect him with a coach who would help him start movements in those schools.

Now here is something you can do this week:

  • Ask your students if they know someone on another campus that does not have Cru but wishes there was. Then send the name of your student and campus, and their friend’s name, campus, and cell phone to Pat.Senkbeil@cru.org. Launch specialists are standing by!
  • You can even refine the ask to include whether their friend has a heart to reach International Students. Cru has a Bridges coaching team that can connect with them.
  • Or you can ask if they know someone interested in starting a contextualized movement. I know two Destino coaches who would love to know the names of students interested in starting Destino.

In August, Jessica contacted Cru for help with her ministry on a campus in Montana. She had been Navigator staff in Maine, moved to Montana, and began volunteering with Young Life. When they pulled their staff, she was left in charge of their ministry. But with a growing family, and knowing she knowing she needed students to lead, she asked us for some coaching help.

You might be encouraged to know that Cru has several ways that we are “helping the Body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship”. Here are three.

  1. We are partnering with the Pulse Movement’s Together 2018 in Dallas, October 20, 21. We will be looking to involve and equip many as we can to go back to their campus and seek to make a difference for Christ.
  2. Cru and Intervarsity have teamed up on an EveryCampus project in which we are mobilizing others to prayer walk every campus where neither of us has a ministry by the end of 2019. Plus, we each are making available the best of our resources to anyone who would want to begin a movement on their campus.
  3. Cru’s Global Launch Week, November 5-9, will be a tremendous opportunity to prayer walk and look for Key Volunteers on hundreds of campuses worldwide. God will very likely connect us with perhaps thousands of others with a heart to reach their campus. Why not begin making plans now for your students to prayer walk a nearby campus during that week. You will be hearing more.

Sending and recruiting begins now!

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Filling possible leadership holes.

A lot of us are thinking about next year’s leadership.  Graduation may be leaving leadership holes and it might be difficult seeing others stepping up in some of the movements we lead. This may be even more acute on community colleges or where turnover is accelerated.

Here are a few ideas for addressing some of those leadership holes.

  1. If you have a faculty advisor or volunteers involved, see if they might step up. There is a dance that we do with the “long-term indigenous volunteer.” When student leadership is strong, it’s important that they step back to let those students lead. But when student leadership is weak, that’s a great time to have them step up. But help the volunteer think of creative way to give specific responsibilities to others.
  2. Local churches also offer huge potential for leadership. Jeff Grant, Church Partnership Specialist, has seen some churches and Cru work together in a whole range of partnerships. Jeff recently posted a video about a long time partnership with a church that kept ministering to students after the staff at Northern Oklahoma College moved on.
  3. You may also want to talk with former leaders to come up with key churches to visit in order to invite incoming freshmen. Hopefully, some of those first-year students will step into leadership. This might also be a way to find others with a heart for the campus to do some of the more behind the scenes things like fund raising, refreshments at meetings, or sponsorship of events.
  4. To give students a chance to develop in leadership experience over the summer, encourage them to try some Group Talks. These are an excellent way to help give confidence to those quiet and hesitant ones, at least in a small way, to exercise leadership.
  5. Finally, consider taking time in each meeting to pray for leaders to be raised up and for many new students to get involved next year. Here is a great story on how God answered similar prayers.

So while you may not have the natural hand off to the next leader, let’s trust God to work in new and exciting ways. Because, after all, He is more concerned about every student on that campus that we ever will be.

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A Volunteer Leading in Hawai’i

Cristina Cabansagan, volunteers in our ministry as the Epic-Cru Team Leader at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. She spends the majority of her week on campus and the rest of the week in her family’s business, managing real estate properties. Read on for more of her story and her experience volunteering in our organization.

Cristina grew up in a Filipino home in San Francisco. In college she attended InterVarsity for a short time, but still struggled with following Christ fully, leading her to leave the ministry by her junior year. After college in 2010, Cristina decided to fully commit her life to the Lord at a young adults summer camp. Shortly thereafter, she attended an Assemblies of God training for urban mission in Oakland, California where she grew in her passion for evangelism. As she prayed about staying with the denomination, Cristina kept hearing in her quiet times over a two-month period, “Campus Crusade for Christ”.

During the summer of 2014, Cristina looked up Cru online, and was able to connect with Jamie Lam, the Epic Team Leader at UH Mānoa. After a brief conversation, Cristina felt the Lord opening the door to make the move to relocate to Honolulu. She got involved with the movement at Mānoa right after arriving on island. Along with serving on campus, Cristina manages her family’s real estate properties.

In August 2016, the team of seven staff abruptly decided to move to different roles and locations. Cristina, became Team Leader soon after. A new intern and another volunteer comprised her team. Jamie, now Epic Movement Mission Director, coaches Cristina from California.

Today about 40 students are involved at UH Mānoa. The night our team visited the weekly meeting, every aspect was student-led. It was well led. The worship was excellent. A senior student gave a talk on evangelism. Student leaders did a role-play on how to approach a person on campus and share the gospel. There may have been a couple of rough spots, but it was all student led.

