Building a Bridge to the Campus

“The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.” John 1:14

God reached the world by doing something unexpected. Rather than keeping His distance, He came to dwell among us by sending His own Son. This is really good news! It’s the good news.

If we want to reach our local campus, we need to follow the example that Jesus Christ set for us. We must go to students rather than keeping our distance, waiting for them to come to us. 

To do this well, we have to become what we call an insider on the campus. An insider is simply someone who clearly belongs. Insiders know the school, have positive connections, and make an unmistakable difference at the school.

So how do we move from being an outsider to an insider?  

Where to Begin?

Getting somewhere new requires some work. Crossing a river or a canyon can be hard and uncertain, even dangerous—unless you have a bridge. 

A bridge provides a clear, trustworthy way to cross to the other side. However, bridges are not built in a day. If they are going to last, they take time, effort, expertise, and some critical maintenance.

To become a trusted insider on campus, the “bridges” you need to build are relationships. And just like a real bridge, the good relationships we will build take some time. 

Make Prayer Your Foundation

Prayer is where you must start. It’s the foundation of Cru’s approach. It can be tempting to jump right into building relationships. We just want to GO, but before we begin meeting new people on campus, we want to ask the Lord for the insight to meet the spiritual needs of the students there. Prioritizing our relationship with God and asking Him to provide will always be the best first step.

Thinking back to our bridge metaphor, starting without prayer is like building without having the foundation securely in place. We want to trust that God has the best plans. We need to align ourselves with His plans, not our own.

We want to pray that God would…

  • Help us see the needs of the students and staff
  • Lead us to other Christians who want to help
  • Teach us to care deeply about the well-being of the entire school
  • Send students to make a bigger impact than we ever could

If we want to reach our local campus, we need to follow the example that Jesus Christ set for us. We must go to the students!

Understand the School

Getting to know the school’s culture and unique student groups is key to getting a grasp on the needs in the community and on campus. 

One easy place to start is just looking for social media groups you can follow for school updates. Even better, go to events on campus like concerts, games, or plays. Be intentional about meeting teachers and staff to build relationships. Network with people you already know to find connections to other insiders who can help you learn about the school. 

As you meet people, let them know you are interested in helping students thrive and you are looking for people who can help you get a better understanding of the needs on campus. 

Some possible insiders to meet…

  • Teachers 
  • Recent graduates 
  • Leaders of student clubs
  • Coaches
  • Members of the Parent Teacher Organization
  • Any other school staff 

Ask the people you meet about the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the school. Look for needs you could help meet that could make the campus a better place. 

Serve the School

Once you understand the needs of the school, the relationships you have built are the pathways to meeting the needs of the students on campus. There will be some practical needs you and others can step into easily, including:

  • School clean up days
  • Help the PTO thank teachers for their hard work
  • Promoting school fundraisers
  • Join a mentoring program
  • Become a volunteer coach

Our number one goal with Cru is to share the gospel. Serving the school in these ways might not look like it fits with that goal. However, the truth is these types of actions speak volumes about the gospel, especially when we do them because we care. 

You might tell people about Jesus all day long, but few will really listen. However, when you care about others enough to sacrifice for them because Christ cared about you enough to sacrifice His life for you, that is powerful. When you live like that, the things you say make sense to the people who see you live it out. The message becomes embodied and people can truly understand.

Connect With Student Groups

As you serve the school, look for ways to help student groups you come in contact with the most. You could do an inspirational team talk for the track team before the state meet. You could organize or host a cast party after the school play. There are many student groups, teams, and clubs you can find on campus. Look for the ones you might connect with the most.

An insider wants to meet the needs of the school because it helps build up the whole campus and helps make it a positive and healthy place. As you meet students from various groups or teams, ask good questions. Find out what they would like to change about their school or maybe life in general. Schools are usually great at meeting physical and educational needs, however, they are really not designed to answer the spiritual questions about life. This is where Cru can help, and surfacing those BIG questions means you may need to ask good questions too.

When you first meet students, you might not have deep spiritual conversations with them, but you can invite them to your local Cru club or church youth group. Maybe your conversations with students will give you an idea for an outreach at or near the school. In short, connecting with student groups will help you continue to understand and serve the school and give you the opportunity to involve students in the things Cru already has going at the school. 

To become a trusted insider on campus, the “bridges” you need to build are relationships.

Build A Network of Adult Leaders

Some of the school’s needs can be very specific and you might not be able to meet them on your own. If there is a high need for male mentors or math tutors, you might not fit the criteria needed for that role. Do NOT try to do it all on your own. 

Craft a diverse network of relationships to adult leaders and you can help serve the school by getting the right people for the job. If you work hard at becoming an insider, you can help others get involved at the school because you know the needs and understand the process of volunteering. 

Finding people for your network will take creativity. Local churches are a great place to start. Explore churches near the campus to mobilize individuals who can volunteer to meet needs at the school. These churches are a diverse community of people who are called to love God and their neighbors, but sometimes they do not know how. Asking them to meet a need in their community may actually be a huge blessing to them and the school. 

Another strategy to use to invite others to help is to have a volunteer informational meeting. This where you gather a diverse group of Christians from different parts of the community to talk about how they can work together to help the school.

Equip and Motivate Students

Adults can make a big difference on the campus—meeting deficiencies, opening the door to spiritual conversations, and inviting others to help. However, there are limits to what adults can do, no matter how much of an “insider” they are. The most effective and dynamic influencers on the campus are always the students themselves. 

We want students to follow our lead in seeking what is best for the school and in sharing our reason for hope in Christ, but we do not just want to be the only one doing this. As an insider, we might be really effective at adding people to God’s kingdom, but we want to do more. We want to do what Jesus did and multiply by sending others out to share with more.

When teenagers follow Jesus and take steps of faith to win, build, and send other teenagers to do the same, powerful change will begin to happen at that school. Teenagers will always be better missionaries to their campus than any adult. They are already insiders and have way more freedom to share their faith with other students.

Students and other leaders will follow our lead when we take steps of faith to be present and go to the campus with the good news.

Next Step

Begin building a bridge to a local campus by talking with a campus insider. The Getting to Know your Campus Questionnaire will help.



Cru Promo Videos

It was once said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, if that’s true, a video is worth a million. As we talk about Cru with students, administration, donors, volunteers, parents, and others, having a video can sometimes help them get the feel of what we do.

Below you’ll find a few videos that do just that. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, check our YouTube channels at Cru High School and Gotothecampus. If we’ve got it, it’ll be there.

Cru Promo Video – 3 Minute Version

Download this video

Cru Promo Video – 1 Minute Version

Download this video

Cru Promo Video – 1 Minute Version (vertical)

Download this video

Share This Post

More to Explore