Looking Back and Looking Forward

calendarI sat at a restaurant Tuesday enjoying breakfast with my leaders and fellow project managers. We gathered to celebrate what God has done this semester, and I smiled as I listened to my friends tell stories of how they had seen God work.

  • One told about prison inmates coming to faith in Jesus through concerts by Anthem City, our new Christmas band.
  • Another explained how she created a website filled with resources to help Cru missionaries transition back to the U.S. after serving overseas.
  • One of our graphic designers announced that the book he wrote and designed has been sent to the publisher; High Ground is a mentoring guide to help free people caught in porn addiction.
  • I praised the great work my Emcee Training team did equipping 15 staff and student emcees to shepherd audiences toward Jesus.
  • Someone else reminded us of all the people who heard the gospel through our bands that toured Australia and the Republic of Georgia.

As I listened to these stories and at least half a dozen others, I sensed the hand of God directing our small team. I was encouraged to see how He is using our creative endeavors to accomplish His mission to win people to Christ, build them in their faith, and send them out equipped to reach others.

God is already providing significant ministry opportunities for me for the start of 2017:

  • Editing and promoting another set of 10 Rock Your Meeting videos for our growing library of free online lessons at rockyourmeeting.org or cru.org/rockyourmeeting
  • Doing research and analysis for our team that is updating a Cru outreach strategy called Freshman Survival Kits
  • Serving on the event team for three one-week Big Break conferences in Panama City Beach, FL (March 4-25) where college students will learn through experience how to share Christ
  • Coaching and running sound and video at Comm Lab, our annual communication training conference, which will be held April 3-7 in Orlando, FL

As I look forward to a new year with so many exciting opportunities, please join me in praying for continued sensitivity to God’s leading, both for me personally and for everyone on our creative team.

Planning an Event

Our little creative team in Indy is working on a boatload of projects and events that will help Cru win people to Christ, build them in their faith and send them out on God’s mission. Each band tour, conference and project has its own project manager and team; I’m currently on two teams and I manage three more.

Emcee Training logo portraitOne event I manage is our annual Emcee Training. Staff members and students throughout Cru have opportunities to emcee ministry events of various sizes. We want to help them grow in their skills and cultivate their hearts so they can serve in that role with excellence and effectiveness.

If you’ve ever been involved in planning an event, you know that a lot of advance planning is required if the event is going to run smoothly and accomplish its goals. While this year’s Emcee Training falls on the first weekend in November, the planning started back in May with meetings to discuss updating the curriculum. (These were the meetings I wrote about in my June post titled “What Does a Squirrel Have to Do with an Emcee?”)

We continue updating the agenda and session content, and I’m working through a list I made of what needs to happen eight weeks prior to the conference, six weeks prior, four weeks prior, and so forth. I’m coordinating the services of coworkers with expertise in areas like finances, photography, and catering. The work is challenging, fun and rewarding.

Thank you for being part of my event team through your partnership in ministry with me! You are playing a vital role in encouraging and equipping Cru emcees to help their audiences hear from God!

Prayer Requests

  • Emcee Training attendance: that God will bring emcees who need to be encouraged and equipped (nine are currently registered)
  • Wisdom for me: that I will manage the project and my team well
  • “Juggling” skills: that I will make wise choices as I juggle the demands of the teams I am on and the ones I manage.

Answered Prayer

waw1Thank you for praying for our Worship Arts Weekend! Twenty people came; they were mostly students plus one church worship band and a few staff members. Their response was positive, and I believe all of us sensed the presence of God there. One Cru staff member was in the group I coached in communication skills. At the end of the conference she wrote me this note:

“Thank you so much for this wonderful weekend! You are such an upbeat and kind person. I have enjoyed all the communication training and your helpful advice. Thank you so much for investing in all these wonderful students. I am so blessed to have met you this weekend.”

Band Sees God Work Despite Obstacles

On Sept 4, I found an email in my inbox titled “Urgent prayer needed.” It was from Teresa, the lead singer and speaker of Stone, our band touring in Australia. She wrote:

“I woke up this morning with barely any voice and I’m struggling to try and warm it up for the two back-to-back shows we have this morning.

“Please pray for God to intervene and give me what I need to do these shows so we can share the gospel with these kids.”

The next day she sent this email:

“Thanks for those of you who prayed for my voice. God totally came through and even though I was totally hoarse before the shows yesterday, when I opened my mouth to sing, a very strong voice came out!! … I firmly believe that God stepped in and gave me what I needed and I am so grateful to him for that. Praise Him!!“

StoneThis wasn’t the only obstacle Stone faced while bringing the message of Christ to Australian high school students.

  • The van they were supposed to use broke down and they had to arrange for other transportation.
  • Four concerts at one school were cancelled after the host died suddenly a few days before. (The band asked people to pray that God would use his death to draw students and teachers to himself in a way that their concerts never could have.)
  • Right before one concert, part of the guitarist’s equipment malfunctioned. As he figured out a work-around, the band prayed for God to show His power in spite of the difficulty … and 17 of the 35 kids in attendance trusted Christ!

Teresa said that she and the other members of Stone were amazed and humbled at the way God used them in spite of the obstacles they faced. They estimated that during the three-week tour they shared the gospel with over 2,400 students and about 245 indicated decisions to place their faith in Christ!

Prayer Requests

For the Australia Tour Follow-up

  • for spiritual growth for the 245 students who indicated decisions to trust Christ during Stone’s concerts
  • for Australian Cru staff as they work with school chaplains and religion teachers to follow up with these students.

For the Worship Arts Weekend

The Worship Arts Weekend (Sept. 23-35) is designed for worship leaders and teams. Until now we have hosted only Cru students, but this time we have also opened it up to church teams. Please pray…

  • that those who attend will grow in their musical skills, their love for Jesus and their understanding of worship.
  • for wisdom for me and for the other Cru staff who will coach, teach, and serve behind-the-scenes

Thank you so much for praying!

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