11 Keys to Being a Sending Campus

May 22, 2015 — 1 Comment


This is the part 2 in a series of posts summarizing key findings from researching 17 of Cru’s Top Sending Campuses in the nation.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each).

Across all 17 schools I interviewed, these are the 11 themes that emerged pretty consistently:


  • The MTLs and staff own sending
    • MTL (Missional Team Leader):
      • “As the leader, it has to be yours. As the leader, as the mouthpiece, you need to be telling the stories and leading from experience.” – A&M
      • “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. Unless you go and keep your heart connected to your partnership… your staff and students won’t keep their heart connected either.” – Wisconsin
      • “I had to learn as an MTL: My words carry a lot of weightI’m looking people in the eye and I’m saying: ‘I’d really like you to be on our team’” – Missouri State
    • Staff
      • “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.” – A&M
      • “We get our staff to bleed mobilization. Every staff goes to one of our partnerships in first 2 years on the team” – Wisconsin


  • Creating a culture of going – everyone’s doing it – there’s momentum.
    • I heard this over and over: “It’s what our movement is about – we’re about mission.” “It’s just in the air of our movement that students breathe.”
    • Sending campuses don’t recruit. “It’s who we are.” 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.
    • “You are changing the culture of your movement not just getting people to sign up. This will take time, intentionality and prayer.” – Wisconsin
    • Not super helpful if you don’t have momentum. But I think it gives hope – that once you push the snowball up hill you’ll eventually be chasing it downhill as it grows
    • “It’s not like they get to their senior year and start thinking ‘I want to intern’. A lot of them are thinking about it from freshmen/sophomore year” – UC Davis
    • To them it just makes sense – “why would I not at least give a year of my life to explore doing ministry full time. I want to get really good ministry experience before I go into the work world.” It becomes the norm- UC Davis


  • A Foundational Sending Class
    • How do you get there? How do you get to “Everyone’s doing it”?
    • It definitely was a theme among many campuses that they had an “Foundational Sending Class” of 4-6 interns. Or 4-6 STINT’ers.
    • “You need a couple really key students to buy in. Challenge the right students to really consider it and pray about it. If they have a great experience as well, everyone sees that and they think ‘they’re having a great year and really growing as interns’” – UC Davis
    • “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?’”  – Wisconsin


  • Consistent vision for the world
    • Global Missions is what the Bible is about and what God is about
    • Continually expressing the need
    • Sprinkle world vision into everything you do
    • Work long and hard at connecting everything you’re doing to a big vision that is compelling. Everyone wants to be a part of something that is big and compelling


  • Prayer –
    • Praying as a movement for laborers (“ask the Lord of the harvest”)
    • Praying by name for students to join your team or STINT


  • Having a large movement
    • Most of the top sending movements are very large.
    • Avg size = 549 students
    • I didn’t specifically interview them in this series, but I could have listed most of the schools from the Large Movements Series I did a couple years ago – i.e. – Florida, Michigan State, NC State, etc. These schools are sending a lot because of their large movements.
    • Obviously you can have a large movement and fail to send.
    • And you can send from a smaller movement.
    • But the benefit of having a large movement = you have more people. If you have 8 seniors involved, the most you can send is 8. If you have 50 seniors…


  • Having a healthy, fun team
    • “Creating an environment where people love doing ministry together”
    • “Our team is a lot of fun and we love each other and love our jobs (and students know that)”
    • “It’s creating a culture that students want to be a part of – where they feel valued”
    • “How can we make this an incredible working environment that people want to come work for us?”
    • “Healthy teams are attractive to students”
    • “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’”


  • A close movement that feels like a family
    • Good relationship with staff – “There’s no substitute for personally knowing well the people you’re challenging to go”
    • Many have a family atmosphere where student leaders are often in staff’s homes
    • This is particularly key for not-large movements (I hate to say “small” because the vast majority of college movements have less than 100 students involved. They’re not small. They have 100-200 students involved – but just in contrast to the handful of huge cru movements): UC Davis, OK State, Cal State Chico


  • Going in groups on Summer Missions and Vision Trips
    • 75% or higher – the percentage of Interns, STINTers, and New staff who have previously participated in a Summer Mission (an educated guess by a few informed leaders in Cru)
    • “Summer Missions are the lead measure for full time staff” – Wisconsin
    • “There’s a good chance if students go on Spring Break overseas, then STINT will be on their radar”
    • “Generally our best leaders are the ones who have gone on these projects and been stretched by the Lord.”
    • “Sometimes vision trips are the best for producing STINT’ers because they get a good taste of STINT life”
    • “Pick a good project – not all projects are created equal”


  • Ministry experience
    • Students experienced being used by God to change someone’s life and they want to do it full time
    • “When we have asked great things of them on campus, they are not as overwhelmed when we ask them to join us either on staff or as part of a STINT team.” – Dan Allan
    • “Seeing God use them on their campus and around the world is a significant factor in choosing to serve Christ full-time after graduation. Whether overseas or on their campus, set them up to see changed lives happen around them.”


  • An intentional plan
    • “From August to May you need to have a plan for utilizing each part of the year for sending”
    • “Who are my potential summer leaders this coming year? Because they will assemble their team. They are the most important person to get on board”
    • Brainstorming, praying for, and meeting one on one with most juniors/seniors to intern/STINT
    • A well planned Govember


What are your big takeaways from these 11 Keys?


Posts Twitter

P.S. - I'd love to connect with you on Twitter: here