Archives For Sending

The Top Sending CampusesThis is the part 4 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).

In talking to these 17 Top Sending Schools, I’d ask “What makes students want to go into full time ministry?”

Here are the:

10 Things That Make Students Want to Go into Full Time Ministry:

  • Somebody asked them to do it and convinced them they could do it
    • “A lot of students just lack confidence that they’d be any good at it”
    • “We’d love it if you’d join our team! Are you praying about staff/internship?” – Miami
    • “And a lot of the time, that’s all they need”
    • It is especially meaningful coming from the MTL (Missional Team Leader)
      • “As an MTL, you have a lot of persuasion.”
      • “When the boss says, “I’d love to work with you”, it means a lot”
      • “There’s something very honoring about being asked by the guy/girl in charge”
  • They see other students do it and grow tremendously
      • “Having a place where they know they will grow. Ministry is bi-directional – God impacts us while he uses us.”
      • “When they see their friends do it, and it makes them think they can do it”
      • “They’ve seen interns grow tremendously over the past few years (and it’s attractive)”

 

  • Doing ministry with friends
    • “Everyone was going – everyone came back changed from Summer Missions and STINT. It was big that we did it together as a big group. I’m going to go so we can experience change together and come back and impact the campus together. A lot of people went on STINT to East Asia that didn’t particularly have a heart for Asia, but they wanted to go with community and do it as a team.”

 

  • They respect and enjoy the staff team
    • “They want to do it next to people they like and respect”
    • “As a student, I knew the guys sitting in the circle and I wanted my life to be next to their lives”
    • “They know they’ll be loved well and cared for on our staff team”
  • They’ve been deeply impacted by staff
    • “Usually when they’re joining us, it’s been because they’ve been deeply impacted by someone on staff.”
    • “Most students join staff because of a relationship with a staff person – they’ve been really deeply, personally invested in. I think people do care about the mission, but I think they care about it because of their close connection with staff.”
  • In college they got to really experience being used by God to change others’ lives
    • “Generally, students who will labor for a lifetime have to be taking steps of faith and sharing their faith and making significant investments into the lives of others (not just leading a small little Bible study)”
    • They led someone to Christ in college, they discipled students
    • “They experienced that they really are God’s plan A to reach the world. They get to see God use them”
  • They went on Summer Mission
    • 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)
  • They became a Christian in college
    • Students who came to Christ in college are much more likely to consider doing full time ministry when they graduate
    • Chalk it up to: “he who is forgiven much, loves much.”
  • They want to be a part of something big and exciting
    • “This mission is worthy of your life.”
    • “At the end of time when the great book of the history of the spread of the gospel of Christ is written, I think an entire chapter will be devoted to what God did among college students on our campus. Do you want to be a part of that?”
    • “You can be a part of the big story of God changing the world”
    • “Come help change the world”
  • Realizing internship isn’t just for people who want to go into vocational ministry
    • “If you want to live on mission for the rest of your life, an internship is the best training opportunity that I know of that you can be a part of.”
    • “It will equip you to make an impact for a lifetime no matter where you end up”
    • “A good question: How and when will I get the needed training to have an effective ministry for a lifetime? If you think you can be more effective (long-range) in secular work, consider taking a couple years in full time ministry to get the training needed.”

The-Top-Sending-Campuses

This is the part 3 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).

In talking to these top sending schools, I’d ask “How did you become a sending campus?”

Over and over I heard: “It’s who we are.” “Sending is what our movement is about – we’re about mission.” “It’s just in the air of our movement that students breathe.”

My question for all of them: “OK, that’s great for y’all but what advice do you have for a campus that doesn’t have that culture? What would you tell a campus who wants to grow from not much sending to being a sending campus?”

The answers can be grouped into:

Three Steps to Move from Not Much Sending to Being a Sending Campus

  • Cast Vision to Create a Sending Culture (It starts with Staff)

    • “As staff, we are cultural architects – creating a culture that loves and embraces the mission of sharing Jesus with people. And here’s an opportunity to do that full time.” – SLO
    • “Be a visionary for what we are doing. And then ask students to join you in doing it full time. Hopefully the response is, ‘yeah, why would I not want to be a part of that?’ – SLO
    • “Regularly use illustrations from your time overseas in talks and devotionals. Share stories often at staff team meetings and small groups”
    • “In Madison, when we talk about sending we don’t talk about just filling slots. We talk about changing the culture of our movement to care about the world. “We are Badgers. We go.” “Badgers Go.” It has become our culture not just the heart of a few people or just the staff. It takes time to build this into your movement but it can really change fast if the right students catch the vision.” – Wisconsin
    • “You are changing the culture of your movement not just getting people to sign up. This will take time, intentionality and prayer.”
    • “Don’t lose sight of the goal: we do what we do in the US to fulfill the great commission. Keep the world as the goal in front of your team and students all the time.”
    • Ohio State:
      • Our movements always reflect our leaders’ passions
      • The movement is always going to reflect the strength of the staff team
      • If I’m asking how do I change the movement, I need to ask, what do I need to change?
      • I need to ask – how passionate am I about it? What am I teaching? What am I talking about? Am I living this out? Are we highlighting it?
    • A&M:
      • “As the leader, as the mouthpiece, you need to be telling the stories and leading from experience. Our family goes every third year on international Summer Missions. Your wife has to be in it too. Because a lot of the work will fall on her (getting the kids overseas on Summer Missions).”
  • Normalize Going – Pray for and challenge a foundational sending class

