Summer Project Update

In July we told you about the students that came to Keynote to participate in our Summer Project. We had just spent some late nights being extras in the music video that they were shooting. Here’s the final product:

Some words from the song in the video became a theme of what the students learned and experienced during project: “Take these open hands. I know that I can reach another with what I have. Make purpose live through me.”

The hope for Summer Project was to create tools to help start spiritual conversations about Jesus. In five weeks they created five! In addition to the video, other tools the students worked on were:

  • a survival handbook for college freshmen called Ramen with a Side of College
  • a video with live-action drawing to accompany a spoken word poem
  • a poster series with web-based interaction called Faded Words
  • a social media campaign that can be used by Cru movements across the country!

Each week project students and staff participated in at least two outreaches on social media, through social justice, or by initiating conversations on a local college campus using an art and belief survey.

On campus, Karen and Stephen talked with Nick. He was very open to taking the survey. As they talked, Nick said he is bothered by street preachers who yell at people through megaphones. Karen and Stephen established common ground when they said they didn’t prefer that method either! Nick was open to going through four points about knowing God.

Karen said about their conversation, “…we went through the four points slowly with plenty of dialogue and questions. His main hang up about God is that He doesn’t show Himself to everyone in an obvious way and make them believe in Him. We explained that a relationship with God requires faith because it reflects a desire to know Him and not being forced to know Him. Nick was fascinated by that idea and we could see it click with him. We gave him the opportunity to place his faith in Christ, but he wasn’t ready in that moment; he needed to take the time to count the cost. However, he told us that we helped change his perspective on faith and helped him think differently than he has before.”

In the process of learning more about sharing their faith and developing creative resources, the students also learned to work together, defer to one another and hold things loosely. Tessa reflected, “It’s easy for us to take pride in our ideas because personally, it feels like this is what I have to offer and sharing an idea is like putting forward a part of myself. I’m not a competitive person by nature, but I’ve realized that this is one area in my life where I feel that competitive drive come out. In this project, you knew once you put something out there, you had to hold it loosely and know that everyone is working to make that idea better. It can be hard to let your original idea go, but the end result is way better than what you could have done on your own.”

When we return the time, talents and resources God has given us to Him, He “takes our open hands” and uses them for His glory.

Thank you for your prayers and gifts that keep ministry like this going!

Sending missionaries to the nations!


From August 13 to 18, 385 young missionaries from America gathered in Chicago for one week of training before heading out all over the world. We call their adventure a “STINT”, for “Short Term INTernational”. 133 of these STINTers are going to East Asia.

With this opportunity comes a huge responsibility as well, to train and equip these young missionaries to serve well, so their time in East Asia is fruitful. In addition to the regular conference that all Stinters going to any location attend, the week was also divided into five “Area Times” where each area of the world trained Stinters on specifically working in that area. They attended sessions including:

  • “Why Asia, Why Now”
  • “A Balanced Perspective on Security”
  • “Movement Building Principles and Practices”
  • “Learning a New Language”
  • “How does the Gospel speak into your Stint year.”

preparing laptops

We were also able to make sure that every Stinter was equipped to securely operate in a closed country. This is where I got to participate. I joined Keith and Scott (to the left and right of me in the group photo above) in Chicago to prepare each Stinter’s computer for ministry. Each computer was fully encrypted, a secure internet connection was set up, and they were trained how to access their secure email account. We worked crazy hours to get this done – some days we worked from 8am to past midnight. Keynote also sent a team to lead worship in the main sessions, but I barely saw them because of long hours in the tech room.

It was a privilege to serve these missionaries! Please pray that they have a safe and fruitful year of ministry.

Summer Project; Watertown visit

On June 23, six eager and talented college students arrived in Indiana for the 2014 Keynote Summer Project. Over the last 20 years Keynote Summer Projects have equipped students to effectively communicate the gospel, taught them to use creative platforms to start spiritual conversations and challenged them to grow in relationship with the Lord. The same will be true this summer. However, these students won’t be in a band and they won’t tour around the country or overseas.


Reed-far left, is a Cru staff kid whose parents and grandparents are coworkers and friends of ours. He came to the U.S. to start college after growing up in Hungary. We’re so glad to have him here this year. Please pray for his adjustment to college and the U.S.

