Movements EverywhereWhere My Heart Is

Sunday, December 29th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

As I write this, Judy and I are about to begin our every-six-months meeting with the presidents and spouses of several other Christian ministries (Fellowship of Christian Athletes, InterVarsity, Navigators, Young Life and Youth for Christ). Our main agenda is to pray for one another. Through the years we have really bonded. We trust and help one another.

For example, no doubt you recall the controversy over our name change in the U.S. What you may not know is how supportive the leaders of these ministries were. Mike Treneer, president of Navigators, wrote: “Whether or not you like the change of name from Campus Crusade for Christ to Cru, it is important that you respect and applaud the motivation for the change and the process Cru has followed. There can be few ministries in the world that have a stronger commitment to Christ or greater faithfulness and passion in advancing the gospel than Campus Crusade for Christ.”

I sense this group of leaders lives out Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21 (NIV), “that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

I am sure I don’t totally understand why unity is so important to God. But I do know that He models it—literally at the core of His being. The Trinity displays for us one God in three persons—working in total unity.

I can remember when there was not a high degree of unity in the body of Christ in the U.S. But things have changed. Now there is a great deal of willingness to help and serve other organizations.

And when that happens, donors notice and respond more generously. For example, I attended a fund-raising meeting sponsored by our Canadian ministry, Power to Change. It was called The Lions’ Den, because the 11 different projects seeking funds had to convince judges (the lions) to invest in them. Each judge had $100,000. They listened carefully to all of the presentations and on the final night announced their decisions. As the announcements of each judge were winding down, it seemed like there was still a lot of money to allocate among the projects. Finally, the judges called three of the project representatives up to the stage. Together, the judges allocated $170,000 to those three projects because they were working closely together, not duplicating efforts, and generously giving ideas and technology to one another free of charge. One of the judges explained to the audience how impressive and meaningful that display of unity was.

Well, if unity impresses donors here on earth, can you imagine how it pleases our Father in heaven? So, I encourage you to examine how much unity is present in your ministry and in your particular location. To start with, how are we cooperating among ourselves—among our own teams and ministries? Then ask how well are we cooperating with churches and other local ministries near us—on the same campus or in the same city?

If the answer is “not much,” then know that we are not taking full advantage of the resources God has made available to advance His kingdom. Also know that we are not being the answer to Jesus’ prayer in the way the Father intended.

I am certainly not saying that everything we do warrants a cooperative effort. Each ministry must diligently spend its time following through on what God gives it to do. But what I am saying is that when it makes sense to work together in certain ministry activities, we shouldn’t let any inconvenience, selfishness or jealousy prevent us from doing so.

Let’s pray together that God will open doors for added effectiveness through cooperation and help us walk through those doors.

Yours in Christ,

Steve

Movements EverywhereTime with the Lord

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

One of the things I have admired about my wife, Judy, through the years is how diligent she has been in taking large blocks of time to be alone with the Lord. I have certainly learned from her and thought it might be good to share some of her reasoning and methods. Although I have observed many of the things you will read, a few weeks ago I more formally “interviewed” her. It was helpful to me, and I hope it will be helpful to you as well.

Judy seems to grow significantly in her walk with God by taking time alone with Him that is several days long, twice a year. She started doing these mini-retreats more than 15 years ago.
The reason she takes these retreats is to get away from the distractions and pressures of her daily life and ministry. She tends to minister via blogs, tweets and interactions on Facebook, where she has more than 3,000 friends. As you might imagine, every day is filled with opportunities to respond to people’s questions and needs. But, she has a bit more “introvert” in her than I do and needs to gain mental, emotional and spiritual energy from time alone with God.

For example, as she was walking through some tough times when our son, Josh, was a teenager, she learned to lean on the Lord at a whole new level by seeking Him in focused ways. After one of her special prayer times, she inaugurated an annual worldwide day of prayer for Josh. That eventually turned into a worldwide day of prayer for prodigals on June 2 every year, with about 2,000 prodigals being prayed for then and at other times.

During her retreats, there are several key things that contribute to the positive impact and growth she experiences:

• Time in the Word.
• Extended time in prayer—for example, walking on the beach and praying
for one to two hours every day.
• Listening for what God wants to say to her.
• Systematic prayer for family, friends and special needs.
• Sometimes reading a book related to spiritual walk—for example,

Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust and Katie Davis’ book Kisses from
Katie.