Hilo

Cristina, third from left, with her impact group on their annual vision trip to Hilo on the Big Island.

When I talked with Cristina about her experience as a volunteer leading the efforts at Mānoa, I learned that students were involved from other campuses as well, notably Hawaii Pacific University and the University of West Oahu. Cristina said, “The Hawai’i Epic-Cru movement has such a melting pot of students that are reached–some include faces from the continental US, Hawai’i locals, out-islanders from Maui and Big Island, internationals from Japan and China and even islanders from Fiji, Guam, and Saipan.  This semester we began launching at Kapi’olani Community College. Lord willing, we hope to even see movements launched at two other community colleges on island, as well as another on the island of Maui. ”

By handing off responsibility to students, which they were eager to assume, Cristina found that she was both freed up to care for the students spiritually, and to focus on other locations. By making sure the students were equipped, they had confidence in being sent out to minister in their own right.

Small Group

Cristina with her small group.

By handing off responsibility to students, which they were eager to assume, Cristina found that she was both freed up to care for the students spiritually, and to focus on other locations. By making sure the students were equipped, they had confidence in being sent out to minister in their own right.

Cristina generally loves how she has been accepted in her non-traditional status in Epic. But there are times when she experiences the bias our organization has toward only staff leading. We gotta change that.

I loved hearing Cristina tell about totally believing Bill Bright’s vision of reaching college students. Oh, may God give us hundreds more volunteers like her with a passion for making a difference for Jesus Christ. And may we as staff make it easier for others like Cristina to find in Cru the natural place for living out their passion for reaching the lost and helping them become multiplying disciples.

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Believing that God is already at work.

Put today’s tip in the category of “Do it again, Lord!”

I’m writing this after three days at the Hawaiian Island Ministries conference. Several of us, representing Cru’s high school and college ministries, were here at this largest annual Christian gathering in Hawaii to see if we could connect with what God is already doing and possibly see new ministries start. Kent Matsui, our team leader at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, is particularly eager to see high school ministries start.

Scores of people, pastors, teachers, parents, and students expressed interest. And we will have a bunch to follow up.

One of those, Landon, came up to our booth. He stopped by earlier when no one was around, but was glad to see us. He thought we each could help the other and told us his story.

At 13, Landon started attending church on his own. He placed his faith in Christ and began to grow. One day his dad sat him down to say that his parents were getting a divorce. But he had noticed something different in Landon and thought it might be because he was going to church. So he decided to take the whole family to church. A different one. Landon followed.

One day he heard his pastor share a message about each person’s calling in life, and that’s when he felt God speak directly to him. “The person who will be leading the next generation of believers,” the pastor said, “won’t be a 20 year old or 30 year old man, but a 13 year old boy sitting in here today.”  Amongst the 500 plus attendees that day, Landon knew, with all of his heart, that this message was for him.

He started attending leadership classes in his church, and learned how to write sermons, lead small groups, and coordinate events. He was the only boy in a class of adults. Now equipped and inspired, he took the first steps toward his calling.

He posted a Bible study sign up sheet on the bulletin board of his school. The next day he came back to fine the sheet  filled front and back with names of the interested. As a middle school-er, he started a ministry that grew to over 100 kids.

Today at 20, he is a business major in a Christian university, and leads four high school ministries and one on a community college. Now we don’t want to change what Landon is doing. But we talked about ways we could begin to partner together.

Kaitlyn, a sixth grader, walked up to our booth with the bearing of a tenth grader. She told how she is leading a Bible study with other home schooled kids and wants to expand. She was looking for resources and, currently, is writing a devotion for home-school moms and daughters. We all were amazed at the vision of this 12 year old girl and her personal maturity beyond those years.

So yes, “Do it again, Lord!” or maybe I should say “Lord, expand my categories of what You want to do!”

Hawaii has cultural and historical distinctiveness that make ministry here unique from many places. Our team came in as learners and God blessed us with the realization that He is working in profound ways outside our categories.

This week:

  • What have you seen recently in which you are saying “Do it again, Lord!”?
  • Are there ways you might be putting God in a box?
  • What are some ways you would like to trust Him for people and communities you aren’t currently reaching?

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Removing Hurdles to Volunteer Involvement

A number of years ago, a volunteer, Marybeth, a nursing instructor at Elmira College in upstate New York, led her ministry on campus. She saw steady growth over several years. At its high water mark, 125 were involved (over 10% of the student body), there were Bible studies in all dorms, they led a prayer vigil on campus with 600 attending, 74 attended the winter conference, several went on summer missions with one becoming the student project director, and one came on staff.

We’ve been talking about involving volunteers in our ministry for several years. Oh to have more Marybeths join with us!

But, there are some realities for volunteers that we may not be aware of. And we’ll need to be intentional about removing hurdles to involvement.

Some realities for volunteers

Volunteers have far less discretionary time than students and staff. Most not only work 40+ hour per week, but they have to figure in commute time. They get groceries or run errands between classes or appointments. Instead, much of what they have to do personally, laundry, grocery shopping, errands, etc. take place outside of work and commuting hours, cutting even more into their discretionary time.

