Learning From Cru’s Top Sending Campuses in the Nation

February 5, 2015 — 36 Comments

“Anyone who can help 100 missionaries to the field is more important than one missionary on the field. In fact, mission mobilization activity is more crucial than field missionary activity. Suppose I had a THOUSAND college seniors in front of me who asked me where they ought to go to make a maximum contribution to Christ’s global cause. What would I tell them? I would tell them to stay home and mobilize. ALL of them.”

Ralph Winter – Founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission


I received an email a few years ago with the subject:

“Congratulations: your campus is one of the top sending campuses in the U.S.!”

It went on to say that 26 Cru movements had sent 10 or more graduates into full time ministry in 2012. And the Cru national office wanted to gather from the Team Leaders what made them good at sending.

The Top Sending Campuses

That email piqued my interest – what sets these movements apart? What makes them so effective at sending out full time laborers into ministry? What are they doing that other campuses are not? What can we learn from them?

What do the Top Sending Campuses have in common? Are they all large movements? Is it because they have large staff teams? What made students want to join the mission full time?

That email set me on a three year process of talking to those campuses and researching to learn how our campus can become a better Sending Movement. Because I honestly feel like our team has a LOT to learn in the area of sending. This blog series on the Top Sending Campuses is the fruit of that. I didn’t want to keep all the amazing sending wisdom to myself. I think we can all learn a lot from these college ministries.

389 of the 918 full time laborers sent into the Cru Campus Ministry in 2014 came from just 25 campuses. So 4% of the Cru movements send 42% of the laborers.

And the interesting thing is that not all of the top sending campuses had large movements. There are Cru movements that have just a handful of staff, 75 coming to their weekly meeting, and are sending 10-15 college students into full time ministry every year. What are they doing that we can learn from?

Here’s who I talked to (click each to read the post about that campus’ sending):

All of these schools send out more than 10 students into full time ministry with Cru (on average)- Interns, STINT (graduates serving in a 1-2 internship years overseas) and Cru staff.

Why these 17?

These are not necessarily the 17 biggest sending Cru movements in the nation (but they’re probably in the top 30). Many of them I picked because they are sending a huge percentage of their seniors- they are sending a ton of laborers proportionate to movement size.

In the coming posts I will devote a separate post to what I gleaned from each campus as well as some summary posts on big takeaways and themes.

Why Full Time Ministry?

In Cru we talk a lot about 100% Sent. We want every student to graduate on mission- whether they are missionaries in the corporate world, as teachers, or in full time Christian work in Asia. But the focus in talking to these Top Sending Campuses is on sending into full time ministry.

I believe that healthy college ministries will consistently raise up laborers to go into full time ministry. And I honestly think that most seniors heading into the workplace would benefit from doing a year or two internship in full time ministry, to prepare them for a lifetime of effective ministry in the workplace. We never want to elevate “going into ministry” as more spiritual or as a kind of varsity-team-Christian. I think we can learn from these Top Sending Campuses how to boldly challenge students to consider full time ministry while affirming and equipping them in whatever vocational decision they make.

“Nothing ripples for generations like sending another missionary to the world.” – Dan Allan

If you had to guess, what do you think are the biggest contributors to sending a lot of laborers?



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