Archives For February 2015

sloThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

Quick facts on Cal Poly SLO Cru:

  • Avg # on staff team –  12 (1/2 to 2/3 interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 700-800; first cru over 1,000
  • Students at school – 20,000; Freshmen – almost 5,000
  • Students in Community Groups – 950
  • Partnership – East Asia (for the last 12 years), just switched from El Salvador to Oasis (Middle Eastern)
  • We Just launched 2 new campuses this week (both community colleges)!
    • Cuesta Community College
    • We just doubled the number of campuses we are on!
  • We’re also on one high school campus (launched Cru High School)
  • SLO is a town of 43,000
  • 190 on fall retreat (112 previous year)

I talked to Jamey Pappas who has led the team at SLO for many years. His response on most of these – “I’m not a numbers guy – so I’m guessing a little!” 

Average Sending Stats:

  • 12 STINT
  • 8ish interns/yr (some years more or less)
  • some years as many as 8 staff/year (this year 5-6)
  • Avg used to be 60-75 on Summer Missions (mostly stateside).
  • Now sending
    • International – 20-25
    • Stateside – 5-10 

What contributed to that decline in Summer Missions?

  • It’s the biggest sending problem we have
    • We’re not sending stateside
    • So we’re not getting students coming back trained in knowing how to share their faith and doing it on campus
    • It will probably take us 5 years to get back
  • One factor is we’ve ramped up international sending in having 2 partnerships
    • Our international sending numbers have gone way up
    • We kind of stopped talking about stateside missions and students stop going and you lose the student recruiting voice telling their friends to go
    • In a large movement, you need a critical mass of people talking about it to get it to happen
    • Now, we’re trying to build back but it’s all staff voices, it’s not grassroots now
  • Sometime you go to a Winter Conference and it’s all focused on international partnerships and you lose the stateside focus
  • Why is there benefit in sending stateside first?
    • I’m still convinced there’s no better summer experience to prepare you for Win/Build/Send back on campus – it’s the most easily translatable back to campus
    • Students do come back from international trained in evangelism. But it doesn’t always translate as well back to campus.
    • We had 20 go internationally, maybe a little more than half of them come back and do what they did there and do it back on campus
    • When we were sending dozens on stateside, the vast majority would come back on mission on campus
    • It just seemed more accessible for more people, more palatable – not as scary, cheaper. Students were more willing to go stateside
    • I think that’s changed a little bit

How did you become a sending campus?

  • It’s the culture we’ve created here where missions is just who we are at SLO Cru
  • It’s what our movement is about – we’re about mission
  • Showing that is what God is about – creating theological roots
    • There’s an inner motivation from teaching and exposure
    • “Oh yeah, this is what the Bible is about and what God is about”
  • Giving students lots of opportunities to experience that
    • Vision trips (11 days – East Asia over winter break)
    • Spring Break (El Salvador)
    • Summer Missions
  • They lead into each other – baby step of vision trip leads to SM which leads to STINT
  • So it’s built in conviction through the Word paired with opportunities to go
  • Having opportunities for experience has really helped our sending
  • Opportunities to lead as a student:
    • We’re very much student-led heavy
    • We give away student leadership
    • Students get to experience what staff is like as a student maybe more so than other places
      • They get to experience strategic planning
  • Our staff team is a fun and healthy environment
    • Our staff really enjoy their job
  • We’ve done recruiting dinners for STINT and Internship dinners
    • Juniors and seniors by invitation come to a nice dress up dinner (50-60 students)
    • We want to work with you
    • Thank you for serving in this movement
    • We want to bless you with this meal
    • Let me tell you why I love my job and why I want you to join us
    • Had a donor with a big house host it
    • Took a break from it this year because it kind of lost it’s appeal
  • Do students ever feel over recruited?
    • Absolutely
    • We’ve been trying to figure out ways to not let that happen
    • I’m trying to do things to spotlight what we’re doing internationally without recruiting them to join us on STINT
      • This is part of our family overseas (day in the life of a STINTer video; skyping with STINTer)
      • Creating a conviction and vision over the year without an appeal being attached to it
      • They’re being influenced, the idea is being planted 

What advice do you have for a campus that wants to grow from not much sending to being a sending campus?

  • We are cultural architects – creating a culture that loves and embraces the mission of sharing Jesus with people. And here’s an opportunity to do that full time.
  • Be a visionary for what we are doing
  • And then ask to do it full time
  • Hopefully the response is, “yeah, why would I not want to be a part of that?”

What motivates students to intern?

  • Part of our planning times in the winter, we asked our interns/stint – “What made you join us?”
    • Theme – Somebody asked me to do it and convinced me I could do it
  • This year’s strategy is more one on one and less big group.
  • We divvied up students we wanted to join us, and challenged them one on one
  • As an MTL (Team Leader), you have a lot of persuasion.
  • When the boss says, hey I’d love for you to be on my team, it means a lot
  • When we asked our students why they interned, they were like, “because Jamey talked to me”, “because Jamey asked me.”
  • It was kind of embarrassing. Cuz I’m not that good at recruiting
  • But there’s something very honoring about being asked by the guy in charge


What has helped raise up long term staff?

  • I initially wondered if STINT would help us recruit long term – but it hasn’t panned out as well as internships
  • The vast majority of our staff interned first
  • It’s a win/win – we get them for a couple years and then we get to send them out and resource the region (sending them to be staff on other campuses)

What are your big takeaways from Cal Poly SLO? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

uc santa barbaraThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

Quick facts on UC Santa Barbara Cru:

  • # on staff team – 16 total on staff team
  • Total Movement Size – 384 total students (in 7 different movements)
    • We have found that it’s really helpful to communicate that we are all Cru
    • Cru is 7 movements but 1 family
    • 200 students in the Cru movement
    • More people go to Epic and Destino then go to Cru
    • It’s really important for us as MTLs to be at the multiple movements things (speak at Impact meeting) – they feel valued
    • As much as we can we resource them ($), that communicates love
  • Campus Demographics:
    • 22,000 students
    • 50% white
    • 20% latino
    • 20% asian
    • 3% black
  • 10 people at Winter Conference in 2013
  • 20 students on Summer Missions in 2013
  • MTLs (team leaders): Chris Comstock and Jen Hu (both have been on staff there for 11 years and have led the team for 6 years)


2013 Sending Stats:

  • 10 interns total
    • 5 returning interns
    • 2 part time Destino
    • 1 epic intern
    • 2 Cru interns
  • 2 STINT
  • 1 staff
  • Destino (focused on Hispanic students) has only about 10 students involved but they send 8 people on SP!


