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Browse the menu options above to find recorded training topics with local staff teams and a step-by-step guide for how to think about and pursue partnering with churches of all kinds. Questions? Contact Jeff.Grant@cru.org.

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one,Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

— Jesus Christ

Maybe you’re here because you have an exciting opportunity with a local church and you aren’t sure what to do with it, or perhaps because the leaders of Cru are asking us to do something that is impossible with the amount of capacity your team has. Whatever drove you to check out this site, I hope you leave it excited to see the body of Christ united across more than just our ministry as OUR Father completes the Great Commission through us together!

Let’s Do This Together!

How I came to be a Partnership Specialist.  

When my wife and I joined staff with the campus ministry of Cru, the rest of our team felt like we dropped in from nowhere. We hadn’t been involved in college and had only even heard of the ministry vaguely.

God had already been working in our hearts to reach college students. We served as directors of a young adult ministry out of our church. When I discovered Cru, I envisioned stepping out from one congregation in order to unite all the evangelical churches in my area to minister to more young people than any of them could do separately.

Life has been a rollercoaster since then, and God has used us in the lives of hundreds of students across my state, but my vision for a Church united didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. I praise God that our leadership is seeking to change the culture of the organization. Their desire is for Cru not to be “parachurch” but to be “part of the Church.”

We don’t have enough missionaries to reach every campus, or to truly disciple all the students we are reaching. However, if a team of churches around each campus join together, every student would have the opportunity to hear the gospel and connect with a local body of believers who can walk with them for a lifetime.

How to Get Involved

For college students and churches, I’ve developed a church partner handbook that gives options for involvement that cater to the diverse situations of each church and individual. It is super-simple on the surface, but each option links to more information. Whether you are just checking things out or want to run a full-scale college ministry, this document can get you started.

Cru does not only work with college students. Our goal has been to help build spiritual movements everywhere. Here is a list of other mission fields and links that will show how Cru can help you to reach them:

Let your friends and pastors know about this new direction, and contact us today so we can help you answer God’s invitation to join His mission to those He has placed on your heart.

Highline Cru: Students leading Students

“Hina,” a Japanese international student at Highline Community College chose this week of all weeks to visit Cru.

 

She was curious about Christianity and wanted to learn more.

 

When she walked into the classroom where Cru met, Anna – a student leader – noticed her and introduced herself, welcoming Hina to the afternoon weekly meeting.

 

Once a quarter, Highline Cru devotes a full meeting to evangelism training, using the Cru “Would You like to Know God Personally?” booklet.

 

That was today.

 

“I remember at the beginning of the year, we’d prayed boldly that God would save people through Cru this year,” Anna said.

 

Highline Cru operates through the work of volunteer student leaders, like Anna, and Highline faculty Dusty Wilson, along with his wife Charlene.

 

Dusty had been involved with Chi Alpha as a student, so when he was hired at Highline 14 years ago, he wanted to give back in some way. His first week, he walked past a Cru table at the student involvement fair, where several Cru student leaders stood, meeting new students.

 

“Hey,” he said. “I’m a new teacher here, and I’d love to help in any way I can.”

 

“That’s wonderful,” one said. “Our advisor just quit, would you like to be our faculty advisor?”

 

He said yes, knowing only the names Campus Crusade for Christ and Bill Bright.

 

Cru’s emphasis on initiative evangelism was initially foreign to him. He’d been on mission trips growing up and his family had supported missionaries, but he’d never considered walking up to someone in America at his place of work and engaging in a spiritual conversation with them.

 

However, as the advisor and leader for Cru, he also felt that he should be doing it with them.

 

Once a quarter, Mike, a student leader, insisted that they set aside their normal weekly meeting and instead, go out in pairs and start spiritual conversations on campus, and so Dusty joined them, willing to give it a try.

That was how he met Muhammad, a student from Somalia.

 

Muhammad told him that he’d never had a respectful conversation with a Christian about God and spirituality before, but he clearly wanted to.

 

“I’d always been hesitant to approach someone, thinking that it would be something they didn’t want,” Dusty said. “But here was someone from another religion – and he wanted to talk about this stuff. And people weren’t there.”

 

As the Cru meeting began, students found their seats around the circle. Hina stayed by Anna’s side.

 

Brandon, the student vice-president of Highline Cru, began the meeting by introducing CoJourners and the KGP.

