Archives For Fall Retreat

An annual tradition on the blog – a ton of stuff you can use on campus these first few weeks. Hopefully it saves you some time or gives you ideas.

First Week Fliers, Snapchat Filters and Fall Retreat Resources

The Cru design folks have put together some phenomenal stuff at Best of all, it’s editable (making most of it is usable for non-Cru ministries) and FREE.

The Fall Retreat stuff is incredibly helpful:

  • There are Fall Retreat designs (includes a flier, powerpoint slides, and social media)

  • And maybe even more helpful, a bunch of resources for putting on a fall retreat – task lists, roles, timelines, sample content/program/schedule

There’s snapchat filters for things like your weekly meeting and fall retreat.


There’s a great guide on how to leverage Social Media in the first 6 weeks. There’s editable fliers for all kinds of first week events. 


Cool Music

Here’s an all-new 2017 Spotify playlist that we use at all of our freshmen cookouts and our weekly meeting.

It’s a mix of Indie Rock, Pop/Dance, and Christian Hip Hop.

We pay $10 for the month of August to get Spotify Premium so you don’t have annoying commercials.

glow sticks and beach balls1

As I’ve said before:

While cool, upbeat music may be #27 on the list of important things about a Christian meeting, it’s important nonetheless.

What’s the first thing students encounter when they come to your meeting? Your music that you’re playing before the meeting.

And what happens when they hear Newsboys or Michael W Smith pumping out of your speakers? You immediately confirm their worst suspicions that you are cheesy and out of touch with their reality.

As much as I am not a big fan of hip hop nor dance music, at our weekly meeting we include quite a bit of hip hop/dance. I run the music at our regional winter conference and can conclusively say that hip hop & dance makes a marked difference on the “vibe” of the crowd. It makes your meeting a party. Literally. People dance. Especially if you add beach balls and glow necklaces (we have our first 2 weekly meetings outside – beach balls may be a little less fun indoors).


Spiritual Interest Survey

We’ve put a lot of effort into streamlining our Spiritual Interest Survey card. We do it with 3000 freshmen/students the first week of class – so we want it to be quick and effective. Click here to download the editable PDF (open in Photoshop – it’s set up 4/page and it uses “smart objects” so if you edit one flier it changes all 4 fliers). Click for an adapted version we use at a Community College – pdf or Photoshop. And here’s one we use with athletes for AIA – pdf or Photoshop.

1 Minute Questionnaire

And this is NC State Cru’s sharp looking survey card (click to download – unfortunately it’s in Apple Pages – so Mac’s only):

Cru Freshmen Survey Card (NCSU)

Cru Card

Our Cru Card that we use for our weekly meeting is similar but a bit different from the survey. You can download the editable PDF (open in Photoshop – it’s set up 4/page and it uses “smart objects” so if you edit one flier it changes all 4 fliers) file here.

1 Minute Questionnaire

Simple Cru Flier

Nothing special. But I always think it’s fun to see what other campuses do for promo. Here’s the editable PDF for the first (open in Photoshop – it’s set up 4/page and it uses “smart objects” so if you edit one flier it changes all 4 fliers). And the Photoshop file for the color version.

Dorm studies 2015

generic dorm studies 2015

We used to do them in color but have found that b/w is just as sharp looking IF:

  • You print them on card stock
  • Have them “cut to bleed” (so that there is no white border)

First Week Events Flier

A few ideas from across the U.S.:


welcome week events final

Florida Cru:

cru at UF welcome week events

Christian Challenge – Chico State – Paul Worcester:

worcester first week events

Older Fall Retreat Brochures

If you don’t like any of the aforementioned Fall Retreat designs, here’s some other designs we have used before.

Here’s our 2016 Fall Retreat brochure (designed by Cru designer Jamie Wang).

CARK Fall Retreat Template 2016_outside

CARK Fall Retreat Template 2016_inside

Besides the basic flier that you can edit and make your own, Jamie has a folder full of goodies: Facebook profile pics, slides, etc.

For Printing Flyers: You should be able to fit four of the flyers on an 8.5 x 11″ page. Tell FedEx it has a 1/8″ bleed.

Here’s our 2015 brochure (designed by Cru designer Libby Slaughter). And here’s the photoshop files so you can edit it and use it!

Fall Retreat outside

Fall Retreat inside

Here’s our 2014 brochure and a post with 4 different (older) Fall Retreat Brochure designs we’ve used. Photoshop file

Just front of brochure

Campus Brochures

A leaving piece that explains everything we do offer in Cru. See here for more details and to download.Arkansas brochure

Arkansas brochure inside

First 4 Weeks Calendar

Always fun to see how other ministries operate. So here’s an overview of what our First 4 Weeks calendar looks like. Here’s a template you can use.

first 5 week calendar

Other Stuff

All this stuff is from Jamie Wang that she has graciously made available to all – to edit and make your own.

