Students welcome a newcomer to Cru®️’s weekly meeting at Oregon State University. (This photo was taken in early 2020 before COVID-19 protocols were in place.)

How a Single Instagram Post Impacted Two Lives


“Have you ever wondered whether your ‘digital efforts’ actually mattered?” Cru® staff member Megan Congin asked in a recent ministry letter.

This question could apply to a number of scenarios: efforts to digitize and organize paperwork, the pursuit of online education, or attempts to fill a digital shopping cart with groceries. You name it, and it likely can be accomplished somewhere, somehow — online.

But for Hannah Koehler, a Cru student leader at Oregon State University, the question related to persevering when she felt that her digital outreach wasn’t connecting with fellow students to draw their attention to Christ.

Watch as Hannah and her friend Susie Rinke share how one digital effort — an Instagram post — made a radical difference in both of their lives.

Three ways digital efforts can make a difference

1. Virtual life is a gateway to real life.

“[Students’] desire is not to be on a screen. Nothing is a replacement for in-person connection,” said Stephanie Sauter, Cru staff member at Oregon State University. As Hannah and Susie found, moving from an online connection to real life was natural once it became safe to meet in person during the pandemic. This reality extends beyond the campus into work relationships or relationships built around a shared interest, as occurs regularly on social media.

2. A gospel-centered social media presence offers curious people a “peek into the room.”

In the context of ministry, social media allows students to learn about the Christian faith at their own pace. It also reaches students who might otherwise be off the grid. Stephanie explained that over the course of the 2020-2021 school year at Oregon State, 10 students prayed and received Christ into their lives and remain involved in discipleship groups and Bible studies. “That’s been significant,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that we’ve seen that happen in years past.”

3. Silence doesn’t always equal a lack of interest.

Susie had interacted with students involved in Cru over the years as a student at OSU, but she had never taken steps to learn more or get involved. She now wishes she had connected with Cru sooner and learned about having a relationship with God through Christ. After this experience with Susie, Hannah no longer assumes that people aren’t curious about God if they don’t immediately express interest in spiritual matters. Instead, she’s learning to trust that the God of the harvest can use anyone — even someone who has lost heart or thinks their efforts don’t matter — to make an eternal difference in someone else’s life.

Who has God given you to love and share Christ with?

How does Hannah and Susie’s story encourage you to persevere in your own discouragement or weariness? How might you use social media to offer people a glimpse into your faith?

Share Your Faith
Melissa Long
Words by

Melissa Long

Melissa Long serves as a writer for Cru®. As a native of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Melissa appreciates the deep quiet of forested mountains. She currently resides on the edge of a wooded swamp in Florida with her husband, two kids and a devoted but somewhat deranged cat named Maple.

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Guy Gerrard
Photos by

Guy Gerrard

Guy isn’t much of a city person. Paddling down the Wda river in northern Poland with participants of a Cru® summer mission project describes a great place for him to photograph. He likes being outside, doing anything with water, and he enjoys making things with his hands. Guy serves as a photographer for Cru.

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Read more from the September 2021 issue


Gen Z: Reaching Out With What Means Something to Them

Resolution Movement reaches Gen Zers in ways that help meet their unmet longings.

September 2021

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