 

Brandon has been involved with Highline Cru for about two years, gradually taking an active role. Last year, Dusty challenged him to come on the Lake Tahoe Summer Project. He hadn’t wanted to go originally, until he felt God leading him there. It changed him from a reserved learner at Cru to an active leader and teacher.

 

Now, he’s one of the many students Highline Cru depends on to operate. They lead the Bible studies. They plan and organize events. If they want to bring in a speaker, or set up a table during opening week, the students are the ones who will have to be there.

 

“There are many more opportunities for the students to lead and be involved,” Dusty said. “But the thing they lose? They don’t get the one-on-one mentoring.”

 

Dusty, working full time, has only had time to meet regularly with one student over the last two years, and he meets weekly with the student leadership team. His wife, Charlene, meets with a group of women.

 

“In a dream world, I’d like to say ‘hey, I’m meeting with this one student, and in turn, he’s meeting with a couple of other students,’ but that’s often not the case,” Dusty said.

 

But as a faculty member there at the college, he is also uniquely positioned to form long-term relationships with other faculty, and to speak into his students’ lives.

 

“I’m here because I love my discipline and I love students,” Dusty said. “So if I can make a difference that goes beyond the math class, that’s a good thing.”

 

Halfway through my phone conversation with Dusty, a student came into his office.

 

“Hey, I’m trying to decide between these two opportunities,” he told Dusty. “What should I do?”

 

Over the last quarter, Dusty has been building a relationship with this student. He and Charlene have invited him over for a movie night at their house. Dusty gave him one-on-one help with a presentation.

 

“He thinks I know him, and where he’s going, well enough to give him insight and direction,” Dusty said.

 

But the time investment and his openness about his faith also come at a cost.

 

Sometimes, math work that he otherwise would have left at work comes home with him, and the 14 years he’s spent as the Cru faculty advisor have colored all his relationships with the other faculty.

 

“The needs are all the same,” Dusty said. “We faculty just make them sound more sophisticated – isolation, loneliness, identity, and family issues.”

 

His goal is that everyone who spends any amount of time at Highline would know someone who is actively following Jesus, but on this campus of 17,000 students, Dusty only knows of two Christian organizations operating on campus, with about 30 students between them.

 

Operating a student ministry like Cru is a challenge at most community colleges like Highline. There are no student dorms, so weekly meetings need to be scheduled in the afternoon. Many students are working one or more jobs. And many will not be coming back after each quarter.

 

“It’s a very difficult place to invest, because it’s highly likely that you won’t see the fruit of your own work because people will be gone too quickly,” Dusty said.

 

Each spring, he and the student leadership team have a conversation about who they can challenge to step up and join them. They consider who will be returning the next year, and who has the potential to be a leader.

 

They think about what is required of a leader, what are the qualifications of a Cru student leader, and begin to brainstorm names. Then they’ll divide up the names and each challenge one or two students to join them.

 

Sometimes, the students they challenge don’t seem like good leadership material at the outset, but then he’s watched them grow into that role.

 

“And I’m always surprised when it happens,” Dusty said.

 

Last year, they challenged Anna to join the student leadership team, because she was faithful, a solid believer, and involved in the mission.

 

“That part was really clear,” Dusty said. “Then it became obvious that only a couple student leaders that were going to be coming back this year.”

 

Needing an officially designated president for Cru’s place as a student club on campus, he asked Anna to take that role.

 

“It was funny – even though Anna had all this one set of qualifications – being very faithful and solid spiritually and Biblically, she’d always come across as very timid and shy,” Dusty said. “I remember thinking to myself ‘I just don’t see it.’”

 

But then earlier this year, Anna wanted to take a weekly Cru meeting and invite students to share their testimonies. While she was organizing it, Dusty emailed her and asked if she would like his help.

 

“Do you want me to do some kind of introduction to help set the tone and help people understand what’s expected of them?”

 

“No. I’ve got it covered.” She responded.

 

At the meeting, she did a great job and the event was fantastic, Dusty said.

 

“It’s one of my favorite Anna stories,” he said. “It was such an eye-opener to me: this young woman who had all the raw potential, but I’d never seen her take the initiative, step up, and take the ownership of something.”

 

 

As Brandon finished his overview of the Cru tools at this meeting, he instructed the students to pair up – one person with experience, with one who had less – and practice going through the KGP together.

