Brief Update and Prayer Requests

Hello friends!
For the past month, Jen and I have been on a sabbatical. After 8 year with Cru, staff members are eligible for a one month sabbatical. Staff members can take a one month sabbatical every four years after that as well.

Though I’ve been on staff with Cru for nearly 25 years we’ve taken only one 3 week sabbatical 9 years ago. So we were very excited to be able to take the extra time to read, prayer walk, study and converse about what God is doing in our lives and in our ministry. It has been a great time. We’re now getting back into the swing of things with ministry and e-mails and all that. I wanted to ask if you would pray for a few specific things for us:

Please pray for Jen as she is in Orlando all week at some leadership meetings. I’m trying to keep the house afloat and help the kids with school work, etc.

Speaking of school, please pray for our kids who are adjusting to life as jr. highers. It has been quite an adjustment with the level of homework being much more than anticipated. Pray for patience too for me as I seem to have picked up a part-time job as math tutor! 🙂

For the next several months, we’ll be in a season of very focused fund-raising for our ministry. Please pray for the Lord to meet all of our needs and to provide the resources necessary for us to continue to serve Him in the capacity to which He has call us.

I’m planning to send out a newsletter later this week with some more updates and prayer requests. For now, I wanted to pass along a quick ministry highlight that I thought would be encouraging to you.

As you know, we have been involved in helping to launch spiritual movements everywhere on campuses, especially among ethnic minority cultures. Two years ago, we were able to help our ministry at San Jose State start a Destino ministry.

I recently got this update from the leader (Noe) there:

Hello Dave! I want to update you what is going on in SJSU Destino. This fall semester God has been moving a lot in the freshmen class. We have more than 30 students going to Fall Retreat compared to 10 last year. Our new goal is to take 50 student from SJSU Destino to fall retreat.

Noe then asks for prayer that they would be able to raise the funds to rent several vans to get students to the Fall retreat.

Praise God for how he continues to grow and expand His kingdom among the nations. Thanks for your prayers and your partnership with us.

As always, please share any prayer needs you may have with us. We love to pray for you and your needs as a family.

God Bless,
Dave, Jen, Jacob and Joshua

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Senior Leadership Initiative

 

Jen, with her coach Judy, after graduating from her 2 year leadership program

How do you describe something that literally transforms your life? How can words be put to an experience that helps you to grow in your confidence to lead, and which helps you grow closer to the Lord in the process? That is what I (Jen) am tasked to do in this month’s edition of The Lowedown.

Back in July of 2011 I became a part of the Senior Leadership Initiative (SLI). This is a program within all of Cru that invites 25-30 leaders to build into them to learn how to lead “at 10 times their scope.” This past July when we were in Colorado I graduated from the program. Click here to read the latest Lowedown where I share a few of the highlights from the past two years.

 

Rocky Mountain High

5 weeks and nearly 5000 miles this summer saw us driving through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

The central event of our summer was attending our National Staff conference, which takes place every other summer in Fort Collins, Colorado. During the conference, Jacob and Joshua participated in “The Getaway”. The Getaway is a special program for junior high and high school students. They heard from speakers like Josh McDowell, participated in small group Bible studies and did fun activities like Paintball and Rafting, as well as the infamous “Food Fight”.

 

Joshua got more "food" in the food fight than Jacob did.
Joshua got more “food” in the food fight than Jacob did.

While Jacob and Joshua were experiencing the Getaway, Jen and I, along with about 5000 other U.S. Cru staff, were attending main sessions and seminars that challenged our thinking and motivated us to continue to engage in our ministry efforts. We heard from great speakers such as Alistair Begg and Lisa Harper. Some of my favorite messages were the short “TED” style talks that challenged our thinking on how to engage the current culture.

Jonalyn Fincher shared how our language and even the words we use can be confusing to our audience and can turn people off before we even get a chance to share our message.

