Help Others Grow

Gaining Traction 3: Going From Ten to Fifty

Mike Tilley

Ask yourself, “How will I go about it? How will our small group of 10 become a ministry of 50?” There are at least four critical path steps for building a community to transform your campus for Christ.


In Colossians 4:2, Paul encourages the believers to “devote yourselves to prayer.” We are engaged in spiritual warfare, and prayer is critical. E.M. Bounds wrote there could be no devotion without prayer, and no prayer without devotion. A passion for God and His work is born in prayer.

Be creative here. Plan a Jericho walk where you walk around the campus seven times praying that God will cause the spiritual strongholds to come down. (Different variations of this can be applied to your campus. Read Joshua 5:13-6:21.)

Other suggestions:
• You might try are morning prayer meetings
• Prayer in cell groups
• You might want to contact local churches to ask them to pray for your campus.


Powerful biblical motivations for evangelism are found in Luke 15:1-6 and Colossians 4:2-6. It is to find ways of doing evangelism that are both effective and student-friendly.

We need to unleash the power of the believers’ witness in natural relationships. You have a natural network with students in classes, clubs, fraternities, sororities, with students you meet where you live, and other places. Your network of these friends, as well as family, neighbors and co-workers provides the most natural and potentially powerful context for evangelism.

You can also move well outside of your relational networks by using simple tools such as freshman surveys, which enable you to ‘cast a big net’ and gather critical mass (Christians) as well as spiritual seekers. Implementing a freshman strategy will enable you to build the base for a future transformational community.

Beyond that, you can literally expose the entire campus to the message of Christ through broad sowing strategies such as Freshman Survival Kits (a giveaway of quality materials presenting Christ in multiple ways) and Every Student’s Choice (media campaigns on significant campus issues).

Several years ago, a student in Boston named Steve Sawyer was led to Christ by a guy who got involved in the ministry through a poster campaign at a campus with no Crusade staff. Even though he had AIDS, Steve traveled to campuses around the world, sharing Christ with large audiences. When he died, he had led thousands of students to Christ. And all of that started with a poster.


Building transformational community requires more than just prayer and evangelism; it requires the spiritual growth and discipleship of both new and mature believers. At times, our view of discipleship is mistakenly limited to only using a one-on-one approach. However, much of the New Testament describes life change happening in the context of relationships and biblical community (Ephesians 4; Colossians 3:12-17). God uses a variety of means to transform a life, and this often occurs in small groups where there is an environment of grace and truth.

In a student-led cell group, believers can study the Bible, pray together, experience biblical fellowship and be trained for outreach. The cell group should also be committed to church involvement. Training and vision can also happen as you bring students with you to retreats, conferences, and summer projects.

With the Internet, a student leader has immediate access to a wide range of discipleship resources. For example, a student anywhere in the world can download a copy-ready Bible study at CruPress Green.

In addition to the church, cell groups, and online resources, student leaders can seek personalized discipleship from a Cru staff member. If that’s not possible in person, then students can receive discipleship over the phone by contacting the Student LINC (Leaders in New Campus) ministry.


In Matthew 9:37, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” He went on to say that we need to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers.

A global culture of common technology, mobility, and even language makes this a time of great urgency and potential for the worldwide spread of the gospel. Student-led ministries often send laborers into the harvest. They are part of a growing movement of students who want to follow Christ wherever He leads.

At a recent Christmas Conference in Indianapolis, more than 700 students signed the Millennial Pledge, a commitment to God to serve at least one year of their life as a missionary.

With the increased opportunities available through one-year internships students now have more options to serve Christ and investigate using their skills in full-time ministry after college.

In Philadelphia, one staff member is taking students on a two-week mission trip to Spain to distribute the “JESUS” film. Students from the Portland Metro ministry joined with a local church to serve free coffee at the Nagano Olympics. Of course, their purpose was to share Christ with everyone they could, not just to serve coffee.

This summer the Worldwide Student Network will sponsor over 100 projects to various parts of the world. Options and opportunities are endless.


What are the next appropriate steps to take in our ministry in the area of:

  • Prayer
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Sending

A Legacy of Changed Lives

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