Archives For March 2015

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).

The chart below shows staff allocation and student need for each of the 10 Cru regions.

A helpful clarification as to how Cru works: Cru is divided into 10 regions (I’ve listed the states in each region at the bottom of this post). Generally, staff and interns that are raised up in a region stay in the same region. Staff and interns are placed by the regional team (with interns typically staying on the same campus from which they graduated). Interns and staff can request to go to another region, but that is not the norm (and involves not a small amount of coordination between regions).

In the past (I’m not sure what year – maybe pre-1991?) staff allocation was done nationally. I may be wrong, but I’ve heard that staff were intentionally sent out of their region – i.e.- if you went to school in Texas you would be placed on staff in New Hampshire.

A quick explanation of the columns:

  • Total FT = Staff + Interns in a region (as of 2013)
  • Sending FT = how many interns and staff that region raised up in 2014 (doesn’t count sending to STINT). I think this is helpful to see the trajectory of manpower for that region (i.e. – ____ may not have a lot of staff right now but they are currently raising up a lot; or _____ doesn’t have enough staff and there’s no help on the way unless it comes from the outside)
  • Students = how many total college students in each region (thanks to Scott Crocker for compiling these via The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac & Open Doors Report. Numbers were published Fall 2014 & represent 2012-2013 School Year)
  • Students/FT = the staff to student ratio – how many students each staff needs to reach with the gospel. “The laborers are few.”
  • Involved = how many students are involved with Cru in that region
  • Involved % of whole = what percentage of college students in that region are involved with Cru
  • Involved/FT = the staff to involved student ratio – how many students are involved per full time Cru worker (staff & intern). This stat includes moms who are not full time on campus (most work 4-8 hours/week), which definitely distorts the numbers a bit; i.e. – on our campus we have 36 students involved/staff if you just count full time staff/interns on campus (not counting moms). 26 students/staff if you count moms.
Total FT Sending FT Students Students/FT Involved Involved % of whole Involved/FT
Great Lakes 378 150 2,717,402 7,189 9,232 0.34% 24
Great Plains 198 47 1,358,845 6,863 4,119 0.30% 21
Greater Northwest 137 21 1,211,181 8,841 1,592 0.13% 12
Mid-Atlantic 180 57 2,511,805 13,954 4,945 0.20% 27
Mid-South 217 64 1,470,910 6,778 5,742 0.39% 26
Northeast 155 35 2,350,253 15,163 2,796 0.12% 18
Pacific Southwest 206 95 3,474,494 16,866 3,580 0.10% 17
Red River 208 84 2,222,204 10,684 4,084 0.18% 20
Southeast 147 65 2,197,268 14,947 5,140 0.23% 35
Upper Midwest 197 69 1,300,398 6,601 8,064 0.62% 41
2,023 687 20,814,760 10,289 49,294 0.24% 24

What can we learn from this?

  • First off, I think it’s good to remember that while there is a lot of work to be done in the U.S., the need is still far greater overseas. There are thousands of campuses with no Christian witness. In just one region in East Asia where we send to, the population is the same as the U.S. and they have 50 staff to reach it (we have 34x that in the U.S.!).What can we learn from this?
  • The need is great. We have 1 Cru staff for every 10,000 college students in the U.S.. If you took 1,000 college students at random, 2 of them would be involved in Cru.
  • The regions with the most need (based on student/FT ratio):
    1. Pacific Southwest
    2. Southeast
    3. Northeast
    4. Mid-Atlantic
  • Of those, the Northeast has the greatest need – based on the pipeline of new laborers. I’m not sure what the rate of attrition is (people leaving staff/internships) but I’d guess that 35 new laborers/year is not enough to stay laborer neutral (much less grow).
  • I think the Involved/FT column is a great indicator of spiritual soil.
  • The hardest places to grow a movement:
    1. Greater Northwest
    2. Pacific Southwest
    3. Northeast
involved per FT map


Thanks to Karl Udy for putting together these maps!

  • The hardest places to raise up laborers:
    1. Greater Northwest
    2. Northeast
  • It’s striking to see that the Upper Midwest has twice as much gospel saturation as any other region. Not that .6% is thorough saturation by any stretch that means that out of 1,000 students on every campus in that region, 6 are involved with Cru. But far (6x!) closer to “everyone knowing someone that passionately follows Jesus” than the PSW, Northeast, and Greater Northwest with 1 passionate follower of Christ for every 1,000 students.
involved per whole map



  • Every year the Great Lakes is raising up as many Full Time Laborers (FT) as the entire Northeast region (of course that includes interns who will likely only serve for 1-2 years)
  • I think this map is helpful. It’s the population at large (not just college students), but it shows the percentage of Evangelical Protestants and Mormons (?!) in different regions of the U.S. (the NYTimes has a clickable version where you can see % for each county):

Evangelical Protestants and Mormons map

evangelical map key


  • See that nice, clean gray space in the Northeast? And that map puts into perspective what God has done in raising up such strong Cru movements in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes where there are far fewer Christians (than the south). May He do the same in the Northwest, Northeast, and Pacific Southwest.
  • This map (via Pew Forum) might be more helpful- it just shows Evangelicals (sans Mormons):


  • Another interesting ratio – number of laborers (interns and staff) a region raises up per existing laborer:
sending to FT



What can we do about the needs?

  • I am not advocating for a return to the days of national staff allocation. I think that breeds resentment in staff (who are sent out) and teams (whose staff are pried away).
  • I’m a big fan of empowering leaders by showing them a problem or a need and asking them to be a part of the solution.
  • What I would love to see is a grassroots movement of campuses sending to where there is a need. A local-level driven movement where teams sacrificially send to the world and to more needy areas of the country. A mentality of “send first” and trusting God that He’ll provide the staff we need to reach our own campus.

I would love to hear what you think: What do you see as you look at the data?


