Archives For Multiplication

The Critical Event

August 20, 2014 — 2 Comments

“The Critical Event” – a trained person taking a non-trained person to share their faith.

For Montana State Cru, The Critical Event is the most important measurement of staff’s success on campus. It’s what they celebrate.

click to read more about their Cru movement. 

Ever since I heard that concept from Montana State, it has shaped much of our philosophy of ministry in regard to evangelism.

The Apostle Paul wrote that the role of a Christian leader is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” – Ephesians 4:12.

On our team we talk about success for our staff is getting as many students as possible onto the playing field. We want to help as many students as possible to experience being used by God to change someone’s life.

79 students who shared the gospel in 2013-14This last year we’ve taken strides to better measure how we’re doing on The Critical Event (because how can you celebrate something you can’t see?).

So last year we kept track of how many students had the opportunity to share the gospel. We saw 31 different students share the gospel in the fall. And a total of 79 over the entire school year. 79 students – many of whom had never shared the gospel before in their lives. Unbelievably encouraging for our staff and student leaders to see that!

Imagine the ripple effect of that…

Now, sharing the gospel one time definitely doesn’t make you an expert. But it gets you on the playing field. And it’s the first step toward building the skill and confidence to be a life-long evangelist.

So that’s the back end of the Critical Event – an untrained person getting taken to share the gospel. This year we are trying to be even more intentional in measuring the front end of The Critical Event. We identified a list of students whom we are calling “Trainers”- students who can confidently share the gospel and can take other students with them.

Day 1 on campus, our first priority for our staff will be to take each of these Trainers out to share the gospel. For our staff to model boldness in sharing the gospel. To get these Trainers back on the playing field, first thing in the fall (to shake off the rust of summer).

On that appointment, after we share with a couple freshmen, we are going to challenge the student Trainer to embrace his/her crucial role in The Critical Event and to live out Ephesians 4:12. The unbelievable opportunity they have to take other students to share the gospel for the first time. To model boldness to their fellow students.

Typically, the first few weeks on campus, our staff are out there following up freshmen like crazy. Alone. This year, our hope is that these student Trainers will mobilize a whole team of students to share the gospel with freshmen.

Our hope is that by the end of the year, our list of Trainers will grow dramatically as more students grow in their confidence and ability to share the gospel.

So that everyone will hear the good news…

What do you think about the Critical Event? Is it a good measurement of ministry success?


Valeree Joy Rillon is on staff with Cru in Manila, Philippines and posted this great insight on Facebook:

As a Christian GROUP, we greatly rejoice when someone receives Christ.

As a Christian ORGANIZATION, we greatly rejoice when they come back for follow-up.

As a Christian MOVEMENT, we greatly rejoice when they multiply because we would see more people knowing, growing, and multiplying in Christ!

So what are we?gold lights

A Group?

An Organization?

Or a Movement?


Brings to mind that we constantly need to be asking our staff and students:

  • What are we?
  • What is success for us?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?

For us, as a team, it’s easy to celebrate (and count) conversions. But more difficult to keep a pulse on follow up and multiplication (therefore making it more difficult to celebrate).

How about you – how does your team celebrate multiplication?

photo courtesy of gracias!


Empowering Social Connectors

September 21, 2010 — 4 Comments

(part 6 of a series on “Focus on the Right People” and multiplication)

How do students connect to your ministry?  Usually it’s thru other students.  And more than likely the majority come through a handful of Social Connectors.

Last year is when I first noticed this Connector Phenomenon .  A hugely disproportionate number of our student women leaders got involved because of 2 students.  Out of 17 student girls leading freshmen Bible studies this year,  11 of them came out of these two girls’ Bible studies!  65% of our new leaders came from 6% of our leadership.

Ben Arment (on his always intriguing blog) noticed this phenomenon at his church and came to this conclusion:

When we cast vision for inviting people to church, we may be assuming too much. What if we poured more resources into the hands of our connectors? What if we groomed them, encouraged them, and fueled their desire to invite people? [They bought Starbucks cards for them to use]

As for the others… what if we started with the fundamentals? What if we showed them how to build relationships? The result would be less guilt-trip and more empowering.

I still haven’t worked out what this means for how staff spend their time.  Is it better to invest heavily in these few key connectors?  Or to invest in raising up more like them?

Right now in our leadership core we are very heavy on introverts.  Really bright, responsible, proactive, godly introverts.  But we’re lacking outgoing “people gatherers”.  Not that Social Connectors have to be extroverted (1 of the 2 girls mentioned above is introverted) – but it helps.

Have you found this Connector Phenomenon to be true?  How can we resource/empower these Connectors?  How can we raise up more Connectors?

What are the implications for ministry and how we invest our time in students?

(part 3 of a week long series on “Focusing on the Right People” and multiplication)

“One must decide where he wants his ministry to count – in the momentary applause of popular recognition or in the reproduction of his life in a few chosen men who will carry on his work after he has gone.”

Robert Coleman

This week we’re discussing “Focusing on the Right People”.  It’s what many refer to as Selection.  Anytime you talk about this (especially with students – as a student I argued with the staff for hours with staff against the idea!), you get the same pushback: Selection is unloving; didn’t Jesus love everyone equally regardless of who they were?

By no means do I hope to comprehensively cover this.  But just wanted to share a few thoughts (today and tomorrow) that have been helpful for our team as we think thru this.

My friend Chris Newport directs the Cru movement at the finest university in the world – Texas Tech.

Here are Newp’s thoughts on thinking thru who we invest in (and even more importantly, helping our staff, students spend time with the right people) :

1) II Timothy 2:2 – We are exhorted Biblically to invest in those who are “able to teach others”. As an organization, this is central to our calling and mission.