I talked to Chris Comstock and asked him about how UC Santa Barbara Cru became a hotbed of sending.

  • We haven’t always been a sending campus
  • We started becoming a sending campus 5-6 years ago

How did you become a sending campus?

  • Our team is a lot of fun and we love each other and love our jobs (and students know that)
    • We try to go away for a bonding/planning time once a year
      • Beach house, etc
      • We’ve seen value in being in 1 or 2 houses together
      • Go out one night, then cook rest of meals
      • Charge staff to go
      • Sometimes before year starts, sometimes in December
  • Interning with us is a viable option for most UCSB students
    • UCSB – You have to be smart to get in, but it’s very social
    • They’re leaders but they like to play
  • They’ve seen interns grow tremendously over the past few years (and it’s attractive)
  • We’ve focused heavily on Intern development
    • We give our interns time to work through their New Staff Development curriculum
    • All the interns submit their schedules every week
      • They felt ill-equipped and didn’t know how to spend their time
      • We break down their schedule by hour (this is how many hours you need to be in dorms)
      • It’s helps w adulthood/accountability
      • That’s been the biggest help
        • Turning in schedule
        • Treat them like adults
      • A lot of them have such crappy work ethics (since this is their first job).
      • Have hard conversations:
        • Like if they don’t turn in their schedules
        • One girl prays too long or dominates conversations
        • Financial stuff
    • The interns almost form an identity of their own
      • They have an intern breakfast
      • And then senior staff just sometimes meet together
    • Senior staff make a lot of the decisions
      • Everyone plans together for 2 days, then senior staff meet for one more day to finalize
  • We give them things to own
    • Impact (Cru’s ministry focused on African American students) and AIA (athletes) are owned by interns
    • Every on our team has 2 focuses:
      • Cru movement
      • One multiple movement
    • That’s why they need structure to be able to split time
  • We talk a lot about being sent
    • At weekly meetings
    • Discipleship meetings
    • We personally challenge every student
      • Give $10 per staff to take student out to lunch/coffee
      • We speak into their life on why we think it would be strategic for them to intern
  • We send Spring Break trips overseas
    • 2 trips (25 between the two)
    • There’s a good chance if students go on Spring Break, then STINT will be on their radar
    • We have an application process for Spring Break
    • We ask our interns where they want to go (because they have a lot of pull when they say “come with me”)
  • 2 Staff (Jake and Jen) coach the STINT leaders the whole year
    • We skype them in to weekly meetings
  • Mid year conference in Spain
    • We build into spring break trip money to pay for ½ of a staff member to fly over to Spain for mid year STINT
    • Call it “partnership funds”
      • Take STINT team out to dinner
  • Our team is highly relational – and we try to stay relationally connected to those we send
    • We have two families that welcome people into their home frequently
    • We do whatever we can to help the staff moms be involved
      • Getting babysitters for stuff (on the campus)
      • Rotate between the two families’ houses for staff meetings
      • Ministry team meeting is at the senior staff’s house
  • We have the Traveling Team come in every year
  • There’s no substitute for personally knowing well the people you’re challenging to go
    • We’ve watched them grow up


What are your big takeaways from UC Santa Barbara? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

Texas AMThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

Quick facts on Texas A&M Cru:

  • Avg # on staff team – normally 12-15 staff (half interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 130; First Cru – 200; 75-100 in the spring
  • 60 on fall retreat
  • 580 in Bible Studies (“Many of those are Greeks who might not know they are in Cru studies!”)
  • Students at Texas A&M – 55,000 (10,000 freshmen)
  • Partnership – East Asia, South Asia


Average Sending Stats:

  • STINT – 8 (not counting Grace Bible Church)
  • Intern – 6  (11 this year)
  • Staff – 3-6
  • Summer Missions –  We sent students on 9 international Summer Missions teams
    • total of 80 on Summer Missions (including Grace Bible; 35 from Cru on international plus 10 more stateside)


No other Cru campus sends more laborers than Texas A&M. And they have 75 people at their weekly meeting. I’ll let A&M’s MTL, Brian White, explain God’s amazing work at Texas A&M:

At a conference early on as a new director at A&M, I was asked what my dream was for our campus. I said I dream that we could send teams to 10 cities around the world. We were looking at the numbers of what that would take. If we sent teams of 8 we would need 80 seniors to go, so maybe we need 300 seniors involved. That would mean we might need 1000 freshmen. We would need a pretty big movement. Our movement here has never reached anywhere near that, so after a few years I stopped talking about it.

Then about 7 years into my time here, the Lord was working on me personally and I started to think differently.  In addition to our sending as Cru, we have a great partnership with our church, Grace Bible Church College Station. They have a large college ministry and have grown to maintaining 3 partnerships, sending through Cru to East Asia, Greece, and Trade Winds. Together that gives us 4!

Also, a few of my staff had started Destino, an outreach to Latino students at A&M. God was doing something special and one of the early things they did was establish a new partnership. They chose a Muslim country that Hispanic students would have unique opportunities in partly due to the ethnic and linguistic similarities. Seeing this partnership grow was inspiring.

Soon after, with the help of some Cru staff from Austin, we started Epic to reach Asian-American students. They participate in 3 international partnerships: Japan, East Asia, and Vietnam. We have had students go for summers to all 3 and are looking forward to our first Stinters for Epic.

