Large Cru Movements – NC State

August 6, 2012 — 6 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.


This post is a summary of two conversations I had with NC State staff – in Summer of 2008 and 2011. So some of the content may not 100% reflect the current reality at NC State Cru. But it’s such good stuff, it is worth sharing all of it.

Overview of the Movement at North Carolina State

Movement stats as of 2011

  • There are 35,000 students enrolled at NC State
  • 2,500 students at Meredith College (Private Women’s College; have their own servant team)
  • We’re using NC State as a hub (other campuses come to our meetings) and reaching out from there
  • About 700-1200 at weekly meeting (about 1500 at first meeting)
  • # in Bible studies – best guess would be 1000
    • some of those Bible study students never step foot in weekly meeting
  • 200 Bible study leaders right now
  • About 60 on SP every summer
  • Around 15-20 staff (including Faculty Commons, AIA, Bridges, interns, staff)
    • Usually around 2-3 interns every year
  • 300-400 at Fall Retreat
  • Winter Conference – 85 this year (with Passion draining)
    • Biggest year was 250
    • We are not battling Passion – I really believe it’s a movement of God
    • But we’re different
  • Mike Mehaffe has been the Campus Director at NC State since 1981 (over 30 years!)
  • How large are other ministries on your campus
    • Campus Outreach – probably 300 involved
    • Intervarsity – about 75
    • Navs – about 50


A couple thoughts on this movement

  • From my research, I would guess that NC State is the largest Cru movement in the nation
  • I once heard a Cru staff say that they want to throw the biggest parties on campus every year (he was talking about their weekly meeting being that party)
  • If there was a Party Ranking System for biggest parties at NC State, NC State Cru would completely sweep the Top 5 (more details on what they do below)


Movement History

  • 1981 – 30 students involved, 4 staff
  • Grew up to 100 within a few years
  • Stayed at 100 for a while
  • 1995 – Mike did a lot of prayer on campus
    • That’s where it started to grow
  • From 1995-2000 grew from 100 to 800 in ministry
  • Around 10 staff in 2000


Biggest Contributors to Growth

  • #1 thing – prayer – consistently student prayer for the campus
    • Mike Mehaffe is a big time prayer guy; Prayer is his thing
  • Longevity of the Director and long term staff
    • Todd (senior staff) has been at the campus for 13-14 years
    • Mike Mehaffe knows a lot of people on campus
      • Athletic Director
      • People high up in the residence halls
  • Having a finance/admin person (staff who loves doing admin stuff) → frees up Director and the team to run smoother
  • Leadership retreats have really helped the growth
  • High degree of excellence at weekly meeting and parties


What does evangelism look like on your campus?

  • Primarily through the geographic areas
    • Each area has own personality (dorms, greek, ethnic groups)
    • We ask them to think through how to best reach your part of campus
    • Areas have $500 for outreach (which we could increase that quite a bit)
  • Don’t do usually do big outreaches
    • Maybe do every three years
    • Last one we did: Debate – “Does God exist?” – William Lane Craig vs. Atheist
  • Mostly do prayer/care/share strategy [similar to Community 2:8]
  • 150 students come to Christ on average (most of those are through friends)
  • Starting this year: Encouraging our students to move back in the dorms for junior/senior year


What do staff focus on?

  • Discipleship is number one priority
    • Meet with every single one of our bible study leaders every week in discipleship
      • Students can also do this (but staff still touch base with them at least once a month or every two weeks)
      • One staff guy disciples 12 guys (all from the West side) – all one-on-one
      • Another staff disciples 20+ (all from Central) – some in pairs
    • What they cover:
      • Make sure they are pouring into people in their studies
      • Make sure they are sharing their faith
  • Each of key staff leaders is like a mini-MTL (Cru-speak for Director) over an Area
    • West Campus– around 300
    • Central Campus – around 400 involved
    • East Campus
    • South Campus
    • Meredith College
    • Destino, Impact, Faculty Commons, Bridges, AIA
  • Staff go to the servant team meetings sometimes
    • Teams will meet pretty much every week or two
  • 4 student men who are student staff – staff men shepherd them
    • They raise support
    • They come to staff meeting once a month
    • Been great for raising up staff (good picture of what staff life looks like)


What do you as Director do?