States in each Cru region:

Great Lakes – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio

Great Plains – Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Wyoming

Greater Northwest – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Mid-Atlantic – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia W., Virginia, D.C.

Mid-South – Kentucky, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Tennessee

Northeast Region – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New, Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Pacific Southwest – Arizona, California, Hawaii,

Red River – Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

Southeast – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi

Upper Midwest – Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin


In my research I’ve had several people ask about the effectiveness of Internships/STINT in raising up long term staff. I believe that an Internship or STINT is good for any and every student. Any graduate, no matter what they plan to do for their career, would benefit from doing a year or two of college ministry.


Tim Keller has commented that doing college ministry is the best preparation for pastors AND lay people for a lifetime of effective ministry and leadership in the church.

In doing college ministry, “by exposing people to the cutting edge of culture where they have to deal with the modern mindset, where they have to deal with non-Christians — that, in Keller’s opinion, is the best way to develop pastors and lay leaders.”

We want Internship or STINT to be a launching pad to a lifetime of effective ministry in the workplace, as a mom or dad, as a neighbor. As OU’s MTL put it:

My husband and I Interned and our lives were radically changed. We both learned to share our faith. And learned to love Jesus. I saw Internship totally change my husband’s life. And he left Cru sent. My husband is now in medical school. He’s seen 5 guys in his medical school come to Christ. I saw what the Lord did in my husbands’ life and I became convinced: It doesn’t matter if they join with us long term. I want students to Intern with us and experience being used by God – I want them to really fall in love with Jesus and get to do a lot of ministry.

But we also desire for these 1-2 years to be a test run for students considering long term full time ministry. Our hope is that Internship/STINT will produce many long term staff – for the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.

So how are we in Cru doing at raising up long term staff through Internships and STINT?

Jim Rhodes is the national Intern coordinator for Cru. I asked him to send me stats on retention rates of Internships and STINT.

This past year (2013), nationally …

  • 75% of our U.S. Interns stayed with us.  (This means they continued in their employment with us as either Staff, a 2nd year Internship, or as PTFS-part time field staff).
    • Of the 75% … 24% joined staff … 38% signed on for a 2nd Year of Interning … 6% transitioned to a part-time or Affiliate status.
    • 59% of our STINTers stayed with us.  (Same meaning as above)
    • Overall … 68 % of our combined U.S. Interns and non-staff STINTers stayed with us
  • 22% of our Interns and STINTers joined staff this past year.
    • 22% joined staff … 46% re-Interned or went PTFS and 32% left our employ.
    • 24 % of the Interns joined staff … 19% of the STINTers joined staff.

I asked Jim: One thing I’m trying to figure out – when it comes to raising up long term staff, is it “better” to recruit to STINT or Internship (i.e. – which one yields more staff?).

I think recruiting to both is honestly the best answer to your question.  Transition to Staff rates are currently higher for U.S. Interns than for STINT, but my observation is that the leadership qualities of the STINTers who come on staff are higher. Both rates are well below are goals.  As a goal we are shooting to have 33% of both our STINTers and our U.S. Interns joining staff each year.  Our vision is to grow to the point where we are sending 1 out of 3 on staff … another 1 out of 3 staying with us for a 2nd year … and sending the final 1 out of 3 into the marketplace as part of 100% sent.

What do you think? What are your takeaways?

Do you think Internships and STINT are effective in raising up long term staff?

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).

I think it’s helpful to see the overall picture – across the nation and across every campus. To see the national picture of students involved and numbers sent by region. The chart below shows Sending numbers for 2014 for each of the 10 Cru regions.

A quick explanation of the columns:

  • Full Time = number of students this year who went into full time ministry – 1 year internship, STINT, or long term staff
  • SM = Summer Missions
  • FT/SM
    • Wisconsin Cru has found that Summer Missions are a leading measure for Sending into full time ministry. The Full Time/Summer Missions ratio is an attempt to track that.
    • It’s Full Time staff divided by an average of the previous two Summer Missions numbers (since it will take a couple years for those Summer Missions students to graduate)
      • So 2014 Full Time divided by average of 2012 and 2013 Summer Missions
    • I’ll have to track it year to see if that ratio holds up (and to see if increased numbers on SMs leads to more students sent).
  • Students Involved = this is a self reported number that can be a bit arbitrary. Many schools just count number of students that come to their Community Groups. On our campus we count how many students come at least half the time to our CGs AND we add a guess of how many students come at least half the time to our weekly meeting who AREN’T involved in CGs. Again – a bit fuzzy.
  • FT/Involved – % of how many went into full time ministry of those involved


2014 Full Time SM Intern STINT Staff FT/SM (from avg of 2 previous SMs) Students involved FT/Involved
Upper Midwest 100 361 40 31 29 27% 8064 1.24%
Southeast 92 319 38 27 27 34% 5140 1.79%
Red River 127 275 53 43 31 43% 4084 3.11%
PSW 129 329 63 34 32 39% 3580 3.60%
Northeast 41 154 23 6 12 28% 2796 1.47%
Midsouth 114 398 28 50 36 29% 5742 1.99%
MidAtlantic 88 221 30 31 27 12% 4945 0.55%
Great Plains 58 234 25 11 22 21% 4119 1.41%
Northwest 30 106 10 9 11 23% 1592 1.88%
Great Lakes 200 552 81 50 69 40% 9232 2.17%
Total 918 2949 391 292 296 30% 49294 1.86%

What can we learn from this?

  • The top sending school in the nation (Texas A&M) sends more than 3 entire regions (not cumulatively – A&M sends more than each region)
  • The Red River and Pacific Southwest send a higher percentage of students. Not sure why. Obviously very different regions spiritually, ethnically, and culturally.
  • If the Summer Missions as a lead indicator for Full Time Ministry hypothesis is true. 1 out of every 3 students you send on Summer Missions will go into full time ministry
  • Not shown on this chart but still interesting: Money does not seem to be a hindrance to student involvement and sending
    • The top sending regions do not correlate with the top fundraising regions (based on stats on fund raising dinner proceeds across the nation)
    • i.e. – The Great Lakes Region raises the 3rd least in funds. But, by far, sends the most and has the most students involved
  • What else? Anything else jump out at you?