As this was all going on our Greek ministry (fraternities and sororities) was growing as well and we have had our first Greek Stinters in East Asia, and now our 3rd Greek summer project. That makes 7 partnerships at various levels of development.

One area of untapped people is the Christian clubs. There are several Christian sororities and fraternities and other clubs. For years I saw them as competition that gathered up people and energy, but were not engaged in the great commission. But they are people who know Christ and are trying to be disciples. I should be for them.

We started to ask if there was a way that we could help them get training and sending opportunities. Two years ago 3 students went to East Asia from Freshmen Leaders in Christ. Last summer we had a new trip with Grace called Greeks to Greece. It was made up of Greek girls and guys from several Christian fraternities.

Last summer we began 2 new projects to South Asia. Grace Bible’s Youth Impact college leaders and KYX (a Christian fraternity) and Cru sent our first summer project to reach students in South Asia! Several of them are considering going back, and we could have our first South Asia Stinters next fall! We are now sending teams to 9 cities around the world!

God is at work at Texas A&M! He is stirring in the hearts of students, and we are working to help them get engaged in what He is doing with students around the world. There is still lots to do in helping these summer teams become STINT teams and then longer term laborers. But it is exciting to see Him unfolding the tapestry of Aggies involvement in the Great Commission.

Brian’s fuller explanation is worth reading here

a and m east asia

I made the mistake of asking Brian- “Y’all send so many laborers! How do you guys recruit?”

His answer: “We don’t recruit. It’s who we are.” And he’s not splitting hairs. It’s not recruiting. It’s in their DNA. It’s the air they breathe as a staff team and movement. They eat/drink/sleep sending to the World.

How did you become a sending campus?

  • family.001You as the leader need to own it
    • As the leader, it has to be yours
    • It can’t be someone else on the team’s passion
    • You have to own it
    • As the leader, as the mouthpiece, you need to be telling the stories and leading from experience.
    • Our family goes every third year on international Summer Missions
    • If you’re the director, your wife has to be in it too. Because a lot of the work will fall on her (getting the kids overseas on Summer Missions)
  • Send First
    • In Cru, our mission is Win-Build-Send
    • But for most campuses (in Cru) it becomes Gather-Build-Keep
    • You will rarely have “enough” (though we do ask staff to think through how they’ll replace themselves when the go overseas)
    • Like with evangelism, we can easily leave sending out to be added in later when someone is “mature” or our movement is ready to begin sending.
    • However, these things don’t really work being tacked on at the end.
    • They have to be part of the DNA of the movement.
    • When does the DNA get there? At conception. Same with sending. Students need to be hearing it from Day 1.
    • At the front door of people being involved with us, we want them to know we are actively helping students know Christ, and they can be part of that.
    • We also want them to know that the gospel needs to go to the whole world and they can play a part in that too.
    • We may not be sending freshmen on STINT, but we want to plant the seed in their mind that they could go down the road.
    • We can easily look at our current situation and say that we have nothing to give, or no one to send.
    • We seek the Lord’s blessing here in hopes that one day we will have extra to send. But God blesses us that we can be a blessing to others.
    • Psalm 67 starts: “God be gracious to us and bless us, 
And cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.”
    • Whether it is with our finances or people there is generally too big of a gap between the receiving and the giving. We tend to hold on too long. We need to send out resources, or we will become ingrown.
  • Send your best
    • We want to send and we want to send our best
    • Some of this all comes down to priorities.
    • I need young interns here to help reach the next class of freshmen, but if it comes to Interning here or Stint over at our partnership, I want to send them to labor there.
    • I would rather send a solid team than have a big team here.
    • Often there are factors I can’t control in placement, summer assignments, and individuals life decisions, but the drum I try to beat is to help reach the students around the world. At the end of the day that’s why I am here.
    • You’ll get a lot of them back (they won’t all go overseas long term though hopefully a lot do)
    • We have 7 staff and 4 of them want to go overseas
    • And it’s going to be hard if they all leave
    • But I would send them.
    • If we have a smaller team, it’s OK
    • That’s what we are about
  • Your whole team needs to own it
  • Practically speaking, the staff must own the partnership.
    • By that they take personal responsibility for leading the projects, recruiting the teams, coaching them,…
    • The main mouthpieces of the movement need to be speaking of the partnership from first hand experience.
    • Vision trips or summer projects every few years are great ways to keep things fresh for those who are casting vision.
    • The best invitation is “Come with me” and we must have a continual flow of staff and interns leading these trips to give students their first taste of the partnership.
      • 4 of our 5 greek interns have been on the East Asia Summer Mission
      • 1 guy stinted last year in EA
      • 1 guy went on a vision trip last year to EA and wanted to interna and me east.001
  • How do I keep the world in front of me?