  • Give leadership, vision for the whole
  • Spend a lot of time on staff care and community
  • Make sure people care about each other and enjoy each other
  • Plan staff meetings
  • Still real connected with students
    • Works on South Campus
    • Leads Senior guys study
    • Comes to most of the events that they do
    • Meets with a couple student leaders
    • Goes into the dorms and shares his faith
    • Real big on community/university relationships (takes a staff guy with him and meets with them every year)
  • Don’t meet weekly with AIA, Bridges, Faculty staff
  • What Mike’s schedule looks like as Director
    • Monday
      • Just do planning – prepare a couple Bible studies (one for staff, one students). Prep staff meeting (for Friday). Preps Discipleship
    • Tuesday-Friday – on campus or meeting people all week
    • Tuesday
      • 9-11 Staff prayer every week (invite all AIA, Bridges, Faculty Commons that AM)
      • Thru 5pm – Training: 2 hours doing ministry together
      • Night – date night
    • Wednesday
      • 10-noon – MTL meeting (half time with campus issues; half spent planning staff meeting- making sure we are in agreement)
      • Afternoon – appts w staff and students
      • 5:30-7:00 – senior bible study
      • Meet for dinner at our house at 5:30 and then have study
    • Thursday
      • 7:30AM – accountability w a peer (ask each other the tough questions)
      • 9-11 Staff Development (educational portion) – discuss what they’ve read, listen to tapes (with all the new staff together)
      • Afternoon – appts on campus
      • Weekly meeting – 8-9:30pm
    • Friday
      • Staff meeting 9-noon
        • First 30 minutes – hot breakfast snack, sports page is open, staff hang out and goof off and talk
        • Fill out weekly reviews
        • Share time – what’s God doing (good or hard)
        • 10-10:30 – study of Mark – very discussion oriented
        • 10:30-11 – King’s business (evaluate our leaders retreat, etc)


Reaching Freshmen

  • Have info tables set up the first two weeks of school
  • Table on each part of campus – west, east, south
  • Coke donates a bunch of Cokes that we hand out (or we do freezie pops)
  • Give out info sheet with all the upcoming events
  • Do 2000 total spiritual interest surveys
    • Can check they want to be in a study
    • Primary way we fill our studies (is through these contacts)
    • Spend first month-month and a half following those up
    • Staff go with students and spend tons of time following up all those contacts
  • We also get restaurants and businesses to put coupons on the bottom of the survey that they can tear off


Ministry Structure

Leadership Meetings

  • Once a month, our geographic areas meet as leaders (led by staff and students) – about 40 student leaders in each area
    • Each staff responsible for getting their area together for leadership
    • They plan three things for the month:
      • Outreach
      • Community event
      • Prayer time
    • They share what’s going on and catch up
    • It’s how we keep our student leaders aligned
    • Leaders made up of:
      • Bible study leaders
      • Servant Team
      • Music Leaders (used to have guys who were great on guitar but sleeping with their girlfriend)
    • Leaders fill out expectation sheet in Spring
      • When they sign up, they give references from roommates
      • They sign Cru statement of faith and expectations
        • No drinking, morality w dating
        • Have to go to 2 of 3 retreats
          • Winter Conference
          • Fall Retreat
          • Spring Break
    • Music team is shepherded by a staff – making sure they’re walking with god and in integrity
  • Every other Sunday night MTL’s meet with Servant Team leaders
    • Talk about DNA of Cru – who we are
    • Each team reports – what they’re doing, where they are headed
    • Everyone on ST is a generalist (i.e.- everyone gives input on Weekly meeting) but also responsible for their particular area
    • Servant Team made up of younger students (2 co-leaders for each team)
    • Leaders are typically sophomore or junior
    • After they serve on ST, they then graduate to leading a dorm or bible study leader (usually serve for 1 year)
    • Older students are leading everything
    • Staff advisor mentors and develops students leaders on the servant team (how to lead, recruit new students, sound board for ideas)
    • Try to get freshmen involved on each team really early
    • Teams we have:
      • Weekly Meeting
      • Prayer
      • Community
      • Publicity
      • WSN (sending to the world)
      • Conference recruiting
      • I heart NCState – how can we be a blessing to NC State – where if we were dismissed from NC state the campus would notice


Leadership Retreats

Do leadership retreat at beginning of Fall and Spring

  • Meet with our leaders in August at the beach with all the small group leaders for 2 nights/3 days
    • 1 whole week before school starts
    • Students pay $40 (Older students get a discount)
    • Goals:
      • Align, care, pray
      • Connecting with one another
    • Staff get there a day early to student retreats and hang out and connect
  • 1 day leadership event at a church in January (all day)
    • Mostly for aligning
    • Charge students $5



  • A lot of training for students takes place in discipleship and in small group studies
  • Have 4 training lessons we try to do with every freshmen
    • How to use KGP
    • Developing 3 minutes testimony
    • How to use Satisfied booklet
    • Follow up training
    • Sexual
  • Have 3-4 year discipleship plan [their website has what they use for discipleship and Bible studies]
  • Big fan of Transferrable Concepts – definitely use those to reinforce our DNA


Spring Break

  • 4 options we promote
    • Do their own beach trip – take 90 to that
    • 25-30 to campus oriented trip in NYC
    • Chicago inner city
    • Local church – good deeds campaign locally
      • 100 students went last year