Our big takeaway:

  • Seeing the sending reality of the Northwest and Northeast is sobering. I can speak for our campus: we need to send more and keep less. As I elaborated in the previous post– based on the need, I would say the priority should be sending overseas. But a secondary focus should be sending to the areas of the country where it is difficult to raise up laborers and where there is a very low % of evangelical Christians. Specifically the Northwest and Northeast.
  • I do college ministry in the south (in the Red River Region of Cru). In the Bible belt. Where:
    • Most college kids come to school having grown up in church and many have been on a mission trip in high school. While a lot of campuses (in the NE, NW, PSW, etc) start with students at 0 spiritually, a lot of our students start out as 5’s and we can take them to 10’s (Christ-centered laborers).
    • Many students come to school considering the possibility that God wants to do something with their life. Even the student who says “I’ll never be a missionary in Africa” at least admits at some level that they’ve considered the possibility.
    • Some parents are opposed to their kids going into ministry (or on Summer Missions), but the vast majority are Christians and at least neutral to their kid doing ministry and raising support.
    • There is a lot of Christian money- what I mean by that is there is a lot of money and it is in the hands of evangelical Christians who go to missional churches. A necessary part of sending is funding.
    • At a public school where most students have scholarships and low student debt.
    • Most students have no clue what they want to do with their lives (in contrast to talking to Cru staff at Boston – their students have known since they were 5 that they wanted to be a doctor and attend Harvard).
  • God has uniquely positioned our region to do one thing really well: SEND.
  • We have a stewardship to Send. And we need to take that seriously. We currently only send 2% of our movement whereas some send 4, 8, even 12 (and in far more difficult environments). We can do better. Thus trying to learn from the best sending campuses in the nation.



The Sending Team at Cru HQ in Orlando pulled most of these numbers together with Elise Hebert doing 98% of the work. Thanks Mike Crandall, Elise and the Sending Team! Their caveat: “these numbers are the best we could pull from the reports we have.  It’s certainly possible that our reporting systems didn’t get it 100% right.”

The Sending team would like to continue to resource and coordinate the conversation on mobilization so that we continue to send well together. If you have any thoughts on how we can do better or what resources would be helpful, please comment on this post or email Mike Crandall.

Average Stats on Cru’s Top 25 Sending Campuses:

  • Average Sent into Full Time Ministry per year – 16 (ranging from 10-40)
  • Average Team Size – 15
  • Average Movement Size – 556
  • Students Involved/Staff – 38
  • Sending into Full Time Ministry/Student Involved – 3%
  • Sending/Staff – 1/1
  • 398 of the 918 full time laborers sent into Full Time Ministry with Cru in 2014 came from 25 campuses.
  • There are 546 total campus strategy Cru Movements (most movements focus on multiple campuses).
  • So 4% of the movements send 43% of the laborers.
    • The top 50 sending movements (9% of all Cru movements) send 64% of all laborers (these movements send 6 or more/year into full time ministry)
    • The top 100 sending movements (18%) send 77% of all laborers (these movements send 3 or more/year into full time ministry)
  • Additionally – these 25 campuses (just 4% of movements) sent 54% of Cru’s STINTers. That’s astounding.
    • There’s a less dramatic % for other types of sending from these 25 schools:
      • Interns – 36% of all interns raised up come from these 25 schools
      • Staff – 34%
      • Summer Missions – 28%


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). 

What can we take away from this?

The Top Sending Schools Need to Send More Than They Keep

  • This has been my big takeaway from seeing all this. On our campus, we need to send more and keep less.
  • I don’t speak for Cru or for any of these campuses except for my own (U of Arkansas), but I think the Top 25 Sending Campuses have an incredible stewardship. For whatever reason, God is using them to send almost half of the laborers for the entire Cru ministry. We should be sending generously. As Brian White at Texas A&M so powerfully said:
    • “We need to send first. In Cru, our mission is Win-Build-Send. But for most campuses it becomes Gather-Build-Keep. You will rarely have ‘enough’.”
  • Based on the need, I would say the priority should be sending overseas. But a secondary focus should be sending to the areas of the country where it is difficult to raise up laborers and where there is a very low % of evangelical Christians. Specifically the Northwest and Northeast.


What else can we take away?

  • These are large movements. I think we can confidently say that big sending comes from big campuses. That’s not to say that smaller movements can’t send a lot of laborers. Or that large movements will necessarily send a lot of laborers. There are large movements that are nothing more than a consumeristic weekly meeting. And there are smaller movements that are very intentional and fruitful in sending. But just looking at it logically, it’s a lot easier to send 10 seniors into full time ministry when you have 40 seniors involved.
  • These are large staff teams. One of my initial theories (before I started researching) was that perhaps big staff teams produce more laborers. I’m not sure if that is true. But, as Texas’s Director said is often true: “students join staff because of a relationship with a staff person – they’ve been really deeply, personally invested in.”
    • In light of this, the Students Involved/Staff stat is an interesting one to keep track of.
    • I know for our region, the average ratio is 30/1. I think back in the old days in Cru, the aim used to be 50/1. That you’d have 50 students involved for every staff.
    • This stat is especially encouraging if you have a smaller team and you’re trusting God for big things!
  • This would be a great goal to have as a team – “We want to send a 1 to 1 ratio for our staff team”. Do you have 10 staff on your team? Make it your goal to send 10 students into full time ministry every year. That’s the average on these Top Sending Campuses.
    • “The one who does the work is only surpassed in value by the one who multiplies the doers.” John R. Mott
  • There’s something about sending overseas on STINT that really benefits from momentum of students going together. 25 movements (just 4% of movements) sent 54% of the STINTers. It seems that staff and intern sending doesn’t see as much of a bump from having a large movement with a lot of sending momentum. My guess: the close, familial relationship with their staff that prompts students to intern or join staff can sometimes happen better in a smaller movement.