    • Go
    • Pray
    • Give
    • Read
    • Watch, eat, wear, listen (I listen to asian music in my office to remind me of our vision)
  • You have to intentionally plan
    • Who are my potential summer leaders this coming year?
    • Because they will assemble their team
    • They are the most important person to get on boardstudents on board.001
    • Same thing with STINT
    • From the very beginning of the year we have students share about their experience from summer project and we try to determine as early as possible who will lead the next summer so we can begin inviting people.
    • Then we will have updates from our STINTers, pictures,… as part of our talks.
    • A Vision Trip at Christmas gives fresh experiences too.
  • Vision Trips
    • Every year we take a Christmas vision trip to EA – between finals and Christmas
    • it’s before they’re making decisions for that summer
    • It’s for people who could maybe go on STINT that fall
    • Sometimes vision trips are the best for producing STINT’ers because they get a good taste of STINT life
  • We have 3 parts to sending
    1. It’s our sending w Cru
    2. It’s starting other pockets of sending (like Destino, Greeks)
    3. It’s finding other groups that can send (Churches, christian fraternities/sororities)
  • We’ve been talking about other pockets (churches and Christian fraternities) sending for 4-5 years.
    • It’s like the oil in Alaska. And we’re trying to build a pipeline to get there.
    • They’re Christians, they want to follow Jesus. But they aren’t engaged in the Great Commission
  • How we challenge students to go:
    • We applaud that you want to follow on Jesus
    • Jesus said, follow me and I will make you fishers of men
    • We want to help you learn how to fish and be involved in reaching students around the world
    • As a student you have a unique opportunity to connect to students around the world
    • As an native english speakers, students want to meet you
      • If you walk across your campus, and say “I am a native english speaker”, how many people will want to meet with you?
    • As someone who knows Jesus you have a unique message to share
    • You have a unique opportunity to change the world right now
  • Our Best Leaders are the Ones who Have Gone to the World
    • The great benefits to the movement are an increase in vision, faith, and experience.
    • We all ask ourselves if the work is worth it.
    • Haven’t the guys in this dorm all heard of Jesus? The vision is to help all the students in the world hear.
    • That next student we talk with could help reach students across the globe.
    • Having a partnership helps lift our eyes off the obstacles we face, to the Lord and what He is doing.
    • Also, going increases our faith. It gives each person a clear tangible way to trust God as they raise the support to go.
    • As they see God provide they are prepared to trust Him during the project or STINT, as well as with the next challenges in life.
    • The experience of sharing Christ with lots of students and seeing God work in their lives is a life changing event.
    • The skills gained are repeatable, but seeing God use you makes you eager to step into the next persons life.
    • Generally our best leaders are the ones who have gone on these projects and been stretched by the Lord.

What are your big takeaways from Texas A&M? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

missouri state

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each).

Quick facts on Missouri State Cru:

  • # on staff team – 16 at staff meeting (two of those are part time staff; 8 interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size = 380-400; first cru= 400 (our venue maxes out at 400)
  • How many in Community Groups = 250-300 avg
  • 190 on fall retreat (112 previous year)
  • Students at Missouri State – 20,000 (5,000 Freshmen) – we also draw from a private school of 2,500

Sending Stats for an average year:

  • 6-10 STINT and interns
  • 4-6 staff/year
  • Around 30 on Summer Missions (praying for 50 this year; 35 accepted so far; 10 more have submitted)
    • 1/4 overseas; 3/4 stateside  (San Diego and Alaska)
  • Partnership – East Asia and Côte d’Ivoire (being primary)


Cru has been at Missouri State since fall 2011. Justin Stringer is the MTL (Missional Team Leader) at Missouri State. He was previously on staff at St Louis from 2008-2011. The reason he moved to Missouri State:

“I thought this could be a place that God could use to send all over our region and the world. The reason we came down was purely for sending.”

Why did you think Missouri State could be a sending campus?

  • On a practical level – a lot of students here are in the kinds of majors that could easily join into staff life – social work, teachers, nursing
  • Students generally have low student debt
  • Not a lot of our students are doing summer internships, a lot of them are doing victory laps (5th year)
  • Theological level – there’s a culture of Christianity that if you catch it on fire – you light the match that there’s this big vision you can be a part of
    • It’s related to the Christianity that I’ve grown up with but far more exciting
    • “You can be a part of the big story of God changing the world”

How did you become a sending campus?

  • There’s no silver bullet
  • I tell our staff team that if each of them has the best year of ministry that they have ever had this year then we will have no problem recruiting to our team.
  • That being said, the Lord has really blessed a few things:
  • Kate and I as MTLs have really owned sending basically all year long
    • We’re thinking about who we’d love to have on our team in September
      • We make a big board as a staff team of who we want to invite to join our team as interns
      • Then, we begin praying
    • We’re talking to people at Fall Retreat
    • Revisiting those conversations before Beyond (our sending conf in November)
    • Revisiting those conversations at Winter Conference
    • Then again in the spring
    • From the beginning it’s been a year round thing
  • We try to make the intern year a big long vision-casting thing of what it would look like to be on staff
    • We say to our staff – if our interns have the best year of ministry of their lives, we will have no problem recruiting them to join us on staff
    • We give our interns a lot of real responsibility
    • Kate and I try to make sure that every staff and intern has at least one big ministry win each semester that we can celebrate.
      • This isn’t formal but something that Kate and I are looking out for.
      • They can look back and say: “God really moved here”
      • Overseeing the Maze (an outreach)
      • Fall Getaway director (intern who really likes putting on meetings)
      • One girl who is really gifted in evangelism – we really freed her to spend time sharing her faith
  • Part of what we’ve said from the beginning – internship isn’t just for people who want to go into vocational ministry
    • If you want to live on mission for the rest of your life, an internship is the best training opportunity that I know of that you can be a part of
    • It will equip you to make an impact for a lifetime no matter where you end up
  • Staff Care
    • I hear about staff care a lot In terms of having a team bible study
    • The way I care for my staff is to challenge them to do something big
    • I take some things off their plates (that I don’t really like doing) to free them up to engage in ministry relationships:
      • Menial drudgery stuff
      • Inputting scholarships
    • I definitely don’t take all of that stuff
    • But I take some of those admin jobs so staff can make as big of an impact as possible in relationships
    • Main difference between a staff person and an intern:
      • Most of our staff operate like MTL’s
      • So they end up doing admin stuff in their specific areas
        • AIA
        • Greek

Do students ever feel over recruited?

  • Sometimes, but that’s not typical.
  • “We want you to do what God wants you to do. We’re not going to be mad if you end up a teacher. Based on your gift set and what we know about you, I think you’d be really good fit on our team.”
  • It becomes “recruiting” when you say things that aren’t true or you start playing God
  • I love my job so I feel like I wouldn’t be loving people if I didn’t invite them to be a part of something that is a lot of fun and God could really use to change their lives
  • We also try to verbalize how much we like our job and how we are impacting the world through Southwest Missouri.
  • I’ve had to get over the feeling that I’m “recruiting”. They’re always being recruited. Companies are tirelessly recruiting them to come work for them.

What advice do you have for a campus that wants to grow from not much sending to being a sending campus?

