It’s Not Our Job to Reach Everyone

April 14, 2009 — 7 Comments

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…. Ephesians 4:11-13 (ESV)

“In recent years our complexity, size and scope have masked our essence. I sense God is calling us back to our roots – the simple calling that was clearly present when we were growing rapidly. When we have been winning, building and sending, God has blessed us.” – Steve Douglass, Future Direction

Repeat after me:


Movements Everywhere does not mean CCC staff everywhere.
Movements Everywhere does not mean planting CCC flags everywhere.
Movements Everywhere does not mean it’s CCC’s job to reach everyone…
[ ] on this campus
[ ] in this country
[ ] in the world. (Check all that apply.)

Now take a deep breath. Do you feel like you just committed heresy?

Relax. You’re going to be ok. Enjoy a weekly Sabbath. Take a nap.


One of the most common mistakes that I’ve frequently observed and personally committed during my 23 years on staff with this fantastic organization is that we tend to bite off more than our God-given share of the Great Commission. How many times have I sat with a team in front of a fresh white board during a strategic planning session to dream about reaching our scope of 30,000 students on a campus, or 30 million or 300 million in a country, or 6+ billion people in the world? There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about it, envisioning what it will be like when God brings it about, or praying toward these ends. In fact, I believe willingness to engage emotionally with that level of scope is embedded in the spiritual DNA of every true follower of Jesus. I have a huge world map in my study at home before which I regularly sit or kneel with Bible open, in the wee morning hours, praying country by country for God to raise up disciples among every tribe, tongue, people and nation. This nourishes my soul and brings my daily struggles into a much more realistic perspective.


So, what’s the problem? The problem, viewed through an organizational leadership lens, is that when it comes to planning, we have allowed most teams to believe that it’s their job to “reach an entire campus (or city or country)” rather than holding them accountable to fulfill CCC’s unique calling and execute our mission well within their local setting.


What has God has called CCC to do? He’s called us and historically used us to help fulfill the Great Commission by winning, building and sending in the power of the Holy Spirit and helping the body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship.
We fulfill that calling when we live out our values and execute our mission over and over and over again. And what is our mission? About a year ago, the Global Leadership Team clarified that our unique mission is launching spiritual movements by winning, building and sending Christ-centered multiplying disciples. Eleven very powerful words that bring clarity and focus to what we should be doing.


If you want to see how this all fits together, you may want to review Steve Douglass’ Future Direction booklet or view it in a simple one-page Planning Pyramid that places all these concepts in perspective. The higher, broader levels of the pyramid represent overarching calling, values, mission and vision that should guide us as we seek the Lord and make decisions. These don’t change very often. The lower, narrower levels represent the specific, culturally relevant strategic action that needs to take place in any setting. These plans and actions change frequently as the situation requires and the Spirit freely leads. The desired result: movements somewhere, ultimately leading to movements everywhere.

Note that nowhere will you find a requirement, expectation, assumption or call for any CCC team to “reach the entire whatever.” Think about it: when was the last time you heard of a team leader or national director losing their job because they didn’t reach their entire scope? Or, for that matter, how many times in the past 60 years has anyone heard of a team that consistently DID reach their entire scope? Hmmm…

This brings us to the next two major shifts in CCC culture that we need to make – together – in order to move forward.


2. Increasing Local Ownership


“Movements Everywhere” implies that the greatest growth must happen at the grass roots level. The whole organization must adjust to ensure that the local level is growing and expanding. This means that…


a. We have local teams who are focused on building movements, whether through direct ministry or catalytic ministry. They are fully empowered to innovate and be creative within our mission, vision, and values.


b. Everyone is aligned to essentials and committed to multiplying.


c. Local movements become self-sustaining, i.e., they are generating local leaders and resources.


d. Organizational decisions are made in light of their impact on the field. Investment in local effectiveness is normal.


3. Developing a Broader Kingdom Perspective


Penetrating the world with true followers of Jesus will require efforts far beyond those of Campus Crusade for Christ. We must keep a Kingdom perspective. We must join forces and resources with the rest of the body of Christ to reach our goal. This means that


a. We promote God’s heart among the nations, embracing both the Great commandment and the Great Commission.


b. We focus on our role, while celebrating the roles of others with different callings. We realize that all of us are necessary and none of us is sufficient to accomplish movements everywhere.


c. We actively and unselfishly work together with other organizations and leaders with an attitude of humility, so that the synergy of the Body of Christ is unleashed.


d. While making disciples and launching movements locally, we continually entrust the ministry to others in the arenas where God has called us to work.


e. We must have the Kingdom in our sights, rather than only looking out for our own interests.

How might these two cultural shifts change your team’s next strategic planning session?

What might you need to stop doing? Start doing? Change?

7 responses to It’s Not Our Job to Reach Everyone

  1. I went to a conference in another region once, and a campus staff member told me that she literally didn’t spend any time on campus because of her many responsibilities. That may be extreme, but I think that there’s elements of that issue with us as staff.