Jonalyn shares more about how our words and language can sometimes trigger negative reactions among those who don't understand our message.
Jonalyn shares more about how our words and language can sometimes trigger negative reactions among those who don’t understand our message.

 

 

One of my favorite speakers was a man named Skye Jethani, who serves as the senior editor for Leadership Journal. Skye was part of a series of speakers who spoke on issues related to culture. The question being addressed is how can we better engage our culture and more effectively reach people today for Christ.

Skye’s talk really resonated with me because he was able to articulate an idea that I have thought about for a long time but had never synthesized or communicated in the way that he did. He talked about the role of consumerism in our society and how consumerism is actually a worldview where we are at the center and everything exists to satisfy my desires.

Consumerism doesn’t just affect those whom we’re trying to reach. It affects us in the church too. It affects our view of God and of ourselves. Consumerism affects our evangelism when we present Jesus simply by the gifts He will give us.

Skye shared an interesting perspective on the story of the prodigal son. He said that both sons were looking for what they could get from the Father. The younger son did it in a socially unacceptable way while the older son did it in a socially acceptable way. Both sons missed the joy of simply experiencing the presence of their father, which is really the whole point. Too often in the church, we as Christians are guilty of trying to make older sons out of younger sons.

We live in paradoxical times in that today’s generation of students and young adults is the most self-absorbed generation ever (thanks to consumerism), yet they are also the most activist oriented generation ever. They want to make a difference in the world.

Skye Jethani talks about the effects of consumerism on the culture.
Skye Jethani talks about the effects of consumerism on the culture.

Our goal often is to tap into that activism and get them to be a part of the mission. But according to Skye, the solution to Christian consumerism is not Christian activism (mission); it’s our presence with the Father. Christian mission isn’t bad, but it needs to be placed in the right order. We need to ensure that we are helping others experience the presence of the Father before we seek to employ them in the mission of Christ.

Skye’s talk was a reminder to me to beware of falling into the consumerism trap that puts me at the center of the universe while everyone, including God, exists to satisfy my needs, wants and desires. Please pray with us and for us that we would be experiencing the Father’s presence first and foremost in our lives and that we would be drawing others to the Father’s presence as well.

To read the pdf version of our newsletter, click here.

A Quick Update

Cru Staff Conference

A few days ago, we returned from our National Staff Conference at Colorado State University. It’s always nice to be back in your own home and own bed after more than 5 weeks of heavy travel.

In the next day or two, I’ll share some reflections from our staff conference. In the meantime, you may be interested to read this general newsletter that explains what happens when Cru staff spend the summer in Colorado. Though we were not there for the whole summer this time, you can get a picture of what we’ve experienced in previous summers as well as reading about the staff conference, which we did attend.

Click here to read the newsletter.

Multiplication Revisited

It was 15 years ago and it was our very first day on campus at UC Davis. We were eager but new to the campus and nervous about how we would get a new group started. Armed with only a vision and a stack of questionnaires, we anxiously began approaching students who were there for various orientation activities.

We must have approached a couple of thousand students that first week and we spent most of the rest of the fall following up and meeting with students who expressed literally any kind of interest. It was both draining and rewarding at the same time.

The very first student Jen approached to fill out a spiritual interest questionnaire was a freshman named Tricia. Amazingly, Tricia was interested in getting involved in a campus ministry and after meeting with Jen and getting information about Cru, she ended up getting involved as one of our founding members.

Tricia was involved for 4 years and gave leadership not only to our Cru ministry, but helped us start Epic as well. Upon graduating, Tricia took the principles we had been talking about and became one of the first students from our ministry to go on STINT, a one year international mission. After returning from STINT in Central Asia, Tricia served as an intern with us at UC Davis and then joined the full-time staff of Cru, where she was assigned to give leadership to our ministry in Hawaii.