  • I would work long and hard at connecting everything you’re doing to a big vision that is compelling
  • Everyone wants to be a part of something that is big and compelling
  • As the MTL, you need to communicate that vision
    • Weekly meetings
    • Leadership times
    • Everytime I talk, I’m trying to say something about how what we’re doing is impacting:
      • The rest of your lives
      • The world
    • I can mess up a lot of things, but if I’m communicating the vision we’ll be ok
    • What vision do you cast?
      • The global scope – this could impact the world
      • The people who graduate here will impact people all over our state and all over the world
      • This will impact the rest of your life
        • How you lead small groups
        • How you share your faith in your dorms, you will be doing that the rest of your life in your job
  • I would encourage staff to remember why they love their job
    • We have a sweet gig
    • It’s such an honor to be a part of what God is doing
    • If you’re living in the “woe is me, I had to raise support and I’m suffering for the gospel”, that’s not compelling
    • Do you genuinely enjoy being a part of God using
  • I had to learn as an MTL: My words carry a lot of weight
    • I’m looking people in the eye and I’m saying: “I’d really like you to be on our team”
    • I have to put on my big boy pants
    • That headhunter for the engineering firm is doing it. He’s putting on his big boy pants to look students in the eye and ask them to come work for him.

How did you get good at casting vision? Does it just come naturally?

  • No – Dan Allan just hammered it in over and over
  • I make sure there’s a vision component to everything I say – even staff meeting
    • We have a partnership prayer minute in our staff meeting every week
      • We pray for a campus in our partnership locations every week in staff meeting
      • Before we pray for it, I cast vision for why it’s so critical to reach Côte d’Ivoire
        • It’s the buffer point between Muslim north Africa and southern Christian Africa
        • So if we can reach college students there, they can impact all of Africa
        • It’s so exciting that we get to be a part of that
  • It’s almost become a worshipful thing for me
    • I’m more of a cynical guy – if I’m not casting vision I’m probably being cynical

What motivates students to intern?

  • They want to be a part of something big and exciting
  • They want to do it next to people they like and respect
    • As a student, I knew the guys sitting in the circle and I wanted my life to be next to their lives
  • Having a place where they know they will grow
  • Ministry isn’t to get things done primarily
  • Ministry is to get people done, starting with us
  • So ministry is bi-directional – God impacts us while he uses us.
  • If someone has been in our movement for a while, and they’ve taken steps of faith, we’ll challenge them

What are your big takeaways from Missouri State Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?


ILife Transformed coverI Corinthians 2:12-6:2 is a powerful section of scripture that lays out how believing the gospel motivates us to proclaim the gospel. Easily my favorite passage on living missionally for Christ.

Jeff Lark (Cru staff in the Red River Region) developed this great study on II Corinthians. The study follows the model of the fallen condition focus which is excellent at pointing students to their need for Christ (e.g. – “How do you fall short of Godʼs ideal? How does this passage expose idols and corruption in your own heart?”). After exposing your fallen condition, the study asks questions like: “How, from this passage, does Christ change you? How would believing the gospel in a deeper way overcome your stubborn sin?”

This is really where you get to experience Christ in the passage. Only Christ can change you and your group. Just trying harder wonʼt cut it. All of us desperately need Christʼs forgiveness, power, and promises to live the Christian life. And, again, you donʼt want to only lead your group to information. But, as you drink of the living water, you want to lead them to the Source. – Jeff Lark

Life Transformed mapThis study on II Corinthians has a:

Both versions have a Field Guide. The Field Guide takes you through the passage over the course of 5 days prior to discussing it with the group. This is great material for students to use in their quiet time. The scripture for each section are printed out within the study so students can mark it up.

Life Transformed Field GuideThe leader guide has the Field Guide woven throughout to emphasize the leader’s need to study the passage during the week to prepare for leading a group discussion. The student workbook has the Field Guide at the back of the book as optional material for participants to go through on their own during the week to prepare for their group meeting. Leaders need to mention this to the students so that they know it is back there.

We printed the studies out for our students (ends up being a little less than $1 at FedEx Office with the Cru corporate discount).

Instructions on printing:

  • Print two-sided on regular sized paper. Blank pages have been added to provide a front cover and a back cover. We used cardstock for the front and back cover, and our books were bound with top and bottom staples (if you provide your own cardstock to FedEx it’s MUCH cheaper).

Thanks to Samantha Barnes (Cru staff on my team) who made some minor updates to Jeff Lark’s original to make it available to share with everyone!

uc davis

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each).

Quick facts on UC Davis Cru:

  • # on staff team – 16 on campus this year
  • Avg Cru meeting size = 60-80
  • Movement size = 80-100
  • How many in Community Groups = 45 freshmen; 100 total in CGs

Sending Stats last year:

  • STINT – 9
  • Intern – 6
  • Staff – 5

In 2014 they have 9 interns


As I mentioned in the previous post: Of the top 25 sending campuses in Cru, the average movement size is 362 students! Clearly, most of these top sending movements are very large.

But a few campuses among the Top Sending Campuses in Cru really intrigued me. There are a few Cru movements that send a LOT of laborers from smaller movements.

One of those campuses is UC Davis.

Francis Floth has been on staff for 15 years and has been the MTL (Missional Team Leader) at UC Davis for 2 years.

My main question for Francis was –

What do you think contributes to UC Davis sending such a large percentage (50-60%) of your seniors?

