Ethnic Student Ministries (ESM) tried something new. The U.S. Campus Ministry set aside 3 days in November to join together in crossing cultures right here at home, calling the event Cross 09.
“Cru has a long history of crossing oceans, borders and cultures in response to the Great Commission, helping make disciples of all nations,” says Sam Osterloh, director of Ethnic Student Ministries. “If you think about it, most U.S. campuses offer the chance to cross cultures every day -- no passport required.”
November 9-11, Campus Ministry staff members and students focused on Cru’s ethnic ministries -- The Impact Movement, Nations, Bridges International, Destino and Epic Movement -- helping strengthen these ministries or even launch them on campuses where they hadn’t yet existed.
Dave Lowe, ESM Regional Director for the Pacific Southwest, says, “We know that God’s ultimate purpose is for the redemption of all people and all cultures. We also know that demographically and culturally, our audience is shifting. It’s an opportunity for us to turn the tide in our efforts to reach out to every student on campus.”
The simultaneous event in cities around the U.S. brought opportunities for ESM and for those involved. Every American campus ministry had the opportunity to be involved by praying, investigating the ethnic diversity on their own campuses, and going to another campus to experience a different culture.
Staff members and students did evangelism, launched new movements and searched for student leaders. They also experienced personal growth as they experienced different cultures and God developed in them a love for ethnic students.
After going on a spring break trip last year, University of Florida junior Holly Rivera believed God was calling her to reach out to students of other ethnicities, especially African Americans.
In the fall, the junior decided to focus on launching an Impact chapter at UF. Finding herself in over her head, she needed the extra help from other teams during Cross 09.
Christina Kingsley, the staff member in charge of coordinating Cross 09 at UF, says, “We had a threefold goal -- to get people to an Impact interest meeting, get people to fill out contact cards to see who was interested, and meet with as many students as possible to share the gospel and see who might be interested in helping launch Impact.”
“The results were unbelievable,” says Christina. “In just those 2 days we got over 250 contact cards, almost all expressing an interest for more information.” Christina alone saw 3 girls trust Jesus and more than 60 students came to their interest meeting.
“The students and staff members were all able to get outside their comfort zones,” says Christina. “It was a huge success, and everyone was blown away by what the Lord did.”
What happened at the University of Florida is just a taste of what happened on campuses around the country. The ESM office has collected hundreds of similar stories from people who took part in Cross 09.
ESM hopes Cross 09 has given staff members and students a heart to reach out to ethnic students. Dave Lowe says, “I’m hoping that this event might help us to become the kind of ministry where crossing cultures locally is not an event, but something that we all do all the time.”
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