What else? Anything else jump out at you?

ohio stateThis 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 Cru at Ohio State:

  • Staff – 9 interns, 17 on campus staff (plus 5-6 AIA; 3 Bridges – both of those teams are totally autonomous)
  • Weekly Meeting Average –  500-600 avg
    • First week did 2 Real Life meetings (what they call their weekly meetings)
      • Thursday – over 600
      • Sunday – 550
  • Fall Retreat – 360 (hope to break 400 this year)
  • Students in Community Groups – 708 (264 freshmen)

Sending Stats Last year (which is about average):

  • STINT – 6
  • Intern – 9
  • Staff – 5
  • Summer Missions – Every year we’re trusting God to put 100 students in the pipeline/100 apply. This year we had over 100 apply
    • 50-60 go on Summer Missions
  • Partnership – Slovenia and Venezuela (phasing out into Brazil); starting Chicago
    • We have a partnership coordinator working in conjunction with Chicago Cru
    • We hope to send a STINT team to UI-Chicago
    • Every 4th person that works in downtown chicago went to UIC
    • Bacho leads the Summer Mission in Chicago

I talked to Bacho Bordjadze who has led the team at Ohio State for many years and has been on staff there since 1995.

My first question to him was, “You’ve been on staff at the same campus for 20 years. Why have you stayed so long at Ohio State?”

  • The heritage of Ohio State’s ministry
  • God’s doing a lot of things here and has done a lot over the years
  • The vision of what God is going to do here in the next few decades –
    • My email signature is “on the way to the Schott”
    • The vision is that in the next three decades, that the Schott (Ohio State’s basketball arena that seats 19,000) will be cram packed full of students worshipping Jesus (once a week)
      • The campus will be so transformed that Jesus will be the focus of this campus
    • That there will be an OSU grad impacting every country in the world and people group

How did you become a sending campus?

  • Clarity of Mission (always true here – Jim Sylvester, Carrie Walker, etc) – the ship is going in the right direction, we just try to stay on course
    • Turning lost students into christ centered laborers
    • Doing initiative evangelism
    • There is nothing fancy about our ministry
    • We stay true to what got us here
  • Staff team
    • This is what makes or breaks our movement
    • Jim Collins – if you have the right people on the bus…
    • There’s intentionality of getting those people on the bus and then creating the environment where people love doing ministry together
      • 2x/semester we bring all of our action groups together and just love on them
        • share stories
        • Have cookies and milk
        • Our staff team is having more fun than they are
          • Taking crazy pictures/selfies together
          • dancing
      • How do you create that environment of fun?
        • You sink money into it!
        • For our whole ministry we have a $30,000 total budget
        • We lavish it on staff and student leaders
        • On Monday we have staff meeting (have coffee and treats)
        • On Wednesday we have staff bible study (campus pays for childcare)
        • Friday we have a staff brunch
          • Eat meals together and at different tables with different questions and we talk life
        • We work hard and play hard
        • Give the team 2 days off after fall retreat
          • Next week: Thursday night we’re going to celebrate all that God has done in the first 6 weeks
  • Do not be ashamed or shy to invite students into full time ministry
    • Come help change the world
    • Life Options – this is worthy of your life
    • These are sharp students – of course they have 4-5 great options after college
      • It’s not, if your other options fall through
      • One of the significant pages in God’s history (in 200 years) will be what God is doing at OSU and Arkansas, etc
      • We don’t chase people – we invite them because this is a great thing
    • Even if you say no to this, consider yourself invited because we like you
  • We do Shepherd Team once/month
    • You get to interact with some of the sharpest/most gifted people on the planet
    • Because of what God is doing and who he’s made us, it’s an honor to run with us

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

  • Our movements always reflect our leaders’ passions
  • As a student, I was watching Jim Sylvester bleed [Jim is the godfather of “movement building” – the art of building a movement that is of the size, health, and maturity to reach the entire campus with the gospel. I HIGHLY recommend reading a brief introduction to his ministry philosophy – Building Movements. No other article has had a greater impact on how I do college ministry.]
  • The movement is always going to reflect the strength of the staff team
  • If I’m asking how do I change the movement, I need to ask, what do I need to change?
  • I need to ask – how passionate am I about it? What am I teaching? What am I talking about? Am I living this out? Are we highlighting it?

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

miamiThis 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 Cru at Miami:

  • Avg # on staff team –  20 full time (counting interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size = 250-300 first cru= 500 (low week below 200)
  • Students at school – 16,000
  • Freshmen – 3,000-3,5000
  • How many in Bible Studies = 250-300 avg
  • Partnership – Monte Negro (Serbia area), just finished Fiji and are looking for another one
  • 180 on fall retreat (have had up to 350)

Sending Stats last year:

  • 15 STINTers
  • 10 interns
  • 5 staff
  • (That’s a pretty average year for those three)
  • Avg around 40-50 on Summer Missions
    • 1/3 overseas
    • 2/3 stateside  (Virgina Beach, Ocean City, Chicago – our regional projects)

I talked to the two Missional Team Leaders (MTLs) who lead Cru at Miami, Ohio:

  • Jane Armstrong who is in her 36th(!) year on staff with Cru at Miami
  • Ryan Elliott has been at Miami 7-8 years (2 years as MTL)

For those of you outside of Cru, here’s a little background on the Cru movement at Miami of Ohio:

Inside the Cru family is the only place in the world where when you say, “I went to school at Miami” everyone immediately assumes you’re talking about the Miami in Ohio. Cru at Miami is legendary in Cru circles. It’s been huge, one of the largest movements in the nation, for nearly three decades.

