Large Cru Movements – Florida

July 29, 2012 — 14 Comments


This is part of a series: Learning from Large Cru Movements- a look at 8 of the largest Cru movements in the U.S.  Read the Series intro here.

Overview of the Cru Movement at the University of Florida:

Movement stats as of 2011

  • 50,000 students enrolled at Florida
  • 1200 at first Cru meeting in the fall (700-800 at a typical weekly meeting)
  • 650 involved in 49 Bible Studies led by 200 leaders
  • Typically raise up about 10-15 STINT/Intern/Staff (though 2011 was lower – 5)
  • Want to see 30 people STINT/Intern/Staff this year (10 UF/10 Paris/10 around the world)
  • 175 at Winter Conference
  • 300 at Fall Retreat
  • Staff team – 12 people usually (6 staff, 6 interns)
  • 4284 people like their page on Facebook
  • What is the next largest campus ministry at your school?
    • RUF – 200 involved or so
    • Campus ministry leaders get together and pray every week


Movement History

  • 250 – at weekly meeting in 2002
  • In the last three years we’ve really grown a lot to where we have over 1000 involved


Biggest Contributors to Growth

  • God showed up – especially at a place like Florida which is pretty dead spiritually
  • Community Groups – we changed our structure to a cell group model
    • CG’s have fueled the Weekly Meeting growth
  • Students really owning discipleship
    • One student leader (a senior) really caught a vision for discipleship and it created a culture of discipleship
    • When people come into the movement, they hear about it and want to be discipled
  • Big change – how staff team delegated our responsibilities


Key Points

  • Our students have a phenomenally high level of ownership
    • Put on weekly meeting
    • Put on socials
    • Work with student government
  • Just made a decision a long time ago to turn everything over to students and let them lead (sink or swim)
  • I’m sure we could have a weekly meeting if I put 30 hours into it every week, but that’s not the best way to spend my time
  • Frees staff to focus on ministry:
    • Discipleship
    • Evangelism
  • Do you have a website? – just nominally that routes back to Facebook
    • We do everything thru Facebook
    • Plug Fan Page at weekly meeting (mention it every week “if you’re looking for more info or want to hear about stuff we talked about, check out our Facebook page – or like us)
    • There’s a small group finder on the Facebook page
    • All of announcements and Servant Team are linked in thru Facebook page
    • We have a few students who take it very seriously and will have it as their role
  • What obstacles did you face in the growing process?
    • Solving the problem of too many groups for each staff person to oversee (especially for younger staff/interns – too much to have 5 or 6 groups)
      • This last year they took 6 students – 4 girls and 2 guys – and had them not be primary leaders of Cell groups, made them coach of their group and gave them 1 or 2 groups to coach
      • All those 6 were in a coaching session with MTL every other week – to touch base – how are your groups doing? What problems are you facing?
    • Weekly meeting
      • Rooms big enough to meet in (and paying for those)
      • Were in a room that held 500 people
      • Started booking bigger rooms
      • They hop around all over the place throughout the year
      • University auditorium and Univ. ballroom (cost anywhere from $400-$800/week)
      • Got more student government funding and have raised more
      • Have a couple meetings outdoors on a field


What does evangelism look like on your campus?

  • Primary strategy = thru the Community Groups
    • They have their sphere of influence
      • They do intentional outreaches – floor meal and invite people to it; guys invite guys to play ball or ultimate; cookout for their area of campus
      • Once a month we do an outreach to the area
    • Students have really embraced it’s OK to belong before you believe (a significant number of CG’s have non-Christians coming to it)
      • Tons of students become Christians thru CG’s and getting plugged in relationally
    • Students share pretty relationally (thru challenging thru discipleship)
  • Big outreaches? Sometimes – didn’t this year; not their bread and butter
  • Did 3 weeks of 24/7 prayer in Spring


What do staff focus on?

