Why Do We Need Both Cru and Destino?
This is the fourth post in our series: Contextualization and the Gospel.
The Destino Movement was birthed out of the ministry of Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ). We have been blessed tremendously by our relationship with Cru over the years. Sometimes, though, there can be confusion whenever both a Cru and a Destino movement exist on the same campus. A natural question many people ask is, “Why do we need both Cru and Destino?”
The standard response is strategic: students need a culturally relevant place to hear the gospel. While this is true, I believe the full answer goes much deeper. To answer this effectively, let’s first start with what we’ve already covered in our contextualization series: Everyone has a culture and it affects everything we do. Therefore, all ministry is contextualized, either by default or by design. In Destino, we’ve chosen to contextualize by design, but what does that have to do with our relationship to Cru?
Destino is for Everyone
A common misconception about ministries that have been contextualized by design is that they are only limited to one particular audience. For Destino this couldn’t be further from the truth. We are a movement that is for everyone. We believe that God wants to use Destino to bless the entire campus, our community, and ultimately the world. As Destino staff member Mark Vera is fond of saying, “Destino is not a ministry to the Latino community, but a ministry through the Latino community to the world.”
So how can Destino be a contextualized movement through Latino values but also be for everyone?
In Destino we want to begin to move the conversation about contextualization away from primarily being centered on the ethnicity of the members who are involved and instead toward a discussion about the values around which the movement is formed. This is a significant shift because it deepens the dialog about contextualization.
Iceberg Model of Culture
A culture consists of two parts: that which is observable (customs, dress, food) and that which is hidden (values, worldview). In this way culture is similar to an iceberg. A portion of an iceberg is visible on the surface of the water. Just like with an iceberg though, the portion of a culture that is visible to is much smaller than what is below the surface (90% of an iceberg’s mass is below the water line).
Our conversation about contextualization must move below the water line. Styles of music, types of food, even the dominant language of a ministry are a part of the culture. They are the easiest parts to see and define. They are also the easiest to begin to contextualize to.
To truly intentionally contextualize, a ministry needs to begin to explore below the surface to see the attitudes and values that drive a particular culture. If the ministry only adapts to what is visible about a culture but keeps the values and attitudes the same, then they aren’t truly contextualizing to that audience. Would changing the visible part of an iceberg really be affecting the entire iceberg?
Viewing contextualization simplistically would mean only looking at the ethnicity of the members who are involved (i.e. what is visible). It is no longer adequate to only ask, “Are lots of ethnicities represented? Then we are a multi-ethnic movement.” We must begin to ask the question, “What are the values of this ministry? How are they being culturally expressed?”
It is only when this conversation is being held at the values level can we really be speaking of the whole iceberg. At that point it becomes much easier to describe why both Destino and Cru should exist on the same campus.
Destino and Cru
As we said before, on many campuses around the country there will be both a Cru movement and a Destino movement present. Many times this can cause confusion for both Cru and Destino staff and students as they seek to describe the two movements. We’ve come up with a way to describe each of the movements that many have found helpful:
Cru is for everyone. Destino is for everyone. Cru is a movement living out Anglo expressions of Christian values. Destino is a movement living out Hispanic and Latino expressions of Christian values.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the conversation is no longer about the ethnicity of the students involved in each movement. With this description, you could have Hispanic students in Cru and Anglo students involved in Destino (this happens often). We are now talking at a values level, the part of the iceberg below the water.
This description also gives dignity to both movements. Both are seeking to live out Christian values. Both value the Spirit-filled life and spiritual multiplication. But because culture affects everything we do (whether by default or design), both express those Christian values in culturally specific ways.
Rather than being a negative thing, there is profound beauty in how God has designed the Christian faith to be lived out through cultural expressions. Richard Mouw, current president of Fuller Seminary, has written powerfully on the connection between culture and the image of God:
One of the more fascinating proposals which has been made in theological discussions of the biblical notion of “the image of God” is that this image has a “corporate” dimension. That is, there is no one human individual or group who can fully bear or manifest all that is involved in the image of God so that there is a sense in which that image is collectively possessed. The image of God is, as it were, parceled out among the peoples of the earth. By looking at different individuals and groups we get glimpses of different aspects of the full image of God.
– When the Kings Come Marching In
Why do we need both Cru and Destino on campuses in the U.S.? There are aspects to God’s character than can only be displayed to a lost world if both Destino and Cru are present. While Destino and Cru are movements open to everyone, neither fully encompasses all of who God is. This is why on some campuses Destino has already begun to launch Cru movements, and vice versa.
Aspects of the way majority U.S. culture lives out the Christian faith are needed by all believers around the world. As an Anglo myself, I believe my culture has great things to offer. Because of our value for individualism, we have an emphasis on our personal relationship with God. Our value for assertiveness and taking the initiative in life helps us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God who is at work in us.”
The same is true for Latino culture. Destino can express biblical community in a unique way because of the Hispanic value for familia. Leadership in Destino is heavily weighted on group dynamics, something that benefits believers around the world.
So why do we need both Cru and Destino on campuses in the U.S.? God is bigger than any one culture, but He chooses to express His divine image through each. Having both Cru and Destino on a campus ensures that both Anglo and Hispanic expressions of Christian values are represented to a lost and dying world.
In Destino we’re proud to walk beside our brothers and sisters in Cru shining out Christ’s light to the world.
photo courtesy: mahat64