Archives For Vision

Another great reason to be doing college ministry:

canaryMillennials are the canary in the religious mine. We can ignore them…but if we do that, we lose our ability to engage future generations. We need to pay attention to the millennial concerns. Not because the church needs to be hip. But because they grew up in postmodern culture. Engaging postmodern religion through the lens of the millennials will help the church of 2020 proclaim the Gospel to a complex and confusing world.      – John W. Hawthorne

We are doing ministry on the cutting edge of culture (as I posted last week re: Tim Keller’s belief that the future leaders of the church should be trained through doing College Ministry).

We are working with college students who are natives to a rapidly changing America where Christianity is no longer a moral majority. This generation will play a significant role in leading the Church into a new era of proclaiming Christ in a increasingly complex culture. Why? Because they are in their natural habitat. They know no other America than the one we are currently living in. Not that our culture is any less “complex and confusing” for Millennials – just that they are fluent in  complexity. They don’t have to “learn a new language” – the complexity is normal to them and thus easier for them to lead in.


HT: @DavidRobbinsCru

photo courtesy of Michael Sonnabend

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?



This TED talk is a must watch for College Ministry and Cru City staff (or much quicker: read the transcript – TED has a great feature where you can read the transcript and click on a phrase to play the video at that point).

Some great insights:

  • As a culture we have trivialized what is actually the defining decade of adulthood
  • 80% of life defining moments happen by the time you’re 35
  • Your personality changes more in your 20’s than any other time in your life
  • So what do you think happens when you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, “You have 10 extra years to start your life”? Nothing happens. You have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition, and absolutely nothing happens.
  • The post-millennial midlife crisis isn’t buying a red sports car. It’s…many thirtysomethings and fortysomethings say[ing] about their 20s, “What was I doing? What was I thinking?”
  • I want to change what twentysomethings are doing and thinking.

And how about this vision for reaching college students and twentysomethings:

What I love about working with twentysomethings. They are so easy to help. Twentysomethings are like airplanes just leaving LAX, bound for somewhere west. Right after takeoff, a slight change in course is the difference between landing in Alaska or Fiji. Likewise, at 21 or 25 or even 29, one good conversation… can have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.

Watch here or click to watch on TED (and to be able to read the transcript):

HT: @guychmieleski for tweeting about it!

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!


A while back I wrote a post We need better Leaders than came before that raised a lot of questions but didn’t resolve anything.

It’s something we’ve been wrestling with as a team and, I think, an important issue to think through as your movement grows.

So let’s jump back into it over the next couple of days.

Here’s the (abbreviated) problem stated in 2 contradicting statements:

  1. “In building a movement, the students currently involved have to be better leaders than the previous generation because the movement is larger and more complex”
  2. John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid says good leaders (10’s) won’t follow lesser leaders (5’s)

If these two statements are true (and in my experience they almost always are) how is it possible for students to raise up better leaders than themselves?

On the original post Andrew had some great comments (his full comments are worth the read). Springboarding off of his comments (noted in quotations below),

Here are some thoughts on how students can raise up better leaders than themselves:

Cast vision

“When students are talking to better leaders, focus on vision casting. If you are able to paint a compelling picture of the cause, then you may be able to attract higher leadership levels because they are compelled by the cause. In other words, make it about more than just following you.

To quote Russ Martin: “leaders are big picture people, use big pictures!”

Focus on student ownership

“When students are given opportunities to lead/manage, they are able to use those opportunities for leadership growth.”

Students can grow rapidly in leadership when given lots of leadership experience right from the beginning of their involvement with us. I think we ask too little from freshmen.

Age Disparity

For the most part, students enter college as kids and graduate as adults. What does that have to do with raising up better leaders than came before? Age disparity enables a Senior who is a 5 to raise up freshman (who looks up to him as a wise sage) who will be a 10.

Godly Passion Trumps Everything

A few years ago we had a student (John) involved in our ministry who’s was a 5 at most (to put it in cold, John Maxwell terms). He wouldn’t look you in the eye when you talked to him. He was difficult to have a conversation with. But John led a Bible study full of phenomenal leaders- a couple guys in his study were Fraternity pledge class presidents and every single one was a better leader than John.

What drew them to John?

John came to Christ in college and never got over the gospel. It gripped him and he couldn’t help but passionately pursue everyone around him and invite them to experience Jesus.

As Andrew commented, “Give me a 5 who prays and lives out what he preaches over a 10 who can get the most people to the Cru meeting any day.”

Tomorrow – we’ll look at barriers to raising up better leaders than came before (besides the Law of the Lid).

What else would you add? How can we better foster a movement where students are raising up better leaders than came before?

photo courtesy of wildphotons

Our Vision

July 20, 2010 — Leave a comment

Our vision for our college campus (and I’m sure many Crusade ministries use this) is that:

“Everyone would know someone who passionately follows Jesus”

That vision pretty much summarizes everything we do.

Everyone = Scope – every student on campus (meaning we need to think of the campus as a waffle – see previous post)

Would Know = The gospel travels along the road of relationships (we rarely do “randoms” – almost exclusively for training purposes).

Someone = Our Means of reaching scope = College students (students reaching students; success for us is not staff having a thriving personal ministry but staff equipping students to do ministry)

Who passionately follow Jesus = What must be true of our students involved in our ministry – gospel infused/motivated

But there’s one element missing from that vision. It’s not enough that Joe Freshman meets a passionate follower of Christ.  His likely response, “that’s cool for him, it’s just not for me.”

The missing element?  Equipping. We have to have a way to effectively (and efficiently) equip our students.

Our Vision hinges on whether our students are not only passionately pursuing Jesus but can articulate their faith to their non-Christian friends (and, I’d add, be able to mobilize their Christian friends to start doing the same).

Maybe we need a new, more comprehensive vision?

What vision statement do you use?
What do you do to systematically equip your students to multiply their lives (and know how to share their faith)?