A Cru staff member uses a short film to share the gospel in Seoul, South Korea. During Global Student Launch Week, students around the world sought to take the gospel to campuses where no staff members currently work. Photo by Tom Mills.

One God, One Week and Thousands of Students


Cru® staff members Tom Gooldy and Ebenezer Paulraj posed a simple “what if” question to a gathering of South Asian staff members and student leaders at a November 2017 training conference in India.

What might God do if each student leader here, in one week’s time, found five new leaders to coach?

They had no idea how much momentum this single question would create.

The room buzzed with dreams of multiplication. Students on campuses with no Christian presence could finally have a chance to hear about Jesus. Many could trust Christ and start growing in faith, and soon they’d be telling others about Jesus too.

As members of the Global Student-led Movements Team, Tom and Liege Lopes had flown to India for the training conference. At the conference, Tom and Ebenezer initially were thinking about just South Asia when they asked this question. But as the attendees of the training talked, they wondered what might happen if the idea could expand to the whole world. It would create significant progress toward Global Student-led Movements’ goal of ministry presence on 50 percent of the world’s universities by 2020, equating to presence on an additional 10,161 campuses.

Soon after that conference, Global Student Launch Week (GSLW) — a week of brave steps of faith to take the message of Jesus to new places — was announced. Liege and a team of student leaders from around the world began planning and led the global campus community toward two concrete goals:

  1. Lead at least 10,161 students through the “Key Volunteer Challenge.” The challenge is a simple way to hear students’ vision for their campus, invite such “key volunteers” to tell their friends about Jesus and gather other Christians to form the core group of a new ministry.
  2. As a result of the first goal, start 1,000 new ministries around the world.

Word spread. Students around the world, captivated by these goals and a vision to reach even more students, traveled to campuses in their own communities, initiating conversations with anyone they could. They shared the gospel with non-Christians and invited Christians to trust God to help them make Christ known on their campuses.

Learn more about GSLW from seven students from five continents, and see what God did during this remarkable event.

Anita*: South Asia

*Name changed for security.

Priya*: South Asia

I grew up in a Hindu family. But when my father was sick, someone came and prayed for him. He was healed. Through that prayer, my father and mother came to Christ, but I did not. I began reading the Bible and, slowly, slowly, I came to believe.

Every day, after reading the Bible, I really had a heart to share with my friends. But no one was there to help me. A fellow believer asked me, “Don’t you have a heart to share with your friends?” and she introduced me to Cru. They trained me how to share the gospel with my friends.

Now it’s natural for me. Whenever I share the gospel, I feel very happy. I don’t feel scared, because I know it’s truth. Jesus is the one true God. Taste Him and you will know.

Filling the Map

Cru® staff member Liege Lopes pushed 65 pins into a map of Brazil, each marking a university with an existing Cru movement. Though fewer than 30 Cru staff members served in Brazil’s campus ministry, pins occupied 13 of the country’s 27 states.

The map could have been used to prompt celebration, but Liege had a different purpose.

She saw the 2,300+ unpinned universities and directed the students at a 2016 weekend leadership retreat to look to the 14 empty states.

“We don’t have anything here,” she said. “Why don’t you go?”

The students caught the vision that they, not just staff members, could launch new movements. Off they went, going in small teams across the country over the next year, launching new campus movements in each state where Cru wasn’t.

They haven’t stopped going. Liege estimates that Cru is now present on nearly 200 campuses. Students are so excited to continue going to new places that the goal of starting movements on half of the 2,391 universities in Brazil by the end of 2020 is attainable.

“Because of how we’re applying this in the country now,” Liege says, “we are seeing exponential growth. We’re pretty confident that we’ll reach our goal.”

Whenever they arrive at a new campus and meet a Christian student able and eager to lead, the students communicate that the purpose isn’t just to share Christ at their university but to begin looking to nearby universities as well. In several states, students have formed statewide leadership teams, who oversee ministry on multiple campuses.

During Global Student Launch Week, at first I was very nervous, because we had to visit different colleges. We visited 23 campuses. When we challenged the students to be key volunteers, they were excited to do the same on their own campuses. Most of them were already believers, but they didn’t know about the Great Commission. They were very excited. We told them how to start. You can just call your friends and pray for them together. In that way, you can start.

I was very excited when I first heard about GSLW. I was sharing the gospel at my own college, but it was very exciting to go out of our colleges to share. I challenged probably 10 to 15 students. Of those, four or five were negative responses, but the rest were all very positive about it.

*Name changed for security.

Blé Bernard Kouadio: Adzopé, Ivory Coast

Blé Bernard Kouadio

Prior to the Global Student Launch Week on November 4-10, I felt extremely joyous to know I would be a missionary for a week. I desired to have a lot of great conversations with non-Christians and to let them know all God has done for us.

The first day of the launch we prayed and committed the week to the hand of God. Then the 14 of us student leaders split into two groups. My group went to Abidjan University in Cocody. There were not many students there because of the break.

Instead, we found INSAAC, a school of professionals nearby, and I went there with two other students. We shared with 65 students. As a result, a movement started there with five students who want to lead. I met with them a week later to share the vision of Campus Crusade for Christ® for reaching the world. They want to make this their vision.

