Top Sending Campuses – Wisconsin

March 4, 2015 — 4 Comments

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?


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