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.
In July I spent a week in Colorado attending Cru’s U.S. staff conference. The theme of the conference was “WITH” – connecting
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.
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!
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.
I 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.
The apostle Paul writes that God “has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 19-20, NIV)
Perhaps you’re like me: I want to be Christ’s ambassador, but find it hard to start a conversation about Jesus without a little help. The artists, musicians, and designers I work with are passionate about creating new ways to help people start that conversation and communicate God’s message.
Recently a local Cru leader in Nebraska approached our team with an amazing idea. It is a word-based interactive tool that helps you start a spiritual conversation using 16 topic cards and 18 descriptor cards.
What started as brainstorming meetings very quickly developed into a working prototype which is currently in its second phase of beta-testing on 13 different campuses around the US. It is called The Words Project (TWP) and has received incredibly positive feedback from those testing it. To date, nearly 80% of participants felt like it significantly helped them start a spiritual dialogue with someone and 90% reported it to be a very effective way to engage students. Additionally, every one of our testers indicated they would definitely use it again!
Two of TWP’s designers recently wrote, “While testing TWP on campus at Indiana State University, we interacted with a sophomore girl who chose to discuss the words “Freedom” and “Dreams.” Within five minutes, she was explaining her difficulty in finding purpose in life. We were quickly engaged in conversation about understanding yourself and trying to find a way to positively change the world. She enthusiastically agreed to meet again, giving us her contact info, and setting up another time to meet over coffee. Our entire interaction was less than 15 minutes long!”
We are so excited to see where this project will go and what other projects will follow on its heels. Thank you so much for helping expand God’s kingdom through your partnership!
For The Words Project: that God would use the testing process to refine TWP into an effective tool for starting conversations about Jesus.
For our team: that God will direct us and give us wisdom as we create more new tools and resources to help WIN, BUILD and SEND.
For me: that I will depend on God as I serve Him rather than relying on my own strengths and talents.
I love working on creative projects with creative people! I especially love knowing that our projects will help Cru win people to Christ, build them up in their faith, and send them out to reach others! I told you about two of those creative projects in my February newsletter, and they will both be ready to influence students this fall.
Ramen with a Side of College in Freshman Survival Kits
Every year at the beginning of fall semester on campuses all over the U.S., Cru staff and students give out Freshman Survival Kits to – you guessed it—incoming freshmen. These kits are a goody bag of items designed to help students feel welcomed to their new college experience, and to provide a way to start spiritual conversations. This year one item available for these kits is our very own Ramen With a Side of College.
The announcement sent to Cru staff described Ramenas “a handy, 7×7” book written by college students. It’s designed to be a quick conversation-starter and an easy-to-use tool for any college student. Built like a survival guide, Ramen is full of tips, tricks, advice and questions—everything from how to do laundry or get to know your roommate to finding a mentor or reflecting on spiritual things. It’s light, fun, and practical, but also prompts students to start thinking about the bigger questions of life.”
I’m so pleased that I helped produce this book, even if it was only in a small way (I was one of several proofreaders). I look forward to hearing stories of how God will use this tool on campuses!
Rock Your Meeting Online Video Series
The first batch of the training videos I’ve been editing will be available online this fall! Twenty videos in our Rock Your Meeting series are almost ready for the campus ministry’s section on Cru’s website.
Weekly Cru meetings play a significant role in introducing students to Christ, encouraging their spiritual growth, and mobilizing them to help reach others for Christ. Students can learn leadership skills by serving as meeting planners, emcees, worship leaders, and even speakers for these meetings. Our Rock Your Meeting videos will help Cru staff members equip their students for these roles.
Thank you so much for your partnership in this ministry! Your prayers and gifts are helping me produce tools that will play a significant role in the lives of many students!