Author Archives: Karl

Serving at Cru17

Tech Team: Mike, me, David, and Jason

Thank you for praying for our time in Colorado! We are enjoying friends that we haven’t seen for a long time, and our calendars are full of opportunities to serve our fellow Cru staff.

Liesl has been coordinating the worship for our staff meetings, and has received very encouraging feedback. Worshiping our great God together keeps us focused on why we’re here – to equip our staff to take the gospel to the world!

Many of our staff have just completed two weeks of Bible and/or leadership classes, and others have just arrived for the final 2 weeks of classes. My team is now beginning to plan how we’ll get Internet connections to all the places that will be set up for the all-staff conference at the end of the summer: coffee house tent, staff help tent, partnership tents, and the Moby arena for large group meetings.

We will also be welcoming 3 more members to the team to help us with everyone’s tech needs. Please pray that we stay healthy and serve well!

Liesl, Nate, and Glen leading worship

Tech support

Heading to Colorado

It’s time again for our biannual Cru trip to Fort Collins, Colorado. We will be part of training and equipping 200 new Cru missionaries, preparing another 150 through cross-cultural training for global assignments, and helping another 1,000+ expand their knowledge of the Bible and develop leadership and ministry skills.

The training tracks begin June 12, but the conference team shows up early, and a few more of us show up first to begin the setup. I (Karl) will start driving on Memorial Day so that I can start work on June 1. Liesl and Anja will fly out the following weekend, since Anja will still have finals after I leave.

Once again, I’ll be leading a small tech team that helps keep everything running smoothly. Liesl will help out with my team and coordinate worship for the conference team meetings, and Anja is going to work in the Cru-run coffee house.

From July 16 to 24, all the Cru staff in the US will gather for “Cru17”, our time for training, connection, and encouragement. This is also a time when many staff who don’t have a technology person near them bring their broken equipment and tech questions to my team.

Please pray that our team serves them well. And pray that everyone leaves Colorado better equipped to serve God and to be used by Him to draw many to Himself.

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.”