On Starting Well

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Pauls words to his son in the faith, Timothy, have a great weightiness. He’s claiming that this Christian walk is worth the fight to the end of our days. Jesus is worth our life, time, money, sacrifice. And it is crucial to look ahead and plan on finishing well.

But equally important, we serve a perfect God who always starts well! In Genesis, He creates the universe. In the Old Testament, He launched the formation of Israel. And even Jesus began his three-year ministry, and He did it so well!

I think God calls us to this standard of starting things off well. Thankfully, by God’s grace and by the Holy Spirit’s power, we can—whether it’s starting the work week or (in my case) launching into a new semester!

Our staff team has developed a number of great ways to begin our semester with a bang. I’ll share a few.

10682302_690562934363208_4393271668242158285_oFirst, we pray. A lot! C.S. Lewis said rightly, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” Prayer is not a “side” on the Christian ministry plate. It should be primary. As a ministry, our aim is to begin, continue and end in prayer. Also, on our campuses, we ask our students to wholeheartedly seek God’s face for His will. During coaching times, I always pray with and for students. Prayer is absolutely crucial, and it’s something we knew we needed in order to start well this year, and every year.

Second, we focus greatly on club and activities fairs. Every campus we’re on has a club and activities fair, where all the organizations compete for students to join their cause. Here is where freshmen will decide what fraternity or sorority to join. It’s also where Cru tries to show up big. We give away lots of Bibles, books, tracts, water bottles and other things with the hope that, one, God will attract Christians to join our movements and, two, that we can be light in an otherwise dark atmosphere.

At Montclair Cru, we had over 50 students sign up with us at our club fair! Praise God! We now get to labor in follow-up, where we call or email or Facebook these students, asking them to join our studies, which is where we can introduce them to Jesus and get to know them! One student, named Jon, approached me very excitedly! He’s active at his church in Hackensack and was looking for a Christian community at MSU. Thankfully, God led him to our table! Pray Jon sees the great opportunity to be a college missionary!

Our first meetings on campus are also strategic, for this is where unbelievers and Christians alike are scoping us out. At Montclair, we had about 15 new faces at our first weekly meeting! Many of these guys were Christians and others I’m not so sure. But creating a safe, Jesus-soaked place for them is key in the first weeks on campus.

Finally, our third strategy for starting off right is our fall vision and planning night, which we call “The Summit (pictures above).” Here we gather over 70 or so of key student leaders from schools across the state to cast huge vision, share about our ministry model and allow them time to plan.

10383747_690561874363314_1390042919529236676_oThe “huge vision” is that God downright loves people. So much so that He sent Jesus to die in our place for our sins. NJ college students are included here, and they make up one of the most strategic mission fields in reaching the world with the gospel. This is because, one, many international students come HERE to study and then return and, two, many graduates of NJ campuses go on to take leading careers in all geographies and workplaces. This is huge! If we can reach NJ campuses with the saving message of JESUS today, then we can reach the world tomorrow. This still excites us, and is a major reason Jenn and I love being on staff with Cru.

Our ministry model is based on Acts 2:42-47. Here we see an excited bunch of Christ’s followers getting it right. They are a movement of Christians who do four main elements that contribute to their success: they pray, they study the Bible, they evangelize and they grow in community. At The Summit, we shared about this model and encouraged all our movements to implement ideas, strategies, events based on them.

At the end of The Summit, our students broke up into their different schools and planned. They assigned roles and responsibilities to one another, and they wrote up their calendars. What they did most, though, was greatly encouraging to me. THEY PRAYED. They prayed that their ministries would glorify Jesus, be fruitful and ultimately start well as they begin the new semester.

Thank you for praying. Pray Jesus continues to impact change as we seek to faithfully serve Him! Also, feel free to join us doing ministry. We list some options at http://www.SforzaGrams.com/meetups.

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