    I would definitely love to hear you speak about what you’re talking about here. One thing that I would like to add though… I think that the most effective context of win, build, send is with one person. In other words, I have “won” many people, and “built” many people, and “sent” many people, but I have never won, built, AND sent a single person. I know you could bring up Paul and Apollos here, (I planted, Apollos watered, etc), but I think more condensed forms of win, build, and send need to happen.

  2. The biggest problem with me, CCC and every other leading evangelical ministry is that we “don’t do” Jesus’ Great Commission. Willard says, “the great ommission from the great commission isn’t money, resources, or numbers, …but obedience” -paraphrase.

    I think that if we “do it” — if we “are disciples who make disciples” the numbers, the money, the resources will take care of themselves.

    What if every USCM staff member, …both field, office, full-time and “moms” invested 1 day a week in 100% “making disciples” (which would probably eventually translate into all our USCM staff having a little “band” of college student we’re discipling.

    What if the other 4 days of their week supported this investment (and didn’t take them “off task” or “out of town” or “off mission”).

    The result? Jesus Kingdom on campus would begin growing by Kingdom proportions (10, 20, 50, 100 fold) in a matter of months. Can you imagine what could happen in 4 years of this?

  3. Ken, I really appreciate this whole post. It’s easy to assume that most of the national college ministries feel they have a “manifest destiny” to plant a mission on every single campus. I appreciate somebody being very clear that they don’t feel that way.

    My conclusion (recently, at least) has been that the more we approach college ministry like we do classic foreign missions – rather than anything akin to “Christian Education – the better off we are. This seems to fit with your discussion of how we determine success, how we involve local “tribespeople,” and having a bent toward Kingdom-mindedness and cooperation.

    For a lot of Christians, these things seem obvious – elsewhere. It’s a little trickier to engage and think missiologically in the U.S.

    But I have a question – do Cru people overseas have an easier time applying what you wrote in your post, because it feels so “missions-y” already? Or do you see this difficulty regardless of where CCC people are working?

  4. Alex and Dan, your comments really drive the point home: we must seek ways to continually make disciples in the different settings in which we find ourselves. Personally, I find my thoughts and actions increasingly being shaped by those who can communicate clearly, with grace and truth, and challenge me to live at a different standard. Life-on-life influence takes on a whole new dimension with the web, fb and well-written blogs.

    Benson, what a great question! Yes, having spent 13 of our 23 staff years living overseas, I believe that most staff serving outside their culture labor with a much more heightened sense of urgency. Mission clarity seems more present – in the air – as if the clock is ticking. Staff members see themselves as pioneers seeking to reach influential nationals who will reach their peers. I don’t sense that same level of urgency or mission clarity among most staff members serving in their home country.

  5. brian barela
    chico state

    just was reminded of this quote from walter brueggemann in The Prophetic Imagination: “It is difficult to keep a revolution of freedom and justice underway when there is satiation.”

    i think part of why we in the states struggle with urgency is also due to this. i have to be honest and say that the times when my staff account has been full and my life trial free, i’ve been less effective on campus than when the lord has been pruning my soul.

  6. Ken – here are thoughts from a former student involved with CCC, current supporter of staff members and brother of a CCC member (this is for the audience at large!).

    I’ve always felt the “weak link” of CCC was, “what do we do after graduation if we don’t join staff?” I know CCC has other ministries (e.g., Priority Associates), and things my have changed, but it seems that these ministries are not integrated.

    Working with clients in the business world, the first thing I look for is inefficient and ineffective processes (e.g., Customer service hand-offs) which lead to costs and lost revenue. I view the “graduation” event as a hand-off between the various CCC ministries. When the hand-off is handled poorly, people get lost.

    I agree with CCC’s historical and future role in the Great Commission – focused, sharp, on-point. Would like your thoughts on the post-graduate question as we all agree that discipleship needs to extend beyond the 4-5 years we spent on the college campus.

  7. Ken, I’ve been looking through quite a few of your posts and this is one of my favorites so far. As a student, I remember hearing one of my campus staff essentially say the exact opposite of what you have said here, and it was demoralizing, not inspiring. I remember one day talking to a friend (not a Christian) on the phone about how I was convinced that “this was going to be the year” that God did great things, and that person responded, “isn’t that what staff on that campus have been trying to do for the last 30 years? What makes you think that this year is going to be any different?” I fully believed that it was our job as a student ministry to reach every student on the campus, and collaboration with other ministries and other local believers was never part of that discussion. Feeling responsible for the impossible created a burden much too heavy for me to lift, especially as a young believer. It makes me wonder how much not only CCC staff but also students experience a level of subtle ongoing defeat as they hear more and more about the vision of every tribe, tongue, and nation without a plausible concrete strategy as to how that might be accomplished. Clarifying what “movements everywhere” ISN’T is a great step toward understanding what it actually is, and it’s a safeguard against thinking too highly of ourselves as God’s supreme gift to mankind (next to Jesus, of course!)

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