They have consistently sent out more full time Cru staff than any other campus.

How did you become a sending campus?

  • Prayer is the main thing
  • Creating an atmosphere of love and grace where people have the freedom to fail and try things and be real about who they are
  • Building relationships from early on
  • Jane: When Roger Hershey (former Director at Miami) and I worked together for years. And we found these elements to be essential for sending AND building a movement:
    • Atmosphere of love and grace
    • The Word, prayer, evangelism, spirit filled life and lordship
    • Scope being the world
      • If that’s not there, it becomes ingrown and people don’t see much of a need
    • Eternal perspective
  • If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a movement
  • And if you don’t have a movement it’s hard to send
  • We’ve never been huge on special events
    • It’s been steady praying, asking students whether they’re praying about staff/internship
    • It’s never been a hard sell or twisting arms
  • A lot of students just lack confidence that they’d be any good at it
    • “We’d love it if you’d join our team! Are you praying about staff/internship?”
    • And a lot of the time, that’s all they need
  • Our emphasis is more on Lordship and eternal perspective and then giving them an opportunity to respond
    • And the Lord just calls some of them
  • We don’t really do sending events much year after year
    • We do Govember and talk about the world in October
  • There’s an atmosphere that we hope to create on our team of growth and health
    • Healthy teams are attractive to people
    • “Wow, I could go and grow in my walk with God”
    • “It’s a gracious place where I can be pushed but always loved”
    • “My performance isn’t what I’m here for”
    • We tell students, if you are to intern, if you’re walking with Christ in intimacy, you’re going to have a successful year of ministry
    • That becomes attractive to people
    • Whether or not they have ministry skills is less important
  • For our international partnership – we really like to emphasize ownership. We’ll very rarely go to a location where we are not owning it as a campus
    • We don’t want to be one of 5 campuses sending to a location
    • We want our students and staff to feel the weight of owning it – if we don’t go, no one will
    • When it comes time to decide on a location, we want the students to be a part of that so that they own it and get behind it
    • Once you’re on the ground, the feeling of ownership, that STINT team is owning the health and direction of that movement there
  • Having a lot of students go for spring breaks really makes a difference (and summer missions)
    • That really helps in raising up STINT’ers – it takes some of the unknown out)
  • We tend to choose a location where we sense that students will really see God using them.
    • If it’s really a tough location, and students walk away thinking “I don’t really know if I accomplished anything”, it’s unlikely they’ll want to go back.
    • We only get one chance for us to help them see God using them
    • Then, after they’ve seen a good summer, they’re willing to go somewhere hard where the soil is more difficult
    • We want to go somewhere where we are seeing fruit happen pretty quickly – for the sake of students
    • We’ve been in locations before where the philosophy is just making friends- learn the culture, win them over over years. Not so much of a boldly share the gospel type of place. And that just hasn’t translated into sending as many laborers to those locations.

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

  • Jane – my greatest need was the spirit filled life and to realize that Christianity is not about me
    • I grew up in the south, and the southerners I know really need to understand the spirit filled life- with Lordship being a huge part of that
    • Also, seeing the need – seeing that not everyone is a Christian and the needs of the world
    • The training for me was huge – I went through the basic follow up and my confidence went through the roof
      • The average southerner is not trained in the basics, they assume they know it because they grow up in the church
      • If you’re not confident of how to explain to someone the basics (forgiveness, assurance), and how to pass that on, you will not lead for God.
      • So we go through the 5 Follow Ups with pretty much every student
      • When we go through the 5 Follow Ups, we present it as – this is not only for your sake, but to train you for a lifetime of ministry
    • Being invited. My staff person, we weren’t even great friends. She just asked me to pray about it. And it made a big impact
    • I wouldn’t have thought that God could use me. I didn’t feel that special or spiritual – I didn’t feel like God could use me. Letting them know that you think God could use you.
  • A lot of it is just getting one person to intern.
    • And you get that one. And they communicate to so many more – “this is normal”
    • It creates this culture of “look, this is something you can do when you graduate”
    • Then you’re up to 5 interns and 5 staff in 4-5 years
  • Identify certain people, it’s not just a blanket ask. “I feel like this could be great for your development, I would love to have you on my team, God will really use you.”
  • I feel like there are a lot of students who have never even thought about ministry for themselves
  • It needs to go from something only special people do to a normal option. This is a normal consideration for every Christian
  • If we’re training people (and helping them know it – “you’re getting more training in just going through basic follow up, then 90% of Christians in the world”), then they will feel confident enough to pour into others
  • Having a really good partnership
    • Have a partnership director (not the Director)
    • Make sure the MTLs embrace the partnership
      • Make sure our staff go to our partnerships
    • It gives students a big picture
    • They get to share their faith
    • 24 students in Fiji saw 100 students trust Christ the first week – how can that not change you?


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 University of Oklahoma Cru:

  • # on staff team –  5 staff, 7 interns
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 100-150
  • How many students in Bible Studies – 30
  • Students at school – 30,000; freshmen – 5,000
  • Partnership – Moscow

Sending Stats last year:

  • STINT – 9
  • Intern – 6
  • Staff – 2
  • Avg on SP
    • 10 overseas
    • 10 stateside


I talked to Noralea O’Meilia who has led the team at OU for several years.

How did you become a sending campus?

