Cru Staff Allocation vs. the Need

March 26, 2015 — 14 Comments

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



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  • Scott

    Tim, I’ve wondered if Upper Midwest and Great Lakes see a greater percentage of movement growth and raising up laborers because they don’t have 87 ministries on each campus like we have in the South. So there aren’t as many Evangelicals in general, but on campus they are able to have a focused effort toward reaching the lost. Would this mean you don’t have several collegiate ministries tripping over themselves to reach cultural Christians? Just a thought. On another note, let’s uproot our families and move to the Northeast.

  • Lillian Cain

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks so much for doing this – very interesting! I’m on staff in the Red River region but am currently in Orlando doing Lake Hart STINT. Hard data like this is so helpful to give us an accurate assessment of where we actually are and what we need, I am so grateful for all the work it took for you to compile this. Thank you!!

    I had a thought as I was looking through. I am wondering how it might affect the numbers if there was a way to account for students who are involved with another ministry and students who are Believers/not Believers. Since there are so many other ministries on campuses doing great work, I wonder if that might give us a more accurate count of the need for laborers in general as opposed to just accounting for those involved with Cru.

    What are your thoughts?

    Also, just to throw this out there, I was on the Data Sciences and Analytics team here at headquarters, and I’m thinking those guys might be really interested in a report like this and you might be interested in some advanced tools they have. If you want to contact them, let me know and I could connect you.

    Thank you again!

  • KarlUdy

    Here are some graphical representations of some of the data …

  • KarlUdy

    Involved % of whole

  • KarlUdy

    Sending FT/Total FT

  • KarlUdy

    It looks as though there might be different movement styles in different regions. eg Red River and Southwest regions seems to involve less students in their movements than might be expected. However both seem to do a very good job of recruiting to staff/STINT. Could it be that they deliberately have smaller movements with students who are more likely to join staff? Questions for further investigation, perhaps.

    • Chelsea M

      I can assure you that the PSW does not deliberately have smaller movements. There could be a correlation behind feeling the need on campus for laborers and knowing that felt need still pales in comparison to the worldwide need for laborers

      • KarlUdy

        Chelsea, in your impression, does PSW place a higher priority on going deep or wide in their movements? (And I know both are important)

    • timcasteel

      I’d agree with Chelsea – the Red River definitely does not try to have smaller movements! But I do think we have a great emphasis on sending internationally especially.

  • Nate Tunnell

    Thanks for the post Tim! I’m one of the Cru MTLs in Utah, apart of the Greater Northwest region. I love that you are helping us start this conversation! I was surprised by the inclusion of the map from the NY Times that included Mormons in the Protestant numbers in the nation. This map is a better picture of the protestant/evangelical picture across the country, categorized by the least evangelical counties in the US. They are mostly clustered in Utah and Eastern Idaho (all below 2.5% evangelical with very few Christian laborers on campuses), and the Northeast – Based on these numbers and the unique challenges to Utah, our context is much more like a Global Missions location than a US Ministry context. Conversations like these are just what we need to take a serious step forward in resourcing the unreached parts of our country!

    • timcasteel

      I updated with a new map – thanks for the heads up! It definitely shows Utah to truly be one of the least reached state in the U.S. Thanks for your work there on the frontlines of missions!

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