    • “It needs to go from something only special people do to a normal option. This is a normal consideration for every Christian” – Miami
    • “Once it happens it becomes a norm and they see other students do it and they want to do it – OK State
    • “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?’”
    • “You need a couple really key students to buy in. Challenge the right students to really consider it and pray about it.”
    • Our best/fullest STINT teams all had the same scenario: a student committed to STINT early (Junior year or the summer before their Senior year) and they spent the entire year raising up a STINT team around themselves
    • Challenge students the spring of their junior year – Virginia Tech
      • We used to do most of our recruiting during student’s senior years. But we kept finding that we were too late. Students had already accepted jobs.
      • At Virginia Tech we have a lot of engineering students who have lots of (high paying!) options after college
      • For most of our students, the summer after the junior year internship is the job interview. So they decide by October 1 senior year.
      • So we started doing a Junior Recruiting Dinner – the spring of their junior year.
  • Send First (from Texas A&M)

    • In Cru, our mission is Win-Build-Send
    • But for most campuses (in Cru) it becomes Gather-Build-Keep
    • You will rarely have “enough” (though we do ask staff to think through how they’ll replace themselves when they go overseas)
    • Like with evangelism, we can easily leave sending out to be added in later when someone is “mature” or our movement is ready to begin sending.
    • However, these things don’t really work being tacked on at the end.
    • They have to be part of the DNA of the movement.
    • When does the DNA get there? At conception. Same with sending. Students need to be hearing it from Day 1.
    • At the front door of people being involved with us, we want them to know we are actively helping students know Christ, and they can be part of that.
    • We also want them to know that the gospel needs to go to the whole world and they can play a part in that too.
    • We may not be sending freshmen on STINT, but we want to plant the seed in their mind that they could go down the road.
    • We can easily look at our current situation and say that we have nothing to give, or no one to send.
    • We seek the Lord’s blessing here in hopes that one day we will have extra to send. But God blesses us that we can be a blessing to others.
    • Psalm 67 starts: “God be gracious to us and bless us, 
And cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.”
    • Whether it is with our finances or people there is generally too big of a gap between the receiving and the giving. We tend to hold on too long. We need to send out resources, or we will become ingrown.
    • I need young interns here to help reach the next class of freshmen, but if it comes to Interning here or Stint over at our partnership, I want to send them to labor there.
    • I would rather send a solid STINT team than have a big team here.
    • You’ll get a lot of them back (STINT’ers coming back as staff in the States)  – they won’t all go overseas long term though hopefully a lot do
    • We have 7 staff and 4 of them want to go overseas
    • And it’s going to be hard if they all leave
    • But I would send them.
    • If we have a smaller team, it’s OK
    • That’s what we are about

The-Top-Sending-Campuses

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?

The-Top-Sending-Campuses

This is the part 1 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).

How important are campus dynamics?

One of my theories going into researching the Top Sending Campuses was that campus dynamics are very important – that it’s easier to send from a Midwestern State than it is from Northwestern.

So is it easier to send from a less academically rigorous school where most students don’t have specific plans already for post-college? The answer is yes it’s easier, but not necessarily more fruitful.

Let me explain.

The reality is that it IS easier to send from the big state school that’s not academically rigorous. My alma mater Texas Tech and current ministry location – University of Arkansas would fall into this category. And God has used these schools to produce many laborers. I heard from many schools (see Cal State Chico, Missouri State, Oklahoma State) thoughts along these lines:

  • We’re a state school – anyone can get into it
  • Students are here because they wanted to party or they didn’t get into their #1 school because of grades or they did not have a plan for their life – they have no clue
  • Students have no career plan
  • Not a lot of our students are doing summer internships, a lot of them are doing victory laps (5th year)
  • It gives us the ability with a clean slate to cast vision for Summer Missions, Internship, and STINT

But here’s the thing: it may be easier to send from less academically rigorous schools, but that doesn’t mean those schools end up being more fruitful (in terms of numerical sending). Just taking a rough look at the Top 25 Sending Schools in Cru, it’s pretty evenly split between elite schools and “easier” school.

