THE HIGH SCHOOL MINISTRY OF CRU

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Gap Year

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Imagine taking a year after high school graduation to explore who God has created you to be, grow in your relationship with the Lord and reach out to high school students in other cultures. 

WHO  –  A Gap Year is for 18-20 year old students. You must be 18 by the time you travel overseas. Applicants must have a surrendered and teachable heart for the Lord. It is important to have a willingness to learn how to share your faith and take opportunities to share the Gospel with those that God brings into your life. A servant’s heart and a humility to learn about and respect the differences of other cultures is important. 

WHAT  –  A Gap Year is a 9 month adventure that will transform your life, give you opportunities to trust God in greater ways and share the Gospel with high school students across the globe.  You will be going to high school campuses to meet students and develop relationships so that you can share the Gospel and disciple those who are interested.  You will meet students through speaking in classes, sharing your testimony, playing sports, sharing your life and many other things. Your team can choose to visit an orphanage, serve at a refugee camp or meet the physical needs of others.  The majority of the focus will be developing relationships, sharing the Gospel and discipling those who respond.

WHEN  –  Cru’ s Gap Year starts in the Fall of each year.  You will start in September with training and development in Orlando, FL and then travel to your ministry location(s). There will be a short debrief back in Orlando mid May.

WHERE – There will be two Gap Teams. You can decide which team you would like to serve on. One team will stay mainly in one location and the other team will travel to multiple locations.  When a team is full you might be asked to join a team that has needs.  There might be a chance that we would ask you to pray about another option than what you chose. This would be to even out teams, but you will not be required to change.

 WHY –  Gap Years have been proven to have a positive impact on academic performance in college. Research shows that students who participate in gap year programs often perform better in school, have a better sense of direction in their lives, and have higher employability than those that go directly to college after high school. Participating on a gap year with Cru will also prepare you to enter college with a strong spiritual foundation and the ability to be a spiritual leader and multiplier of your faith on campus.

 ARE YOU READY FOR A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE?

Cru High School’s Gap Year is trusting the Lord to send two teams in the Fall of 2020. We are still putting together the locations, but this is what we are trusting the Lord for:

Gap Team 1: This team will go to Guayaquil, Ecuador for the overseas portion of the mission.  There will be possible short trips to other locations in South America/Caribbean to help with ministry in those locations.  The benefit of staying in one location for an extended time is you will have more time to develop solid relationships, share the Gospel and disciple students. It is not required that you speak Spanish, but it would help if you learn some of the language.

Gap Team 2: This team will go to multiple locations. You will start in a country in South America for three months, a country in Africa for three months and possibly in Eastern Europe or another area of the world for one to two months. This team will also develop relationships, share their faith and disciple students. They will also focus on raising up leaders to continue the ministry when they leave the country. Exact locations will be posted as soon as they are confirmed.

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In order to meet students, you need to go where students hang out and take the initiative to get to know them.

BIBLICAL BASIS

“We loved you so much we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well because you had become so dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Consider the woman at the well. Jesus meets and befriends a Samaritan woman, addresses her need, and explains salvation to her. She is so changed by Jesus that she brings the whole town out to meet Him. As you think back over your life, who has had the most influence on you for the good?  Think through how you met this person and write down how this person influenced you.  Reflecting on this relationship can help you think through how you can have a positive influence on the teens you meet.

THE PROCESS

1. Know your purpose.

Your purpose is to share Christ and disciple those who respond. At the same time, your audience is made up of very relational people who live in a relational world. You will gain credibility and opportunities to share Jesus as you relate well in the student world.  It requires that you meet as many students as you can. You will have the opportunity to share the gospel with most of those acquaintances as time goes on.

2. Be yourself.

Don’t try to be someone you aren’t.  Students will relate to a variety of people.  The most important thing is that they know that you care about them and that you are comfortable with who God has made you to be.  Reflect on Biblical truths of who Christ says you are so that you have greater confidence in relating to students.  (See Ephesians 1-3 for some of these truths).

3. Be an insider – someone who gets to know the student culture and world.

An insider is someone who adjusts their conversations to the student’s interests rather than just their own; fitting in with them, not asking them to fit in with you.

