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October 1976 · Vol. 5 No. 4 · pp. 24–25 

Thesis Abstracts: The Effectiveness of Campus Crusade Training for Evangelism

Edward P. Hamm

The excitement and enthusiasm that comes with learning how to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, as taught by Campus Crusade, is not soon forgotten. This research compared Campus Crusade lay training institutes with biblical patterns in training for evangelism as identified by the researcher. It focused on a case study of Campus Crusade training in the California areas of Fresno, Reedley and Dinuba.

The total attendance of Mennonite Brethren at these local institutes numbered 500. This report summarizes 69 responses to a questionnaire which dealt with motives for attending the institute, frequency of witnessing, confidence when witnessing, attitudes toward and love of family and church members as well as unsaved persons, devotional practices, victory over sin, and a willingness to forgive. It also examined follow-up of new converts.

A resumé of the responses makes possible some generalization. Thanks to the training institutes there was a significant increase in regularity of witness and a noteworthy increase in confidence when witnessing. Participants showed an increase in their concern for the total man. After the first six months however there was a decline of interest in witnessing. To the extent these can be measured, the responses indicated improved love toward fellow men, a better devotional life, and increased ability to deal with sin. The emphasis on the Holy Spirit was most helpful to the majority in regards to personal growth. However, only 20 percent engaged in follow-up of converts. Only half the churches had follow-up plans.

Compared with the biblical pattern for training, as outlined by this researcher, Campus Crusade scores favorably in the concept of God which it presents in the “Four Spiritual Laws.” Stress is laid on God’s love, justice, and universal concern. However, the scriptural concept of living in a covenant relationship is not evident. Instead, the focus is almost exclusively on salvation as a gift. Campus Crusade offers an excellent treatment of the God-ward relationship in salvation but falls short in making clear the man-ward implications of salvation.

The priestly ministry of intercession and service, so prevalent in Scripture, is not sufficiently emphasized in Campus Crusade. Prayer is stressed primarily in meeting personal needs. The call to serve is not emphasized at all, perhaps because Campus Crusade is weak in its linkage to the church. One of the basic principles in Scripture regarding evangelism is a life-style communicated in close relationship between teacher and student. Such relationship is weak in Campus Crusade’s mass approach (50 trainees per teacher). The five-day clinic offers little opportunity for communication of life-style.

One has reason to question the primary place of the “Four Spiritual Laws.” Nowhere in Jesus’ teaching do we find Him suggesting a formula similar to that of the “Laws” booklet. Rather, we see Him responding to needs and to questions asked by seekers, allowing others to be part of the dialogue. The four laws presentation is not conducive to one of the key factors in witnessing which is building relationship through dialogue. The Campus {25} Crusade follow-up ministry also presents some concern. The action groups seem to provide an excellent context in which the new convert might grow. However, since the institute is largely an independent organization, it has in the past not identified sufficiently with the church with resultant loss both to the convert and to the church.


The critique of the theological principles of evangelism training and the evaluation of the Campus Crusade institutes conducted in several Mennonite Brethren churches in California brought this researcher to several conclusions.

1. Campus Crusade has contributed to an improvement in witnessing patterns among Mennonite Brethren in regularity and confidence in witness, in concern for the total man, and in spiritual growth.

2. The emphasis on the Holy Spirit was of great benefit to Mennonite Brethren.

3. The motivation for the majority of participants to attend the institute was a desire to witness, so much so that they attended additional institutes (Campus Crusade and others).

4. The use of the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet was of secondary importance for participating Mennonite Brethren. The Campus Crusade motto might be changed from “Win, Build, Send” to “Build, Send, Win.”

5. Mass training approach has limited value for lay people. Mature leaders, lay or clergy, who have discerned their spiritual gifts may well be trained in large numbers. However, one respondent verbalized what no doubt many feel after the institute: “I feel I have been a failure in witnessing.”

6. The follow-up material of Campus Crusade (i.e., the action group program) is basically not being used although it is theologically sound and recommendable. The breakdown of follow-up is a serious matter.

7. The Mennonite Brethren Church is not identifying with those who have been trained at the LIFE institute. It is not providing the needed encouragement, support and fellowship relative to witnessing. We also conclude that the church is not providing the needed assistance in follow-up of new converts, without which it is difficult to expect growth, either qualitative or quantitative.

Edward P. Hamm (M.A., ’75)
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary

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