I was really surprised by that – that half of the best sending schools are academically rigorous schools (see Northwestern, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio State – others I didn’t interview include UCLA, UNC Chapel Hill, Boston). Here’s why:

  • Elite schools can actually be incredibly fruitful despite the challenges because they ARE challenging. Elite schools are filled with leaders. Leaders respond to challenges. They may already have huge plans for life post-college. But once Christ gets a hold of their life, they develop huge plans for Christ. Students at academically rigorous (and often very secular) schools have to count the costs early on and decide to truly follow Jesus. They often instantly face persecution from classmates, parents, and professors. They have decided that Jesus is worthy of their lives.

Kim Johnson (Cru Team Leader at Northwestern) has some wisdom on sending from elite schools (and I heard similar things from the team at the very liberal University of Wisconsin):

  • You have to get it out of your thinking that “it’s just different here”
  • You can’t go in with the mentality that it won’t work here – you’re lowering your faith – “Oh, my students are different so it just won’t happen here”
  • You have to look at it – “Oh, I have more potential than other campuses because once they buy in, they’re all in”
  • We’re at an advantage at an academic school, because if they really make Jesus Lord of their life they’ve bought all in
  • Getting them on Summer Mission is huge – seeing other campuses – that this is normal

If you you do college ministry at an elite school, you should read the full posts on Northwestern and University of Wisconsin

 

For those of us on state schools that are less academically rigorous, what is the takeaway? For me it’s pretty challenging and inspiring to hear what elite students are “giving up” to go into full time ministry. A few random thoughts:

  • It makes me think we are underperforming in the area of sending. We need to step our game up. We have an incredible stewardship and opportunity that many of our students ARE a blank slate coming into college with no clear career plan. Friends on Cru staff at Harvard tell me how they have students involved who since they were 6 have wanted to go to Harvard and become a doctor. On our campus, most of our students are lucky if they know what they’re going to do this weekend. We can be and should be a pipeline for sending out hundreds of laborers.
  • I think it’s sometimes the case that some students from easier schools will go into full time ministry because they really don’t many other options. They’re not super ambitious and so they kind of back into full time ministry. Raising support is a great filter because it tests this crowd and their determination and initiative and faith.
  • Our staff need to pursue the “elite” students on our campus. The ones who ARE getting multiple job offers. We want the best and brightest to join us in full time ministry. I think we often gravitate toward “easy targets”. We buy into lies- “Well, she’s got a 6 figure offer from Google. She’s so smart, I’d hate for her to pass up that opportunity.” “He’s got a 4.0, and a free ride in grad school, I don’t want to ask him”. What do we believe about our jobs (full time ministry) when we see it as “less than”? We don’t REALLY believe that we’re offering an incredible opportunity to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission. We need brilliant leaders to solve the greatest problem in the world – how do we get the good news of Jesus to every corner of the world?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Whether you serve on an elite campus or the biggest party school in America, I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn from your experience.

 

Northwestern

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

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

Northwestern is an Ivy League level private school who’s alumni include many Fortune 500 CEO’s, notable politicians, and entertainers such as Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Zooey Deschanel.

I talked to Kim Johnson (an Ohio State graduate) who has been at Northwestern for 18 years and led the team there for many years.

Quick facts on Cru at Northwestern:

# on staff team – 22 total

Avg Cru meeting size – 160             First Cru= over 200

Students in Community Groups – 180 students

Students at school – 8,000

Partnership – Desert Springs and Breakthrough (Middle East/Central Asia)

 

Sending Stats Last year:

  • STINT – 10
  • Intern – 10
  • Over last couple years – 14 joined staff – 12 of them didn’t know Jesus when they came on campus
  • About 30 on SM (Kim has led Ocean City for the last decade) and Breakthrough
    • A little more than ½ to Ocean City; little less than half overseas
  • 170 on fall retreat

How did you become a sending campus?

  • We are seeing students come to know God and then join staff.
  • Last year we had 30 seniors involved in Cru – 20 of them are either STINTing or Interning.
  • Probaby five years ago we had our first significant foundational freshman class – it went from seeing a chunk joining with us to 80-90% join with us
  • Most of the people we are seeing intern with us didn’t know Jesus when they came to college.
  • Of our 22 staff and interns on our team, 18 of them didn’t know Jesus as a freshman.
  • For last couple of years – 90% of students who intern or STINT have joined staff with us after they interned.
  • A student said to me the other day – “But if I intern, I’ll have to join staff” and I’m saying “no, you don’t have to!” but that’s how much it is in the culture
  • What do you attribute that to?
    • I really don’t know
    • There’s the God factor
    • We’re a high vision/high challenge movements
    • It’s a high filter
    • We practice selection
    • Once they’ve made it to junior/senior year they’re all in
  • We’ve always been a high vision/high challenge movement
  • Over the last few years we have doubled in size (our movement)
  • Our students are seeing their friends graduate and do this and now it’s in the water – it’s just momentum

