Saturday, May 19, 2007

Out for the Month

Linda and I (with kids in tow) will be traversing the good ol US of A so the blog will be spotty for a time. I should return to the blogosphere sometime in late June. I hope to post some of our adventures along the way - but I ain't promising nothin'.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Four Reasons We Struggle with Movements Everywhere

I believe there are a handful of areas where Cru will need a significant paradigm shift in order to move forward in our stated vision of movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who knows Jesus.

1. Apostolic Mission with a Catholic Organization Structure.
Movements Everywhere is a distinctively apostolic type vision. Take turf! However, our leadership structure is decidedly Catholic (not in theology mind you, but in hierarchy). I think this will prove a detriment to growth. From my warped point of view, the ME vision requires opportunities for leaders to move forward into uncharted waters, without having to seek permission from others in the system. See this for more.
(and please here me on this - we have no bad people in this structure - it is actually the structure itself that prevents the kind of growth we desire. I have served at every level of the organization and I can honestly say that I have worked with some of the most wonderful, godly and genuine people in the world - but the system, I think, works against us).

2. Apostolic Mission with a Pastor / Teacher Culture
Don't get me wrong. I live on good teaching and accurate theology. I want to think rightly about the scriptures in all things. However, in a Ephesians 4:11 mindset (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher - APEPT) we cannot afford to gravitate toward being heavily pastoral. From my limited view, a leadership culture than leans toward shepherding and accuracy will be unable to move us to the risky behavior needed for movements everywhere. It seems we will be too concerned with things that have nothing to do with movements everywhere. For more on this read this.

3. Apostolic Mission with a Leadership Development Focus
I am probably way off my rocker, but it seems to me that you don't get leaders by focusing on leaders, you get leaders by focusing on the mission. Leaders are what bubble to the surface when the vision and mission are compelling enough to engage in risky behavior - thus needing leadership. As soon as we try to organize, program and teach our way toward leadership we are in trouble. Leaders are developed in the crucible of the mission focused adventure.

4. Bill Bright would struggle to join us now.
This may be goofy and anecdotal (who needs facts when you have a story!). In Bill's second year as a staff guy (the staff guy) he left Vonette in charge at UCLA and moved on to another campus to begin a new work. He did this because he could - and because he owned the next step of expansion. Staff cannot do this now. Well, technically they can go to another campus, but there needs to be 'coordination' and 'conversations' first. The idea of simply expanding turf on your own merrit is not something that we currently do outside of the organizational systems. In this day and age, if young Bill was wanting to go from UCLA to USC, he would need to talk to his current director, a regional guy, a metro guy, and various components of the HR world, and probably the director of the place he wanted to go. And still it would not be his choice. Rapid it is not. (some have said, "well, big deal - who is asking to do this anyway!" . . . . my point exactly).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Churchill on Change

"Change is the price of survival." - Winston Churchill

Succinct and true. I often say change is synonymous with leadership - truly leading means that things must be changing. If not, we are simply managing what is. If that is our goal - fine, if not, it is time to step up and lead (lead change that is).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More By the Numbers

I drudged this up from an old report I had on ethnic student populations.

  • There are approximately 613,000 ethnic minority students in the Northeast Region (Cru defined as all of NY, ME, MA, VM,NH,CT,RI).
  • There are approximately 484,000 total students on the 20 largest universities in the Great Lakes Region (OH,MI,IL,IN)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

By the Numbers

The March/April issue of Worldwide Challenge reports that the US Campus Ministry (of Campus Crusade) had 48,376 students involved for the 05-06 school year. It also says there are 4,133 staff.

A couple of things jumped out to me from these numbers. Fist - that is a lot of students and very encouraging. Praise God! In recent years Cru has been able to expand to locations that always seemed a bit out of our abilities. That is cool.

The second thing is that I think that staff number is a bit high. Bob Francis (national operations director) and I used to discuss how this number was determined. I think the more accurate tally is somewhere around 2,500 - but I must admit that Judy Nelson, editor or WWC, makes very few mistakes - so . . . .

The third thing that hits me is, that if these numbers are right, then Cru has a 1:12 student to staff ratio. If the number is 2,500 then the ratio is more like 1:20. Obviously this is not true on the ground and most of the movement sizes are considerably larger than this.

However, this may be a reflection of how bureaucratic we have become. Before we get to enamoured with the numbers, we must remember what Churchill said ("the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself").

Sunday, May 13, 2007

University Profs biased (really?)

This is from National Review Online (but you gotta be a member to look at it - im not, but I received summary).

"Evangelical Christians have long complained that colleges are hostile to their faith. The San Francisco-based Institute for Jesish and Community Research recently surveyed 1,200 professors at a cross-section of schools, seeking their attitudes toward various religions. The study actually was designed to gauge anti-Semitism, but it found something else: 53 percent said they had "unfavorable" evangelical Christians."

Rick Hove and the boys at Christian Leadership Ministries have their work cut out for them.

Friday, May 11, 2007

College Costs

There are more students in college than ever before, and the cost of tuition is higher than ever before. According to a recent briefing in The Week a four year degree is almost as expensive as buying a home.

At four year private schools the total for tuition, room and board, and books (plus) is $30,367. For state schools the average is $12,796. Over the past 10 years, the cost of public institutions has increased 50%.