  • At UC Davis – it’s in the culture
    • UC Davis – you have to be pretty smart/academic to get in. But not so academic like UCLA, that there’s too much pressure (and no time for social)
    • Sharp students but they aren’t crazy busy
    • Most go to the same church – that’s very missions based and Cru-friendly
    • They take their academics very seriously and that carries over to them taking their walk with God seriously – tend to have pretty serious/intentional students
      • It’s becoming a little more fun with our freshmen class we got last year
      • Most of the freshmen class had a chance to share their faith last year
      • I learned how to do it in college, why would I not want to live that out interning/post college
    • There’s been a lot of Davis alumni who have come on staff
      • Almost high pressure (I should do it – to be a good Cru person)
      • Trying to change that to where it’s more of a response than a requirement
    • There’s so much emphasis on going overseas (including Summer Missions) – from leadership before us
    • We had a really solid freshmen class – some of them are already mentioning interning
      • It’s not like they get to their senior year and start thinking “I want to intern”
      • A lot of them are thinking about it from freshmen/sophomore year
  • Our region does some things really well:
    • We have a Crossroads conference (like a SENT conference) every year
      • Maybe too much – would be better to do every other year
      • Roger Hershey talks about eternal perspective
      • It’s challenging without being pressureful
      • Sets the tone for sending
      • They have a lunch breakout session for those considering interning
  • Summer Missions are huge wins – Ocean City especially that Bob Fuhs has led
  • We sit down and challenge individual seniors 1 on 1
    • Those that I see potential in and have a good walk with God
    • “I’d love to work with you”
    • We want to work with people that we really enjoy
    • What I do:
      • I’ve seen your ministry these last couple years – seen you grow
      • I would love to work with you!
      • Do you have any questions?
      • That’s it
      • Just a 5 minute conversation
  • Even if interns have a hard year, it’s not like people are “man, it was a bad year – don’t do it”
    • A lot of students, when they rub shoulders with interns, they really like them (they’re close relationally)
    • The interns naturally recruit – “you should think about doing this too!”
    • Students really look up to staff
  • 2 years ago – there was just an MTL and 4 interns. 3 of those were still in school – PTFS(part time field staff)
    • all 4 went on STINT to South Africa the next year
  • South Africa partnership starts their STINT in January
  • When we got here (two years ago) there was a really big junior class – senior class was checking out
  • Probably 20-25 seniors loosely involved – 8 of them decided to intern
    • 10-15 seniors actually involved
    • Q: What creates that culture? Where 50-60% intern?
    • To them it just makes sense – “why would I not at least give a year of my life to explore doing ministry full time”
      • “I want to get really good ministry experience before I go into the work world”
    • It’s become the norm
  • How do you get there?
    • You need a couple really key students to buy in
    • We’re trying to start that with greeks- getting a few people to move into the greek houses to have a ministry
    • Challenge the right students to really consider it and pray about it
    • If they have a great experience as well, everyone sees that and they think “they’re having a great year and really growing as interns”

What are your big takeaways from UC Davis Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

chico state

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

Quick facts on Chico Cru:

  • 120-130 in movement
  • Cru meeting – 1st meeting 205; Last meeting 105
  • 6 full time staff – 8 interns
  • In 2013 they sent:
    • 3 STINT
    • 7 Interns
    • 0 staff
  • In 2012 they sent:
    • 1 STINT
    • 7 Interns
    • 3 staff

I had a theory going into this research – big movements produce a lot of laborers. If I had to guess, I would have said that would be the number one cause of sending a lot of laborers. And to a large extent, I found that to be true.

Of the top 25 sending campuses in Cru, the average movement size is 362 students! Clearly, most of these movements are very large.

But a few campuses among the Top Sending Campuses in Cru really intrigued me. There are a few Cru movements that send a LOT of laborers from not-large movements. These are not small movements by any means – but they have less than 150 students involved (so smaller in contrast to the other gigantic Cru movements).

One of those campuses is Cal State – Chico.

Josh Otto has been at Chico for 10-11 years and been the MTL (Missional Team Leader) there for 4 years.

My main question for Josh was –

What do you think contributes to Chico Cru sending such a large percentage of your seniors?

Campus dynamic is key

  • We’re a state school – anyone can get into it
  • They’re at Chico because they wanted to party or they didn’t get into their #1 school because of grades or they did not have a plan for their life – they have no clue
    • Chico is known nationally for its partying
    • There is no middle ground – it’s black and white
    • We have a lot of dramatic life change – this is where I was, this is where I am now
  • Students have no career plan, no internships
  • It gives us the ability with a clean slate to cast vision for Summer Missions, Internship, and STINT
  • Most students come from Bay area – sacramento – the campus is pretty homogenous
  • Most come from families that have money – they can go to Fall retreat, Summer Missions, Winter Conference
  • Our campus really lends itself to mobilizing people
  • It’s not like UCLA where everyone is preparing for med school, $50k in debt
  • It’s a really relational place with not a lot of purpose
  • When people find purpose, they’re able to adjust quickly and change life plans
  • All that gives us the platform to send people

Our strategy

  • Our strategy as staff is to connect closely to students, to bring them in close to us
    • They’re in our homes
    • It’s much more of a family feel than a business feel
    • The mission is relational
  • The town of Chico is smaller, a total college town
  • 16,000 students at Chico
  • Hanging out with them – really befriending students
  • Students who make it to the end, feel very personally connected to us as staff
  • It has worked since our movement is smaller, we can give more attention to students
  • There is a high level of relational trust
  • When they’re getting toward senior year, we ask them to consider interning with us
  • They’ve been a part of a movement – so when they graduate they’re equipped to come on staff
  • Summer Missions have been huge – getting key students on Summer Missions
  • We really try to champion 100% Sent so that it doesn’t seem like all we care about is people coming on staff
  • The drum we beat all year is “surrender” (we have a lot of non-Christians and non-surrendered Christians at Chico)
  • A few years ago I read Good to Great and we talked about as a team – “What can we be the best in the world at?”
    • Our answer= Authentic Community that challenges students to surrender fully to Jesus
    • “Chico Cru could be best in the world at creating authentic, raw, and safe community by which non-Christians and unsurrendered Christians are innovatively and relentlessly challenged to respond to Jesus and abandon all else.” [they have a one page document that sums up this ministry philosophy].

God brought a couple key students who really changed the culture. They really elevated the whole culture as students. Then they interned and they paved the way for others.

