Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crutsinger 2009_05 Prayer Letter

Here is our prayer letter for this month featuring:

  • Discipleship Project Beta
  • Houston Fastbreak Workshop
  • SLI Module 4: El Salvador
  • Leadership Conference
  • Dad’s Cancer
  • Baby Boy #3, Due date
  • Thank You
click on the images below to enlarge them to a size where you can read them:

click on the images above to enlarge them to a size where you can read them...

Here's the text:
May 2009 Crutsinger Prayer Update

Emerging Strategies = "The Cutting Edge of Strategic Learning, Innovation and Resource Development to Accelerate the Ministry of Turning Lost Students into Christ-Centered Laborers"

“Essentials” Discipleship Project Update
OVERVIEW:  The Essentials of Spiritual Growth and Multiplication has now become a proven tool that has been used effectively in multiple contexts.  The purpose of the Assessment and Expansion Project is to fine tune the resource itself (assessment) and then seek to significantly increase its worldwide usage (expansion).  We have completed the first eight lessons.  I have about 75 staff around the country being beta testers.  The initial feedback is very encouraging!  Even the high school students using them as they disciple their peers have communicated their excitement.
    Have you made intensive efforts towards spiritual growth and multiplication with limited results?  We have observed that the lack of success is not due to a lack of effort.  The secret is to make it easy.
     Steve Douglass, Campus Crusade President, invested significant personal time to help us craft a single innovative resource that encapsulates many of the best practices seen globally. Essentials is very unique. It is not like other discipleship resources.
     Since 2005, hundreds of field staff and students have wrestled with the Essentials content resulting in significant modifications.  It has been revised over and over again, maximized to the point where you will quickly see your small group participants experience, first-hand, the core DNA of Win, Build, and Send.  It is new, yet you can have complete confidence in proven results.
     I guarantee that you and other small group leaders will easily grasp the Essentials strategy in this intuitive framework.  In the redesign, I’ve strived to make the discipleship process extremely easy to understand, experience, and replicate.
     Few resources are able to bridge multiple people groups like Essentials. Essentials has proven to be effective with a variety of ethnic, international, high school, university and adult audiences.  At it’s core, Essentials is about experiences and discussions – two universal ways to connect with anyone.
     I now want to invite you to test it out!  Because of your partnership with our family, I want to resource you, but I also want to listen to you.  Being a digital resource, I will still continue to make ongoing improvements in response to your personal expertise and advice.
     To show our appreciation for you, I want to give you a free beta copy of Essentials of Spiritual Growth and Multiplication.  If Essentials does not live up to your standards, you can always resort to other options for discipleship materials.
To download your free copy, visit

Houston Fastbreak
   The current Houston director, Barry Bowling, was the SV staffer who started SV in my high school when I was still a student in 1985.  Many things I learned when he discipled me shaped my passion for student multiplication.  Over this past Winter break, I flew to Texas to visit the 2009 Houston Fastbreak Student Conference.  I was able to help Barry with a student leader workshop focusing on multiplying discipleship.  What an encouragement to see students of multiple ethnicities being raised up to directly impact their own campuses.  Some of these students were already using the Essentials discipleship strategy!  Pray these students and those from all our conferences nationwide remain connected to the Father and committed to His plans.
Senior Leadership Module 4 - El Salvador
   I am in the final stretch of my two year Senior Leadership Initiative.  We met in El Salvador where our theme was “the relationships of the leader.”   One assignment involved us interviewing 5 highly influential business leaders in their country, inquiring about the importance of relationships to their effectiveness as leaders.  Also during the week we covered volumes of very practical content: Leadership Derailers, Coaching Over Distance, Leading with Questions, Five Components of a Healthy Team, Developing Trust as a Leader, Feedback Culture, Managing Conflict, and Importance of Self Awareness.  The highlight for me was hearing from three global Campus Crusade leaders who each shared openly about their “Leadership Journey.”
SV National Leadership Conference
   What percentage of your time are you working IN your organization, and what percentage of your time are you working ON it? In our National Team role, we find that in order to build Student Venture into a stronger and healthier ministry for the long run, we need to pull back from being immersed in the work that needs to be done.  We have the responsibility to make whatever necessary changes organizationally to accomplish our mission through short term and long term strategies.
   Last week, we returned from our annual SV National Leadership Conference where we hosted all of our SV city directors.  This is only our second opportunity to meet together since the transition to our current National Team.  We went to great effort to roll out our new National Strategic Planning Process and align our directors with it.  Based on the evaluations, it looks like we achieved our goal that the directors would leave the conference empowered, encouraged, aligned and informed.
Dad’s Cancer
   My father (Howard) has another scheduled biopsy May 20 on an enlarging spot seen on his latest CT scan of his lungs.  Please continue to pray.  He’s been off chemo and radiation for a few months which has helped him recover quite a bit.
Homefront - Baby on the Way!
   Laura is counting the days until the birth of our third little boy!  We’re due around June 26.  With just a few weeks left, we are scurrying around trying to get ready.  Cooper and Ben can’t wait to meet their baby brother.  We still can’t believe we’re going to have three boys!
   Yesterday we decided the time had arrived for Benjamin to have his first haircut.  It was hard for us to depart with his long bright blond curls.  Howard believes all our kids are destined for future baldness, so he wanted Ben to cherish these days with hair!
   Benjamin is obsessed with any sports “ball” and Cooper is our social butterfly who loves to be at preschool with his friends.
Thank You
   Knowing that you are partnering with and praying for our ministry and our family is so encouraging.  We are grateful and humbled.  You are making an impact in students everywhere!
Grateful for your Partnership,
Howard & Laura Crutsinger

