Every Winter, Cru’s Campus Ministry hosts about 7 major conferences for students in different parts of the country.
For about 15 years, I worked with the conference in Minneapolis, helping to develop worship teams that included as many students as possible. My favorite part of it was getting to encourage the student musicians and challenge them to consider how they were planning to leverage their musical talents after college. That experience could set them on a whole new trajectory of serving God.
I know it can be an extremely potent vision-casting experience, because in 2001, when I was still working in Information Technology at age 33, I played guitar for the Minneapolis Winter Conference, and it was how God showed me that there was a different trajectory for my life. That eventually lead to a career change and has now meant over a dozen years on the full-time staff of Cru’s music ministry.
And now, for the last 2 years, I have served as the music director for the Indianapolis Cru Winter Conference. My role is to take 13 student musicians who were complete strangers in November and transform them into a professional-caliber band that serves the conference’s needs for leading worship, as well as providing music for other program elements and response songs requested by the guest speakers. It’s exhausting, but a pretty cool way to finish off the year.
This week, I head out with a team to lead worship for Cru conferences in 2 different countries. One is in Spain, for about 400 of Cru’s short-term missionaries who are serving in various countries in Europe and the middle east on 1-year assignments. The other is a gathering of 300 or so Cru’s full-time ministry staff who serve in 10 countries that I can’t mention, even in a letter. We’ll get to work with some of their musicians, playing their music, and hear people worshipping God in ten different languages. It’s an adventure on many levels – musical, travel, communication, etc.
Our team also has another band heading to Thailand to lead worship for two similar conferences there as well, so it’s a busy start to the year.
For me, what started with playing guitar for a Cru conference in Minneapolis in 2001 has come full-circle. I may be an outlier in this… I realize that not every student we involve in those worship teams will end up with Cru’s music ministry running around internationally doing evangelistic concerts and leading worship for missionaries serving in dangerous parts of the world.
But… I believe God has a plan for each of them to use their talents SOMEhow, and we’re glad you’re part of our efforts to help them see it!
…for our teams headed out internationally. I have no idea what the implications of the government shutdown are, but I know that TSA security agents and air traffic controllers and other people that we depend on for travel are now working without getting paid – I’m sure that isn’t going to make traveling abroad any easier.