After we've connected lost people to Jesus, we need to encourage life-changing discipleship.
When we say yes to Jesus, the adventure begins. And we are changed immediately: former slaves of sin, now citizens of heaven.
But the changes, we soon learn, have only just begun.
Spiritual mentoring embraces those changes head-on, reaching for the hand of someone else to say, "Let's do this together."
Through the Holy Spirit, the Bible and the community of other believers, we discover that God fully equipped us for the journey. As we see Jesus produce change in us, and as we encourage others to be transformed by Him, the world around us really does become something different.
Tell others how to experience forgiveness, how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, how to introduce people to Christ. Bottom line, how to follow Jesus in the real world. These are the things we've embraced since Cru began in 1951, and the message we continue to teach others.
Last year, we hosted CM 2007, a student conference for 15,994 students from 121 countries, in the coastal city of Busan, South Korea. The students were challenged to be disciple-makers, not just consumers of discipleship.
"I want to see a real movement of God in my country," said conference attendee Heloísa Ladeia from Brazil. "I want to put what I see here into practice."
Korea Cru staff members believed so strongly in the power of encouraging life-changing discipleship that the host country raised $4 million to cover all the in-country expenses for conferees. The Koreans banked on this potential return on investment: that visiting students would go to the 6,000 most unreached campuses in the world.
The JESUS Film Project® recently finished a video tool called "Following JESUS" to help mentor people who attended a screening of the JESUS film. Convinced that discipleship is not a one-time event, they have also seen thousands of churches planted as a result of people turning to Christ after watching the film. One mission agency calculates that the JESUS film played a major role in planting 750,000 of the 1 million new churches around the world in the last 10 years.
In Sierra Leone, for example, 93,610 people made decisions to follow Jesus and, as a result, 34 new churches formed in the country.
FamilyLife helps people see that their marriage can be God's tool for life-change. This year, there was a rapid growth of interest in FamilyLife's practical and transferable HomeBuilders Bible studies: 19,507 people attended events held in 12 Latin American countries to encourage spiritual mentoring through these studies.
Today there are 88 groups with more than 600 members meeting regularly in this part of the world, wanting to grow in their faith and learn together how to change their world. And FamilyLife offers ongoing ministry in 76 countries around the world.
Mentoring also happens online. Cru sent 302,584 e-mails to individuals who visited our Web sites this year. These are not automated responses, but rather personal e-mails generated by trained volunteers written back to a specific person, often answering a question or offering advice as part of our e-mail mentoring programs.
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