Our question:

  • Are these people interning because of the mission or because of the relationships?
  • Our team is compelling
  • They see a good fruitful, working situation and say, “I want that. That looks fulfilling. That looks fun”
  • And with a culture of sending they’ve seen other friends do it (intern) and they want to do it
  • Especially when it comes to support raising you can tell that they sometimes lack vision (when they cast vision to supporters, sometimes they’re lacking in missional emphasis)
  • I worry about how lasting our sending fruit is
  • With interning, we’re trying to figure out how much do you throw them out to the wolves to learn for themselves vs. giving them easy/fun jobs
  • How do we increase their vision/understanding?
  • It will be interesting to see if our current interns join staff
  • On a scale from 1-10 spiritually when they came to Chico, our students come from a really low starting place
    • Most of our students are an average of 3 coming into school (2 for capacity to be missional)
    • So when they graduate they may be a 6 or 7 but they still have a ways to go to be spiritually and missionally mature


What are your big takeaways from Chico Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

TexasThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

As I walked onto the Texas Tech campus as a freshman in 1994, Chris Newport was starting his second year as director of Cru at Tech. I and many others are the fruit of 20 years of sending from Texas Tech, under Chris’s leadership. For years, Texas Tech Cru sent out 10 people a year into full time ministry from a movement of 150-200 college students.

Chris Newport is now in his second year of leading Cru at the University of Texas. Despite being a prestigious school whose graduates have a plethora of options, the University of Texas consistently sends a lot of graduates into full time ministry (annually sending 10-15 students into full time ministry with Cru). Students are turning down six figure job offers to work for Cru (for a LITTLE less than six figures). I recently asked Chris for a few of his thoughts on sending.

  • When students do ministry – not just leading a meeting but leading small groups and sharing their faith, that’s the key
  • Then it’s not theoretical- “I’ve seen God use me”
  • Getting to experience the joy of being used by God, they think – “I want to do that full time”
  • Over the years I’ve seen some larger movements that did not send well:
    • On one campus, the ministry was very structured. But students just ran committees. Staff did all the ministry (evangelism and discipleship). I had a new staff join my team who had been a student on that campus. He was one of their top student leaders. But in college he had just run the weekly meeting. Sure, he had led a small group as well. But he wasn’t doing much intense personal ministry. His comment – “Your students at Tech are better equipped to do ministry than I am coming in as staff.”
    • Are your students good at running meetings and putting on retreats?
    • In my early years on staff there was a Cru ministry with a huge weekly meeting at a big state school. 500-700 people at the weekly meeting. Something like 3 people joined staff over 2-3 years. Students were coming to just consume. I’m sure all their staff had full schedules – they had lots of people to meet with and organize and follow up with.
  • Generally, students who will labor for a lifetime have to be taking steps of faith and sharing their faith and making significant investments into the lives of others (not just leading a small little Bible study)
  • I don’t think sending is a program – not a special weekly meeting the third week in October to challenge students to join staff.
  • It’s about a culture – if your staff team is healthy, students see that you enjoy what you are doing and enjoy being together.
  • Most students join staff because of a relationship with a staff person – they’ve been really deeply, personally invested in.
  • It’s honestly not the mission, not the job, not because they enjoy evangelism.
  • I think people do care about the mission, but I think they care about it because of their close connection with staff. And of course there are exceptions.
  • Usually when they’re joining us, it’s been because they’ve been deeply impacted by someone on staff.
  • In the past our team spent a lot of their time just coaching student Bible study leaders – meeting with them every other week. But they weren’t personally connected.
  • Now we’re having our staff focus more on sophomores and rising juniors with the idea that if you build the relationship early, they will be more connected with two years of relationship as they get really busy their junior/senior year.
  • We offer something to students that no one else is offering – deep, close, relational discipleship; coming alongside students to help them live on mission – something they likely won’t ever get again.

What are your big takeaways? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

pomonaThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

Quick facts on Cal Poly Pomona Cru:

  • # on staff team – 10 on campus this year (5 interns, 4 staff, 1 volunteer)
  • Movement size – 300-400 students
  • Students in Community Groups:
    • 150-170 for Cru
    • 100 in Epic
    • Bridges – 25
    • Destino – 25-30
    • AIA – 25

Sending Stats This Year:

  • 6 interns
  • 5 STINT’ers

Partnership: “Sacred River” – South Asia


How did you become a sending campus?

  • Having a good team where interns thrive:
    • I think it’s important for the MTL (Missional Team Leader) to say – “I would love to have you on MY team”
    • We started out with 1-2 interns and it’s grown from there
    • Interns do the best recruiting for interns
    • Once they’re in place, it happens
    • They talk it up
    • It’s one of the main jobs of the MTL to create a heathy team environment (not conflict and drama – people don’t want to be a part of that).
    • A family atmosphere where you want to be a part of this team
    • We’re in the mission together
    • Sense of camaraderie
    • Really like to create an environment where people are open and transparent
      • In August – we did this one time – Process groups – a person shares a turning point in their life (positive or negative) – we spend some time after – people can ask questions or make statements to the person – “when you shared about how this person wronged you, I felt really sad”. “I struggled with Same Sex Attraction in high school.”
      • It sets the tone for our team
      • It’s a family environment that many of our staff have never had
    • It’s not like I spend the weekends with my staff doing car repairs or something
    • We do fun stuff to connect as a team:
      • Doing something fun together
      • In my staff meeting someone said – “let’s do a day where we build furniture out of pallets”
      • I my driveway, we made stuff. Made a bed, Coffee table
      • On top of that we were carving pumpkins together
      • They’re posting this on instagram (they’re spreading the word) – “our team is so fun”
    • Everything spills out of a healthy, happy team
      • Great ministry
      • People walking with the Lord
      • If we’re healthy as a team, our ministry we’ll be healthy
    • How do you create a healthy team?
      • A lot of people look to the staff devo as a place for the MTL to share their theological knowledge
      • I like to take books that are short chapters so we can read it in staff meeting (so there’s no homework) and then discuss
      • Each person gets a turn to facilitate – usually just “what did you think of the chapter we just read?” “What are your initial thoughts?”
      • Books – Cross Centered Life – Mahaney
        • Humility – Mahaney
        • Keller – Prodigal God (great on performance)
        • Transforming Power of the Gospel – Jerry Bridges (it’s particularly good on the spirit filled life)
      • As the MTL, if I share vulnerability – “oh my gosh I’m 54 and I still struggle and I share this struggle with you”
      • All of the books are gospel centered –
        • Our team would be reading these throughout the year and they’re getting these in depth discussions with each other – and it bleeds into their discipleship and bible studies and Cru talks
        • They’re personally wrestling with it
  • Put your overseas partnership as a top priority
    • You occasionally send staff to lead teams
    • They come back and infect the rest of the movement
    • You have the reinforcement of world missions – they platform it
    • It helps with scope – we’re not just reaching Cal Poly Pomona – we’re reaching the world
    • Our vision statement talks about going to the world
  • Prayer
    • For laborers
    • Staff and students who pray for the world

What are your big takeaways from Cal Poly Pomona Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?