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Changed Lives :: Carrollton

Our staff always enjoy sharing the Gospel and seeing students come to Christ.  It is doubly enjoyable to see the “student chain” which results when students share Christ with students who share Christ with students, and so on.
The story below is just such a chain: one student led a friend to Christ, who led a friend to Christ, who led... That’s the core of Win-Build-Send!

When Christ awakens a heart, other hearts are awakened and new souls enter into the family of God. Thank you for helping bring those souls into the family!

The Student Chain
by Tom and Bea Ann Bridges, SV staff in Dallas

On April 22, we held a Newman Smith HS, student-led volleyball outreach! We partnered with Prince of Peace Lutheran to provide the food, and with First Baptist for the volleyball courts.  About 100 students attended the event and had great fun, met new friends, ate hot dogs, chips, chili, drinks and dessert for FREE, and best of all, heard the Gospel from their peers. Six students indicated they had placed their faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, and several others requested more information or want to get involved with Student Venture!
Marvin and Jose, although nervous beforehand, spoke calmly, boldly and clearly when sharing their testimony in Christ. Marvin became a Christian 15 months ago at our Fastbreak conference as a result of his friend and SV student leader, Jordan. Jordan became a Christian through the influence of his friend and SV student leader RJ. RJ became a Christian through the influence of his friend and SV student leader Jared, who was discipled in 2001 by Howard Crutsinger. Marvin is continuing the spiritual multiplication chain as he invited Jose to our Fastbreak conference three months ago, and Jose gave his life to Christ! The change in their lives are evident to their friends, and both he and Marvin are currently in a SV Bible study, and are getting their friends to go with them to the summer conference in June.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Changed Lives :: Venezuela