Also, during the launch, there were 10 students who gave their life to Christ. I plan to go this week and follow up with them. There is one from Abidjan University, a few from INSAAC and the rest from a nearby high school.

Next year, the Ivory Coast Campus Crusade for Christ group plans to do a similar launch.

João Rafael Santos Santana: Aracaju, Brazil

João Rafael Santos Santana

We went to Tiradentes University, Pio Décimo College, UNIRB, Estácio FASE, Maurício de Nassau, Sao Luís de Franca, FANESE, and to my campus, Federal University of Sergipe.

I have a tendency to think that with my experience, my smarts and my ability to make new friends, I can handle everything. When I start to trust in myself, almost nothing works.

But when I admit that God is the key and He can handle everything, I can trust in Him and abandon my own efforts to achieve His goals for the kingdom.

During the week, I saw that it is God who enables us to go and make disciples, challenge others and make a difference where we are involved. Because of His work, we added 38 new key volunteers to our movement.

Frank Grogan: Guyana; studied at Newcastle University, England

Frank Grogan

When I came to Newcastle, I knew no one here. These two random guys came up to me and started asking me the big questions — about life, religion — and then they asked me if I was a Christian. God put them in my path, we became really good friends, and for the past year I’ve been involved with them in Student Life®.

As we go into Global Student Launch Week, we’ll use a variety of tools like Soularium Cards® to initiate conversations, as everyone is different and tools break the ice. For example, with the tool the two used when they told me, they said I was one of the only ones that admitted I was a Christian. And they said they’d tried it out on 100 other people, and no one had said they were a Christian.

I’m a bit nervous as this is the first time I’m participating in this type of activity and excited going to be going to a new city and to be searching for other Christians.

We talked with Frank after his week visiting campuses. This is what he said:

We visited the University of Manchester, although Manchester Metropolitan University and the Musical College are located next to each other, and we hung out where over 80,000 students from the various institutions walk past.

God was working in Manchester even before we got there, as I was surprised with the various other Christian societies on campus.

God led us to meet various students, some with interest in mission, some on their journey of discovering Him and others who may have never heard of Him before.

The stories and beliefs of the students each offered so much insight. This allowed me to reflect on my own journey with Christ having heard the stories of those I spoke with, and widened my empathic vision of how much more I can do to serve God by sharing His love.

It is sometimes difficult to begin a conversation with a stranger, and there is no one right way to begin. Even the smallest of conversations can leave a big impression, as you never know how the conversation may go, what common interests can help you connect with people or what needs these individuals can have.

Ketila Silva: Acre, Brazil

Ketila Silva

We’re planning on going to four new campuses here in Acre. Leading up to the week, we’re joyful but also dreading it, as we understand all this week signifies not only for Brazil, but the entire world.

What we know about these four campuses is that some follow a very strict plan and have difficulty accepting anything new on campus. On top of this, we’ve had difficulty getting people together to go with us, and we even fear it won’t work out.

We pray that people will receive the vision of reaching their campus and continuing what we initiate during the week. God has surprised us in the past, so we’re asking Him to surprise us again.

We talked with Ketila after her week visiting campuses. This is what she said:

We only had a few people involved during the launch week. This reminded me that God looks for the person whose heart is available.

God showed us that whether you have one person working or 10, He is the One who brings the results, and His results are always marvelous.

God also showed us that everything that is initiated by prayer will last by prayer and will end with prayer. When He is present, there’s no way for it to turn out wrong.

God taught us to approach everyone.

Robert Lopez: Carson, California, USA

Robert Lopez

I was a committed atheist in high school. After I came to Christ, God put it on my heart to start a Christian club on my campus, California State University, Dominguez Hills. God provided a faculty adviser, the 40 required petition signatures from interested students and even a couple of club officers. At the same time, unbeknownst to me, local staff members with Destino®, Cru’s Hispanic ministry, were asking God to start ministries on campuses that had none. When the Cru staff members met me, they challenged me to start Destino on my campus.

I met Jason, a student who asked for help starting a group at California State University, Los Angeles. During Global Launch Week, we met with the dean of the college of education, asking about professors interested in making Jesus known on campus. She connected us with six professors. God also led us to 40 interested students to get the required petition signatures. We met a lot of non-believers, and sharing the gospel with them really encouraged me, as well as non-believers interested in coming to our meetings.

One of the most searched items on Google is “Where do I go after I die?” GLW showed me that there’s always people searching. Destino officially starts as a campus organization in January 2019, but we’re already meeting Friday mornings at CSULA for Bible study. At Cerritos College, I’ve also identified three students as potential leaders, so I’m helping them to start Destino on their campus.

Video by Adam Jones, member of the Global Communications Team. Additional reporting by Elliott Dodge, Jan Stewart and Michael Chapman.

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Jason Weimer
Words by

Jason Weimer

Jason writes for The Communications Group of Cru®. He served as a team leader for Cru’s campus ministry in Pittsburgh for seven years. He has one wife, three kids, and an embarrassing number of brain cells reserved for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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