First Field Test for “Students Reaching Students”

The training material I helped edit recently called Students Reaching Students is now being field-tested at Taylor University. (Those of you outside the midwest may not know that Taylor is a prestigious non-denominational Christian liberal arts college here in Indiana.)

A small group of students is going on a school-sponsored mission trip to Ecuador during their January break. Cru staff member Darin Buffkin is using Students Reaching Students to equip them to share the good news about Jesus Christ with Ecuadorian students. After the trip, Darin will let us know how well the material worked and if we can improve it in any way.

Please pray that the materials will be effective in preparing the Taylor students for their mission trip and that we will receive valuable feedback as a result of this test.

“Students Reaching Students”

In July I spent a week in Colorado attending Cru’s U.S. staff conference. The theme of the conference was “WITH” – connecting

  • WITH God
  • WITH one another as staff members from different backgrounds and ethnicities
  • WITH people who don’t know Jesus as their Savior
  • WITH other ministries outside of Cru to partner in the work of the gospel.

I was particularly encouraged to hear about some of the partnerships we have been building with others in the body of Christ. God has been bringing together churches and mission organizations worldwide to help give everyone on the planet an opportunity to hear the good news about Jesus.

Cru has started a growing partnership with Christian colleges for short-term international mission trips for their students. Before the trip, Cru staff members train the students in some practical ways to share the gospel in another culture.

"Know God Personally" booklet
A Cru evangelism tool used in “Students Reaching Students”

Our team is pulling together the content used by different trainers and combining it with a few new items into a packet called “Students Reaching Students.” Our goal is to produce a resource that is attractive, engaging, and practical for both students and trainers. I’m excited that I can use my editing skills (for both content and video) to help further this partnership and train new short-term missionaries!

Prayer Requests

  • For the “Students Reaching Students” team: Pray that we will be sensitive to God’s guidance so that we will produce material that will meet the needs of those who will use it
  • For Charlottesville: In light of the recent tragedy pray that God will use His people as beacons of His love and justice, both in Charlottesville and the nation, and that many will turn to Jesus who alone brings true reconciliation with both God and humanity.

Equipping Aussie Missionaries

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping missionaries from all over the world grow as communicators. In May we sent communication coaches to Australia to teach curriculum that I helped write and edit. Power to Change (Cru’s Australian ministry) handpicked a group of influential staff members to receive our training.

Teresa, one of our coaches, gave a glimpse into what God did:

“The Aussie [team] has been amazing to work with and so responsive to the coaching and teaching. Several of them have thanked us for how they are being stretched and challenged. I’ve never seen such an eagerness to learn and grow.”

Australian communication training

One trainee later wrote this:

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but had heard great things about this training. Well, I can tell you now that the training certainly lived up to all the hype…Needless to say, we were all so grateful for this training and to our coaches who ran it and guided us each step of the way. Now for the next step: to keep putting what we learnt into practice and to continue growing in the skills we were taught :-)! For His glory!!”

Thank you for partnering with me in ministry! You are helping missionaries around the world become more effective in communicating the life-changing message of Christ!

Prayer Requests

  • For the Australian staff members who received training to continue to learn and grow as communicators.
  • For safe travel and open hearts to hear God for all Cru staff members and guests who will attend our biennial staff conference in Colorado next month.

Comm Lab 2017

Just one week after the end of the three Big Break conferences I worked at in Panama City Beach during March, I headed up another week-long conference in Orlando. This was our annual Comm Lab, held this year in Orlando from April 3-7.

Comm Lab main session

Compared to the hundreds of college students who attended each week of Big Break, the 37 attending Comm Lab sounds small. Yet these staff members of Cru and other ministries have far-reaching influence, so it’s a privilege to help them develop as communicators of God’s message.

As the event planner, I coordinated both the team and the curriculum. Messages discussed a wide variety of topics: insights from the Book of Proverbs on the power of words, how to build bridges with those who need to hear the gospel, steps to writing a talk, writing and using stories from your personal life, delivery skills such as eye contact and gestures, and more. Our team of very capable coaches did a wonderful job with both delivering and demonstrating the material.

leading a workshop

In addition to teaching a workshop on a talk-writing technique called storyboarding (above), I co-coached one of the small groups where participants practiced their delivery skills during what we call “Comm Drills” (below).

coaching at Comm Lab

I loved being part of what God was doing that week in the lives of these precious servants of the gospel! You were also part of God’s work during Comm Lab through your partnership with my ministry. Thank you for helping equip missionaries to communicate the message of Christ to those who need to hear!

Responses to Comm Lab 2017

“I loved getting feedback from experienced coaches. The content was relevant and easy to refer back to when needed. My communication skills were honed, making me more comfortable with taking on speaking engagements.”
– B. H.

“The lectures and the drills were extremely beneficial. We were given the theory of speaking then allowed to practice, practice, practice. That really helped me to internalize and put into practice the theory. In addition, having a great coach (go Don!) to help give guidance while practicing was critical. I also enjoyed the time/space we were given to meet with God. I was impressed by how much focus was given to intimacy with the Lord. It was encouraging and meaningful.”
– C. B.

“I thought the emphasis to stay connected to Jesus was great. ‘It’s out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks’ We can’t expect to glorify Him with our words if we’re not in His. The practical techniques were very helpful. Dan and Vicki were great coaches. I appreciated the vulnerability of the speakers in their messages. Thank you all so much!”
– M. G.

Prayer Requests

  • For those who attended Comm Lab to continue to learn and grow as communicators.
  • For spiritual and emotional refreshment after a very busy spring.
  • For focus, discipline and God’s provision as I seek for new financial ministry partners in Indiana this summer.
  • For healing from recent dental work. After breaking a tooth in February, I had a root canal on that tooth April 27 and had a temporary crown put in May 11. Pray that all pain will be gone by June 1 when the permanent crown is put in.

Thank you for praying!

Big Break Report

Big BreakThree one-week conferences in Panama City Beach, FL, each with hundreds of college students from around the country worshiping, learning, praying, sharing the gospel – that’s Big Break.

(Below) I served on the tech team running the videos and slides and I also helped with the bookstore.

(Above) In the morning sessions students learned to use evangelistic materials such as The Words Project, a conversation-starting tool developed by our team in Indy.

beach outreachIn the afternoon, students put their morning training into practice by starting conversations that often resulted in sharing the gospel.


Beach Outreach Results

Spiritual conversations initiated – 3338
Gospel shared – 1470
Decisions to follow Christ – 222


digital outreach


Students also reached out to their friends back home by using email, text, Facebook message, etc., to ask their friends’ opinion on a video that expressed the gospel in a very artistic way. (You can watch it at


Digital Outreach Results

Spiritual conversations initiated – 11170
Gospel shared – 3024
Meetings set up to talk personally about the gospel – 601
Decisions to follow Christ – 104


Please pray

  • that those who heard the gospel through the outreaches but have not yet trusted Christ will do so
  • that those who began a new relationship with Him will grow in their faith
  • that the students who attended Big Break will continue to apply what they learned and diligently follow the Lord.

Thank you so much for your partnership and your prayers!

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