We love hearing about students whose lives are changed by the Gospel, and rejoice greatly over those who follow Him into ministry.  The story below is the story of a student who came to Christ in high school and continues to serve Him in a mighty way. Praise God!   Oscar Avalos, the staff who wrote the story below, beautifully expresses our gratitude for you --- I am so excited about K.O.’s story because in many ways you are part of similar stories. You make it possible for us to go on high school campuses and help future “K.O.” know Christ. Students who will one day impact entire nations and continents! Who knows what path God has for the students we work with, but I believe whatever great things He has in store for them is made possible by your partnership with us. You are appreciated. Help impact one teenager ~ you impact an entire continent by Oscar and Candis Avalos, SV staff in Peoria, AZ Our mission was clear: go to Maracaibo, Venezuela to pioneer a ministry among young people in the high schools. In the end, I believe God accomplished that mission through us, but the story leading up to this mission was something only a sovereign God could design. Nearly 30 years ago, K.O. was a high school student in Houston, TX. He was introduced to a group at his high school called Student Venture and soon was introduced to the person of Jesus Christ through Mike Crandall, one of the SV staff members on his campus. When it was time for K.O. to go to college, Mike personally went with him to UT Austin and introduced K.O. to staff members with Campus Crusade for Christ. K.O. flourished in his faith, caught CCC’s vision and joined staff after college. For years he would move through the ranks of CCC as he served in various schools in the U.S. Eight years ago, God called K.O., his wife, and their three kids to move to Maracaibo to be the national directors for the college ministry with CCC. Because of the affect SV had on K.O.’s life, in the last couple of years God gave them a vision to pioneer a Student Venture ministry in the city, with hopes of the ministry growing and spreading all over Venezuela. God provided two girls through their college ministry who are now graduated and have a passion for reaching teenagers in Venezuela with the gospel K.O. was recently named the national director of all South America and his passion to pioneer college AND high school ministries with CCC/SV, will now become more of a reality for an entire continent!  Only God can do that!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Changed Lives :: Cincinnati

One of the joys and goals of our ministry is to have our involved students share their testimonies with their peers.  It is a great step of faith for them and they grow in their walk with God as they see Him use their stories to touch hearts.  Students are also inclined to listen to their peers, so it is a “win” for everyone.

Thank you, thank you for partnering with us to give these students opportunities to see God at work!

God at work
by Chris McClelland with SV Cincinnati, OH

On Wednesdays I’ve been meeting with a group of freshmen at Talawanda High. Most of these guys played football this fall and are now coming to a weekly Bible Study / Follow-up Group.

Last week I took the freshmen guys to a cemetery. We found the youngest person to die (2 months old) and oldest (102 years) and then I asked the guys how long they expect to live. Alex said 50 years; Drew said at least 100. We talked about how our lives are a mist that appears for a while then vanishes. I challenged the guys to make their days on earth count by investing their time in things that are going to last for eternity.

Later, some of the freshmen students involved in SV hosted a Pizza Party Outreach (with a 29 inch pizza!) for the Freshmen Basketball team. Eleven of the 13 guys on the team came and had a blast as they played “knockout”, answered trivia questions for prizes, and ate a huge pizza. Sam & Alex told the guys why they like Student Venture, and Drew explained how to begin a relationship with God.  Two of the basketball players, Sam H and Trevor, indicated on their comment cards that they asked Jesus to come into their lives after Drew shared the gospel. Pretty cool!

Pray for Sam H. & Trevor as well as the other freshmen. We’ll be getting together every Wednesday after school.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Changed Lives :: XBox

Just as technology is impacting every area of our lives, it is also impacting methods for sharing the gospel. Through various websites we have developed, we are seeing hundreds of students touched by the gospel.  We know this strategy has incredible potential and are working toward developing these opportunities even more.  As technology continues to evolve, the potential is limitless!
Below is the story of a young man who opened his heart to Christ through technology. While some of us older folks aren’t technologically savvy, it is second nature to young people. It is so exciting to see God reach students using a method that is a major influence in their lives!
Thank you, thank you for being obedient to God’s direction in your life and for your support of Student Venture.  You are appreciated!

God is even in technology
by Kevin Bowers, SV staff in Greater Oklahoma
I have been a technology guru of sorts for all my life - looking for ways to maximize and leverage technology to spread the Gospel. This past week God did something I never could have expected with what started as a video game chat with one of our high school students. The XBox video system allows people across the world to play games with others they don't even know. It's really a fascinating way to meet others and interact over time with even the same people, if you so desire. I'm not a gamer, but this is definitely unique.

Recently Brian (pictured above) began a discussion with a 19-year-old student, Adam, at the University of North Dakota.

Over time, they began to build rapport by playing online games together, and Brian took the initiative to share some personal things which led Adam to do the same. Later, Adam shared about some personal struggles and Brian took the opportunity to share Christ with Adam! Ironically, we had literally just gone over a specific training on how to share your faith! It was good that Brian listened.

During that conversation, Adam prayed and invited Christ into his life!