  • When I first interned I was the only girl intern and we just had 2 staff girls
  • The next year – 2 interns, and 3 staff girls
  • Then 3 interns, 3 staff girls
  • Then 8 intern girls, and 3 staff girls
  • Next year we could have 17 intern girls and sending a few overseas
  • I don’t know how it happened – Jesus provides!
  • I couldn’t tell you what we do other than I am really passionate about it. I came on staff and became the MTL and wanted OU to be a sending hub
  • My husband and I were never involved in Cru in college but interned and our lives were radically changed. We both learned to share our faith. And learned to love Jesus
  • I saw internship totally change my husband’s life. And he left Cru sent.
    • My husband is now in medical school.
    • He’s seen 5 guys in his medical school come to Christ
  • I saw what the Lord did in my husbands’ life and I became convinced
  • It doesn’t matter if they join with us longterm. I want students to intern with us and experience being used by God – I want them to really fall in love with Jesus and get to do a lot of ministry
  • So anyone that wants to intern, we’ll take ’em
  • I’m willing to gamble on some girls because their lives can be changed!
  • I think college is incredibly important. But those first two years after college are so important
  • About half [who intern] join with us and half go somewhere else
  • I don’t spend a ton of my time recruiting
  • I just try to take care of my girls
  • We try to make our staff team a fun, healthy team.
  • I focus most of my time on my staff girls and having a healthy staff team and doing ministry together
  • Students want to intern because they’ve seen it be positive for people on our team
  • I talk to every person who is interested in interning
    • I spend September-November using all my breakfasts taking girls out and talking to them about interning
    • Tell me where you’re at right now, where you’re going
    • If they’re not thinking Cru then how can l help them live as Sent ones post college
    • These are 2-3 hour appointments
    • I don’t ask them all to intern, I’m not just looking to build a really big team
  • What % of your team is Greek (in a Fraternity/Sorority in college)?
    • 11 are greek
    • 6 aren’t
  • Where do these interns/STINT come from?
    • Intern:
      • This year, 1 of the girl I shared the gospel with and I kept discipling after college for 2 years and she taught elementary school and then interned with us
      • 2 were involved throughout college
      • 2 were fringers in Cru and got super involved senior year
    • Stint:
      • Most of our stinters were with us from freshman to senior year
  • All of our seniors who are “with us”/really involved are joining us as interns
    • 4 senior girls and 1 random girl who randomly came to my Bible study and got involved her senior year
    • We had 10 student staff last year, 7 joined with us
      • They were at our staff meetings and came to our staff girls lunches, they saw the community, they were a part of our celebrations at staff meeting and got to see God using us and that was attractive
    • Last year – they were a really tight knit group and a lot of them joined us. And the younger classes saw that and want to do that too. They’ve seen it.
  • We can talk strategies but a lot of it has been the Lord continually providing
  • It snowballs when your team is an attractive team to be on and students get to be around that enough and think “I want to be a part of that”
  • We pray multiple times a week as a team
    • We pray by name for potential interns
    • It reflects our heart to depend on God
    • At the beginning of the year, as a team we wrote 60ish things we are trusting God for on popsicle sticks
      • We take those popsicle sticks out and pass them around and pray for them every time our staff is together
      • We have the names of every person written on those sticks that we’re asking God to raise up as interns/STINTers
      • I want to pray specifically about things (not just “God, please provide more interns”)

What motivates students to intern?

  • If you join as an intern on this campus, my number one priority is that you walk with God and fall in love with Him
  • My number two priority is your marriage (if you’re married)
  • Your job performance is the priority after those
  • I meet with my interns every week and talk about their walk with God and what they’re learning

ok stateThis 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 Oklahoma State Cru:

  • Avg # on staff team – 6 staff, 3 interns
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 125
  • Students at school – 21,000; freshmen – 4,500
  • Students in Community Groups = 150-200
  • Partnership – Ethiopia

Sending Stats last year:

  • STINT – 1-2
  • Intern – 5-6
  • Staff – 1-2
  • Avg on SP – 20-25
    • 1/4 overseas
    • ¾ stateside (Ozark Lakes, Santa Cruz)

How did you become a sending campus?

  • I don’t think it’s necessarily a strength of ours. It kind of just happened
  • Here at Oklahoma State in the small town of Stillwater, I’ve been here 13 years and I’ve never had outside staff come here
    • If I want staff, it’s up to us raise them up
    • I can’t wait on the regional team to send me staff
  • We looked at why people come on staff
    • And it’s because of the relationship they have with a staff member
    • So we made sure we had really strong touchpoints in our movement where students are
    • “Come back and give me a year or two and be a part of me helping you develop, I will shepherd you and help you grow, especially as a man”
    • “I want to help you make that next step from being in your early 20’s to being in the real world. I’ll meet with you weekly and help you grow personally and spiritually.”
    • That’s just on the guys side of it
  • Of all the summer projects, the ones coming off Ozark Lakes want to intern with us
    • They get to know other staff in our region, it’s a smaller project where they really connect with staff
    • And part of that is that I was the director at Ozark Lake for so long
  • Part of it is a culture thing:
    • When they see their friends do it, and it makes them think they can do it
    • Support is a big barrier
    • A lot of them want to do 2 years
    • We try to make it a real desirable thing – they’ll be loved well and cared for on our staff team
    • It’s creating a culture that students want to be a part of – they feel valued
    • Once it happens it becomes a norm and they see other students do it and they want to do it
  • In the fall, we come up with a list of students we want to join with us
    • We take them out to dinner
    • The current interns give their pitch
  • We have a relationally close movement that feels like a family
    • Part of the problem – it’s hard to grow a close group
      • It’s hard for a relational based movement to grow bigger
    • We’ll have our leadership meeting once a month at our house, with our kids and their toys and our dogs.
    • And that’s partly who I am – I want to have students in my home
  • What do you do to care for your staff team?
    • I try to be real grace oriented toward them, because it’s a privilege to have them here and not a right
    • Because it is Stillwater
    • Letting my intern go on a road trip to Duke to watch his favorite team play
      • He’ll be a harder worker because I extended that grace
    • How can we make this an incredible working environment that people want to come work for us?
    • Giving our team flexibility in their schedule
    • Building a culture of appreciation

How do you build a close knit family/relational culture?