One of the exciting by-products of Judy’s extended prayer times is a much more acute
sensitivity to what God wants her to talk about and pray for when she is ministering to others.
For example, at one area conference she was asked to pray for the group at the last minute.
She recounts that as she opened her mouth to pray, God seemed to give her several very
Specific requests. Afterward, some people came up to her amazed at how she had discerned
these needs. Judy responded that it was clearly a God thing.

I asked Judy what advice she would give people getting started on setting aside special
extended times with the Lord. She emphasized:

• Give the time to God.
• Plan an initial structure, but be flexible as God leads.
• Start with fewer days and less frequency, and add as you have good experiences.
• Vary your activities, and include breaks and some exercise.

Taking special times with the Lord is very important Judy has learned how to do that
very well, and I hope her example will give motivation and instruction to you as it has to me.

Yours in Christ,
Steve.

Movements EverywhereA Summer of Many Experiences

Friday, October 4th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

As I look back over the summer, I feel tired and exhilarated at the same time.
There were many activities.

In early June, I was in Cary, North Carolina. There, I participated in a Table 71 meeting at the headquarters of TWR (formerly Trans World Radio). Phenomenal progress is being made to start ministry among people groups who have heard nothing about Jesus.

In mid-June, there was a Lausanne meeting in Bangalore, India, with 400 Christian leaders from around the world, discussing and planning how to evangelize and disciple more effectively. I had the chance to help lead a group on personal and small-group evangelism.

My high-school reunion took place at the end of June. I had some great time with my best friend from high school. He is a strong Christian who ministers to people getting out of prison.

Early July was a time of focused preparation for a number of speaking opportunities, including my two talks at the Cru Staff Conference.

While at the Cru Conference, we had a special gathering of friends of the ministry who have given generously through the years. It was an exciting time of reconnecting. The donors seemed very inspired by where the ministry is going in the future—to work together with others to build 10 million multiplying disciples throughout the world in the next eight years.

The day the conference ended, the Campus Crusade for Christ Board of Directors met for two days. We have great board members who are dedicated to helping us succeed.

Right after the board meeting, I rode with one of the members up and into Colorado’s Rocky Mountain region. There, we joined the rest of my family on vacation. It was a great time with the four grandkids (and their parents, of course). One of our favorite activities was an evening and barbeque at a ranch. It included a seed-spitting contest and a lot of country music.

Then I flew home to rejoin the “real world” where there were some major decisions to be made, including what to do with some mold in our home that required a fair amount of repair work.
What did I continue to learn about God through all of this?

1. He provides generously.

Everything that happened seemed to confirm God’s desire and ability to provide all the resources needed, when they were needed. God gave wisdom and energy for preparing and giving talks, relating to many people and making many decisions.

He led donors to supply money for expansion of the ministry in several key ways. He inspired hundreds of new staff members to join, and thousands of senior staff members to stay to help fulfill the Great Commission. He also gave insurance money and other help to deal with the mold and restore our home.

2. He is moving today in remarkable ways.

Especially when preparing for my Friday night talk to our Cru Staff. I was humbled and overwhelmed at how much God is using us and others to see stunning progress toward the Great Commission. We and our close partners trained over 250,000 tent-making, lay pastors just in 2012.

Also, we are present on about one-third of all the student population centers in the world—up from about one-fourth the year before.

On the plane from Orlando to Denver, I met a couple from Cheyenne, Wyoming (not far from Fort Collins, Colorado). They are strong Christians and noticed my efforts to minister to one of the flight attendants. I invited them to visit the Cru conference, and they did—twice. It now looks like they are going to conduct a FamilyLife® Art of Marriage® conference in Cheyenne. Sometimes God moves in surprising ways as we are just “on the journey.”

Yes, I continue to be more and more impressed with just how awesome and powerful God is…and what an unbelievable privilege it is for us to be used by Him.

