Cru in France is faced with an enormous challenge. In our newsletter of May 2021 we mentioned the new law which is tightening the screws on religious organizations. By this summer we need to resubmit our request to maintain religious status. Here's where that's complicated - what really constitutes a religious activity? Doing a questionnaire with students about their beliefs? Engaging with the homeless and offering them food? Answering spiritual questions over email? Hosting pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago? This is a multi-layered question, as there are so many ways we can accompany people on their spiritual journey and point them to Jesus. Our answer to this question would be different than the French government, who very narrowly defines religious activity as: prayer, worship, communion, … basically what happens during a church service. Many of the things we do don't fit their paradigm. Therefore any activities which wouldn't be considered religious need to be disassociated from our organization toward other entities. We are faced with the huge task of reviewing all of our activities, web sites and communications to insure that everything lines up in an acceptable way. Our two big prayer requests are: for wisdom in preparing the request, and that the powers that be would look favorably on our association. This is a major effort and pivot point in the way we operate, thankfully God remains in control!
As important as technology is in today's ministry, there are surprisingly few colleagues in the digital boat with us. In January we had "digital days" in Rennes, with a couple staff members from Lyon and Toulouse visiting to build synergy. Dan and his teammate Alexis had a video shoot for a new training video we are producing. It offers staff or any Christian helpful advice to effectively use social media to reach out with the gospel. Another subject we covered was the many modifications to our websites because of the changes to French laws. May's technology team will have their hands full once the full list of edits is compiled. Finally, we discussed the organization of helpdesk sessions at the French staff conference which will take place just a week from now. We do our best to encourage our coworkers to use technology effectively. A highlight of the digital days was a fun team building excursion doing a team based virtual reality adventure together. It was quite an experience! As many stories go, in order to save the world, we traveled through time, shot arrows at dinosaurs, played catch in light gravity on the moon, and solved ancient Egyptian puzzles, all in virtual reality.