I took the chance to look up Adam on FaceBook, and we have also become friends. Here is an unsolicited response Adam sent me:

"Hey there Kevin! Yeah, I am amazed at the person that I found over a video game! (Brian) He is an amazing, intelligent guy who has been nothing but nice to me. It has been nice to connect with people who really do care about you and I am continuously surprised." Adam ended with this, "I hope to grow and learn much more through you, Brian, and Him! Thank you!"

Who would have ever guessed that a younger student could lead someone to Jesus over a video game?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Changed Lives :: NY Giants, David Tyree wide receiver :: New York

One of the most effective ways for Student Venture staff members to reach lost students is to use a “Team Talk” strategy.

At a recent football “team talk” in NYC, David Tyree (wide receiver for 2008 Super Bowl champs, the NYC Giants) spoke of his life with Christ.

Because these kinds of outreach meetings are held in the school, we can’t have an open invitation to receive Christ.  However, our local Student Venture staff member, Kevin Young, had the opportunity to tell the students about Student Venture and invited the students to get involved.  Kevin and the NYC staff members will follow up with the students in the coming weeks. At these follow up meetings a clear gospel presentation is usually given with an opportunity for the students to respond.
Kevin also reported that one of the coaches said that God spoke to him during the meeting.  Students are our focus when we hold these outreaches, but God can - and does - reach anyone hearing His message!

Your partnership helps make talks like this possible all across the country – we thank you!

God uses a football hero
by Kevin and Janette Young, SV staff in New York City
The room was stuffed tight with over 100 Grand Street Wolves Football players, and as we stepped into the room, it erupted.  David Tryee is the home town hero, the guy involved in the catch of the century, as some have called it.  It led to the Giants’ Super Bowl victory.  David said his favorite part of the whole season was the parade down Hero’s Canyon in downtown Manhattan where over a million jubilant fans skipped school and work to roar for their team!  
I’ve been to many outreaches over the years, but none has compared to what David did in the 45 minutes he spoke.  He talked their language, having himself grown up in the hood.  The first words out of his mouth were that he loved Jesus Christ, and everything about his life was now centered in Him.  He talked about the low points, and the high points, about mistakes and how Christ brought him out of the lowest hell he could possibly imagine.  The young men in that room were riveted, not a word by anyone. He brought the gospel to them in all its simplicity and all its glory.  Wow!  The coach was ecstatic.  The young men who have been tracking with us in our meetings---you could see their chests swell.  It was the depth of the impact that was so apparent.  Only the Holy Spirit could have fashioned that evening.  He did it by indwelling a young man, sold out to His purposes.  Your prayers make the difference!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Changed Life Story :: 31 years later

Many times in student ministry we don’t get to see the full impact of what God is doing with those we work with.  The following letter from a former student named Don reminds and encourages us to reach out to teenagers with the life changing message of Christ.  The whole course of this man’s life was changed.

Just think – your partnership with Student Venture may be touching a student, just like Don, who will still be following Christ in a great way 30 years from now.  God is using you to make a lasting, significant difference in the lives of others!  How exciting is that!

Down through the years
by Gary Wood, SV staff on international assignment

From Gary ----
You might wonder if this winning, building and sending works.  It is an important question to ask. When I was in the States, a few people asked me if I knew what had happened with some of the first students I worked with when I joined the staff.  I said I knew of a few who were doing very well and still having an impact for the Savior, but I had lost track of too many over the last 34 years.  
Recently, I unexpectedly heard from one of those guys from my first few years in Cincinnati – one I really enjoyed working with, but had lost contact with soon after I left there 31 years ago.

Hello Gary -
Wow, it has been a long time (30+ years?).  I finally found a way to reach you.  I hope you don't mind.

On Friday, October 8, 1976, my freshman year of high school, you took me to a football game and shared the 4 (Spiritual) Laws with me, and Jesus changed my life - for eternity.  Do you remember I bawled my eyes out in the front seat?  I do...and with great joy as I look back.  No doubt your famous penetrating follow-up questions drove home the significance of a decision that had brought me to the arms of a loving, forgiving God for whom I had been searching.  I have no repayment plan to you, but only to say, "thank you."