Weekly Meeting

  • Mostly bring in outside speakers (teachers from seminary)
    • Speaker speaks for 30 minutes
    • Usually give $50 gift card to outside speakers
  • Mike rarely speaks – Once a year
  • Rotate in 2-3 staff per semester
  • Staff guy runs a lot of it with some student involvement
  • Don’t allow people to come in and hand out stuff (keep a tight reign)
  • MC is a student
  • Band – 2 full student bands
    • 2 key student leaders who lead it
  • Some Video – no skits or goofy stuff
  • Primetime card
    • Everyone fills one out and pass all cards down to the end to the bucket
    • Student enters in the students into the system
    • All the Bible study leaders go onto website and see who is new
    • Staff that who are over the key leaders in target areas make sure students follow up those students


Fall Retreat

  • 2 night retreat
  • Outside speaker
  • Use their own band (really low key – just a 1 or 2 people up there)


Bible Studies

  • We have a recommended contentfor Bible studies
    • Many like to go through a whole book of the bible – Ephesians, etc
    • Use Cru.comm
  • Bible study leaders stay with their bible studies until they graduate
  • Freshmen Studies
    • Put signs up everywhere
    • Main way they fill them is through the surveys
    • Start studies 2nd week back
    • First semester do topical stuff so people can come in and out



Once a month we have a big community event

  • Really high expectations/quality
  • A place to invite non-Christians to
    • No spiritual content or Cru Announcement – totally relational
  • Community team plans all the events (they meet weekly throughout year)
  • Establish traditions so that it grows every year
  • Serves the Bible studies
  • Make t-shirts for 2-3 events (pay $12 and get a tshirt plus get in free to party; $15 long sleeve) → creates excitement for things – makes them feel big time
  • All community events pay for themselves (charge for most of them and get a lot of food, etc donated)
  • Events we have:
    • 299_29067881366_4879_nHawaiian Luauin August (click to see more info on their site)
      • $3 cover charge
      • Biggest thing in the fall – Around 1000 come?
      • First weekend of school
      • Bunch of food out
      • Lots of decorations
      • Really fun environment
      • Apt. pool or city pool
      • Cru students meet students and invite them to weekly meeting189631_10150093186246367_315874_n
    • Barn Party293980_10150305080971367_1753881329_n
      • About 1000 come
      • In October
      • Rent big work lights
      • Staff direct parking – wear bright orange vests and flashlights
      • Bring in snow cone machine
      • $3 cover charge
      • Decorate it a lot
        • Trailer full of hay
        • Go around to country stores and get stuff donated like signs (Wrangler, John Deere)
      • John Deere Tractor for a hay ride
      • 18 wheeler trailer (without a top) – stage for the band
        • A clogging team comes in and we have a band
      • Pit cooker with a bunch of corn
      • Cornhole boards set out (beanbag toss)
      • Bonfire with Smores
    • Winter Ball Semi-Formal
      • Works great for us – our campus has a lot of engineers – where they need a little help in interacting with girls
      • They have to ask girls to the Winter Ball
      • Coat and tie, dresses
      • $15/person; $25/couple
      • Usually make money on our semi-formal
    • Tailgatefor every football game
      • Make it a big
      • Roast a whole pig, green beans, sweet tea, big flag, vanilla pudding
      • Movie Night
      • Rent Snow Cone machine and popcorn
    • Tacky Prom296457_10150330973416367_1636060713_n
    • Broom Ball just for Juniors and Seniors
    • End of Year Picnic (tug of war, bbq, etc)



A strength of our movement:

  • There are a lot of real healthy friendships (which is kind of rare at an engineering school)
  • Bible studies laugh a lot and share life together


Ways to make the movement feel small

  • Dinner for 10
  • People sign up to eat dinner together before the weekly meeting
  • Community Parties (detailed above)– make things really fun and cool to come to; way to meet people


What are your biggest takeaways from learning about the Cru ministry at NC State?



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  • Pete Youlden

    Hey Tim,
    Thanks for your work in gathering this info and putting it together here. You ask at the end of each summary about takeaways from each movement. After all your research, I would be curious to hear what your key takeaways were overall. Maybe you posted this somewhere else along the way and I haven’t read far enough, but I would love to see if you saw some themes or other big ideas (or if anyone else reading these has thoughts as well).

    I thought it was helpful to hear how other MTLs spend their time. For example, some speak regularly at their weekly meetings and some don’t. I like that movements & leaders are not all the same and God uses different abilities.

    Thanks again for putting these out there. They have been fun to look over.

    Pete Youlden

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Pete – I hope to get a “takeaways” post up tomorrow!

      • Pete Youlden

        Thanks, Tim. I should have assumed something would be coming. I guess I was just anxious to hear your thoughts :).


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