4. Be casual but definite.

To be casual means that it is important to be relaxed and be yourself as you work among students. Enjoy yourself and enjoy them. To be definite means that you remember your objective: to help the student learn more about a relationship with Jesus so they have the opportunity to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.  As you relate to them be prayerful, asking God to help you know when and how to turn your conversations to his spiritual need. You are not there just to be a buddy, but a spiritual leader and mentor.

5. Prepare to Meet Students

  • Prepare to meet students by looking in the high school yearbook, getting activities calendars, sports schedules, school newspapers, etc. Become a student of the school.
  • Identify the various relational groups, clubs, or cliques of students.
  • Rely on students you know to help meet others.
  • Pray daily for students, even though you don’t know them because this can lead to opportunities to share the gospel with them or God working through a student to reach them.
  • Learn the cultural norms of the school -i.e. what’s in, what’s not, how students think, etc.
  • Ask God to provide you with opportunities to meet students, and expect Him to lead you to students He has prepared.

A key to effectively reaching high school students is to be aware of their group orientation. When you meet a student, it’s important not only to get to know him but to find out what social, athletic, academic, or another type of group he’s in. Movement develops more naturally when we reach and mobilize natural groups of students.

PLAN AND BEGIN YOUR STRATEGY

1. Meet students with breadth in mind.

  1. The more students you meet, the greater opportunity you have for outreach. Look at your Mapping the Campus Worksheet to help you determine where you want to start meeting students. Ask your ministry coach for help in developing your plan.

2. Go where students are.

Here are some typical places to meet students:

  • School activities
  • Athletic and school events
  • Church
  • On the street where they are hanging out in the community
  • Other students’ homes
  • Assisting at school: coaching, school clubs
  • Shopping malls
  • Eating establishments

3. While talking with students it is important to:

  • Be a good listener.
  • Show an attitude of acceptance.
  • Don’t be the one doing most of the talking.
  • Ask perceptive questions about them.
  • Look for areas of common interest.

As you prepare to meet students think through some questions you could ask students.  Have these questions in your mind to help communicate that you care about the students and to help you feel more relaxed as you meet them. Here are some ideas:

  • So where are you from? Where did you grow up?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • Who are your closest friends? What do you do for fun?
  • What are your favorite movies, songs, video games, etc… (Barna research says this is what teenagers spend their time doing vastly beyond anything else in life).
  • What’s your family like? Who do you live with? Do you have
  • brothers and sisters? Do you like them?

The success of these questions will depend on how you ask them, and the follow-up questions you use based on their responses.  Brainstorm some of your own questions you’d like to ask.  For questions to help you transition to the gospel see “Turning the Conversation to Christ.”

As you find opportunities to talk to teens, remember to:

  • Try to talk with them concerning what is important to them whether it be music, basketball, philosophy on life. Ask them questions about life.
  • As you talk to them figure out what they are interested in and explore those topics more deeply. Be genuinely interested.
  • Let them know they can trust you. Then you will get to know them.  As they open up to you, you will find openings into their lives where you can share Jesus with them, like Jesus did with the woman at the well in John 4.

4. Rely on students you know to help you meet others.

Ask students you know to help you meet some of their friends. As you attend school or social events, ask students to introduce you to their friends, or just casually take the initiative to meet them. Challenge students in your small groups to reach out to a group of friends with you. Ask them to host or invite students to a pizza party, ice cream, etc.

5. Make prayer a priority.

Ask God to help you meet the students He wants you to meet.

6. Meet students who attend ministry events.

Talk with every new student you can at Cru High School Meetings and school meetings and events.

7. Be creative.

Team meetings, classroom speaking, creative outreaches, pick up ball games, hanging out at kid’s homes, coaching, helping with music and drama productions, etc. – all are ways you can meet students. Much of your ministry depends upon your willingness to be available, friendly, and the take the initiative.  This way you will always be meeting new students.

8. Aim to take someone with you.

Whether it is a student you know, a friend or community member who is a partner with your ministry.

APPLICATION

  • List the students you know.
  • List some places and ways you can get to know more students, particularly through students you already know
  • With your ministry coach, develop a plan to meet and reach out to some students you want to get to know, like the football team, cheerleaders, drama students, kids in choir, etc…