Yours in Christ,
Steve Douglass

Movements EverywhereWorldwide Day of Prayer

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Greetings,

I am so looking forward to our next Worldwide Day of Prayer on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
As we gather this fall, I trust you will consider the privilege that we have to be part of a global movement that commits itself to extreme dependence upon God, expressed through prayer. For our theme for the day, we have chosen a phrase written by the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 5:7. He writes, “We walk by faith.”

Recently, I returned home from the U.S. Staff Conference. While there, we remembered a time exactly 10 years earlier when Bill Bright went home to be with the Lord. The very night Bill died we had scheduled a reception to honor the hundreds of people who had served in the ministry 25 years or more. Most of them knew Bill and Vonette, so we took time to let them share some of their favorite encounters with Bill. There were tears. But there was also joy in recounting the great faith of that man of God.

There is no doubt that faith is one of the things that God has used to build up our movement. And so it must be in the future. Let’s focus on being men and women who walk by faith. To help prepare your heart, I would urge you to join me in some added study and reflection on two passages about faith: 2 Corinthians, Chapter 5, and Hebrews, Chapter 11.

May our lives daily display the truths taught in God’s Word.

Yours in Christ,

Steve Douglass
President, Campus Crusade for Christ/Cru

Submit prayer requests to: global.prayer@ccci.org

Movements EverywhereThe Value of Having a Mentor

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

In this month’s Connection, you will read testimonies of how some staff members have benefited from a mentoring relationship. I have benefited as well—but from many mentoring relationships, not just one. Through the years, my needs for growth have varied as have the methods and people that helped me grow. If my need was easy to meet, often reading an article or listening to a recorded message was enough.

In areas where I needed to grow significantly, it usually took a specific person to help me. For example, as I started hanging around Bill Bright during my early years as a staff member, I saw what serious faith decisions looked like. My natural tendencies and engineering education normally caused me to need more research and reasoning before committing to a course of action—certainly more than Bill seemed to require. He and I often discussed faith and how to listen to God’s leading. I am far more full of faith now than I was when I became a staff member.

Another need I had was to be able to speak to audiences more simply and clearly, and with more passion. One person who helped me with that was Howard Hendricks—not just by my personal interactions with him, but also by watching him speak. From him I learned the value of telling stories with which people can identify.

But I also knew I needed people to evaluate how I was doing in public speaking. Paul Konstanski was a real help to me in improving the How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun seminar. He listened and critiqued me the first 30 times I gave that seminar. It really helped me improve. To find out what else I might need to do better when speaking in public, I asked Tim Downs to listen to several of my recorded messages and spend a day with me to suggest improvements. He noticed several things that never even occurred to me.

Another area where I continue to need to improve in is leading a large, complex Christian ministry. On the one hand, my graduate degree is in business administration. On the other hand, that was a long time ago. So my leadership development coach, Bob Lewis, regularly helps me see areas where I can do my job better. But also Cherry Fields, my chief of staff, feels the freedom to make suggestions on how I can pause and reflect a little more on decisions I must make.

When it comes to helping me with interpretation of passages of Scripture, one person I go to is Crawford Loritts. He is the representative from our Board of Directors who asks me how I am doing in my spiritual life (including applying Scripture).

Needless to say, Judy has coached me often on how to be a better spouse and parent. And my children continue to help me be more relevant to their generation.

As you can see, through the years many people have mentored me in areas where I had needs and they had strengths.

How about you? Are you seeking the input of others to help you grow? If not, you are missing out on some of the most useful help God has put within your reach.

So what does it take to start?

• Teachability—Are you willing to learn from others, believing they might have something very helpful to offer you?

• Needs—Do you have some sense of areas where you need to grow?

• Potential mentors—Can you think of some people who might help you in those areas of need?

It could well be that you will match up with just one mentor for a time to help you with one or two particular needs. You may also find a person who can help you
overall—in discerning and meeting your needs to grow. In either case, I trust you will find that wise, godly mentors can help you grow.

Yours in Christ,

Steve

Movements EverywhereThe Value of Your Calling

Sunday, July 7th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

In the course of a year, Judy and I attend several staff conferences. Some are for new staff members, and others are for senior or leadership staff members. Both of us love the opportunities we have to be with such wonderful, dedicated people.