Sending from an Elite, Academically Rigorous School

  • You have to get it out of your thinking that “it’s just different here”
  • You can’t go in with the mentality that it won’t work here – you’re lowering your faith – “Oh, my students are different so it just won’t happen here”
  • You have to look at it – “Oh, I have more potential than other campuses because once they buy in, they’re all in”
  • We’re at an advantage at an academic school, because if they really make Jesus Lord of their life they’ve bought all in
  • The cost of education at Northwestern is $250-$300k(!)
  • So these students who are joining Cru in full time ministry are having very difficult conversations with their very successful parents
  • They’re counting the cost
  • They’re willing to have the hard conversation with the parent who just invested $250,000 in their education
  • I’ve heard from parents: “Going on staff is for community college students, not for my child”
    • I’m thinking – “What I’m hearing you say is the gospel and Jesus is not for successful, intelligent people”
    • Your son or daughter could be so influential for the kingdom, that they need to steward that all the more!
    • I am so encouraged when I hear people like Ravi Zacharias or Tim Keller who are brilliant – it raises my faith
    • Our students have the potential to be brilliant Christian leaders like that
  • They’re natural leaders
    • We get to shape whether they’re leaders for eternity or just for themselves – being a CEO of a fortune 500 company
  • Once they buy in, they are all in
  • One staff, both of her parents are doctors, she scored perfect on the MCAT, and turned down med school to join staff
  • Most of our students are in the engineering program so they are offered huge salaries (Mechanical, Biomedical engineers)
  • Getting them on Summer Mission is huge – seeing other campuses – that this is normal
  • We tell them: Mormons give up a year or two for a lie, what will you do for the truth
  • It’s a rare day that I can overchallenge a Northwestern student
  • What I feel like, is a lot of people recruit in a narcissistic way – you can be developed if you intern with us
  • We recruit in a way – Jesus is worth it. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus

What advice do you have for a campus that wants to grow from not much sending to being a sending campus?

  • Honestly I think we’ve had a lot come from just seeing lives transformed – we’ve seen a lot of people join staff who were not Christians when they arrived in college
  • Nothing groundbreaking, but it starts with sowing broadly and raising up a freshman class and getting them on Summer Missions
  • And I would say that not all Summer Missions are created equal
    • Get them to a Summer Missions where it will train them toward mission and sharing their faith
    • They are experiencing that they really are God’s plan A to reach the world. They get to see God use them
  • It doesn’t have to be a monstrous freshman class – but just start with a few
  • When students experience the gospel, how can you not want to turn around and share it?

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

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

The chart below shows staff allocation and student need for each of the 10 Cru regions.

A helpful clarification as to how Cru works: Cru is divided into 10 regions (I’ve listed the states in each region at the bottom of this post). Generally, staff and interns that are raised up in a region stay in the same region. Staff and interns are placed by the regional team (with interns typically staying on the same campus from which they graduated). Interns and staff can request to go to another region, but that is not the norm (and involves not a small amount of coordination between regions).

In the past (I’m not sure what year – maybe pre-1991?) staff allocation was done nationally. I may be wrong, but I’ve heard that staff were intentionally sent out of their region – i.e.- if you went to school in Texas you would be placed on staff in New Hampshire.

A quick explanation of the columns:

  • Total FT = Staff + Interns in a region (as of 2013)
  • Sending FT = how many interns and staff that region raised up in 2014 (doesn’t count sending to STINT). I think this is helpful to see the trajectory of manpower for that region (i.e. – ____ may not have a lot of staff right now but they are currently raising up a lot; or _____ doesn’t have enough staff and there’s no help on the way unless it comes from the outside)
  • Students = how many total college students in each region (thanks to Scott Crocker for compiling these via The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac & Open Doors Report. Numbers were published Fall 2014 & represent 2012-2013 School Year)
  • Students/FT = the staff to student ratio – how many students each staff needs to reach with the gospel. “The laborers are few.”
  • Involved = how many students are involved with Cru in that region
  • Involved % of whole = what percentage of college students in that region are involved with Cru
  • Involved/FT = the staff to involved student ratio – how many students are involved per full time Cru worker (staff & intern). This stat includes moms who are not full time on campus (most work 4-8 hours/week), which definitely distorts the numbers a bit; i.e. – on our campus we have 36 students involved/staff if you just count full time staff/interns on campus (not counting moms). 26 students/staff if you count moms.
Total FT Sending FT Students Students/FT Involved Involved % of whole Involved/FT
Great Lakes 378 150 2,717,402 7,189 9,232 0.34% 24
Great Plains 198 47 1,358,845 6,863 4,119 0.30% 21
Greater Northwest 137 21 1,211,181 8,841 1,592 0.13% 12
Mid-Atlantic 180 57 2,511,805 13,954 4,945 0.20% 27
Mid-South 217 64 1,470,910 6,778 5,742 0.39% 26
Northeast 155 35 2,350,253 15,163 2,796 0.12% 18
Pacific Southwest 206 95 3,474,494 16,866 3,580 0.10% 17
Red River 208 84 2,222,204 10,684 4,084 0.18% 20
Southeast 147 65 2,197,268 14,947 5,140 0.23% 35
Upper Midwest 197 69 1,300,398 6,601 8,064 0.62% 41
2,023 687 20,814,760 10,289 49,294 0.24% 24

What can we learn from this?

