Leadership Movements Students

The Heart of Student-led Movements

Valeree Joy Rillon of Manila, Philippines, constantly radiates joy and inspires others with her passion for life. She serves as a coach with Campus Crusade for Christ. Val explores the heart of student-led movements in this guest post.

Someone asked me to answer the question, “How are you adjusting from staff-led to student-led?” And so I came up with this reflection.

A Confession of A Staff

We don’t just TEACH. We MODEL.

Letting them see how we fall in LOVE with Jesus deeper everyday is the major key than just letting them hear it from us. The vibrancy of our prayer life and our passion to know God more in action are to be evidently lived out. And instead of telling them to read the Bible daily we regularly ask them the question, ‘What is God teaching you this week as you spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word?” This question keeps them properly motivated on what they are doing, why they do things and how they do things.

We are not their BABYSITTERS. We are their CO-LABORERS.

When we treated our disciples like babies, they acted like babies but when we started to treat them as our CO-LABORERS, amazingly they acted even far way better than a staff. We let them plan and execute and on the side, we are there letting them think if their plans are aligned with our movement mission and vision or not.


We present clear challenge to get clear commitment. We always remind students that we are not raising up members but LEADERS. If we keep on just gathering people who love fellowship then don’t expect to see spiritual multiplication.

As soon as they receive Christ, we ask the questions:

1. How important is the Gospel to you?
2. To whom would you share this?

We are not after COMFORT. We are after EFFECTIVENESS.

Sometimes, we are so comfortable staying on our old ways and it’s so hard for us to think outside the box but we need to. Our old ways have been so good but how can we stick to these ways if they are not as effective as before? Our students know best. This is their generation. Let’s give them the freedom along with our DNA.

We work not on what we WANT to do. We work on what we are CALLED to do.

Often times, it is hard for us to really filter who we want to disciple and train. But to be a good steward of the resources God has given us, we should be wise and strategic in taking every step objectively. Realizing that we were specifically called to raise up movement-builders, being intentional of finding and working with the right people pre-determines the quality of a sustainable movement.


We need to TRUST God that He has already prepared “harvesters” even in an untapped campus and it’s just for us to intentionally find where they are and are just waiting to be coached. We need to TRUST even a single committed student to OWN the VISION for his/her campus and rallying it to become a reality in his/her own strategies aligned with the principles of how God distinctively called CCC. Students feel how we view them. Honestly, I was so high-controlling before that my disciples viewed my personal strategies as their principles. They were boxed how I do things that they never even reflected on why they are doing what I was doing. But when I learned (and am still learning) to let go and gave them the freedom to strategize how to reach their campus, OWNERSHIP increased and their LEADERSHIP got more empowered. Yes, we would see them failing at times and that’s where genuine fruitful coaching takes place.


Success in seeing STUDENT-LED MOVEMENTS is simply taking the initiative to challenge students to build spiritual movements in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT and leaving the results to God! To God be all the glory!

God is at work and He alone is able!
Valeree Joy Rillon

Connect with Val on Facebook or valereejoyrillon (at) gmail (dot) com

By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at

6 replies on “The Heart of Student-led Movements”

I wish this post had a superlike button. This is one of the best reminders that I have read that students can and will take charge. I pray that we as staff learn to become experts t helping students reach their own campuses and the world they enter into after graduation.

I also agree with you Brett. This is a good reminder, I am challenged to persist in keeping the process of getting our SLM staff in Nigeria aligned to this paradigm. I know God will bring it to pass.

We must internerlize this and live it out as we collaborate with our students in reaching the world for Christ

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