  • What qualifications do you think someone needs to have to be “able to teach” others?
    What are disqualifiers?
  • At the very least this tells me that some are not “able”, which means I have to make difficult decisions

2) It’s loving to think about the whole

  • Loving everyone means selection
  • What does it mean to love every student?
  • Loving lost people means spending time with multipliers
  • A helpful analogy from Newp’s Summer Project in Yugoslavia:
    • Their goal was to change a country, to reach millions of people.
    • So they only spent significant time with students who met two qualifications – 1) Spoke English 2) from Belgrade (this is where we had a team who could follow-up)
    • They had no one to hand them to for development and discipleship (no established church) except in Belgrade
    • What the country needed was multiplying disciples not isolated Believers
    • It’s loving toward Igor to spend time with him despite his lack of English, but what about the other millions? The loving thing to do is to focus on those who can help reach the multitudes.
  • From Masterplan of Evangelism:
    “…though [Jesus] did what He did to help the multitudes, He had to devote Himself primarily to a few men, rather than the masses, in order that the masses could at last be saved. . . “Everything that is done with the few is for the salvation of the multitudes.”

3) Key Question: How do I discern if I should continue to spend time with a student who probably will not become a multiplier?

  • Here is my guideline: Does my spending time with this individual cause me to compromise my calling to make multiplying disciples?
  • If my time with Johnny keeps me from reaching the campus, I am not being faithful with my time
  • Recognize I have limited time – I can’t just spend time with Johnny just b/c he shows up

One adjustment: Ultimately the goal is not to reach the campus, it’s to reach the world. Some people may not multiply their lives in the context of our campus ministry, but have the potential to be very influential once they graduate. I’m mostly thinking about the guy/girl who figures it out late in their college career.

This is a difficult and challenging  issue. We can’t just write people off b/c they’re not leaders, but filling our schedules with people who are not “able to teach others” is also not an option. I have to trust that by reaching multipliers, I will eventually reach more people, which means all types of people.

photo courtesy of SigmaEye via Flickr

(part 2 of a week long series on focusing on the right people and multiplication)

“The people you spend the majority of your time with can and will determine whether you are an effective or ineffective leader.”

Dave Kraft – “Leaders who Last”

I think one of the biggest misconceptions of those going into full time ministry is that they are going to spend most of their time on the front lines.

This is what I did my first 5 years on staff. Sure I discipled guys, but my main focus was reaching my target area/dorm.   On my own.  5 years of starting over and gaining no ground.

Ephesians 4:12 is a great summary of our job as full time ministers:
“To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

In college ministry, I think Staff’s #1 job is to empower students to have a ministry.

  • We believe that students sharing with other students will be the key to reaching our campus.
  • So staff are successful not if they have a thriving personal ministry but if they are pouring into students who are in turn pouring into others (Discipleship/Multiplication)
  • So we focus pretty much every week with staff on “who are you meeting with?”:

Reminds me of #6 on this this mind-blowingly-good list on leadership from the blog

1. They spend too much time managing and not enough time leading.
2. They spend too much time counseling the hurting people and not enough time developing the people with potential.
3. They spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time lighting fires.
4. They spend too much time doing and not enough time planning.
5. They spend too much time teaching the crowd and not enough time training the core.
6. They spend too much time doing it themselves and not enough time doing it through others.
7. They make too many decisions based on organizational politics and too few decisions based on biblical principles.

From Dave Kraft’s Leaders Who Last

Kraft adds:
Notice in particular numbers 2, 5, and 6, which have to do with the kinds of people you spend time with. I say it again: the people you spend the majority of your time with can and will determine whether you are an effective or ineffective leader.
The fact is that many people in leadership roles gravitate toward hurting, draining, time-=consuming people because they have a need to be needed. They want to help people, to be there for people. If a leader has strong mercy gifts, leading becomes more difficult. Simply put, if you need people, you can’t lead people. There is an inability or lack of desire to make the tough calls, speak the truth, or do the hard things. Motivated by a fear of disappointing people, this inability will seriously hamper and work against your ability to lead.

Tomorrow: Thoughts on how focusing on the few is not unloving to the many.

photo courtesy of andorpro via flickr

(part 1 of a week long series)

“A busy schedule is not overwhelming to me but over-complexity is. Simplify stuff as much as possible at staff meeting”

Brian McCollister (Cru director at Ohio)

Our ministry is moving into week 4. For us, that means shifting from 100% focus on reaching new freshmen to sorting thru the hundreds/thousands of contacts and deciding who to invest in.

During this season of college ministry, we’re flooded with students and last week I felt Iike our team hit a wall – they were ready to throw in the towel (I alluded to it in my last post).

The cause?

  • Not lack of fruit/success – this is the best fall we’ve ever had. God is moving and they’re getting to be a part of it.
  • But lack of focus. Feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of students to track with in their areas of campus; and not sure how they should be spending their time.

We break our campus into 3 areas (stole the idea from NC State Cru) and have Student Staff (stole that from Oklahoma Cru) lead those areas (2 per area).
It’s impossible for the Student Staff who is the Area Director to even know the names of all the students coming to Bible Studies in their area, much less know how to invest in them spiritually.

So this week we sought to clarify/simplify their job (with a heavy emphasis on the third):

  • Set direction for your area
  • Keep tabs on everything in your area
  • Pour into your leaders (who lead Bible studies in your area) and make sure they are doing the right things with the right people

You don’t have to reach everyone in your area.  You just need to pour into the 12 students who are leadings studies in your area and make sure they’re investing their time wisely.

Same goes for our staff.  Success for them this week means starting to meet weekly with the right people.

More on that tomorrow.

photo courtesy of PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via Flickr