Archives For Laborers

“Anyone who can help 100 missionaries to the field is more important than one missionary on the field. In fact, mission mobilization activity is more crucial than field missionary activity. Suppose I had a THOUSAND college seniors in front of me who asked me where they ought to go to make a maximum contribution to Christ’s global cause. What would I tell them? I would tell them to stay home and mobilize. ALL of them.”

Ralph Winter – Founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission


I received an email a few years ago with the subject:

“Congratulations: your campus is one of the top sending campuses in the U.S.!”

It went on to say that 26 Cru movements had sent 10 or more graduates into full time ministry in 2012. And the Cru national office wanted to gather from the Team Leaders what made them good at sending.

The Top Sending Campuses

That email piqued my interest – what sets these movements apart? What makes them so effective at sending out full time laborers into ministry? What are they doing that other campuses are not? What can we learn from them?

What do the Top Sending Campuses have in common? Are they all large movements? Is it because they have large staff teams? What made students want to join the mission full time?

That email set me on a three year process of talking to those campuses and researching to learn how our campus can become a better Sending Movement. Because I honestly feel like our team has a LOT to learn in the area of sending. This blog series on the Top Sending Campuses is the fruit of that. I didn’t want to keep all the amazing sending wisdom to myself. I think we can all learn a lot from these college ministries.

389 of the 918 full time laborers sent into the Cru Campus Ministry in 2014 came from just 25 campuses. So 4% of the Cru movements send 42% of the laborers.

And the interesting thing is that not all of the top sending campuses had large movements. There are Cru movements that have just a handful of staff, 75 coming to their weekly meeting, and are sending 10-15 college students into full time ministry every year. What are they doing that we can learn from?

Here’s who I talked to (click each to read the post about that campus’ sending):

All of these schools send out more than 10 students into full time ministry with Cru (on average)- Interns, STINT (graduates serving in a 1-2 internship years overseas) and Cru staff.

Why these 17?

These are not necessarily the 17 biggest sending Cru movements in the nation (but they’re probably in the top 30). Many of them I picked because they are sending a huge percentage of their seniors- they are sending a ton of laborers proportionate to movement size.

In the coming posts I will devote a separate post to what I gleaned from each campus as well as some summary posts on big takeaways and themes.

Why Full Time Ministry?

In Cru we talk a lot about 100% Sent. We want every student to graduate on mission- whether they are missionaries in the corporate world, as teachers, or in full time Christian work in Asia. But the focus in talking to these Top Sending Campuses is on sending into full time ministry.

I believe that healthy college ministries will consistently raise up laborers to go into full time ministry. And I honestly think that most seniors heading into the workplace would benefit from doing a year or two internship in full time ministry, to prepare them for a lifetime of effective ministry in the workplace. We never want to elevate “going into ministry” as more spiritual or as a kind of varsity-team-Christian. I think we can learn from these Top Sending Campuses how to boldly challenge students to consider full time ministry while affirming and equipping them in whatever vocational decision they make.

“Nothing ripples for generations like sending another missionary to the world.” – Dan Allan

If you had to guess, what do you think are the biggest contributors to sending a lot of laborers?


shuttle launchI often get asked the question – if most of what you do is focus on freshmen do upperclassmen feel neglected (see this recent post on reaching freshmen over at Campus Ministry Toolbox)?

The answer is sometimes “yes” but it should always be “no”.

Yes, we have upperclassmen lament that they feel overlooked. And sometimes they are right. One of our goals this fall is to really invest in our upperclassmen Bible Studies because we DO feel like we have neglected those.

But here’s the thing: in reaching freshmen, we ARE developing upperclassmen in the most strategic way possible. Upperclassmen are getting an opportunity to lead and be developed and be stretched in ways that will pay dividends for decades to come.

What’s missing? Clear communication.

We need to help upperclassmen see that their primary need is not for “me-time” where we exclusively focus on them (see When Can Discipleship Actually Be a Bad Thing). They need to be pushed out of the nest to focus on others and be trained as a laborer for Christ.

Upperclassmen do need personal attention focused on their walks with God (first and foremost). But they also need help in becoming an adult which = the glad assumption of responsibility. And they need to take responsibility for the greatest need in the world – bringing the good news of Christ to the ends of the earth.

For us, that means communicating over and over to upperclassmen how they are benefiting from this indispensable training they are getting. Even though it may FEEL like you’re not the primary focus, in reaching others YOU are being developed.

The biggest “win” in our focus on reaching freshmen is probably that hundreds of upperclassmen are getting to taste the life-changing experience of being used by God to change another person’s life.

By reaching freshmen we are training up a new generation of laborers. And we want those freshmen being reached to turn the corner as quickly as possible: from being reached to reaching.

What do you think? Agree/Disagree?