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Jen (left), Tricia (center), and Skyy (right)

Tricia served several years in Hawaii, building into students and giving them a vision for the world, just as she had been taught. One of the students whom Tricia mentored was Skyy. After graduating, Skyy spent last year as an intern with Cru, just as Tricia had. This fall, Skyy is leading a team of recent grads to the Middle East on STINT, just as Tricia had done.

In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul gave this charge to Timothy:

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

From the beginning of our ministry, it’s been our desire to see students won to Christ, built up in their faith to follow Christ whole-heartedly so that they could be sent out all over the world to Win, Build and Send others.

Thank you for your partnership which has allowed us to do just that with countless students like Tricia and Skyy and now many others.

For a pdf version of our newsletter to print out, click here. Please feel free to pass our newsletter along and share our site with others.

The Power of Multiplication

Connecting with students at CSU San Bernardino about Destino



Click here to read the pdf version of The Lowedown.

For years, Jen and I have been talking to students about the power of multiplication. It’s the old adage, “give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

A book that has highly influenced our thinking is “Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman. In the book, Coleman outlines Jesus’ strategy to reach the world, which ironically was not through his own direct efforts, at least not ultimately. Jesus’ approach was to invest in 12 men who would be able to carry on His work long after He had gone. These men in turn invested in others who did the same. It was a multiplication effect that led to exponential growth of the church. It makes sense, and it works.

For the last few years, Jen and I have been trying to apply this principle to movement start-ups. Jen and I have been planting ethnic movements for several years and at the same time have been inviting and equipping others to do the same. We’re beginning to see the fruit of that borne out as new ethnic movements are beginning to take root in various locations throughout our region.

Now, instead of just Jen and I launching these new ministries, we are beginning to see established ministries branch out to start new works. And ministries that were started just in the last few years are beginning to expand as well.

Just a few years ago, we recruited a new team to reach Latino students at Long Beach State. After quickly establishing a ministry there, they branched out and started a group at Cal State Fullerton. And just this last month, students from those ministries spent several days of their spring break out in San Bernardino working to establish a new Destino ministry at Cal State San Bernardino.

After spending two days engaging students on campus in many different ways, students were invited to a free lunch to hear more about the vision for Destino. Over 20 students showed up and after the meeting was over, eight students stuck around to hear how they could play a part in helping to establish Destino on campus.

In the weeks that have transpired, those students have continued to meet and we are well on our way to seeing Destino established as an official organization at Cal State San Bernardino.

Praise God for what He’s doing and pray with us that Destino would be established and begin to grow and flourish at Cal State San Bernardino!

Destino Students converge at CSU San Bernardino

Twenty Five Years Later!

Each year, thousands of students involved in Cru go on summer missions projects all over the world. These projects are not only faith-stretching for our students but they are critical to our mission of seeing movements launched to every people group around the world.

Twenty-five years ago, I spent a summer on the mysterious Northstar project. The location of the project was so secretive that I had to get permission from my campus director just to go to an informational meeting at our Winter Conference. When I went to the meeting, I learned that Northstar was a summer mission to the Soviet Union.

NorthstarTeamTaking the gospel to spiritually deprived people behind the Iron Curtain sounded intriguing and adventurous. It seemed like real spy stuff. I signed up right away.

Find out more about what happened that summer and what’s going on now, twenty-five years later by reading the latest Lowedown.

Good Times in San Diego

Since 1995, we’ve spent the week after Christmas in San Diego for our annual Winter Conference. This year, we spent an additional weekend in San Diego for our Epic conference.

Combined, over 1000 students were exposed to intimate worship, challenging messages and an opportunity to surrender their hearts more fully to God’s purposes in their lives.

SDWC-Say

At the Epic Conference over MLK weekend, we had an opportunity to meet several student leaders from the University of Arizona. It was exciting to hear their story of how the Lord had been working in their own lives to prompt them to start Epic. It was encouraging to hear them share how 40 students had shown up at their first weekly meeting just a week or so before.

Praise God for how he works in students’ lives at these conferences.

