“What are you up to tonight?”
“Ehhh… I’m gonna grab some dinner and then head to the Cru meeting… What are you doing? Wanna come?”
Maybe you’ve had that interaction. You got over the hump. You put your big kid pants on, moved past your fear, and invited your friend.
It’s what happens next that is the elephant in the room. We’ve all been there. Was there reluctance, or hesitation? An awkward half-smile? If it’s been an especially good day maybe you get a follow-up question, like, “What goes on there?” But probably, it was just easier to ignore the silence and slip out the door with a shoulder shrug.
Will you ever ask them again?
Our friends of course have all sorts of ideas running through their heads. And “meeting” sure isn’t a very helpful descriptor. (We’re taking suggestions for a better name!)
But the one factor that is most determinative in this conversation, affecting how we invite and how often we invite, is what we think about the weekly Cru meeting. Do we enjoy it? Is it life-giving? Do we even know why we do it really?
What it’s not
The purpose of the weekly meeting is not to be the best show in town. On any given weekend around town, you’ll likely find better musicians, better entertainment, and better communicators (the local concert scene, TED talks, and even some churches) that have a degree of polish and expertise that our multi-tasking, student-run organizations could only hope to compete with. But competing just isn’t the goal, and we’d all run ourselves ragged trying to do it.
Do we want excellence? Absolutely yes. Do we want polish? Yes. Like C.S. Lewis alluded to in his Letters to Malcolm, we want our meeting to be free from distraction, like running in a well-fitted, comfortable pair of shoes. If the shoes rub or they get wet, it’s just not a fun run. So to the degree that the lack of quality causes distraction, like a pebble in your shoe, we want to improve it.
But if getting that right means losing the most important things, we’ll sacrifice polish and “show” every time. Which occasionally means we’ll have some pebbles in our shoes.
The main things
Our promise is that every week we’ll give you Jesus. Jesus is who we need. Jesus. We’ll talk about Him all the time. We’ll never outgrow Jesus here. So there will be a talk of some kind, and we’ll do our best to answer real questions.
Sometimes on a campus, we’ll have the skill among us to have music, and even a band. And sometimes, we won’t. When God provides the people with heart and skill, we’ll have it. We love to sing about Jesus. But we’ll trust God in the seasons when we don’t have those people.
What else do we care about? Well you can expect us to set the table for real, deep, transparent relationships, where Jesus is at the center. We will set the table. And we will do our part to contribute to those relationships, but it’s dependent on all of us to work at it. This kind of loving one another is foreign for all of us.
So how will we do it? We’ll remember Jesus. We’ll remember what He’s done for us and who we are because of Him; that will give us confidence to be ourselves – loved right where we are and loved to become the people God is in the process of re-making. Because our security and identity is in Jesus, and we’re believing that more every day, we don’t need to hide from one another or pretend to be people we’re not. Our masks can come off.
When Cru looks and feels and operates like this, we can also expect to see our lives and others’ changed. The stories that are being written will be stories of transformation.
Is there a place for your friend at this kind of meeting? Of course there is – like a seat at our dinner table. Pastor Tim Keller has termed it evangelistic worship. (Follow that link to read a great article!) It’s precisely in seeing us in worship and loving one another that Jesus and His love are best seen. And we’ll best love them by inviting them in and making what they hear and observe intelligible so that they might understand it.
So when you’re roommate asks, “What’s it like” or “What do you do there,” you can simply reply, “We talk about Jesus… and I’m more me there than anywhere else. It’s cool. My masks come off. And it’s like I’m with family.”
Because you are.