For new employees work schedules can change. Different shifts, different supervisors, and even different jobs can impact their availability. It doesn’t mean they’re flakey. It’s simply the reality that they don’t have as much control over their time as we staff do.

They have more primary relationships. She has her job. If she’s married, her spouse is also working, and it’s likely they’re on two different schedules. They naturally will want time together.

Other important relationships may also take precedence.

Relationship building and progress on personal goals is slower than it was when they were on campus. Going deeper quickly is a rarity. That’s often a big surprise for those who were involved as students. Even their own spiritual development and adherence to spiritual disciplines can be challenging. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t spiritual, but life is now more complicated, and even fuzzier.

Often they find they are at a loss as to how to spiritually approach happy hour or board meetings. There is no handbook for connecting with co-workers. They can’t namedrop Jesus with co-workers. So we might wonder if they struggle to have a ministry in the marketplace, why we would take them on as a volunteer with us?

Removing Hurdles

But the truth of the matter is, that we haven’t made it easy for potential volunteers to engage with us.

Some of what we do is not always the most efficient use of time. That’s not bad.  Relational connections often comes at the expense of efficiency. But we must remember that volunteers may not have the luxury of time that we do. If we ask them to commit to a certain number of hours or to do a task a certain way, we might be making the hurdle too high for involvement.

And yet, the wisdom, the experience, the maturity that they bring is invaluable and worth our figuring out how to make it possible for them to be involved.

Volunteers want to make a significant difference. Many just don’t want to bake cookies or give to a scholarship. They can disciple or mentor leaders; they value imparting their lives into others. The lessons they learned during their involvement will guide others as they take on God’s purpose for their lives. We might have to think smarter, and differently if we want to make volunteer involvement easier.

After reading this, you might think it just isn’t worth it to involve volunteers. Please don’t give up yet. Volunteers can help you make an incredible difference in the spiritual development of your leaders. Some of them can do those things that eat our lunch; some would do those things we just love to do ourselves. But it will take intellectual flexibility on our part to involve them.

I watched how Marybeth took time with her student leaders. They loved her, and she loved ministering to them. It was no secret why her ministry flourished under her leadership. Marybeth modeled involvement as a priority in her career that we hope our students will exemplify when they graduate and enter the marketplace. And frankly, she modeled this in a way that we staff cannot model. Figuring out how to involve volunteers will help us see more laborers raised up for the Kingdom. And that’s why we do what we do in the first place.

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Uh oh! Now what?

You just found out that
…one of your key leaders is transferring.
…or one of your students leading the key leadership students is sleeping with his girlfriend.
…or two of your up and coming leaders are dropping out of school for financial reasons.
…or one of your staff has to pull back to work on ministry partner development.

Now what?

When you assess where you are and realize that for whatever reasons you don’t have the availability or abilities in others that you thought they had, here is the general principle:

“When capacity decreases, focus on building critical mass.”

And while we are considering the subject of building critical mass, here is another 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 relational 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 alumni can help provide continuity from one year to the next. Most of our Student LINC coaches find that the best movements we coach have volunteers connected in a significant way.

Long time friend, Lee Davis, working from his home 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 if he had a day on 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 the right critical mass ensured the long-term growth and impact of that movement.

So if you find yourself back in a place of acquiring critical mass, let me encourage you to broaden your categories of what counts as critical mass. See if you can:

  • Track down believing alumni from the campus.
  • Connect with Faculty Commons staff to see if they know of any faculty there.
  • Call some local churches to ask if they have faculty or campus administration congregants interested in seeing a ministry start.

Fall Coaching Tips

Collaborative Discipleship

Have you seen the Collaborative Discipleship resource on Cru.org? Barry Warren, Creative Resources & Media Specialist on the Campus R&D Team, spearheaded an effort to design a discipleship resource that students and volunteers can easily use.

I like how the initial description of Collaborative Discipleship resource points out that “the one who recruits three to five others to join a discipleship group views himself or herself as a fellow disciple needing to grow just as much as the others in the group.” Discipleship is more than just Bible study. And so the “group works together to organize, teach, train, and care for others.” Those in a group can start their own discipleship group in a very short time.

One of the best features of this resource is the pathways. They were designed to put the lessons in the order that best serves the group’s needs.

The lessons are short, simple to prepare, and have the smartphone user in mind. They follow a typical flow of connect to one another, cultivate the Biblical truth and skills, and care for others around us. And like the page says, you will find that “topics like justice, life skills, and embracing our ethnicity are enfolded into the time tested subjects like evangelism, basic follow-up, and discipleship.”

Over the years, I’ve noticed that it is difficult for students and volunteers to invest the amount of time that staff typically do to prepare Bible study lessons or spend with their disciples to help them grow. While this Collaborative Discipleship resource is still being tested, I think it helps give them the tools they need to lead others well.

Why not take a few minutes today to look at the beginning page, see if there is a pathway that fits your need, and click on a lesson or two to get a feel for the flow. If you get ambitious, there are in-depth resources and ideas for immersive experiences worth checking out.

Fall Coaching Tips