From those first days of faith, you laid the foundation of the importance of evangelism and the Great Commission.  You inquired if I thought any of my friends needed to know about Christ (it was a set up, and I knew it!). You had me make a list of those who needed to know, and prayed with me over it.  You trained me how to set up an appointment and how to go through the booklet.  And so, that's how we ended up on my friend, Bob's, front porch.  I was so nervous, but you graciously and firmly nudged me on.

Bob's life might not have been changed that day, but mine was - once again.  You infected me with a heart for the lost, for evangelism and for the Great Commission.  You made me actually think that God could use me to communicate the glorious gospel of grace found in Christ.  You gave me a passion - a conviction - that I must be about this work.  
I have never thought myself very "good" at the work, and have a list of those I "should have" shared with and regret that I did not.  But here I find myself today - 33 years later - taking high school students up and down Route 38 in DeKalb, IL to find groups with whom we may ask if anyone has ever taken the time to share with them the message of the Bible, etc.  I have no greater joy than seeing a teenager share their faith for the first time, and rejoicing in their reaction as they see God use them.  Last summer, while debriefing with a small group of our teens after an amazing evangelism moment, one 15 year old boy exclaimed, "Wow! God used me and it was so easy."  I remember thinking the same thing after walking off Bob's front porch.  
I have seen God open doors to share the gospel in jails, prisons, a university president's office, and various places in between...and yes, even other front porches.  It has never ceased to be scary, but it always amazes me how God takes our simple step of faith in a fearful moment, and blesses it so much so that we say in hindsight, "Wow, that was easy."  With God all things are possible!
Again, thanks for having such a profound influence in my life.  I hope God continues to give you opportunities to serve and train others.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Urban Changed Life Story :: Indianapolis

One of the ministries under the Campus Crusade for Christ umbrella is a ministry to African American students called “Impact”. This is a ministry that partners with us, and other ministries, to build spiritual movements within the African-American community and among people of African descent worldwide. While our FastBreak and Getaway conferences are designed for students of all nationalities, Impact conferences are able to focus on the unique needs of African Americans.

In December, some of our Student Venture staff took their African American students to an Impact conference. The story below is from one of the students who is involved in Student Venture in Indianapolis and attended the conference. We are always amazed at the various avenues God uses to turn hearts to Himself. We are thrilled and humbled that God, in His grace, will use us to do His work.

While we are on the frontlines with these students on a daily basis, you are the much appreciated, behind-the-scenes support that is vital for God’s work to be done. Your partnership is never taken for granted!

A Family Affair
by C.J and Anika Neal, SV staff in Indianapolis, IN

A letter from Lindsae - -

On December 27th, 2008, (the first night of the conference) I rededicated my life to Christ. Having done that, I called my mom ’cause I was so excited! Like, I was in shock! Then I had a chance to talk to all my family, and one of my aunts re-dedicated her life; she said that listening to me talk about how I’d changed and the personal relationship that I wanted to have with God made her want to change her ways. When I got back home, it was put on my heart that I needed to start something with my family. So, I started a Bible study with my family that Saturday at 10am. That day, I did everything — breakfast, the lesson plan, praise and worship, and I taught my first lesson!!!! (I’m so excited about that!!!) We now meet every Saturday with my whole family (aunts, uncles and cousins included)! I’m studying my Bible and learning to teach others, and I owe it all to God!
-Lindsae H.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Music Video of Family

Here is a short music video showing life with our kids, Cooper and Benjamin.

Changed Life Story :: Kalamazoo

I imagine that many of you are feeling the ill effects of the snow and ice; we pray that God will work in your circumstances for your good and His glory.

A very integral part of our FastBreak and Getaway conferences is the well-planned outreach opportunities for all the students to share their faith with people in the local community, such as sharing on the beach, at a mall, in neighborhoods.  This is a great step of faith for many students, and they are greatly encouraged when they see God work in the hearts of people they talk to.  They are also encouraged to hear the victory stories shared by their peers at the conference’s evening session.

Below is a story about students meeting people’s physical needs and also being used by God to meet their spiritual needs.  Thankfully, God uses our plans and the willing hearts of students to do His good work.

Thank you for being part of God’s good work!

