Archives For Sending

For decades, Cru’s mission has been “Turning lost students into Christ centered laborers.”

Our mantra has been “Win/Build/Send”. The reason I have remained on campus for 20 years is because I want to send laborers to the harvest.

But over the last few years I have been convicted that on our campus, our Cru movement could more accurately be described as “Gather/Build/Keep”

Our campus is solidly in the Bible Belt. It’s easy to find kids who grew up in solid churches. We can have a good size movement ministry by “Gather/Build/Keep”.

 

But that is not why I am on the college campus. I am on campus to send laborers.

 

And here’s the issue:
“People reproduce what they have experienced.” Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch – The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church
Students who are pursued and brought to Christ with much persistence, will turn into laborers who pursue with much persistence. Students who get involved because they were looking just to “plug in” somewhere will find it difficult to be persistent pursuers.

 

In other words, many of the most effective Christ-centered laborers start out as really lost freshmen.

 

Steve Shadrach remarked to me that he’s found THE one common element of radical world-changing college movements:
the movement is made up of students who were led to Christ in college. 

 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Cru on my campus – the University of Arkansas. In those five decades God has worked in some incredible ways. There have been seasons of true revival and thousands of laborers have been sent out. No exaggeration – hundreds of churches have been planted as a result of Arkansas Cru alumni. How did those revivals happen?
In the late 60’s and early 70’s when Cru began at the U of A, revival swept the campus.
In 1968, 2 Cru staff, Don and Sally Meredith, launched the ministry. Sally recounts: “It was in the turbulent sixties and the days of ‘God is dead’ philosophy. He proved soooooo alive.” That year they saw 4 students get involved and go with them on a summer mission with Cru.

 

One year later, they brought 200 students with them to the summer mission – the vast majority of those 200 had just trusted Christ.
Yesterday I spoke to a lady who was involved with Cru at Arkansas in the early 70’s – her comment: “It was really amazing – none of us came from Christian homes. Everyone involved with Campus Crusade became Christians in college.”

 

In the early 80’s, revival swept the Arkansas campus again.
This time through University Baptist Church (and what was to become StuMo). I encourage you to read Steve Shadrach’s recounting of that incredible movement of the Spirit. The common thread? They aggressively shared the gospel on campus and the movement was almost completely made up of new converts.
Do you want revival like that on your campus? I believe it begins with aggressively pursuing the lost.

Mark Brown, who was the long time Cru director at Miami (OH), once told me:

“It’s a longer process to turn a self-righteous, youth group all-star into a Christ-centered laborer than it is to turn a totally lost student into a Christ centered laborer.”
So do we not want already-strong Christians involved? Of course we want them involved. But we quickly want to engage them in the mission to show them that they are not involved in a Christian social club but a missional force that is engaged in the great adventure of proclaiming Christ to the nations.

 

What you win them with is what they will win others with. If you’re preaching (by words OR by deeds) “come get involved with us – you will really get poured into and have sweet praise and worship” then you will attract spiritual leeches. If you’re preaching (by words and deeds) “let’s boldly proclaim the gospel to lost students” then you are going to be a movement of world changers.

 

The primary way you preach “come help change the world” is to make your primary activity seeking the lost. Now, I’ve found that even the best of already-solid Christians usually require patient, persistent vision to catch the vision of seeking and saving the lost. It’s worth sticking with them and casting vision to them and continuing to push them to be a bold pursuer. I was one of those “already-solid” incoming freshmen. And I eventually turned into a laborer with a heart for the lost. But I spent many years in college actively trying to avoid sharing my faith! I mostly wanted to gather believers into my Bible study.

 

I have a friend who has labored in Western Europe for over a decade and he shared with me the issue he sees with much of our sending:
We have seen well over 250 students come through our country [on STINT and Summer Missions] but after all these resources, I could hardly get anyone to stay and work longterm. We would get students from these highly successful ministries that can’t cope with ministry…where you have to share your faith all the time.
Here in Europe it is purely a WIN-BUILD-SEND ministry. In America they were successful because you could find-build-send.
For example, we have had multiple students come here and tell me they want to run my weekly meeting. Others who say I want to have a worship ministry. Some say, “my goal is pour my life into 5 men who can multiply themselves”. Our city has 100,000 students and maybe 20 known Christ followers!! Not going to happen.

 

Effective Sending starts with Winning. The most effective Christ-centered laborers will likely start out as really lost freshmen.

 

So the question is: How would our staff and student leaders spend our time if we really believed that Sending starts with Winning?

 

As we as Christians think about where to invest our time and resources, I think these maps are really helpful:

Faithland from VividMaps

NYTimes’s Ross Douthat’s reaction (and Rod Dreher’s response) to that map:

As you might guess, I am with Douthat on this one. Granted, I haven’t read Dreher’s book. But it just doesn’t seem like the early church waited around for the tides of history to turn more favorable.

This second map from VividMaps is less, well, vivid but more helpful as it is just evangelicals (the above map has any religion – Muslim, Mormon, etc.)

I have written before (in 2015) about my organization, Cru, and our allocation of staff vs the need.

As far as solutions to this need, I still agree with my 2015 self –

  • 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.
  • I would love to see a grassroots movement of college ministries 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

 

But I think there may be another component of the solution that my 2015 self couldn’t see: Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, in his book The Next Evangelicalism, makes a compelling case that the future of Christianity in America rests on the shoulders of immigrants and ethnic minority leaders:

White churches [in America] are in decline while the immigrant, ethnic and multiethnic churches are flourishing. Very few have recognized that American Christianity may actually be growing, but in unexpected and surprising ways. Contrary to popular opinion, the church is not dying in America; it is alive and well, but it is alive and well among the immigrant and ethnic minority communities and not among the majority white churches in the United States.