 

Anna turned to Hina.

 

“If you haven’t heard any of this before, why don’t I share it with you?” She said. “And then you can ask me questions you have.”

 

Hina agreed, and Anna started through the booklet, trying to explain things as they went – she’d never shared the gospel with a non-native English speaker before. She had to slow down and think about the words she was using, distilling the gospel into the most basic ideas and terms. As they talked, she realized how simple the gospel really is, and how much she had to trust that God was making the message clear to Hina.

 

When they reached the diagram of the two circles, and Anna asked her which represented her life, Hina pointed to the circle without Christ.

 

“This is all so new to me,” she said. “So how would the cross be inside?”

 

“Which would you like to be true?” Anna asked.

 

Hina pointed to the other, and Anna turned to the prayer. She explained that the words weren’t what was important, and that prayer is talking to God. This was just an example of what she could say.

 

“Yeah,” Hina said. “I want to pray this.”

 

Her tone was firm and sure.

 

Then she prayed a simple prayer that expressed her genuine desire for God to forgive her and for Christ to come into her life.

 

As they talked more about what her decision meant, the emotion of her decision began to catch up with Hina, and she teared up. Hina told Anna that she’d been carrying a load of guilt and she’d never known what to do about it, until now.

 

“Now I know my sin can be taken away,” she said. “And I know that God wants to forgive me.”

 

 

“Why do I think Cru should push toward community colleges?” Dusty asked. “Because there is a wide open need. There isn’t anyone else. It is a relatively small investment that could have a huge impact on the world”

Please pray

  • That God will lead more Highline student leaders on summer mission with Cru.
  • That God will be preparing the hearts of the student leaders for next year.

Passing to Churches for the Summer

Did you know that churches can be the KEY to our students maintaining momentum over the summer?  Keep reading to find out why AND how!

Let’s face it, summers can pose a major challenge to the growth of our ministry.  It can also threaten the faith and obedience to Christ of our students, fellow staff and even ourselves.  Without the faithful fellowship and accountability that comes from the community we’ve built together on campus, both staff and students can become isolated and atrophied.

We created a resources and programs to help folks stay strong and even grow during the summer, but that still puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of the individual.

At the same time, churches receive an influx of returning students and many of them don’t have a plan for how to engage them.  This is a FANTASTIC opportunity to come alongside the Bride of Christ, equipping local believers to plug in with Cru students where both will be blessed in the short term.  In fact, this is an opportunity to prepare the communities our students will most likely head into after they graduate as well.  Want to see 100% sent?  Then help these local churches know how to receive and run with our graduates while they’re still in college!

Okay, but how?

I’m glad you asked :).

  • Summer Connect is a resource that just might blow a church’s mind.  Think about it, all they have to do is register as a hub, get a bowl of popcorn in a room with internet and a projector and BOOM, their students are growing and showing some of the Summer Mission “outcomes” with such a tiny effort.  Now, throw in some local church leaders and members (who would gain a whole lot from the program too) and they’ll be rubbing shoulders with their young adults like never before, and building discipleship bridges that may last long after the student has put their college days (and us) behind them.  A great way to communicate Summer Connect to a church is this post here which puts the program in language that makes the most sense from their perspective.  Here’s a message drafted to invite churches.
  • Summer Survival Guide by itself is an okay tool, but how much will our students really use it?  In the hands of some summer-time disciplers from their church, however, and it is a guided tour through the deep waters of God’s Word!
  • Discipleship is an area in which most churches say they want to improve.  What if we gave them that chance WHILE they continued the discipleship path of our Cru students?  Students would be poured into in a quality-controlled way from people they’ve known from back home, and who knows, maybe it’ll catch on through the whole church!
  • Youth Group Presentations are a key way for Cru students to feel like active missionaries to their hometown.  With that video as a primer and this brochure as a leaving piece, it is easy for students to head back home to share their experiences in college with wide-eyed high schoolers and help point the way toward Christian community on campus.

Cru is not the church, but a bridge for churches to reach students.  If we do our part well, the bride of Christ will thrive in connecting with young people and empowering them to reach the world for Jesus!

 

Why Partnering HAS to Happen

We have seen God bless the ministry of Cru with steady growth since 1951, reaching more and more students on more and more campuses, but God has called us with a powerful vision to accelerate that growth to a humanly impossible degree.  This video explains how the way we do ministry needs to change in order to compensate for that vision.