Does it matter? According to the US Census Bureau an American with a high school diploma will earn, on average, just over 28k a year. With a bachelors degree the amount increases to over 51k and a masters degree can expect to make 78k.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Burt Bacharach on Words

"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the world you first thought of,"
- Burt Bacharach

How true it is.

I was really just looking for a way to work Burt Bacharach into my blog.

It is truly what the world needs now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Five Reasons We CAN DO Movements Everywhere

I believe there are a handful of areas where Cru is positioned well in order to move forward in our stated vision of movements everywhere (so that everyone knows someone who knows Jesus!).

1. Goal Orientation
For much of its history, Campus Crusade has focused on accomplishing specific goals. Having been founded by a businessman (Bill Bright ran a candy company - if you are taking notes from home) - Crusade has a foundation of setting goals and moving accordingly. Sometimes we miss the mark, but we seldom miss setting a direction.

2. Strategic Resources
Along with goal orientation, God has granted CCC favor in order to generate resources. At the moment we may struggle with some institutional 'stuckness', but overall there has been the ability to throw good resources at good ideas (Jesus Film &

3. Global Presence
Campus Crusade has a global footprint - so much so that we often use the term 'partner' in regard to stuff we are doing inside the organization. There is a large vast network that helps in coordinating efforts and accomplishing pieces of the vision.

4. Will to Succeed
As a whole, Crusade tends to be a driven organization (goals and all that). If we dream it, we usually move forward to help make it happen. Our tendency is to over dream and under pray (ok, speaking for me on that one).

5. Leadership Engine
Because of a university focus (which is increasing globally) we are able to generate people resources in the form of leaders. Students leave campus young, full of energy and ideas and able to make life altering decisions without being too encumbered (who in your church can take off for 8 weeks of missions activity this summer?). Students can do this.

In each of these categories I have listed, we have access to huge potential, as well as some major stumbling blocks to overcome. For instance in leaders - we must be able to create room for young leader to run wild with ideas, like those that came before them. The older we get as an organization, the harder it is for this to happen.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bar becomes Church

Ok, it did not become a church, but more of doubling as a place for people to be the church. Evidently more than 100 people turned up recently for the first night of Solace, a 'church in a bar', in Cardiff, Wales. There were no pews in sight, no talking heads, or three-hundred year old songs in archaic English - guests sat at round tables with drinks (fermented beverages?) in hand, chatting away as they listened to music.

Wendy Sanderson, one of the evangelists involved says, "Who in their right mind wants to give up their Sunday mornings to listen to some bloke ramble on for half an hour, telling everyone what to think, without providing any opportunity for argument or questions? We wanted to create a safe environment where people could meet, somewhere they are familiar with already, where they can have fun and learn about God. It's a way to make church relevant for people in the club scene. I think when church gets too religious, people on the outside are bound to remain on the outside because they can't find a way they understand in," she says.

And evidently this is not the only church in a bar in Cardiff.

It is always good to snag some news from JoelNews

Friday, May 04, 2007

Church becomes Mosque

NY Times - Britain may continue to regard itself as a Christian nation. But practicing Muslims are likely to outnumber church-attending Christians in several decades, according to a recent survey by Christian Research, a group that specializes in documenting the status of Christianity in Britain.

Most of the time I am blogging about rapid expansion of Christianity - but every once in awhile you come across some chilling information - like this Methodist church in England becoming a mosque.

Not only is the decline of the church in the west quite eerie, but what is replacing it can be quite spooky as well. Situations like this are not as a result of large conversions of traditional Brits, but the massive growth of immigrant groups (in this case Pakistanis).

Fortunately this is a kind of 'adaptive challenge' that should re-ignite the church. And indeed this is happening in England in some reassuring ways. Only Jesus knows what forms this will take, but I hear of some exciting things happening on campuses - not a bad place to start.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


What am I nuts? I just saw this picture of my son and I at this 5k in Orlando. Linda was going to run it, but had to bail out - so at the last minute (literally) I took her tag and ran the race. And of course I was in khaki shorts and a pair of sandals (but they were Keens, so not so bad). I finished the whole thing (but my boy beat me!). The big man can sweat!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


StoryRunners is a group using some innovative (ancient actually) means to move the gospel ahead in distant places. The plan is to use the power of spoken Bible stories to convey the gospel to people for whom stories are a foundational part of their lives. This storying approach uses heart language and common learning style to provide them with an oral set of the Scriptures. Jesus never wrote anything - he simply conveyed it through stories and practice.

Why this method? - according to their stats the current situation looks like this:

  • 6,000 people groups totaling
  • 3 billion people who have not heard His message.
  • 4.5 billion of the world’s population can’t or won’t read.
  • 1 billion people have no Scripture and
  • millions of people do not have a written language of their own

In partnership with churches and mission agencies, StoryRunners trains teams of near-culture believers to live and work among unreached people groups so that they can:

  • lay a foundation for the beginnings of an oral Bible,
  • accelerate the spread of the gospel and
  • sow the seeds of church planting movements (I really like this point).
This is an incredibly intriguing project that seems much more incarnational than many of our older (or less old) approaches. This seems to capitalize on how the gospel naturally spreads from people to people.