    • It kind of has to be who you are
    • It’s caring for people other than what they can do for you
    • I probably swing too far on the side of not wanting to burn students out
    • I want them more connected to Jesus than I want them connected to Cru
    • Sunday night I’ll have my Bible study of guys over at my house – 10-25 Senior guys
      • Invite them into my home
      • “Alright everyone, let’s go downstairs and pray with my son (for bedtime)– this is what all you will have to do someday”
      • I’ll do things with students – go on a quail hunt
      • Just inviting them into my personal life
      • Encourage staff to get out of coffee shops and do stuff with students
      • Call students and ask them how they’re doing (not what they’re doing for us)
      • Just loving students for who they are
      • I’m taking students over to a missions conference in Tulsa and hang out and eat together and make memories
      • It’s some of the random things I do with guys (going deer hunting, going fishing with me and my dad) – that really impacts them
      • Just sharing real life with them

What motivates students to intern?

  • They’re usually kind of shocked that you asked them to intern (“no, not me”) – it’s a chance to speak vision into their lives
  • They like to do discipleship and have been doing it for the last couple of years so it gives them a chance to continue those relationships that they’ve been having

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

wisconsinThis 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 Wisconsin Cru:

  • Avg # on staff team – 10 full time on campus (including interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 350-400
    • first cru= 650
  • Movement size – 500 students
  • Students at Madison – 45,000
  • # in CG’s – 420 avg
  • 250 on fall retreat
  • Partnership – 2 (East Asia and Fourth Journey)

Sending stats last year:

  • STINT – 10 new; 2 re-stint
  • Intern – 4
  • Staff – 2

Average year of sending:

  • 7 new STINTers
  • 4 new interns
  • 3  staff/year
  • Avg around 45 on Summer Missions
    • 25% overseas
    • 75% stateside

We can all learn a lot about sending from Wisconsin Cru. There are few teams that have put more thought into sending than the Cru team in Madison, Wisconsin.

I’d highly recommend reading with your team their 2 page article – Creating a Sending Culture. Here’s an excerpt:

In Madison, when we talk about sending we don’t talk about just filling slots. We talk about changing the culture of our movement to care about the world. “We are Badgers. We go.” “Badgers Go. “ It has become our culture not just the heart of a few people or just the staff. It takes time to build this into your movement but it can really change fast if the right students catch the vision.

Things really took off in 2008. Students decided to go together and recruited themselves to fill that team. It was beautiful. It took one guy, Chris Kopp, to decide to go and then he started challenging his friends to fill a team with him. One student’s courage and faith is all that is needed to call out the courage and faith of others. I remember seeing 15 seniors sitting in the balcony after Primetime one night and Chris leading an informational meeting that I had no clue about. It was not staff planned but we certainly planted a lot of seeds one-on-one for a lot of years to get there. I think 10 or 12 of them went together that year. I call the class of 2008 our foundational sending class.

When that class was all sophomores, it was our first big Summer Missions sending class in some years. I think we had 18 that year. The previous year we had 7. Three years later we had 84! The right people, committed to the Lord and going can change the culture of your movement.

It is not a coincidence that the freshman whom the class of 08 raised up made the next big sending class in 2011. Freshmen will imitate their leaders. Large sending classes raise up large sending classes.

You need to embrace that ownership comes from the top. MTLs [Team Leaders] have to lead the way on this and go themselves every 2-3 years to each of your partnerships. The older you get and the more your family grows it gets easier and easier to stay stateside every summer. The longer you stay put in the States the quicker your vision will drain. Vision leaks out of an organization and the leader has to keep pouring it back in. Unless you go and keep your heart connected to your partnership… your staff and students won’t keep their heart connected either.


Scott Roe is one of the Missional Team Leaders (MTLs) that gives leadership to the Cru Madison Movements – he’s been there since 1999. Here’s some of his thoughts:


Top reasons for sending:

  • Staff
    • We get our staff to bleed mobilization
    • Every staff goes to one of our partnerships in first 2 years on the team
    • One of our primary jobs is mobilizers
    • Our stewardship is the entire Church – to send out laborers to serve the Church globally
    • 2 articles we read pretty much every year:
      • A Missionary Call – Robert Speer
        • Do it for one week with our staff
        • “We all need to go!”
        • Let them wrestle with wanting to go (“what am I doing here doing U.S. campus ministry – I need to go!”)
        • Then next week at staff meeting we read:
      • Mobilization – Steve Shadrach
        • If I had 1000 people – I would ask them to stay and send – Ralph Winters
    • We all have a heart to go – but if we can send more by staying, then we need to stay and send
    • MTLs need to go every 2-3 years to keep vision fresh
    • Mobilization takes effort
      • The SEND model is very helpful for staff and students to know
      • We are strong with asking people to go but not manipulating
      • We train certain juniors and seniors in the SEND model
  • Culture
    • We pushed Sending hard
    • Students just talk about it
    • Summer Missions was huge in creating that culture
    • A group of students from Madison started that culture by going on Summer Mission together
    • Picking the right projects is key: we send groups to Ocean City and North Myrtle
    • Sprinkle world vision throughout the year
      • Skype during weekly meeting
      • Skype during bible study
      • Not just a once a year “world night” at Cru
    • You are changing the culture of your movement not just getting people to sign up. This will take time, intentionality and prayer.
    • Now we’re chasing the ball downhill as we have a culture of students going/recruiting
  • A foundational sending class
    • Pray for and challenge 4-8 graduates to go together. Once you do this the ball will start rolling down hill and future generations will want to do the same thing. Plant these seeds with your current freshman class. “where will you guys go together after you graduate?”
  • Sharp Students
    • By junior year be challenging students to go
    • Have a winsome person invite others to go with them on STINT
    • Give students a platform to talk (if they have ability to communicate and cast vision)
    • Be generous. The needs of the world are greater than on our US campuses. Think of it as a tithe… challenge and send your best and brightest to the world…God will provide and give back.
  • Govember
    • Never miss the opportunity in Govember: Make sure you and your team have a good plan for this 5-6 week period.
    • Jim Sautner has said: “November is Summer Missions month”
    • “If you create the momentum for Summer Missions early it will snowball throughout the spring months. Plus students can drop the bomb on their parents over Thanksgiving break. Take advantage of this month, it will pay off in March.”  – Adam Penning – Cru staff at U of Wisconsin
    • First week of November as a staff team:
      • We kick off the month by doing the “how to do a summer project challenge” as a devo (Jesus sending out the 70) with our staff team. Don’t tell them what it is for until the very end.
      • Then we have all of our staff – pick your 8-10 people you want to go on Summer Missions the most and have breakfast with each one – do the Summer Mission Challenge
    • November = Govember [I’ve posted a lot of Wisconsin’s Govember material, as well as some of our own, on CruPressGreen]
    • 4 weeks we do at Cru:
      • heart for lost
      • heart for world
      • eternal perspective
      • risky faith
  • Lead and Lag measures
    • The Summer Missions challenge is the lead measure for Summer Missions (we can track how many we sit down and challenge – that directly correlates with how many go)
    • Summer Missions are the lead measure for full time staff
    • Track who you send: It will encourage you, your staff and your students.

