Friday, July 13, 2007

Campus Crusade & Simple Movements

I have spent the past month in Colorado helping to train dozens of new Campus Crusade local leaders from across the country. These are godly, gifted and, in most cases, young new leaders that are trusting God to use them in reaching students here in the U.S. and abroad. One of the areas that I've been giving specific leadership to is the concept of launching and building spiritual movements on campuses.

In some respects I think that a number of us within Campus Crusade have lost a sense of why we exist and the unique role that we play within the body of Christ. We are but one organization and there are many other mission agencies, para-church ministries and denominations that also play a unique role in the expansion of God's kingdom. Dr. Bill Bright used to say that we (CCC) are but "a leaf, on a twig, on a branch, on a tree which is the body of Christ." As Campus Crusade I see our calling as reaching out to those places in society that the traditional church may not get to. We are about reaching those that don't know Christ -- pure and simple.

We define ourselves as a parachurch ministry and that is important to remember. We don't consider ourselves to be a local church, nor should we. For example, a given campus movement could have hundreds of students involved, but those students likely are in the same age bracket (18-23), come from similar economic backgrounds (they are in college), are probably of the same ethnicity and, though we are an interdominational organization, we do tend to attract students from a fairly mainline, Protestant background.

Considering this, a local CCC movement does not reflect the whole of the body of Christ, only a small part. As mentioned, I see our job as going into every nook and cranny of a campus and meeting people right where they're at so that they can hear about Jesus without having to jump over a bunch of religious and cultural barriers to do so. Within our ministry we talk about Winning people to Christ, Building them in their faith, and Sending them forth to do likewise. In the course of discipleship, we are not equipped to provide everything that a young person needs in their Christian development. A local church (with a bunch greater diversity of life experiences and availability) can help in a more complete way to meet people's needs. We help students to establish a relationship with God and grow in that relationship so that they can introduce others to Christ. We help to excelerate the mission of the local church by reaching those that the church isn't reaching, plugging them into those churches and infusing a heart for evangelism into its leadership.

Our movements need to be simple, transferable and easily replicated. When we attempt to be everything to everybody we fall into a subtle trap. Our staff are not pastors. We are pioneering missionaries. In order to take the gospel into these places where committed followers of Christ don't currently exist, we must be committed to taking the message of Christ in its simplest form so that it is easily understood and can be easily passed onto others. We have a history of being committed to the basics of the faith so that God can work in our lives and we can show others how to also grow in Him.

My friend, Jay Lorenzen, recently wrote a post on his blog entitled "Simple Movements." It addresses this need to not overcomplicate things so that the gospel can move quickly and effectively within people groups. You can read the post here. We are about "movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone that truly follows Jesus."

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