Thanks for checking out Cru at Western Michigan.
We affirm the role of a parent as a source of wisdom as the child ventures into adulthood. You have a lifetime of experiences to draw upon as they step into college. So, whether your past experience has interacted with Cru or not, we invite you to continue to explore what ‘Cru’ is.
WHAT IS CRU?
Cru is a registered student organization at Western Michigan University. We have about 150+ students attending our Thursday night gatherings and about 100+ students attending our Community Groups. We are affiliated with Cru nationally and internationally.
WHAT IS CRU NATIONALLY?
Commonly called just “Cru” (or, Campus Crusade for Christ) was started in 1951 by a guy named Bill Bright – a friend of Billy Graham – on the campus of UCLA. It’s purpose is to help students know God and help make Him known on the university campus. Today, there is a Cru group on over 2000 college campuses in the United States and in over 200 countries around the world. It is also the parent organization for other ministries including Family Life radio, Athletes in Action, and author Josh McDowell.
IS CRU A CHURCH?
No, Cru is not a church. Cru has students from various church backgrounds (and even no church backgrounds at all). We focus on Jesus Christ and helping students get to know Him. We encourage connection to a local church (both back home, and while we are at school).
If you have ever been part of a Bible Study at your work, we’re kinda like that. You may have George from Marketing, Frank from Sales, Phyllis from Engineering, and Melissa from Customer Service. Each of them may go to a different church. But at work, they gather together once a week during lunch to read the Scriptures, pray for people at their work, invite people from their work to their study that would never otherwise.
WHAT’S THE ULTIMATE BENEFIT/GOAL TO MY SON/DAUGHTER BEING INVOLVED WITH CRU?
As the University will tell you, the goal of a college education is not to prepare someone for a specific job. Jobs change quickly. Companies have specific ways of doing things. But a university degree shows that this person knows how to think a certain way – and is mentally prepared for whatever is thrown at them over the years in whatever profession they end up choosing.
Likewise, Cru’s goal is more than simply helping them walk with God in college – or even bringing the university to Christ. We could get specific about how to live the Christian life as an 18-24 year old, but that doesn’t the long-term. Our hope is that each and every student involved with Cru would be prepared with the principles needed for a lifelong relationship with God – one that is deeply satisfying, healthy, loving, focused on Jesus and His Word, prayerful, and is able to impact the world around them.
And if you don’t care about the “God stuff” God, we would add… we have found that student-leaders who graduate from Cru are more ready and prepared – not merely academically – but emotionally, personally and professionally to succeed in the business world. They have a tendency to be more well-adjusted, aware of themselves and others, socially adept, and have enhanced leadership skills.
HOW DOES CRU HANDLE ITS FINANCES?
We are a non-profit organization. It costs nothing to attend Cru events on campus – and we don’t do a ‘collection’ on Thursdays or anything like that. We do charge for things off-campus like Fall Retreat and Big Break in Florida. But we make no money on our socials, events, retreats and conferences. In fact, we often lose money because want other students to show up without money being a deterrent to them getting involved. We have a base of supporters across the state of Michigan that gives to this ministry so that the university can be impacted with the Gospel.
DO YOU HAVE FULL-TIME STAFF?
Yes, we have a team of ministers that are also supported by the generous giving of donors. These men and women work directly with the students to help them grow in their relationship with God. The staff’s interaction with the students is best described as “responsive”. They don’t knock on doors nor “track people down”. If a student is interested in hearing more about Jesus, they respond. If they don’t, the staff don’t push their faith on them. The staff are well-connected with the university through WMU’s Office of Student Activities & Leadership Program, under the Dean of Students – where they have developed a good relationship with WMU over the years.
The staff’s job is to enable and train the students to be the ministers to their fellow students. They coach and train and teach students how to connect with God and connect with other students – so that those students can impact others in a meaningful way. Because of this emphasis on pouring into student-leaders, Cru at WMU is primarily a student-led ministry.
MY SON/DAUGHTER IS TALKING ABOUT BIG BREAK IN PANAMA CITY BEACH FLORIDA? IS IT SAFE?
Feel free to read as much as you can about our Big Break trip. It’s one of the best things we do – with about 50 students attending from WMU – and joining 1000 students from across the US during that week.
We stay in a resort that’s “shielded” (to some degree) from the craziness of PCB during Spring Break. However, that doesn’t mean that your son/daughter won’t do something stupid. We give them guidelines and advice from our experience, but the staff aren’t “chaperones” to the students. If you are uncomfortable with your child’s ability to make safe choices, we would suggest that you advise against their attendance (because we don’t want anybody who’s gonna be stupid going with us). But overall, it’s a very safe trip – as over 50,000 college students have been to PCB with Cru since 1997 without issue.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH “THE DEAL”?
The cost for Big Break is $400. This includes housing, transportation, and the conference cost. However, we offer a “Deal” to the students. If they pay $50 and write 20 letters (according to the standards we outline) asking working adults for financial support – then they can go for that $50. Understandably, the idea of raising financial support may seem out of place in our American “do it yourself” culture. However, from our experience, we know that people are actually excited to send these young adults on these missions trips – and it’s more of a common occurance to support missions trips than many realize. (For example, there are enough donors across the state of Michigan to support the salaries of our full-time staff members). Of course, if you are absolutely opposed – that’s a conversation about values between you and your university student. We would love to have other students join us for this trip, but we understand if they can’t go and need’ll stay home for Spring Break.
CAN I COME VISIT A WEEKLY MEETING?
Sure! come be our guest for a week. See for yourself how God is moving on campus in the hearts of so many young men and women. Thursdays in Rood 1110 (Directions here).
DO YOU HAVE LINKS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH?
FURTHER QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS…
If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask. We are a completely open ministry. (Even our finances are completely transparent, in accordance with the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), which Cru is one of the charter members.) So, if you have a comment or question – we’d love to hear from you.
Also, if you are a parent that has had a positive experience with your child’s involvement with Cru – we’d love to hear that too!