Author Archives: Karl

Hacking for Jesus

makedisciplesWhat does the word “hacking” mean to you? In the popular press, it often refers to the act of breaking into computer systems. To me, it usually means “creative programming”, which is the meaning that we’re referring to below.

Cru founded a project called “Indigitous”. The names comes from a combination of “Indigenous” + “Digital”.

  • Indigenous because it reflects our desire for locally-generated strategies that work in each generation, language and culture.
  • Digital because we believe digital tools, resources, platforms and strategies can accelerate God’s mission.

Indigitous is a partnership between several missions organizations and aims to “Connect you with people on a common mission, strategies that are effective and projects that are on the cutting edge of missional innovation.”

November 4 – 6, Indigitous is sponsoring a worldwide hackathon that will bring people together in 28 different cities to work on 14 global challenges. People can also participate virtually from wherever they are. This will involve people with talents in coding, problem solving, business planning, social network savvy, graphic design, understanding people, storytelling, and more. Since one of the cities is Orlando, many of my friends at Cru’s headquarters will be helping to facilitate the event or work on a challenge.

Mike Novak, President and CEO of Educational Media Foundation, says “The goal of K-LOVE & Air1 has always been to expand the reach of our faith-based messages, with an ongoing emphasis on the younger generation. We use music, short-form educational ministry features and on-air personalities who tie it all together. K-LOVE is extremely honored and excited to be part of Indigitous #Hack. This is the place to be, for anyone wanting to impact the world in a powerful way.”

Please pray that significant progress is made on these technical challenges, so that God’s kingdom is advanced. Also, even though time is short, please forward this opportunity on to those who have digital talents and a heart for the gospel. If they can’t help with this one, perhaps they can connect with Indigitous and get involved in the future.

Read more about Indigitous and the hackathon at Indigitous.org/hack.

Current Projects

We have some big projects happening in Cru’s Digital Products and Services office right now, and I’m involved in two of them:

Going Google
google-logoIn 2013, Cru in the US started using Google for mail, calendar, contacts, document sharing, and video conferencing. I love how Google’s tools allow us to work together across great distances.

Now we’re encouraging our ministries around the world to join us in the Cru Google system. Last weekend we migrated our Czech Republic staff, and we’re making plans for Latin America, South Africa, and other areas. Please pray that we plan carefully and communicate clearly as we work with teams around the globe to make this happen.

Redesigned Online Giving Site
new-give-siteAn increasing amount donations to Cru come through our online giving site at give.cru.org. The site works well on a full-sized computer, but doesn’t resize well for use on mobile devices.

As more and more people interact with the web on phones and tablets, we need to make sure that all of our web sites are “responsive” – that is, they respond to the screen size. It’s never good when you have to scroll left and right to view an entire web page or fill out a form online.

Here’s a fun experiment: browse to www.cru.org on a laptop or desktop, then gradually shrink the width of your web browser. Images that were beside each other will shrink, then stack on top of each other or disappear.

We would love to have this project done before the peak end-of-year giving season. Please pray that we can build all of the features and get rid of all of the bugs quickly!

Multiplying Disciples on Campus

Dr. Bright would often say, “Win the campus today; win the world tomorrow”.

Here is an encouraging story of the fruit of our work and your gifts and prayers…

Troy-and-RyanRyan and Troy were best friends in high school, and naturally became roommates when they arrived at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

A believer coming from a solid youth group, Ryan was eager to get involved with Cru. He enjoyed having the Cru community and Christ-centered direction in his life.

Troy had a different experience. Finding friends was hard. College-level academics were hard. The final straw was when Troy’s long-time girlfriend broke up with him. One night in October, each lying in his dorm room bed and talking across the darkened room, Troy finally told Ryan, “Sure, I’ll go to one of those Cru meetings with you.”

After a few weeks, Ryan came up to staff member Dennis Leskowski. “Hey, Dennis! Troy has been joining us at Cru and he loves it. He’s learning a lot about Jesus. He wants to know how to accept Christ in his life. Would you meet with him and share the gospel?”

As a Cru staff missionary, Dennis was excited. Immediately, he looked Ryan in the eyes and said, “No, I won’t.” Ryan looked stunned. “How about you and I get together?” Dennis asked. “I’ll teach you how to share the gospel, and you can introduce Troy to Jesus yourself.”

A few days afterwards, Ryan stood next to Dennis after a Cru Thursday night meeting. They faced a crowd of people where Troy, talking lively, was in the middle. Both men smiled as Ryan commented, “I’ve seen Troy happy over the years. But I’ve never seen him have joy like this. He is a completely different person, because of Jesus.”

Ryan and Troy grew and developed over their years as students. Ryan became an instrumental leader as Grand Valley State University’s Cru movement grew from 35 students during his freshman year, to 650 students during his senior year. He led people to Christ, taught others about sharing their faith, led small groups and led in other ways.

As a track athlete, Troy helped to form and lead the Grand Valley Athletes in Action movement that eventually saw more than 40 student athletes involved on a regular basis. He too learned how to share his faith and led others to Christ.

“Today,” Dennis said, “They have graduated, love Jesus, and are making an impact in their companies, communities, and churches.”

Celebrating 25 years of ministry with Cru!

Friends at New Staff Training with Dr. and Mrs. Bright, 1991

Friends at New Staff Training with Dr. and Mrs. Bright, 1991

caught mid-sentence while shutting down the mainframe, 1999

caught mid-sentence while shutting down the mainframe, 1999

On July 25, I will celebrate 25 years with Cru! In July of 1991, I was in Colorado for Campus Crusade for Christ’s New Staff Training. In August I started to find my team of ministry partners, and by December I was in Orlando. It’s hard to believe that so many years have passed since I packed my things into a U-Haul truck and embarked on this wonderful adventure.

Some of my favorite memories include:

  • working with an amazing group of talented and committed missionaries
  • a guys’ Bible study group that encouraged each other and had amazing adventures backpacking together
  • many other wonderful friends in Florida and later in Indiana
  • experiencing grace from my coworkers when I messed up or things didn’t go according to plan
  • helping to install the first Internet connection at CCC’s headquarters (the first Orlando headquarters, “Sunport”)
  • retiring the mainframe
  • building the infrastructure and moving into our current headquarters, Lake Hart
  • meeting Liesl, marrying, and having Anja!
  • moving to Indiana to work with Keynote
  • tech-missionary trips to Hungary, Turkey, Thailand (and Xenia, Ohio)

All of this was made possible by you, our faithful team of ministry partners! Thank you so much for standing with us financially and with your prayers – some of you for 25 years. We have each been blessed so that we can be a blessing to others, and God is using us together to extend His kingdom throughout the earth!

Worship and Prayer

worship-arts-weekend

Imagine hosting 11 college students! We had the privilege of hosting the Ball State University students who attended the Spring 2016 Worship Arts Weekend.

Some comments from the students:
“It is so helpful and transformed what worship looked like on our campus. It also helped to reorient my heart towards God in a powerful way this year and I am so thankful for that.”

“Just thank you. You guys challenged me this weekend, helped me grow and connect with God. You guys taught me so much this weekend and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Boehlke-Kranich

Tuesday was Cru’s semiannual Worldwide Day of prayer, and we were joined by Jeff and Jo Boehlke, our friends from southern Indiana.

Jeff and I both work remotely for the same team in Orlando, and spend a lot of time working together on Cru’s Google system.

Our team is also working on projects to improve Cru’s financial system, web hosting, and other systems. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and the ability to make quick progress!