Reflecting on 20 Years of Ministry

It’s hard for me to believe, but this summer marks 20 years that I (Jen) have been on staff with Cru. Wow! Am I really that old? As I reflect back, there are so many memories but for me, my job is all about people.

My first campus assignment was The University of Arizona. It was a challenging time at first. I was a new staff person trying to learn my job. I was also far away from home. Things weren’t familiar. But then I started a bible study and I had the chance to influence so many women to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Erin now lives in Vermont with her husband Charlie and their 2 daughters
Erin was a student leader in Jen’s Bible Study at the University of Arizona. Erin now lives in Vermont with her husband Charlie and 2 daughters

Erin was one of those women in my study. I saw her take new steps of faith to go on summer missions projects. I loved watching her grow in her faith, and her maturity. Erin is now married to a great guy named Charlie whom Dave discipled. Together, they have two beautiful girls and pastor a church in Vermont. Erin is one of the reasons I keep pressing on, doing my job. It’s all about people, and their lives being transformed.

A few years later, when Dave and I moved to Davis, I was pretty fearful about starting a new ministry. Dave has always been the pioneer while I’m more of a shepherd who loves spending personal time with others and helping them grow in their faith.

My first day on campus we were doing some spiritual interest questionnaires, and the first student I approached was a freshman named Tricia. She filled out the questionnaire, we connected, and she got involved with Cru.

As I look back, I am so grateful for those handful of students who got involved in our little group that started meeting initially in our apartment! Those students must have thought we were a little sketchy…but they stuck around and we saw God do amazing things at Davis. Now, Tricia is married and on staff with Cru, leading our Epic ministry in the South Los Angeles Basin. She is a new mom, and I have loved to see her grow.

Tricia was one of the first students to get involved in Cru when we started it at UC Davis
Tricia was one of the first students to get involved in Cru when we started at UC Davis

Lately I’ve been thinking about what a privilege it’s been to raise Jacob and Joshua while working with Cru. They’ve been surrounded by Godly young men and women who’ve modeled walking with God to them.

And I love getting the opportunity to work with Dave. It is fun and rewarding to work through new challenges in ministry with Dave. Together we are tackling some pretty significant challenges in the campus ministry. With our different skill-sets it has been exciting to work together to complement each other and to see progress in our mission of reaching every student with the message of the gospel.

I’m now a part of a leadership program that has been challenging and stretching for me. I get the chance to be around global leaders of Cru who are building into me to help me be a better leader and follower of Christ.

The research project I’m working on is helping to launch a brand new ministry to 18-29 year olds in the cities. This is been very eye-opening, and has helped me to see the need to be relevant and approachable to this generation. They are the most technologically connected, but also the most lonely. What an incredible opportunity we have to share God’s love to this generation that is looking for deep and meaningful connection.

Thank you to all of you who have partnered with us over the past 20 years. It is truly a privilege to be able to serve God and partner with people who want to see students reached with God’s love. After 20 years with Cru, there still is no other job that I’d rather be doing.

I love getting the chance to help people look at life from at eternal perspective, to help them meet God, begin a relationship with Him, and grow in that relationship. The work is challenging, but incredibly rewarding, all at the same time.

Praise the Lord for what He has done! I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me in the next 20 years!

To read the pdf version of the letter, click here!

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