These students with a variety of skills and abilities (music, dance, film, spoken word and more) will work together to create resource tools – from scratch – to help start spiritual conversations about Jesus. Their projects could be anything from a short film or online video to a new and engaging outreach strategy. In fact, Karl, Anja and I worked past midnight yesterday being a part of a video shoot for one of the projects.

Over the next few weeks they will continue brainstorming sessions, Bible study, individual discipleship, communication training, fellowship, outreach opportunities and lots of time to work together on their projects. Please pray for the students and the Keynote staff who are shepherding their hearts and giving leadership to the creative process.

International Communication Training

A few days ago, coworkers Denise DiSarro and Dana Russo will headed to Bulgaria to assist with an English camp hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ. During the camp the students attending (likely unbelievers) will go through our communication training taught by Bulgarian staff members with coaching from Dana and Denise. Dana will teach our story curriculum which has been adapted for a secular audience. We look forward to what God will do in the hearts of the attendees.

We’ll Be in Watertown!

Thanks to a family gathering, all three generations of Bucks will be in the Watertown-Clayton area for a couple days. We will be at Parkside Bible Church Sunday morning August 3 and my parents and we would love to see you there.

Anything Can Talk!

David Pendleton, Keynote comedy ventriloquist, has recently been touring the Midwest with his cast of comedic characters: Aunt Tilly, a lovable but blunt 94-year-old spinster; Mack Elroy, the classic, quick-witted troublemaker; Buford, the dopey yet adorable hound dog; and Vern, the slightly misguided albino vulture.

Making people believe that “anything can talk” is not the only thing that has kept David busy.

“I’m very excited about the opportunities I’ve had to help build a close community among Christian comedians through the Christian Comedy Association. As a board member, I have organized an annual conference that provides a unique chance for people within the Christian comedy community to connect. It’s a great place for us to encourage one another and grow together as we pursue excellence in what God has called us to do.”

In conjunction with Love a Tree Day (May 16), David also launched his new website at “My website has needed an update for far too long. The new site will give people a clear picture of the creative outreach I can offer through my comedy ventriloquist act.”

I (Karl) had the privilege of helping to work on the new site. I and my coworkers Ryan and Karen made sure that the site looks good on different devices like phones and tablets. We learned things about David’s ministry that we’d never heard – check out the inspiring story of how he acquired Mack (it’s a bit hidden – click on “Bio” and then Mack’s icon at the bottom).


This fall David heads to South Africa with a team from Houston Northwest Baptist Church. The team will be doing a series of outreach events in schools, prisons, orphanages, and neighborhoods throughout the region. “It excites me to know that what I offer as a comedy ventriloquist will open the door for those on my team to share the gospel with individuals that they might not otherwise encounter.”

Your partnership with Keynote helps start spiritual conversations in creative ways. Thank you!

Comm Lab update


“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 4:10-11 (ESV)

This is the theme verse for Comm Lab – a four day intensive communication training Keynote conducts each year in Westfield, IN. At Comm Lab, attendees receive one-on-one training from experienced coaches as well as instruction from communication experts. This year’s 28 participants included Cru staff members, church pastors and community leaders.

Eric Maitlen had this to say about his Comm Lab experience:

My wife Jillian and I lead worship at Mercy Road Church in Carmel, IN and have done music evangelism for the last 10 years across North America, Central America, parts of Europe and Asia. This month we attended Comm Lab for the first time and were blown away by the level of teaching and practical skills training for better communicating the gospel. I found the week to be very challenging as I became aware of and began to break a lot of bad speaking habits I had formed over the years. I also felt as though my eyes were open for the first time to the postmodern mindset that is sweeping our country. There is a way to reach and impact this next generation with the gospel but it will take new methods of communication and evangelism. Thank you Keynote for using your time, resources and manpower to equip me and so many other harvest workers to become more effective evangelists in 2014!

As you can see, Keynote’s Comm Lab was a great success. Karl helped run tech for the meetings and we even housed one of the participants (who happened to be my close friend-bonus!). As promised, below is another Campus Mid-Year Report excerpt. God is moving! Thank you for being a part of our ministry team.

An Entire Pledge Class

To say it’s rare to find a Christian in the University of Alabama Greek system is an understatement. However, recently a junior in Chi Omega organized an outreach in the football stadium to this year’s pledge class. Over 1,000 pledges heard the gospel!