Cultivate exists to help university students become kingdom workers.
As defined by Jesus in Luke 10, a kingdom worker is a person of Christlike character - obedient to God, ready for any challenge, action-minded, and results-oriented - whose desire is to see God’s Kingdom grow. University students who enter into Cultivate’s servant leader development process are asked to attend regular classes, meet one-on-one with a spiritual mentor on a weekly basis, actively attend a local church, and serve within an existing outreach ministry on their campus such as Intervarsity, CRU, YoungLife, FCA, or others. Throughout a two year process, the student is shaped to become a spiritual leader within the body of Christ who can effectively share their faith, articulate their Christian beliefs, and lead others in a church or ministry context.
Developing new kingdom workers is central to growing God’s Kingdom. Jesus is clear: the opportunity to grow His Kingdom is great, but the workers are few. Cultivate is helping to bring new workers into the work of growing God’s Kingdom.
Through the leadership, coaching, and financial investment of Become, a leadership team of five committed disciple-makers was formed and has stayed together since Cultivate’s founding in 2015, bringing stability, consistency, and continual growth to the initiative. In addition to forming the leadership team, Become helped to develop Cultivate’s overall strategy while locating university students who had interest in becoming kingdom workers.
Since 2015, over 60 students at Oakland University, Oakland Community College, and Wayne State University have been touched through the Cultivate servant leadership development process. Of those 60-plus students, 32 have committed to at least a two year process, serving within existing campus ministries and becoming volunteers and leaders. Of those 32, 15 have completed their degree, and 10 of the 15 are actively involved in spiritual leadership roles in local churches with one pursuing full time ministry, and 13 of the 15 are church members. The other 17 are presently still students within the Cultivate servant leadership development process, making it the largest Cultivate servant leadership class in history. Of those 17, 2 are Cultivate Apprentices, learning how to disciple and teach younger students in the Cultivate method. 9 are presently serving regularly within YoungLife at Oakland, including all executive board roles like president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. 3 serve with International Oasis. 1 is the youth ministry intern at King of Kings Lutheran in Lake Orion, MI, and another 1 serves with that person. 1 is in an intern at Kensington Church in their young adult ministry.
Through the work of Cultivate, different campus ministries have experienced growth, most notably YoungLife at Oakland. In fall of 2016, YoungLife at Oakland was a group of 8-15 students who gathered weekly for bible study. The group had originally been formed by a YoungLife staff member looking to recruit college age leaders to work with high school and middle school students, but it never caught on. Ryley Brandt, the president of YoungLife at the time, committed to become a part of the Cultivate servant leadership development process. Cultivate’s investment in Ryley and YoungLife helped weekly gatherings to grow from 8-15 to 35-50, with retreats growing from 7 students in fall of 2016 to 60 student and 15 volunteers in spring of 2018.
In 2018, leadership team member David-Chad Svenson was promoted to be the Executive Director of Cultivate.