Posted by: Justin Wallace | July 1, 2010

Here’s what she has to say…Gretchen Magruder

I wanted to give the ladies in our profession a chance to voice their experience. So, I asked our (Impact Charlotte)new full-time female staff member (Kristen Craig) to jot down a few questions that she would ask a veteran female campus minister. This is Kristen’s first year as a full-time female staff member and the following posts is full of thoughts and advice from the ladies who have been reaching out to the University campus for years. Today we’ll hear from Gretchen Magruder, Campus Minister at Christian Student Fellowship at the University of Illinois Springfield.

# of Female Staff in your Campus Ministry

Two. I’m incredibly fortunate to have another full-time female staff member working with me.  Lindsey Lasley started as an intern 3 years ago, then she and her husband, David, joined us as full-time staff members a year later.

Brief Job Description

Since my husband, Todd, and I were the only staff members for the first 13 years, I’ve worn a lot of different hats – administrative tasks and donor relations, giving rides, teaching, discipling, cooking large quantities of food, counseling, small groups, leadership training, and I’m sure there’s more.

Now that we’ve gotten used to having additional staff, I’ve settled into a few favorite roles of discipling some of thewomen, communicating, and taking care of administrative tasks.

Why I do what I do

I attended Eastern Illinois University to compete on a mediocre Speech Team, but God used the Christian Campus Fellowship there to bring me back to a relationship with Him and transform my life! Todd and I do campus ministry because we know first-hand what a difference it can make in a college student’s life.

Who do you disciple? What do you “do” in discipleship? Why?

We have decided that our leaders will be the first priority of students to disciple. Every year, Lindsey and I divide up the female leaders in our ministry and meet weekly with each of them.   The next priority for me is the Freshmen/Sophomore women.  I try to keep my eyes open for those Freshman girls who jump in right off the bat – the ones who show up to every event, invite their friends to everything we do, and the ones whom God seems to be working in.  Leading the Freshman Small Group has been one of my favorite things to do for that very reason.  While the rest of our small groups all student-led, we have a staff member co-lead the Freshman group for at least the first semester because we know how important those relationships are. My third priority over the years has been to watch for the older women in our ministry who are not leaders.    For many years, I held an invitation-only Beth Moore Bible study at my home for the upperclassmen women who aren’t in our leadership track, or who I knew needed something more.    This was a great way meet the spiritual needs of women who we don’t have time to disciple one-on-one.

When I was a student at EIU, discipleship meant an in-depth class led by our campus minister (my hero, Roger Songer) teaching the fundamental lessons of salvation, baptism, inerrancy of scripture, spiritual gifts, character, and lots more.   The “know what/why you believe” focus gave me confidence not only in my own faith, but also in being able to share that faith with other people.

Most of my one on one discipling I do with women now tends to be very personalized. With younger students, I may be the one to determine the direction we go, while my older women are sometimes better at understanding their own spiritual needs.  Some of the things we might focus on are character studies, praying scripture together, studying a book of the bible together,  memorizing scripture, or reading something by a Christian author together.   Regardless of what we do together, my goal is to make scripture our authority and set an example of finding the answers in scripture, connecting lessons to those found in scripture, and being obedient to scripture.

How do you make sure that in a 2-3 year period (many of our students transfer in, so we don’t have them a full 4 years) we teach all of the fundamentals of faith between small groups, discipling relationships, and large group teaching? We’ve been wondering how we can do a better job with this, and are changing our discipleship model for the next school year.   Cru’s Compass curriculum is sort of a springboard we’re using to create a more standardized plan of discipleship, but also allow for quite a bit of flexibility and personalization.   We hope this will also give our students good training and materials to disciple their peers. Talk to me a year from now, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

How do you describe a successful ministry/ a successful year of ministry?

I know it’s been a successful year when it sticks.

When you hear those ministry principles you’ve been harping on with your leaders actually come out of their own mouths as they’re talking to others…when students initiate discipling relationships with their peers and with their small group members….when your leaders care more about getting other involved than getting their tasks done….when your ministry is talked about because of the crazy life-change that’s happening, and not just because you’re the biggest “club” on campus.    These are all signs that things have gone well.   But I think the most important thing is when you see that students are falling in love with the Word, and that they don’t need you or your gimmicks or book suggestions or programs to maintain that relationship, but that they can do it on their own.

Starting in ministry…What is one piece of advice you would give to a beginning female staffer?

Forget the title.

I spent a lot of years trying to figure out my place in the ministry.  Campus ministries hiring female staffers is still a relatively new thing, and it looks different on just about every campus.   It may seem like you play second fiddle to the Big Guys on your staff, but the role you play is an essential one – whether it’s as a part-time secretary, a wife who bakes lots of cookies and welcomes students into your home, or the full-time staffer who does a little of everything.  I am a wife and mother first, discipling my children and being a helper to my husband.  While I’m doing that, I’m trying to love college students and help them find their way back to God.  That may not sound very impressive or get me a book deal, but being content with those roles and doing them with excellence is probably one of the best examples I can set for those college women.



  1. […] *Here’s what Gretchen Magruder had to say […]

  2. […] *Here’s what Gretchen Magruder had to say & Here’s what Rachel Charley had to say […]

  3. Hey Gretchen–

    This was so encouraging. Thank you. I really appreciated the last part about forgetting the title. I on the other hand don’t have the title at all but I’m involved as if I did and it was really encouraging to read your advice. : ) You are so wise and I appreciate having you as a role model from afar. : )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: