Top Sending Campus – Texas A&M

February 20, 2015 — 4 Comments

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?

timcasteel

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