  • First off, I think it’s good to remember that while there is a lot of work to be done in the U.S., the need is still far greater overseas. There are thousands of campuses with no Christian witness. In just one region in East Asia where we send to, the population is the same as the U.S. and they have 50 staff to reach it (we have 34x that in the U.S.!).What can we learn from this?
  • The need is great. We have 1 Cru staff for every 10,000 college students in the U.S.. If you took 1,000 college students at random, 2 of them would be involved in Cru.
  • The regions with the most need (based on student/FT ratio):
    1. Pacific Southwest
    2. Southeast
    3. Northeast
    4. Mid-Atlantic
  • Of those, the Northeast has the greatest need – based on the pipeline of new laborers. I’m not sure what the rate of attrition is (people leaving staff/internships) but I’d guess that 35 new laborers/year is not enough to stay laborer neutral (much less grow).
  • I think the Involved/FT column is a great indicator of spiritual soil.
  • The hardest places to grow a movement:
    1. Greater Northwest
    2. Pacific Southwest
    3. Northeast
involved per FT map

Involved/FT

Thanks to Karl Udy for putting together these maps!

  • The hardest places to raise up laborers:
    1. Greater Northwest
    2. Northeast
  • It’s striking to see that the Upper Midwest has twice as much gospel saturation as any other region. Not that .6% is thorough saturation by any stretch that means that out of 1,000 students on every campus in that region, 6 are involved with Cru. But far (6x!) closer to “everyone knowing someone that passionately follows Jesus” than the PSW, Northeast, and Greater Northwest with 1 passionate follower of Christ for every 1,000 students.
involved per whole map

Involved/Whole

 

  • Every year the Great Lakes is raising up as many Full Time Laborers (FT) as the entire Northeast region (of course that includes interns who will likely only serve for 1-2 years)
  • I think this map is helpful. It’s the population at large (not just college students), but it shows the percentage of Evangelical Protestants and Mormons (?!) in different regions of the U.S. (the NYTimes has a clickable version where you can see % for each county):

Evangelical Protestants and Mormons map

evangelical map key

 

  • See that nice, clean gray space in the Northeast? And that map puts into perspective what God has done in raising up such strong Cru movements in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes where there are far fewer Christians (than the south). May He do the same in the Northwest, Northeast, and Pacific Southwest.
  • This map (via Pew Forum) might be more helpful- it just shows Evangelicals (sans Mormons):

Evangelical_Protestants__by_State

  • Another interesting ratio – number of laborers (interns and staff) a region raises up per existing laborer:
sending to FT

Sending/FT

 

What can we do about the needs?

  • I am not advocating for a return to the days of national staff allocation. I think that breeds resentment in staff (who are sent out) and teams (whose staff are pried away).
  • 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.
  • What I would love to see is a grassroots movement of campuses 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.

I would love to hear what you think: What do you see as you look at the data?

 

States in each Cru region:

Great Lakes – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio

Great Plains – Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Wyoming

Greater Northwest – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Mid-Atlantic – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia W., Virginia, D.C.

Mid-South – Kentucky, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Tennessee

Northeast Region – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New, Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Pacific Southwest – Arizona, California, Hawaii,

Red River – Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

Southeast – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi

Upper Midwest – Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin

 

In my research I’ve had several people ask about the effectiveness of Internships/STINT in raising up long term staff. I believe that an Internship or STINT is good for any and every student. Any graduate, no matter what they plan to do for their career, would benefit from doing a year or two of college ministry.

 

Tim Keller has commented that doing college ministry is the best preparation for pastors AND lay people for a lifetime of effective ministry and leadership in the church.

In doing college ministry, “by exposing people to the cutting edge of culture where they have to deal with the modern mindset, where they have to deal with non-Christians — that, in Keller’s opinion, is the best way to develop pastors and lay leaders.”

We want Internship or STINT to be a launching pad to a lifetime of effective ministry in the workplace, as a mom or dad, as a neighbor. As OU’s MTL put it:

My husband and I Interned and our lives were radically changed. We both learned to share our faith. And learned to love Jesus. I saw Internship totally change my husband’s life. And he left Cru sent. My husband is now in medical school. He’s seen 5 guys in his medical school come to Christ. I saw what the Lord did in my husbands’ life and I became convinced: It doesn’t matter if they join with us long term. I want students to Intern with us and experience being used by God – I want them to really fall in love with Jesus and get to do a lot of ministry.

But we also desire for these 1-2 years to be a test run for students considering long term full time ministry. Our hope is that Internship/STINT will produce many long term staff – for the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.

So how are we in Cru doing at raising up long term staff through Internships and STINT?

Jim Rhodes is the national Intern coordinator for Cru. I asked him to send me stats on retention rates of Internships and STINT.