To read these stories through our newsletter, the Lowedown, click here.UA-Epic

IMPACT at Long Beach State University

Our Impact Launch Table at Long Beach State
Our Impact Launch Table at Long Beach State

At this time last year, we had no Impact ministries in our region. By the end of last year, we had one new Impact ministry at UC Santa Barbara.

For the last couple of years, we have desired to start an IMPACT ministry at Long Beach State. This past October, we went to Long Beach State with the hopes of finding at least one student who would want to be a part of an IMPACT movement.

Read the latest Lowedown to find out how God moved on campus and what is happening now.

Making an Impact on Campus

Today, about 15 of us spread out all over campus initiating with hundreds of students, sharing with them the vision of Impact and inviting them to come to an informational meeting later in the day.

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Jen (middle) with staff friends Julie and Faye

As we stepped on campus today, we had no idea what was in store and we simply hoped that by the end of the day, we would have surfaced 1 or 2 students who would be interested in starting Impact at Long Beach State.

Amazingly, 23 students showed up to our information meeting to find out about Impact. Many others expressed interest in coming to the meeting but were unable to attend the meeting because of a conflict in their schedule.

What was most incredible to me about this day compared to other events we’ve done, is that after we finished with the “official” program, about 8 students stuck around and continued to ask questions (“tell us more about Impact”, “what is it about?”, “how can we get it going?”, “what do we do?”). I’ve never seen as many students with a genuine interest. After a while, 4 of the students left and there were still 4 remaining students who continued to engage with us. I finally said, “you’ve all been here for a while asking questions about Impact. It seems like you’re really interested. Would you 4 be willing to help get this group started on this campus?” They all said yes!

Those of us who were there until the end were amazed at the turnout and the response. Several students commented on the need for Impact. One student remarked on how he had gone been going to a general Christian ministry and it was awkward at first because he’s a black student and the group is not culturally black. He went to their Fall retreat and that helped it to be less awkward but he said that his friends would not go to that group with him. He sees the need for a group that would be attractive to those who are culturally black.

From Left to Right: Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian
From Left to Right: Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian

Please pray for these 4 students (Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian). Pray that they would be able to coordinate another meeting with other interested students to move forward in getting Impact chartered at Long Beach State.

Pray for the other students who have expressed an interest to get involved.

Pray that we would see several of these students attend our Impact conference in New Orleans this December. Pray that finances would not be an issue.

Thanks for praying for us and please continue to pray!

Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown.

Dear Friends,
I want to thank you for praying for us today. We’re very grateful for you and your prayers. They certainly made a difference today.
As we stepped on campus today, we had no idea what was in store and we simply hoped that by the end of the day, we would have surfaced 1 or 2 students who would be interested in starting Impact at Long Beach State.
About 15 of us spread out all over campus initiating with hundreds of students, sharing with them the vision of Impact and inviting them to come to an informational meeting later in the day.
Amazingly, 23 students showed up to find out about Impact, with many others expressing interest but unable to attend the meeting because of a conflict in their schedule.
What was most incredible to me about this day compared to other events we’ve done, is that after we finished with the “official” program, about 8 students stuck around and continued to ask questions (“tell us more about Impact”, “what is it about?”, “how can we get it going?”, “what do we do?”). I’ve never seen as many students with a genuine interest. After a while, 4 of the students left and there were still 4 remaining students who continued to engage with us. I finally said, “you’ve all been here for a while asking questions about Impact. It seems like you’re really interested. Would you 4 be willing to help get this group started on this campus?” They all said yes!
Those of us who were there until the end were amazed at the turnout and the response. Several students commented on the need for Impact. One student remarked on how he had gone been going to a general Christian ministry and it was awkward at first because he’s a black student and the group is not culturally black. He went to their Fall retreat and that helped it to be less awkward but he said that his friends would not go to that group with him. He sees the need for a group that would be attractive to those who are culturally black.
Please pray for these 4 st