On whether having a large movement contributes to more sending:

    • In some ways it does.
    • People had a hard time building a movement at UW-Madison in the 90’s.
    • In the late 90’s we started doing the fundamental Jim Sylvester movement building principles and it really grew.
    • The benefit of having a large movement = you have more people.
    • But there are potential negatives:
      • People begin to feel lost and not as needed
      • Lose the family feel (where everyone knows everyone)
      • Less opportunities for students to lead
    • You can have a large movement and fail to send.


I had the opportunity to talk with two recent Wisconsin students who joined staff. Here’s what influenced them as students to want to go into full time ministry:

  • When I was a freshman, there were 13 stinters. I just saw how many people who thought it was worth it.
  • Everyone was going – everyone came back changed from Summer Missions and STINT.
    • Big that we did it together as a big group
      • I’m going to go so we can experience change together and come back and impact the campus together
      • A lot of people went on STINT to East Asia that didn’t particularly have a heart for Asia, but they wanted to go with community and do it as a team.
  • We talk about it a lot as a movement.
    • Letting students cast vision and challenge instead of staff only
    • Seeing other students passionate about it was huge – students own recruiting
    • Students saying: “I’m going here – who’s coming with me?”


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


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 Virginia Tech Cru:

  • 500 students involved in Cru at Virginia Tech
  • Average of 400 students at their weekly meeting
  • Average number of interns – 2-4
  • Average number of Stint – 6-8


I talked to Jeff who has led the team at Virginia Tech for 8 years. Jeff and his wife are planning on STINTing next year in Africa (with their 5 kids!).

Jeff talked about how a few years ago it hit them that they were not being good stewards in the area of sending – “one year we sent 4 kids into full time ministry. Out of 50 seniors”. They began as team to be more intentional about Sending into full time ministry.

I didn’t do a full interview with Jeff but he did share with me one brilliant idea:

Junior Recruiting Dinner

  • We used to do most of our recruiting during student’s senior years. But we kept finding that we were too late. Students had already accepted jobs.
  • At Virginia Tech we have a lot of engineering students who have lots of (high paying!) options after college
  • For most of our students, the summer after the junior year internship is the job interview. So they decide by October 1 senior year.
  • So we started doing a Junior Recruiting Dinner – the spring of their junior year.
  • It’s not even on their radar until we challenge them in spring of junior year. Who else is telling them that? Not their parents or their professors. Getting a job is the default.
  • We have 50-60 juniors at this dinner- sitting in tables of 10-15 [they have a total of 120 juniors involved!]
  • Some years, just my wife and I will take out small groups of 10-15
  • We spend about $1000 to take them out to dinner
  • We lay out 7 important perspectives (here’s the complete script for the dinner):
    1. The Lordship of Jesus Christ – What makes it hard for you to give over your career to Christ’s leadership?
    2. The Mandate of the Great Commission – All Christians are commanded to be involved in making disciples. The question is how can I best be involved in making disciples for the rest of my life? Not all Christians are called to full time Christian work, but the command should cause us all to consider it.
    3. The Challenge of Vocational Christian service – The critical need is more laborers, not for more fruit. In the Christian community, (which is God’s pool of available people to use as laborers): Only 5% have shared their faith. Therefore, there is only a small group of people available. Of those, only 7% have gone to college. You are in the 7% of the 5% of the world’s population whom God could use.
    4. Eternal Perspective – Two things are eternal, the word of God and the souls of man, invest your life in those things – how are you going to do this
    5. Platform vs. time – Some people have a higher impact as an “insider”, but have less time – it is harder to have a ministry and a full-time job. One way to get a good read on how well you would be able to minister while having a full-time job is to look at how well you are doing now balancing school work and ministry.
    6. Training – A good question: How and when will I get the needed training to have an effective ministry for a lifetime? If you think you can be more effective (long-range) in secular work, consider taking a couple years in full time ministry to get the training needed.
    7. Don’t do what the spiritually dead can do – Anyone, spiritually dead or not, can be the president of IBM, but not one spiritually dead person can work for the Lord.
  • Then we have everyone answer at the end: So what are you thinking about doing?
  • Almost everyone of them answers – “well, I’ve never really thought about doing ministry”. 
  • I’m trying to help my students learn how to make good decisions
  • The biggest obstacle we see is parents: “I just paid for you to get a computer engineering degree.”
  • Let’s go after every student to challenge them for full time ministry.
  • Once they’ve made their decision, let’s say- “that’s great, let me prep you for ministry in the marketplace”
  • All of senior year discipleship is preparing them for life after college.
  • Roger Hershey always tells me: they’ve got to hear eternal perspective over and over again.
  • They’re going to give themselves to something on campus until we present a greater need. And connect it to eternal perspective.


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