Yet, one thing I have noticed in recent years is that as we put a greater emphasis on mobilizing and giving ownership of ministry to our disciples, there has been a tendency for some staff members to feel less important.

Nothing could be further from the truth! You are absolutely crucial—
perhaps more so today than ever before. The most obvious reason is that typically you model winning, building and sending, as well as motivate, train and support volunteer co-laborers. The higher the ratio of volunteers per staff member, the more demanding and important your role is.

So it seemed good to tell you in this month’s Connection why I am glad I became a staff member and have stayed for 44 years:

1. I have been able to engage in ministry activity full time. Now, I know that all Christians should view themselves as being “on the job” as God’s representatives full time. I also know that most people have specific callings of God to work in the secular world where they can have a strategic influence for Jesus Christ.

But, I count it a privilege, which God has given me, that I can dedicate all of my working hours to helping fulfill His Great Commission. I don’t think of it as a higher calling, but as I look back over the last 44 years, I thank God that it was my calling.

2. God has given me training and mentoring I would not likely have gotten elsewhere. Certainly Bill Bright was a significant contributor to that, but so were many other staff members who showed me how to walk with God and share Him with others.

3. I have been able to help solve problems and pursue new opportunities to make better, faster progress toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

4. I have been able to model ministry and coach people in it.
For example, when I used to speak on campus on “How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun,” I debriefed with local staff members and students afterward. We had great discussions on how to do evangelism in that way.

5. I have had many, many opportunities to motivate people to make their lives count for eternity.
The above are some of my specific reasons for being grateful to God for calling me to become a staff member, and I could go on. Your circumstances, of course, have been different. So let me ask you: For what specific things are you grateful in your activities as a staff member? What have you seen God do in you and through you as a result?

Once you have reflected on that and made your own list, let me encourage you to do three things:

1. Specifically thank God for His calling for you.

2. Put that list up against some of the problems and demotivators you face due to being a staff member. Realize that the price you have paid, or are paying, is well worth it.

3. Don’t hesitate to challenge people to become staff members. Granted, many people will be called by God to do something else. But some are called to join Cru, and
if we don’t encourage them to join and help them through the challenges, they may not pursue what God really wants them to do.

Let me close by reiterating, I want us, as staff members, to have rich, growing, fruitful experiences. I want us to redeem unique opportunities to minister and multiply.

For that to happen, we need to appreciate the opportunities God has given us. We need to see the great value of coaching others and multiplying through others. We need to rejoice in every contribution we can make toward helping to fulfill the Great Commission.

Yours in Christ,

Steve

Movements EverywhereCelebrating Victories

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

In June, Judy and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage. It has been a wonderful experience of love, transparency, joy and close fellowship. I feel closer to Judy now than ever before.

I believe that what has happened in our relationship is the fulfillment of many promises of God. Some relate specifically to the marriage relationship, but others are broader. In fact, through the years, I have observed that two of the greatest contributors to successful relationships are confessing and forgiving sins. The foundation of that process with one another is to appropriate God’s forgiveness as individuals—which is what the apostle John explains in 1 John 1.

John uses the word “fellowship” four times in just the first seven verses. He applies this close relational concept in two ways: with God, and with other believers. In verses 1-3, John explains that he shares the gospel “so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”

In verses 5-7, he makes the quality of good fellowship graphic by using the imagery of light and darkness. Light suggests visibility, transparency and holiness. Darkness suggests loneliness, sadness and even fear. Walking in darkness means walking in unforgiven sin.

So, John invites us to walk in the light. But he cautions that there is a requirement—dealing with our sin, so that “the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Now, literally, the good news is that we can confess our sins, and because of Jesus’ death on the cross, God will forgive our sins and open the door to close fellowship. In that forgiven, purified state we can “walk in the light as He is in the light,” and have fellowship not only with Him, but with other believers also.

I know this is familiar territory. But sometimes we cease valuing and marveling at the unbelievable grace of God. It doesn’t just give us access to heaven but also:

• Allows us to have close fellowship with the all-powerful Creator of
the universe.

• Allows us to experience rich, joyful, close fellowship with other people.