This past year (2013), nationally …

  • 75% of our U.S. Interns stayed with us.  (This means they continued in their employment with us as either Staff, a 2nd year Internship, or as PTFS-part time field staff).
    • Of the 75% … 24% joined staff … 38% signed on for a 2nd Year of Interning … 6% transitioned to a part-time or Affiliate status.
    • 59% of our STINTers stayed with us.  (Same meaning as above)
    • Overall … 68 % of our combined U.S. Interns and non-staff STINTers stayed with us
  • 22% of our Interns and STINTers joined staff this past year.
    • 22% joined staff … 46% re-Interned or went PTFS and 32% left our employ.
    • 24 % of the Interns joined staff … 19% of the STINTers joined staff.

I asked Jim: One thing I’m trying to figure out – when it comes to raising up long term staff, is it “better” to recruit to STINT or Internship (i.e. – which one yields more staff?).

I think recruiting to both is honestly the best answer to your question.  Transition to Staff rates are currently higher for U.S. Interns than for STINT, but my observation is that the leadership qualities of the STINTers who come on staff are higher. Both rates are well below are goals.  As a goal we are shooting to have 33% of both our STINTers and our U.S. Interns joining staff each year.  Our vision is to grow to the point where we are sending 1 out of 3 on staff … another 1 out of 3 staying with us for a 2nd year … and sending the final 1 out of 3 into the marketplace as part of 100% sent.

What do you think? What are your takeaways?

Do you think Internships and STINT are effective in raising up long term staff?

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

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

I think it’s helpful to see the overall picture – across the nation and across every campus. To see the national picture of students involved and numbers sent by region. The chart below shows Sending numbers for 2014 for each of the 10 Cru regions.

A quick explanation of the columns:

  • Full Time = number of students this year who went into full time ministry – 1 year internship, STINT, or long term staff
  • SM = Summer Missions
  • FT/SM
    • Wisconsin Cru has found that Summer Missions are a leading measure for Sending into full time ministry. The Full Time/Summer Missions ratio is an attempt to track that.
    • It’s Full Time staff divided by an average of the previous two Summer Missions numbers (since it will take a couple years for those Summer Missions students to graduate)
      • So 2014 Full Time divided by average of 2012 and 2013 Summer Missions
    • I’ll have to track it year to see if that ratio holds up (and to see if increased numbers on SMs leads to more students sent).
  • Students Involved = this is a self reported number that can be a bit arbitrary. Many schools just count number of students that come to their Community Groups. On our campus we count how many students come at least half the time to our CGs AND we add a guess of how many students come at least half the time to our weekly meeting who AREN’T involved in CGs. Again – a bit fuzzy.
  • FT/Involved – % of how many went into full time ministry of those involved

 

2014 Full Time SM Intern STINT Staff FT/SM (from avg of 2 previous SMs) Students involved FT/Involved
Upper Midwest 100 361 40 31 29 27% 8064 1.24%
Southeast 92 319 38 27 27 34% 5140 1.79%
Red River 127 275 53 43 31 43% 4084 3.11%
PSW 129 329 63 34 32 39% 3580 3.60%
Northeast 41 154 23 6 12 28% 2796 1.47%
Midsouth 114 398 28 50 36 29% 5742 1.99%
MidAtlantic 88 221 30 31 27 12% 4945 0.55%
Great Plains 58 234 25 11 22 21% 4119 1.41%
Northwest 30 106 10 9 11 23% 1592 1.88%
Great Lakes 200 552 81 50 69 40% 9232 2.17%
Total 918 2949 391 292 296 30% 49294 1.86%

What can we learn from this?

  • The top sending school in the nation (Texas A&M) sends more than 3 entire regions (not cumulatively – A&M sends more than each region)
  • The Red River and Pacific Southwest send a higher percentage of students. Not sure why. Obviously very different regions spiritually, ethnically, and culturally.
  • If the Summer Missions as a lead indicator for Full Time Ministry hypothesis is true. 1 out of every 3 students you send on Summer Missions will go into full time ministry
  • Not shown on this chart but still interesting: Money does not seem to be a hindrance to student involvement and sending
    • The top sending regions do not correlate with the top fundraising regions (based on stats on fund raising dinner proceeds across the nation)
    • i.e. – The Great Lakes Region raises the 3rd least in funds. But, by far, sends the most and has the most students involved
  • What else? Anything else jump out at you?

