For the last few years, my husband and I have been supporting a ministry called Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ).
Cru was established in 1951 by Bill and Vonette Bright and is actively ministering in more than 191 countries.
Their purpose is to “Helping to fulfill the Great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, building them in their faith and sending them to win and build others; and helping the Body of Christ do evangelism and discipleship”
We have always had a heart for missions and evangelism, yet our current mission field is much closer to home –the hearts and minds of our two beautiful daughters.
But we understand the importance of the great commission, and are participating in the best way we know how during this crazy season of life –through financial donations to ministries like Cru.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
My husband and I take our giving quite seriously, and always try to be cheerful in our giving.
But we also strive to give a little more than we are comfortable giving, you know….enough that it hurts a bit to write the checks each month.
We believe that it is our responsibility, as Christians, to support the work of our local church and also enjoy giving to a few select parachurch organizations like Cru.
We have enjoyed being connected to this ministry through our friend Kate Maxey who serves with the Sioux Empire Cru Team, and look forward to receiving her monthly newsletters.
In fact, I love Kate’s updates so very much that I asked her if she would allow me to share a bit of her story with you today.
Kate is on the front lines, and she would be the first to tell you that God is at work in a powerful way on college campuses throughout our country (and the world).
There is a growing hunger for the things of God in our nation, and people like Kate are right there to provide nourishment to the hungry and satisfaction to the weary.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20
Kate believes that the great commission can be our greatest adventure.
I hope that her stories from the front line encourage and inspire you to get active in evangelism and live out the great commission in your little corner of the world.
An Interview with Cru’s Kate Maxey
Sarah: Thank you for taking the time to share your stories with us. Can you tell us how you got involved with Cru?
Kate: After my sophomore year of college, I spent 12-weeks on a summer mission with Cru. During this time, evangelism became less of a duty and more of an adventure. This experience taught me that sharing my faith is not about me at all – about how afraid or doubtful or sinful I am – but it’s about Jesus and his Holy Spirit power working through me. God wants to use us to spread his truth and love to the world, we just have to be available and trust him with the results.
When I came back to campus after that summer, my desire to be in full-time ministry continued to grow. I also began to see that “the harvest is plentiful” on campus, but indeed the workers were few. After graduation, I decided to intern with Cru and eventually joined staff. I was excited to help the next generation of students experience the same life change I had experienced through my involvement with Cru at USD. You never know what you are going to get with college students, and that is what makes it exciting…and also creates many opportunities to trust God.
Sarah: What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen God do during your time with Cru?
Kate: Recently, our team took a four-day trip to New York to launch Cru on four different college campuses. We went into the week having no idea what would happen – we had been in prayer for months that God would do the miraculous. We were definitely fish out of water, but God was so gracious.
From the security guard at the door letting us in, to the faculty that overheard us talking about starting a Christian group and said they would love to help, to the student leader who said he has been praying for a long time for a group like Cru to come to his campus, God’s hand of provision was evident at every turn. By the end of the trip, we had found leaders to start Bible studies on all four campuses we visited. It felt like we were walking through the book of Acts… God showed up in such a miraculous way!
Sarah: You truly are on the front lines, Kate. Is there a theme or underlying lesson that the Lord has been teaching you lately?
Kate: Absolutely! Here are five powerful truths I have learned during my time with Cru —
- God honors bold prayers and bold steps of faith.
- Less happens in 1 year than you would think, more happens in 4 years than you could imagine.
- People are interested in spiritual things, even when it seems like they aren’t.
- God loves to use broken people to bring glory to His name.
- God’s plan is always good, but it’s not always what you expect.
Sarah: I’m sure it’s not always easy to be in this full-time ministry on a secular College campus. What are some trials you have experienced recently?
Kate: Last year was an incredibly hard year for me. I felt like I was walking through a spiritual desert. I questioned God as our ministry failed to thrive at the University of South Dakota (home base for me), and I also struggled for direction in my own life. My desire to be in the Word was 2 out of 10, and I was so discouraged.
God did a lot of digging in the “garden” of my heart during that time, uprooting weeds of doubt and idols and fear. I learned how to trust God’s word over my feelings, and discovered that His perfect plan often includes trials and tribulation. I’m still learning to trust the Lord for the next step, trusting that he is leading me to good places, and His kindness and faithfulness have sustained me.
Sarah: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about God in your time at Cru?
Kate: I have had the privilege of having a front-row seat to a lot of amazing stories and experiences around the world – watching a girl hear about Jesus for the first time in China, getting goosebumps as I hear stories of Turkish students having dreams about Jesus, seeing the gospel spread around the world through Facebook as students posted their testimonies online (some reaching into North Korea), hearing students talk about how God snatched them from the fire (Jude 1:23) and radically changed their life, and experiencing God’s material provision in the process of support raising.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that God is more concerned with me “being” than “doing.” Being in His word, being in His presence, being ok with my identity in Him. Above all the rewards of ministry, I am most grateful for the fact that I get Jesus. He created me to be with Him and enjoy His presence, whether I am in full-time ministry or not.
Sarah: What’s an overwhelming need you see in college students (something you and other staffers talk about, pray about, and have broken hearts over) and what is God’s truth that can set kids free from this?
Kate: Our most fervent prayer is that students would be walking intimately with Jesus. When we treasure him above all else, our hearts are less likely to be lured away to lesser things. College students struggle with the same issues that plague us all – apathy, doubt, lust, the lure of the American dream, selfishness – yet my heart yearns to see more of our students taking gutsy steps of faith to live out Jesus’ priorities. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Sarah: Thank you for your honest and insightful answers Kate. Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Kate: Bob Francis, who has been on staff with Cru for many years, said this in response to someone asking him what he does with Cru, “…what am I doing with Cru? Oh not much, just trying to change a student’s entire reason for existing…” Being on campus feels like swimming upstream at times…but God is faithful to transform lost, self-centered college students into life-long, Christ-centered laborers.
Are you ready to live out the great commission..in your home, in your relationships, in your giving?
Even if you don’t have the opportunity to dive into full-time ministry work, there is still so much you can do to support the great commission–right where you are!
A simple first step would be to find an organization like Cru to support financially.
And be sure to give generously…even if it hurts a bit!
Your generosity will help people like Kate share the Good News of Jesus Christ in a world where absolute truth is under attack and we are the last line of defense!
This post has been shared at many of my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.