Theological Development and the Mission of the Cru

In order to accomplish our mission, we need men and women who are growing ever deeper in their ability to understand and apply God’s Word to their own lives and to the lives of those to whom they minister. We need men and women who treasure Christ, being captured by a vision of His greatness. We need men and women who are able to apply the resources of the gospel to the lives of broken people. We need men and women who possess great confidence in the promises of God.

To become this kind of leader requires intentional theological development. It is for this reason that all Cru staff are required to complete the eleven core IBS courses. These courses provide an important foundation for a lifetime of ministry.  Because of the central role the Scriptures play in all we do, some staff will choose to pursue additional theological training beyond these IBS courses. 

Theological Education in the Context of Ministry

To understand our Graduate Studies Program, one must grasp our philosophy of education. We are committed to theological education in the context of ongoing ministry. Fifteen years ago the only viable way to receive formal theological training was to leave the field and go to school full-time (generally for several years).  Although this represents the fastest way to complete a degree, a number of drawbacks accompany this mode of education including the pace of learning (drinking from a fire hydrant), the drain on support (including attrition) and disconnection from the ministry. 

This is not to suggest that full-time study is somehow “bad.” In some cases, full-time study makes the most sense. Consider the person outside Cru who is required to obtain a graduate theological degree as a condition for employment (e.g., a person pursuing some form of ministry in a local church). In this situation, such a person must complete his or her theological training as quickly as possible. This, however, is not the case in Cru.  Cru staff are not required to obtain theological degrees as a condition for employment. As a result, we have the luxury to pursue theological training a slower (and more developmentally beneficial) pace.

There are several benefits to pursuing theological training in the context of ongoing ministry:

  • You do not have to withdraw from ministry.
  • You will experience a great development benefit: theological education is most helpful when it is combined with practical ministry.
  • Your ministry will be enhanced as you teach out of the overflow of the things you are learning in your classes.
  • You will have access to new resources that can help you solve ministry challenges or roadblocks.  Through your training you may also have the opportunity to develop new tools and strategies to help us reach more lost students with the gospel.
  • You will enjoy courses more because you are not drinking from a fire hydrant (i.e. taking four courses at once).
  • You will develop holistically.  Part-time study allows more easily for holistic development (grow in character, leadership skill and knowledge) rather than merely focusing on one area (intellectual).
  • You will not have to uproot your family and move.
  • Your annual cost will be less and you are far less likely to lose ministry partners.

For Staff Considering International Assignments

For staff members who are praying about or preparing for international field assignments, another option might be considered. Cru operates a number of graduate programs outside of the United States as part of the International Leadership Consortium. These programs allow staff to study in another cultural context, often at a significantly reduced cost, and experience crosscultural ministry while earning an internationally accredited graduate degree. For further information, please contact our ILC partner institutions.