Unless [churches/parachurches] see growth among the ethnic minority population within their [congregation] they will experience steady decline.

Even while we consider the needs of the U.S., we HAVE to keep the bigger picture in mind. God is not America First.

 

The needs of the world dwarf the needs of the U.S. Virtually the whole world is < 5% evangelical (which is < than any part of America).(click to see a larger pdf)

from the IMB

And what of the new reality that the Global South (Africa/S America/Asia) is the New Face of Christianity?

In the year 1900, Europe and North America comprised 82 percent of the world’s Christian population. In 2005, Europe and North America comprised 39 percent of the world’s Christian population with African, Asian and Latin American Christians making up 60 percent of the world’s Christian population. By 2050, African, Asian and Latin American Christians will constitute 71 percent of the world’s Christian population.

The Next Evangelicalism – Dr. Soong-Chan Rah

As we think about where to invest our time and resources, a good bet is on the growth markets:

What do these maps tell you?

 

Govember

October 31, 2017 — 1 Comment

“November is Summer Missions month” – Jim Sautner, Destino National Development Director

Govember is a month-long focus on God’s heart for the nations and our role in that (specifically focused on Summer Mission and STINT – one year international internship). We focus on Govember all across our movement: weekly meeting, community group, staff meeting, and discipleship content.

I got the idea from talking to University of Wisconsin Cru (and I know many others do it) and we’ve adapted it for our campus.

“If you create the momentum for Summer Project 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

If you want to use the Govember branding we use, here’s the logo.

Here’s what we do during Govember with lots of linked resources:

A monthlong focus at the Cru meeting on going – some ideas:
– Heart for the lost
– Heart for world (get the Traveling Team to come in November if you can!)
– Lordship
– Eternal perspective (my talk and slides)
– STINT night – this was by far the best Cru we did all year. Essentially, we spotlight Arkansas Cru grads who are serving God all over the world, mostly via video. Here’s the flow of what we do)

A Summer Missions recruiting dinner
– Here’s an overview of what we do
– Here’s the talk that I give at the dinner (and another talk I’ve used)
– A sample response card to follow up after the dinner (the pdf file is editable in photoshop)

All of our Community Groups do world-focused material during November:
– A 3 week study we adapted from The Traveling Team: Govember Study – Leader  — Govember Study – Student
– A great idea from Ball State Cru: assign a country to each student in the Bible study – give them an Operation World and they research it and present it back to their study and they pray for it

At least one week of focus on the world in all our student discipleship
– The Compass lesson on World Vision

– An article to read in discipleship: A Brief History Of Campus Missions

Staff Focus
– A couple great articles to read with your team during this month: A Missionary Call by Robert Speer and Mobilization of College Students by Claude Hickman

– Kick off the month by doing the “how to do a summer project challenge” document as a devo with your staff team. Don’t tell them what it is for until the very end.

Some other ideas (that we haven’t tried) from Wisconsin:

8 by 12/08: Each staff person personally challenges 8 students to Summer Missions by Dec. 8th. Give your team 6-7 min in staff meeting to actually write their list. Remind your team about the 8 by 12/8 challenge each week at staff meeting during Govember. Follow up with your team half way through the month to see how it is going by writing the names of everyone who has been challenged down on the white board. Then take 10 min an pray for those names and people left to be challenged.

Man-sized challenge: Two staff men do “Man-sized breakfast for a man-sized challenge” together with four students at a time, using the “How to do a Summer Missions challenge” document.

Share the wealth! What has helped your campus send students on Summer Missions or overseas as missionaries?

Fresh off the virtual press, Shane Sebastian (Cru’s Global Missions Executive Director) has released an article with a powerful vision and challenge: trusting God to send 10% of our involved students each year to bless the nations.

10% of our students each year would go to the world on vision trips, Summer Missions or STINT. If you have 100 students involved with you, 10 would go on Global Summer Missions or Vision Trips. If you have 400, 40 would be sent.

God's Heart for the World

National Current Reality= 3%

What is the current reality on your campus? What % are you sending to the world each year?

We have a tremendous stewardship to send. Laborers come from the college campus. And the U.S. campus ministry is exponentially larger than any other country.

By far, the vast majority of laborers within Cru come from within the U.S. Campus Ministry. May God use the U.S. campus ministry to send generously. To send at least 10% of our movements every year to reach the world for Christ.

Shane asked me to partner with him in writing this article and to share how sending to the world has benefited our local ministry. I echo this from Dan Higgins: “If you just go after a campus, you’ll get nothing. But If you go after the world you’ll reach the world and get the campus thrown in.” This has definitely been true for us. The campus is too small a vision for students. As we send more and more to the world, our local movement expands.

world map

I’d encourage you to read and discuss this article with your staff team and student leaders. The number one determiner of whether a school sends a lot of students to the world? Whether the staff really buys into sending. You won’t send if your staff team doesn’t bleed for the world.

Download it here:

God’s Heart for the World or here on Google Drive.

If it’d be helpful, I’d be happy to skype into your staff meeting to share some of the best practices of the best sending schools in the nation or what has worked on our campus to send more. You can email me at tim dot casteel @cru.org.