 

Our big takeaway:

  • Seeing the sending reality of the Northwest and Northeast is sobering. I can speak for our campus: we need to send more and keep less. As I elaborated in the previous post– based on the need, I would say the priority should be sending overseas. But a secondary focus should be sending to the areas of the country where it is difficult to raise up laborers and where there is a very low % of evangelical Christians. Specifically the Northwest and Northeast.
  • I do college ministry in the south (in the Red River Region of Cru). In the Bible belt. Where:
    • Most college kids come to school having grown up in church and many have been on a mission trip in high school. While a lot of campuses (in the NE, NW, PSW, etc) start with students at 0 spiritually, a lot of our students start out as 5’s and we can take them to 10’s (Christ-centered laborers).
    • Many students come to school considering the possibility that God wants to do something with their life. Even the student who says “I’ll never be a missionary in Africa” at least admits at some level that they’ve considered the possibility.
    • Some parents are opposed to their kids going into ministry (or on Summer Missions), but the vast majority are Christians and at least neutral to their kid doing ministry and raising support.
    • There is a lot of Christian money- what I mean by that is there is a lot of money and it is in the hands of evangelical Christians who go to missional churches. A necessary part of sending is funding.
    • At a public school where most students have scholarships and low student debt.
    • Most students have no clue what they want to do with their lives (in contrast to talking to Cru staff at Boston – their students have known since they were 5 that they wanted to be a doctor and attend Harvard).
  • God has uniquely positioned our region to do one thing really well: SEND.
  • We have a stewardship to Send. And we need to take that seriously. We currently only send 2% of our movement whereas some send 4, 8, even 12 (and in far more difficult environments). We can do better. Thus trying to learn from the best sending campuses in the nation.

 

 

The Sending Team at Cru HQ in Orlando pulled most of these numbers together with Elise Hebert doing 98% of the work. Thanks Mike Crandall, Elise and the Sending Team! Their caveat: “these numbers are the best we could pull from the reports we have.  It’s certainly possible that our reporting systems didn’t get it 100% right.”

The Sending team would like to continue to resource and coordinate the conversation on mobilization so that we continue to send well together. If you have any thoughts on how we can do better or what resources would be helpful, please comment on this post or email Mike Crandall.

Average Stats on Cru’s Top 25 Sending Campuses:

  • Average Sent into Full Time Ministry per year – 16 (ranging from 10-40)
  • Average Team Size – 15
  • Average Movement Size – 556
  • Students Involved/Staff – 38
  • Sending into Full Time Ministry/Student Involved – 3%
  • Sending/Staff – 1/1
  • 398 of the 918 full time laborers sent into Full Time Ministry with Cru in 2014 came from 25 campuses.
  • There are 546 total campus strategy Cru Movements (most movements focus on multiple campuses).
  • So 4% of the movements send 43% of the laborers.
    • The top 50 sending movements (9% of all Cru movements) send 64% of all laborers (these movements send 6 or more/year into full time ministry)
    • The top 100 sending movements (18%) send 77% of all laborers (these movements send 3 or more/year into full time ministry)
  • Additionally – these 25 campuses (just 4% of movements) sent 54% of Cru’s STINTers. That’s astounding.
    • There’s a less dramatic % for other types of sending from these 25 schools:
      • Interns – 36% of all interns raised up come from these 25 schools
      • Staff – 34%
      • Summer Missions – 28%

The-Top-Sending-Campuses

This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

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

What can we take away from this?

The Top Sending Schools Need to Send More Than They Keep

  • This has been my big takeaway from seeing all this. On our campus, we need to send more and keep less.
  • I don’t speak for Cru or for any of these campuses except for my own (U of Arkansas), but I think the Top 25 Sending Campuses have an incredible stewardship. For whatever reason, God is using them to send almost half of the laborers for the entire Cru ministry. We should be sending generously. As Brian White at Texas A&M so powerfully said:
    • “We need to send first. In Cru, our mission is Win-Build-Send. But for most campuses it becomes Gather-Build-Keep. You will rarely have ‘enough’.”
  • Based on the need, I would say the priority should be sending overseas. But a secondary focus should be sending to the areas of the country where it is difficult to raise up laborers and where there is a very low % of evangelical Christians. Specifically the Northwest and Northeast.

 

What else can we take away?

  • These are large movements. I think we can confidently say that big sending comes from big campuses. That’s not to say that smaller movements can’t send a lot of laborers. Or that large movements will necessarily send a lot of laborers. There are large movements that are nothing more than a consumeristic weekly meeting. And there are smaller movements that are very intentional and fruitful in sending. But just looking at it logically, it’s a lot easier to send 10 seniors into full time ministry when you have 40 seniors involved.
  • These are large staff teams. One of my initial theories (before I started researching) was that perhaps big staff teams produce more laborers. I’m not sure if that is true. But, as Texas’s Director said is often true: “students join staff because of a relationship with a staff person – they’ve been really deeply, personally invested in.”
    • In light of this, the Students Involved/Staff stat is an interesting one to keep track of.
    • I know for our region, the average ratio is 30/1. I think back in the old days in Cru, the aim used to be 50/1. That you’d have 50 students involved for every staff.
    • This stat is especially encouraging if you have a smaller team and you’re trusting God for big things!
  • This would be a great goal to have as a team – “We want to send a 1 to 1 ratio for our staff team”. Do you have 10 staff on your team? Make it your goal to send 10 students into full time ministry every year. That’s the average on these Top Sending Campuses.
    • “The one who does the work is only surpassed in value by the one who multiplies the doers.” John R. Mott
  • There’s something about sending overseas on STINT that really benefits from momentum of students going together. 25 movements (just 4% of movements) sent 54% of the STINTers. It seems that staff and intern sending doesn’t see as much of a bump from having a large movement with a lot of sending momentum. My guess: the close, familial relationship with their staff that prompts students to intern or join staff can sometimes happen better in a smaller movement.