From Jamie:

1. Cru Campus Magnet -I made this for Arkansas last year. This was a gift to their campus supporters.
2. Cru Main Meeting Slides -These are generic slides for a main meetings. Keep in mind the difference between 16:9 and 4:3
4. Cru Photos -to use in promo pieces for your campus or prayer letters, etc.
    – The retractable banners are all in viewing options because the files are too big
    – jpg for viewing
    -.psd file including 8 photo options for poster
-for Pages and Publisher
-Great if you need some help kickstarting your newsletters!

What about YOU?

Do you have any stuff your campus uses that would be helpful to share? Link to it in the comments!


Just front of brochure

I’ve linked to our Fall Retreat Brochures before that you can use for your campus.

This year we upgraded and outsourced the creative work to Libby Slaughter (who also designed some amazing tri-fold Cru-at-a-glance brochures for everyone to use).

It’s a bi-fold brochure – we usually print them at a local print shop on linen cardstock, cut to bleed, scored down the middle, etc. They end up costing around 25 cents each. Final size (after folding in half) is 5.5″ x 4.5″

Download here- Photoshop

Fall Retreat general outside

Fall Retreat general inside

If you don’t have Photoshop, just leave a comment and our team will see what we can do to edit it for you to fit your campus’ needs.

If you use the brochure, leave a comment or tweet at Libby to let her know how much you appreciate her gifting and generosity!

I was recently looking over some notes from a talk given by my friend Brian McCollister, a national director with Cru and a guru on how to build a college ministry.

He asserts that, in college ministry, the two most important days of the year are:

  • The first day of school
  • The first day of fall retreat

CalendarThe First Day of School

Really, it’s whatever day you do your big push to do as many spiritual interest surveys as possible. So for us, it’s actually the second and third day of school. On that Tuesday and Wednesday we do around 4,000 spiritual interest surveys (in exchange for a a free Chick-fil-A sandwich card). Why Tuesday and Wednesday? Because our first Cru meeting of the year is on Tuesday and all of our freshmen Bible studies (in every dorm) are on Wednesday. All 4,000 students who fill out a survey get a brochure (about Cru), a flier (with first week events on it), and a personal invitation from a student. Click here for more ideas on what the first week looks like.

The First Day of Fall Retreat

“The second most important day of the year is the first day of our Fall Retreat.  Why is it so important?  Because it is then that you find out how well you have done in the first six weeks.  If there are a lot of enthusiastic freshmen and a lot of tired but eager upperclassmen, then you have done well.  You can enjoy the weekend!  And you have just greatly increased the number of potential laborers in the Harvest.  You have great momentum and can focus great energy on reaching lost students on your campus.”

What do you think? What are your most important days of the year?

And, more importantly, are you investing your resources (time/money/leaders) in a way that reflects their importance?


image courtesy of Dafne Cholet

Fall Retreat 2012 powerpoint slide

Our staff focus for the week is mobilizing our student leaders to recruit people to Fall Retreat.

One of our goals this year is to improve in coaching our students to get better at challenging other students. And reading these paragraphs with the students we disciple is a step in the right direction.

Some great thoughts excerpted from Postcards from Corinth‘s Challenging to Conferences:

The difference between an invitation and a challenge is a small but significant one. An invitation says, “Come if you want,” “Come if you can,” or “Come if you have nothing better to do.”

A challenge, therefore, goes beyond invitation. It contains a compelling vision of why this course is the right one, why passivity or neutrality on the issue is unacceptable, and compels a commitment.

Does going to a conference make someone a better Christian, or not going mean they are not walking with God? Obviously not, but it is one of the few places on the planet where one experiences true biblical community and where community is created. Community to a Christian is as water to a plant: it is that important. Therefore sewing your disciple into a community of committed Christians is perhaps the greatest way you will ever serve them. A challenge is the way this service is executed, because until you’ve been to a conference it will always sound like the waste of a perfectly good weekend. Your spiritual child needs to eat green beans and simply offering them on the menu is not going to get the job done.

A challenge to a conference focuses on two things: the benefits of going and addressing the obstacles to not being able to come. First, go through the many benefits of being at the conference using God-inspired overstatement where possible: “It’s like putting your spiritual life on steroids.” Next, ask the question: “What would be some of the potential barriers for you attending this conference?” Write them down as they speak and address each one. If it’s money, offer a scholarship; if it’s an upcoming test, go with them to the dumpster and help them rummage for the discarded answer key. (It’s just a joke).

If all of this has been to no avail, I would be quite pointed: “I’ll be honest with you. I really feel that this is the next step for you spiritually. You’ve hit a ceiling to how much you can grow on your own. Would you be willing to pray about it and honestly tell God you are willing to do whatever He shows you?” There is a point when you can press too far, especially for someone new to the ministry. But if you have been involved in a discipleship relationship for a year or more, and they still remain on the periphery of community, you must take a further step and become not only a fork in the road but a fork, spoon and knife.”