Last Summer I researched the largest Cru movements in America. I narrowed the list down to 8 schools and I called the directors of these movements. In a 30-45 minute phone call I picked their brains on how they operate as a large movement, what elements played into their growth, how they lead as directors, etc.
Talking to the directors of the largest Cru movements was one of THE most beneficial things I’ve ever done: for my growth as a Director and for our movement.
Over the next few blog posts I want to share what I learned.
Let’s be clear from the start: Size isn’t everything.
Ministry size does not equal ministry success.
Tim Keller asks the question in his excellent (free!) ebook Ministry and Character:
How do we measure how well we are doing in ministry? Is it by mere growth in numbers, or by a faithfulness divorced from all results?
He goes on to explain:
“Being both excessively inflated or overly deflated by visible success is caused largely by pride and a lack of orientation to the gospel. Your worth and identity rises and falls not on being a rescued and loved sinner, but on being an effective minister.”
Ministry size does not determine our occupational or spiritual worth.
BUT, as Cru staff Tim Norman has said:
“There are good reasons why these movements are successful. Some of which others can principally embrace.”
AND, like many of you, we want to get the gospel to every single student on our campus.
This is something we are not just hoping to do, but planning to do.
Here’s what we figure: it will take about 100 trained, motivated, gospel-sharing Bible study leaders to have a shot at reaching the freshman class on our campus (around 4,000 freshmen= 40 freshmen to 1 Bible study leader).
In other words- we’re going to need to build a big enough movement to realistically be able to get the gospel to every student.
It’s not going to happen overnight but, for us, gleaning ideas from other (larger) movements has been the biggest accelerator of growth.
A quick preview of the Large Movements Blog Series
Here’s who I talked to (click the school to read that post):
- University of Florida
- Montana State
- Michigan State
- Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo
- Miami of Ohio
- NC State
- Ole Miss
- Penn State
These Cru ministries have anywhere from 400-1200 students involved.
Many of these directors have seen their movements grow from 50 to over 500 in the past decade.
Why these 8?
These are not necessarily the 8 biggest Cru movements in the nation (but they’re probably in the top 15 – at least as of Summer 2011).
I tried to pick schools from across the U.S. – usually choosing the largest Cru movements from each geographical region.
I focused on traditional staffed campuses (no catalytic or city-wide movements). But since we’re all trying to build movements I think the learnings will be helpful for anyone in college ministry.
In the coming days I will devote a separate post to what I gleaned from each campus as well as some summary posts on:
- What do Staff Do (how do they spend their time, what role do they play in the movement)?
- What does the Director do?
- What contributed to your growth (are there any commonalities)?
- Top 10 Takeaways from talking to these ministries
If you had to guess, what do you think were the biggest contributors to growing large movements?
photo courtesy of Today is a good day