What else? Anything else jump out at you?

ohio stateThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

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

Quick facts on Cru at Ohio State:

  • Staff – 9 interns, 17 on campus staff (plus 5-6 AIA; 3 Bridges – both of those teams are totally autonomous)
  • Weekly Meeting Average –  500-600 avg
    • First week did 2 Real Life meetings (what they call their weekly meetings)
      • Thursday – over 600
      • Sunday – 550
  • Fall Retreat – 360 (hope to break 400 this year)
  • Students in Community Groups – 708 (264 freshmen)

Sending Stats Last year (which is about average):

  • STINT – 6
  • Intern – 9
  • Staff – 5
  • Summer Missions – Every year we’re trusting God to put 100 students in the pipeline/100 apply. This year we had over 100 apply
    • 50-60 go on Summer Missions
  • Partnership – Slovenia and Venezuela (phasing out into Brazil); starting Chicago
    • We have a partnership coordinator working in conjunction with Chicago Cru
    • We hope to send a STINT team to UI-Chicago
    • Every 4th person that works in downtown chicago went to UIC
    • Bacho leads the Summer Mission in Chicago

I talked to Bacho Bordjadze who has led the team at Ohio State for many years and has been on staff there since 1995.

My first question to him was, “You’ve been on staff at the same campus for 20 years. Why have you stayed so long at Ohio State?”

  • The heritage of Ohio State’s ministry
  • God’s doing a lot of things here and has done a lot over the years
  • The vision of what God is going to do here in the next few decades –
    • My email signature is “on the way to the Schott”
    • The vision is that in the next three decades, that the Schott (Ohio State’s basketball arena that seats 19,000) will be cram packed full of students worshipping Jesus (once a week)
      • The campus will be so transformed that Jesus will be the focus of this campus
    • That there will be an OSU grad impacting every country in the world and people group

How did you become a sending campus?

  • Clarity of Mission (always true here – Jim Sylvester, Carrie Walker, etc) – the ship is going in the right direction, we just try to stay on course
    • Turning lost students into christ centered laborers
    • Doing initiative evangelism
    • There is nothing fancy about our ministry
    • We stay true to what got us here
  • Staff team
    • This is what makes or breaks our movement
    • Jim Collins – if you have the right people on the bus…
    • There’s intentionality of getting those people on the bus and then creating the environment where people love doing ministry together
      • 2x/semester we bring all of our action groups together and just love on them
        • share stories
        • Have cookies and milk
        • Our staff team is having more fun than they are
          • Taking crazy pictures/selfies together
          • dancing
      • How do you create that environment of fun?
        • You sink money into it!
        • For our whole ministry we have a $30,000 total budget
        • We lavish it on staff and student leaders
        • On Monday we have staff meeting (have coffee and treats)
        • On Wednesday we have staff bible study (campus pays for childcare)
        • Friday we have a staff brunch
          • Eat meals together and at different tables with different questions and we talk life
        • We work hard and play hard
        • Give the team 2 days off after fall retreat
          • Next week: Thursday night we’re going to celebrate all that God has done in the first 6 weeks
  • Do not be ashamed or shy to invite students into full time ministry
    • Come help change the world
    • Life Options – this is worthy of your life
    • These are sharp students – of course they have 4-5 great options after college
      • It’s not, if your other options fall through
      • One of the significant pages in God’s history (in 200 years) will be what God is doing at OSU and Arkansas, etc
      • We don’t chase people – we invite them because this is a great thing
    • Even if you say no to this, consider yourself invited because we like you
  • We do Shepherd Team once/month
    • You get to interact with some of the sharpest/most gifted people on the planet
    • Because of what God is doing and who he’s made us, it’s an honor to run with us

What advice do you have for a campus that wants to grow from not much sending to being a sending campus?

  • Our movements always reflect our leaders’ passions
  • As a student, I was watching Jim Sylvester bleed [Jim is the godfather of “movement building” – the art of building a movement that is of the size, health, and maturity to reach the entire campus with the gospel. I HIGHLY recommend reading a brief introduction to his ministry philosophy – Building Movements. No other article has had a greater impact on how I do college ministry.]
  • The movement is always going to reflect the strength of the staff team
  • If I’m asking how do I change the movement, I need to ask, what do I need to change?
  • I need to ask – how passionate am I about it? What am I teaching? What am I talking about? Am I living this out? Are we highlighting it?

What are your big takeaways from Ohio State Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?