So, if you were to ask what promise of God is the most precious to me, I would say the promise that He forgives my sins. Since He forgives my sins, He gives me eternal life I don’t deserve. Since He forgives my sins, He makes it possible to have close, personal, interactive relationship with Him. Since He forgives my sins, I can have fellowship with others whose sins have also been
forgiven. We can stand together in awe at how gracious and caring God is to forgive us.

Oh, and one more thing. Because of His forgiveness extended to us, God also puts us in a position to forgive others. This makes it possible for us to continue
relationships that we would otherwise break off.

For example, a number of years ago, I had a very negative experience with a person I counted as a friend. I felt like he had betrayed me in a way that was extremely hurtful. From a human perspective, revenge could have been an option. But then, I remembered that God did not take revenge on me, a sinful human being, for my betrayal of Him. As a result, I forgave the person and
sought to bless him. To this day we are good friends. And, there have been many ongoing blessings from our mended relationship.

Yes, God does make many promises to us in His Word. But no promise has more value to me than the promise that He would forgive my sins. All I have to do is appropriate that gift by repenting of my sins and confessing them to Him. As I do that, I experience a radically transformed life, and I walk in close fellowship
with God and with others.

Yours in Christ,

Steve

Movements EverywhereCelebrating Victories

Monday, April 29th, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Over the last several weeks I have had the privilege of meeting with a number of partnering ministry leaders from around the world. As a result, I have heard many stories of what God is doing today, and my heart is rejoicing over what He lets us be a part of. Let me share with you a few examples.

Before and After

Our campus ministry in the U.S. has developed an evangelism strategy called “Before and After.” It features stories of disciples on campus before knowing Christ and after coming to know Him. At Indiana University, staff members and 114 students recorded their testimonies for a special YouTube channel. They posted on their Facebook pages, Twitter and Tumblr accounts, and in just one week received 10,506 views. On Monday and Tuesday of the outreach week, 186 people—including varsity athletes and international students—wore green “Before and After” t-shirts. This led to 400 people attending the Cru meeting that night—many of them newcomers.

At Missouri State University, the same strategy was used—resulting in 12,000 views on YouTube. One of our staff members noticed two students in the student union, who were not yet involved in Cru, watching the “Before and After” testimonies.

New YWAM Media Center

One of my recent meetings was in Kona, Hawaii, at the Youth With A Mission headquarters and training base. While there, I took a tour of YWAM’s new media center, which is under construction. It was fascinating and exciting to hear about some of YWAM’s media efforts. For example, they have produced more than 100 short films in the last several years. They have also produced perhaps the first praise and worship CD from one particular closed country. And they have a computerized global map program featuring 4,000 geographical “zones” in a way that shows where there are no Christian churches.

A JESUS Film Church

A number of years ago, a church was planted in Nairobi, Kenya, after showings of the JESUS film, followed by New Life Training. As the church grew, the pastor felt they should select, train and send church-planting teams to various places. After some time, the original church planted a total of 22 churches. Today, 100 churches have been planted through five generations of spiritual multiplication.

Engagement of Unreached People Groups

In November 2005, a partnership of mission groups called Table 71 committed to a specific goal: Launch a multiplying ministry on the ground to engage 639 specific unengaged unreached people groups (UUPGs).
At that time, these were all of the UUPGs with populations of more than 100,000.

Today, approximately 90 percent of those 639 groups have been engaged, and more than 9,500 fulltime workers have gone into those and other unengaged
groups since 2005. This is the largest surge of effort toward UUPGs in recent history.

The Life Project

As I write this article, I am flying back from a special meeting sponsored by our Power to Change ministry in Canada. They have developed a massive and creative way to challenge and mobilize people to commit their lives totally to Jesus Christ—anytime, anywhere, at any cost, to do anything. They have developed strategies, training and materials with which they are experimenting at this time.

Our Cru work on university campuses has also developed a similar strategy called “The Pledge,” which caused 5,000 students at this year’s winter conferences to commit that they will go, do, say and give anything Jesus
asks of them.

About 80 of our leaders from around the world spent two and a half days discussing how to mobilize people toward the Great Commission in even better ways than we have in the past.

I hope these stories give you a little flavor of what is happening today. We have the great privilege of being in the middle of the spiritual battle for the souls of men and women. Let’s celebrate together the victories God is giving.

Yours in Christ,

Steve