Several people have asked how our transition to a new Community Group structure went, now that we have one semester under our belts (I shared about it here).

The short of it: the jury is still out, but overall we like it. We’re going to make some minor tweaks and give it another shot next fall.

Overall, our Community Group numbers are pretty down this year. But we knew that coming into the new system. We had a significantly fewer number of groups, so we knew we’d be reaching less students this year (with 4 leaders per group instead of 2). The hope was to have fewer, bigger (and healthier) groups. And over a few years to grow to more groups/leaders.

We had a 15% drop in total number of students involved in small group Bible studies. And a 30% drop in number of freshmen involved. That tells me that in this new system we are doing a better job at retaining upperclassmen, but worse at reaching freshmen.

Some relevant facts on the studies:

Seniors / group 1.3
Juniors / group 2.5
Sophomores / group 2.9
Freshmen / group 4.3
Avg Group Size 11.0
Avg Male Group Size 9.8
Avg Female Group Size 12.5
# Groups over 10 People 17
# Groups under 10 People 9
Largest Group 23
Smallest Group 4

What we’ve learned (the good and the bad) in the new intergenerational structure:

  • In the first six weeks, when the upperclassmen and freshmen studies met separately, many of the upperclassmen studies languished. Many of the leaders got discouraged because they didn’t have anyone coming. Next fall, I think we will just start the year as an intergenerational study. We’ll meet in the dorms and call it “The Quads Bible Study” (or whatever dorm it is) but it will be open to Freshmen-Senior. The theory (from Florida Cru) was that freshmen would be hesitant/intimidated to come to a study with upperclassmen in it, but we don’t honestly think that is a roadblock for many freshmen.
    • Good insight on this issue from one of our staff, Samantha Barnes: “The groups that meet in the dorms have a good presence of freshmen, and the groups that meet off campus have a good present of upperclassmen, but it’s hard to get the other age range of student in the other location. If groups start out in the dorms, I think we would worry that upperclassmen would not be as willing to come back to campus.”
  • Our Freshmen Pursuers have had a little bit of a hard time finding their place in leadership. After the first six weeks they aren’t in charge of a group/content anymore (though they’re still supposed to be pursuing freshmen all year). So I think they’ve felt a little out of place and not like real leaders.
  • Having 4-5 leaders of each group has translated into passivity among some of the groups (especially among the guys). It’s textbook Diffusion of responsibility – “a phenomenon whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present.” We’re still trying to work this one out this spring by (again) clearly communicating everyone’s roles:
    • Coach – How are you doing at helping the CG Leaders and Freshmen Pursuer lead effectively?
    • Community Group Leader – If the freshmen pursuers step into your role next year, how well do you feel like you have prepared them to transition? What can you focus on this semester to help equip them as leaders? What would it look like for you to pursue upperclassmen this semester?
    • Freshmen Pursuer – How well do you feel like you pursued freshmen after the group merged last semester? What would it look like for you to pursue freshmen this semester? How confident do you feel in stepping up in leadership within the group, especially next year? What ways would you like to grow and be equipped to prepare you for that?
  • We’ll see how the groups do in transitioning leadership. The hope would be that all Freshmen Pursuers will be Community Group leaders next fall (and hopefully be really good at it since they’ve seen it modeled). All Community Group Leaders would graduate to being Coaches. And we’ll challenge freshmen to step up and lead as Freshmen Pursuers next fall.
  • Some honest feedback from our students:
    • Five leaders is wayyyy too many! (Three seems to be a good number: two girls take turns leading content, one is not leading content but can help facilitate discussion)
    • “Leader” does not have to equal leading content
    • Help cast vision for more leaders to pursue people and see that as their main role as a leader in the group – i.e. if a new girl shows up to the group, the CG Leader doesn’t have to worry about finding someone to meet with the girl during the next week because specific girls always do that
    • More clearly defined roles may help with the feeling that there are too many leaders:
      • The person(s) leading content shouldn’t stop pursuing people, but there should also be people who see that as their primary role and that it is a valid role for a leader
      • Older students should help younger students pursue freshmen since they have done it before – don’t put it all on the sophomores and think it has nothing to do with you
      • Upperclassmen naturally pour into freshmen even if they aren’t a “leader” because when they were a freshman, another upperclassman took them under his/her wing and they want to do the same for someone else
      • Idea of leaders being a “shepherd” for their group — it’s not just a once a week commitment. How are you shepherding that person’s spiritual growth while they are in your group?
      • It should be the norm for CG leaders to meet with one person from their group each week (this doesn’t seem to be happening)
    • On Multiplying groups:
      • communicate multiply, not split
      • leaders divvy up students instead of letting them pick
      • leaders need to see the groups as two independent groups, even if the two groups do fun socials together each month
      • divvy up students without them present, then leaders send students a text: “Hi Katie! This is Taylor and I am so excited that you will be in my discussion group now! How can I be praying for you this week?”
    • Some Coaches aren’t attending their group – maybe we need to make sure they know what they are signing up for and that the group has fewer leaders without them

Hopefully as we process our growing pains aloud (here, online!) it is helpful for other college ministries.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried something similar to this? Any questions/advice?