God is the One at Work
by brian and erin clark, SV staff Indianapolis, IN

On the Sunday afternoon of our FastBreak in Kalamazoo, MI while half the group went skiing, the other half visited homes to give out our Boxes of Love (food and gifts) and to pray for people.  I was so proud of the three girls I went with! Carly shared her testimony and God's love with Jessica (in brown).  Julie and Grace prayed for Sarah, who is still displaced from Hurricane Katrina and going home next month!  Then at the last apartment we went to, Bernard opened more than just the front door—he also opened the door of his heart to Christ as well!  God is the one who does everything in a person’s heart, yet it was easy to see that the girls were awed that God could use them as they stepped out in faith.  What is more exciting in life?!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Changed Life Stories :: Dallas

Last week we shared with you a changed life story from our San Diego FastBreak Conference.  Below is another story, this time from Dallas. Both conferences were held over Martin Luther King weekend.

Our conferences are very special and strategic times for all of Student Venture.  It is an opportunity for our students to get away from their hectic lives to focus on God.  For those who are already Believers, our prayer is for them to deepen their walk with God.  For those who are lost, our prayer is that God would capture their hearts for all eternity.  As you will see in the story below, God did just that in the heart of Yesenia!

Thank you, thank you for your part in bringing Yesenia to Jesus.  May many more come!

Another Changed life
by Benton and Susie Hall, SV staff in Dallas, TX

Yesenia thought she came to FastBreak because it was an opportunity for her to spend time with her older brother, whom she admires. But God had a bigger, eternally significant purpose in mind. On the second night of the conference, as she heard the speaker describe the work of Christ on the cross, and the implications of His sacrifice, Yesenia was struck by a sudden, unprecedented awareness of God’s love for her. After the evening session was over, Jacquelynn, an adult volunteer, found Yesenia crying in the cabin. Jacquelynn found out that Yesenia had surrendered her life to Christ that evening.

“You know that feeling you get when you’re high [on drugs]?” Yesenia asked, desperately grasping for words to describe what was going on inside of her. “I feel that way right now! I can’t believe I’ve missed out on something so great for so long.”

As Jacquelynn celebrated with her, Yesenia disclosed that she had been making a lot of unhealthy choices in life, and she recognized a need to leave those things behind. Since she returned from FastBreak, Yesenia has asked her mother for forgiveness for wrongs done in the past, and their relationship has taken a turn for the better. Yesenia has also shared her testimony with her non-Christian friends. “They don’t understand. I really want them to experience what I’ve experienced.” Yesenia has joined a girls’ Bible study and has committed to praying for the salvation of her lost friends.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Changed Life Stories :: San Diego

One of Student Venture’s crucial evangelistic strategies is conferences. Each January across the country, Student Venture holds Winter Conferences/FastBreaks to gather students for a “fast break” from their normal lives.  At the conferences, the students benefit from Bible teaching, worship, and evangelism, plus fun and fellowship.  Most importantly, God always works in the hearts of students to make Himself known to them.
Below is a report from one of those conferences.  As the story states, the San Diego Conference was a combination of high school and college students.  God is working through these partnerships, and we are excited to see Him fulfilling the partnership vision He gave us!
God is so creative in the ways He reaches down to us. Over the next few weeks, we look forward to sharing more of His ways with you, our Treasured Ministry Partners.

by Oscar and Candis Avalos, SV staff in Peoria, AZ

What do you get when you take 60 high school students, 650+ college students and a really cool city? Pure chaos, you say? Yes! But it was wonderful chaos which helped transform the lives of many students we work with during our time at the SDWC.
It was especially exciting because, for the first time, we did a conference with both college and high school students. Both parties were able to see each other worship the Lord and be inspired to live a life fully committed to Christ. It was also great for college students to catch the vision of reaching high school students and for high school students to see that being a college student doesn’t mean you ditch your faith, but can actually get excited about following Jesus.
One of the conference highlights were our “chat rooms”. Every night, after our main session, our students would break up into small groups and discuss what they were learning. It was so exciting to hear from guys who, just 3 months ago, didn’t know who Jesus was or how to read the Bible, but are now excited about growing in their faith and about sharing it with others. That’s the kind of life-change we long to see, and it’s happening in powerful ways!