Click here to learn more about why AND how to partner with churches and other organizations to fulfill the Great Commission.

My Story

How I came to be a Partnership Specialist.  When my wife and I joined staff with the campus ministry of Cru, the rest of our team felt like we dropped in from nowhere. We hadn’t been involved in college and had only even heard of the ministry vaguely.

God had already been working in our hearts to reach college students. We served as directors of a young adult ministry out of our church. When I discovered Cru, I envisioned stepping out from one congregation in order to unite all the evangelical churches in my area to minister to more young people than any of them could do separately.

Life has been a rollercoaster since then, and God has used us in the lives of hundreds of students across my state, but my vision for a Church united didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. I praise God that our leadership is seeking to change the culture of the organization. Their desire is for Cru not to be “parachurch” but to be “part of the Church.”

We don’t have enough missionaries to reach every campus, or to truly disciple all the students we are reaching. However, if a team of churches around each campus join together, every student would have the opportunity to hear the gospel and connect with a local body of believers who can walk with them for a lifetime.

How to Get Involved

For college students, I’ve developed a church partner handbook that gives options for involvement that cater to the diverse situations of each church and individual. It is super-simple on the surface, but each option links to more information. Whether you are just checking things out or want to run a full-scale college ministry, this document can get you started.

Cru does not only work with college students. Our goal has been to help build spiritual movements everywhere. Here is a list of other mission fields and links that will show how Cru can help you to reach them:

Let your friends and pastors know about this new direction, and contact us today so we can help you answer God’s invitation to join His mission to those He has placed on your heart.

 

Adopt A Student – by Corey Park

hostfamily1

Of the millions of International students that come to American universities each year, only about 1 in 10 are invited into an American home.  Can you imagine? You go to a foreign country feeling unsafe and culturally an outsider, and not one person invites you in.

My husband Zack and I had the privilege of having several international students in our home for Christmas. Since it was the end of the quarter, many of them were going back home just a few days later. And for all of them, it was their first time in an American home.  We gave them each a Bible, as well as a small gift, and we shared an east-meets-west Christmas dinner. Zack shared the Christmas story, and explained to them all how they could have a relationship with Jesus.

No matter whether students come from, the Middle East, or a few hours away, they often come to school feeling lonely, confused, and desperately in need of family. One of the simplest ways that we can engage as churches on campus is to start an adopt-a-student program.

If you would like ideas and tips on how to start this type of ministry at your church, you can check out these two strategies:  Focusing on believing and seeking students, or focusing on International students.

Have you hosted an international student? Does your church have a plan for intentionally engaging international students? We would love to hear your stories and share them in a future post!

My Church is Better Than Your Church

What do we desire for the women in our Neighborhood Bible Studies? A sense of belonging and a safe place to learn about God’s Word! We want members to feel welcome, always.

Because we represent many different denominations, we will accept and VALUE our differences (which are few) and celebrate and focus on what we have in common-God’s Word spoken to us through the Bible. We will refrain from discussing denominations or any differences and from using denominational language that is not common or familiar to everyone. From: nbs2go.com.

When considering or discussing denominations, do you have a critical spirit?

“I grew up __________ (fill in a denomination).” With this one sentence, many things are assumed. Because we all have preconceived notions about X, Y or Z denominations, we’re prone to judge, be critical, relate or connect. Regardless of our upbringings, we all are tempted to focus on the negative parts of “other” denominations. We’re sensitive about our upbringings, whether or not we want to admit it.

Valuing other denominations doesn’t mean we agree with everything.

When possible, it’s best to affirm beliefs we have in common. When we have a correcting posture, it can be frustrating to be near us. We might feel like we’re being helpful, but really we push away. Who likes to be around people who want to make sure you know they are right? Ha-not me!

joan.web

Consider this when leading your NBS: Effective leaders… encourage consideration of all points of view, are empathetic, are aware of how others are reacting, are not defensive or sensitive to disagreement or criticism, make people feel important, value others as equals and listen!

How about you? What tips do you have for valuing others? When have you felt affirmed instead of corrected?

Joan Parsons, with three teen sons and one preteen girl under her roof, is thankful for her husband and naps. Between laundry loads and fixing beef, you might find her in the McDonald’s drive-through ordering a coke with extra ice and a chocolate chip cookie … because this is her happy place.

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