  • Staff primarily just do discipleship and evangelism
  • Staff don’t lead any Bible studies
  • They each have 5 community groups (and leaders) they focus on
    • Staff go to one of those CG’s every week
    • After going, meet with all the leaders of that group to give feedback (2 leaders as well as sophomore leaders – usually 2-5 guys) on their group
      • How’s the group going overall?
      • How could they pursue areas they are not doing as well on
      • Could be based on that week or focused big picture – how can they do outreach better
    • Bulk of time is meeting with Bible study leaders and guys from those groups (try to get appointments when they visit each study)
    • Disciple all the leaders of those CG’s (2-3 leaders of group)
      • Staff do 1 on 2 or 1 on 3 group discipleship
      • Meet with both leaders together
        • Share their faith once a month
          • Could be randoms (probably twice a semester)
          • Talk with one of their friends from class (in discipleship, asking who they’re reaching out to, they mention somebody, and you say, “let’s hang out sometime together”)
            • It’s on the student to set that up
        • Use the Compass a lot (for transferability) and CruPressGreen
    • Also have Staff team responsibilities – outreach team, Cru, prayer, etc
    • Staff team’s biggest win is getting people involved in Community Groups
      • So staff team needs to be more focused on that
      • So they raised the level of every on the staff team to be CG experts
      • Spent a lot of time discussing (3 years ago) what does a healthy group look like?
        • Biblical Content
        • Prayer
        • Outreach
        • Discipleship
        • Community
      • Those are the checkpoints – how are the CG’s doing in each of these?


Ministry Structure

Leadership Development/Training

  • Mostly train through discipleship
  • Do some random training in Fall – right before Cru – call it “Dr. Cru”
    • How to connect to God thru the Bible, etc
    • TNT happens same time – 7-8pm. Cru is at 8:30
  • Once a month have a Sunday Night Leadership
    • Open to anyone in them movement (announced at weekly meeting)
    • Required for anyone leading with us
    • Probably around 150-200 students – 2 hours
    • A chance to pull the leaders together
    • Share time (at least every other time) on what God is doing
    • A lot of specific stuff on Community Groups
    • Vision for different things



  • Staff meet weekly with Servant Team and Officers – Fridays at 3pm – about 12 students
    • Servant Team= Outreach, Socials, Cru, Prayer, Communications, Finance
    • Officers (4 key student leaders) → Meet with them once a week


Weekly Meeting

  • Staff put very little effort into weekly meeting – the main staff guy puts in 1 hour a week into it
  • Put all their time into discipleship and CG’s
  • Students mostly lead it
    • A guy on servant team leads the team of 10-12 students
    • Set up and tear down/video stuff, sound guy
  • Staff team speaks 95% of the time (mostly 2 senior guys)
  • Band – rotates 2 worship leaders
    • Have a pool of 30 people they draw from – have a schedule of who’s playing when (practice on Wed. night and play on Thursday night)
  • How do they promote the weekly meeting?
    • Most people come thru word of mouth/Personal invitation


Bible Study Structure

  • Old system – start in a freshman study, and that will carry you through your time at UF
    • Tough for people to get connected after freshmen year
  • New philosophy= Cell group strategy
    • All ages and open at all times (freshmen thru senior in group together)
    • Based on Spheres of Influence rather than year in school
    • When groups reach 15 or so they multiply (how often does this happen? Some groups multiply every year)
  • The groups where discipleship is most owned and most healthy, those are the groups that multiply and grow
  • The CG leaders (JR/SR) disciple sophomore leaders in the group
  • These groups are the main avenue for reaching the campus – each has their own sphere of influence/TA (dorm, etc)
  • We do start the year with freshmen studies (Real Life Groups)
    • We meet for 6-8 weeks
    • Sophomore/new leaders (who have gone thru new leaders training) lead those studies
    • Those freshmen studies get reabsorbed into the CG where they come from (into older studies)
      • The whole group owns the Real Life (freshman) Group even though only 2 sophomores are leading it; everyone chips in
    • We focus on freshmen as groups
      • The freshmen really get invested in by the older students and get to know them really well when they get reabsorbed into the larger/older Community group
  • Student leaders are not in a Community group- they both lead and are in it (so there are no senior studies led by staff)
  • What’s the process for becoming a CG leader?
    • Spring – 6 weeks “TNT” = teaching and training for all new leaders (mostly freshmen or new leaders)
    • How do you cast the net wide? Invite people?
      • Ask specifically the group leaders who they’d recommend
      • Announce it at Cru meeting
      • Had over 100 at the meeting in the spring (130?)
      • Going thru TNT doesn’t mean you will be a leader, but you have to go thru TNT to be a leader
    • Have to sign leadership agreement to lead
    • All CG leaders are discipled by a staff person



  • Parents Weekend
    • Our normal meeting is on Thursday night
    • We move it to Friday night one weekend – early November for a home game
    • We ask our students to invite their parents to come to the weekly meeting on Friday night
    • We do a Giving Brunch next morning
    • 70-100 families give $50,000


What are your biggest takeaways from learning about the Cru ministry at the University of Florida?


photo courtesy of randomduck


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