Top Takeaways from Large Cru Movements – Part 1

August 8, 2012 — 9 Comments

I want to wrap up the series on Large Cru Movements with 2 posts on my Top Takeaways. Click for Part 2 (click here for the Intro of the series)

If you want to go back and read about each campus here are the 8 Cru Movements I profiled:

Part 1 of Top Takeaways is mostly just a step back to see what patterns emerge from the Large Movements series. An attempt to distill:

  • What do Staff Do?
  • What do MTL’s Do (MTL = Missional Team Leaders = Directors)?
  • What contributed to the growth of these large movements?

Part 2 will be some of my personal thoughts and favorite takeaways.


What do staff do?

In most of these large movements, staff:

  • Oversee a ministry team: Weekly Meeting, Prayer, Outreach
  • Disciple key student leaders (and take them out to share their faith)
  • Lead a Bible study
  • Empower students lead as much as possible


Some notable thoughts:

  • NC State
    • Each of key staff leaders is like a mini-MTL – each run an area of campus or a distinct ministry (AIA, Bridges, etc)
  • Cal Poly SLO
    • This movement can survive without a weekly meeting, social and the events
    • But the backbone of our movement is evangelism and discipleship and small groups
    • That’s your job
    • Staff got a little off and thought coaching these teams is more impt
      • It’s public, so they spend more time on that
      • They want to feel like they are contributing
      • It’s easier to buy groceries
      • And maybe they don’t know what to do with discipleship
  • Ole Miss
    • Main question – how are you going to reproduce yourself?
  • Penn State
    • If our students are going to lead, what does that leave staff to do:
    • 3 things:
      • Set direction (“this is where we are going”)
      • Resource (skills, tools, money)
      • Develop
  • Montana State
    • Their primary job is to be in their target area, sharing their faith, with student leaders
  • Florida
    • Staff don’t lead any Bible studies – instead they coach 5 Bible studies (10 leaders)



What do MTL’s do?

Most MTL’s:

  • Lead staff meeting
  • Lead Leadership Meetings
  • Focus on staff Care (they meet with every senior staff every week)
  • Cast vision for the mission
  • Only disciple 1 or 2 students
  • Spend at least one day on planning
  • Rely on their Senior Staff to coach younger staff/interns.

Some teach every week at their weekly meeting, others hardly at all.

A few MTL’s lead studies but several do not.


Some notable thoughts:

  • Penn State
    • My job is to keep my staff happy so they’ll stick around and grow up to be MTL’s
  • Miami (really the whole post is worth reading if you want to learn how to be a good MTL)
    • The role of the MTL is in between student leaders and staff leaders
      • Lead the student leadership team and lead the staff team
      • Constantly trying to balance the tension
      • If I’m going to err, I’m going to err on letting students lead
    • I’m constantly thinking: How can I push more and more leadership away from myself?



Contributors to growth

I was struck by how diverse the 8 movements are – definitely not cookie cutter ministries.

But despite the diversity here are some consistent threads that contributed to growth:

  • The director had been there for a long time(except for one campus – for over a decade)
    • Take Miami’s two directors for example:
      • Mark Brown – 20 years
      • Jane Armstrong – 32 years
    • I heard this quote from Jim Sylvester repeated multiple times: “More happens in five years that I could ever imagine, but less happens in one year than I would hope”.
  • God decided to move/Prayer
    • I think this quote from Ken Cochrum applies here: “True spiritual movements are both intentional and organic (grown by God)”
  • Strong Community Groups
    • These large movements were not just a huge weekly meeting. Most had just as many in CG’s as at their weekly meeting.
  • Growing the number of Core Leaders–Doing the right things with the right people
    • Brian Langford at Michigan State:
      • I was trying to change things from up front but Hersh encouraged me that as long as I was doing the right things with the right people, things would change
      • He encouraged me to grow the number of core leaders (and make sure they are multiplying their lives thru discipleship)
      • “I took 12 guys to disciple, the strongest leaders. And that changed our movement. Every single guy leader in the movement [the next few years] came from those 12”
    • Montana State:
      • 5 or 6 years ago we really began to take spiritual multiplication seriously and asked “Are we really preparing people for a lifetime of ministry?”
      • Multipliers/Spiritual grandchildren.
      • Are there students involved in our ministry who are really helping students have a ministry?
      • “The grandchild has to be sharing their faith” – the litmus test of the leader
      • We work really hard at this and the number is still really small
  • A good overseas partnership
    • From Miami-Ohio:
      • It gives students a big picture and they get to share their faith
      • 24 Miami students in Fiji saw 100 students trust Christ the first week – how can that not change you?


As you learned about these movements, what are some common threads you saw?

What are your main takeaways or favorite thoughts?


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