Brigade Round Table FAQ

We’ve felt left out, why didn’t you reach out to us as leaders before making this big decision?

We need to apologize because we recognize communication with our leaders has been lacking.  We should have informed you even earlier about the current state of the ministry, not just about our alliance with TLUSA.  We didn’t reach out and express how urgent the need was and that we needed your help. We are grateful to hear from you.  We do want your input moving forward.  We value your leadership and the experience you bring to the table.  Please extend grace to us as we make this right

Why Trail Life USA?

They are a like minded ministry with a shared vision and similar constituents.  They prove that even in a culture that is antagonistic to single gender ministry that it is possible to grow.  TLUSA and CSB share the same mission and vision of building godly men and boys. 

Over the last few years, our board has been praying specifically for doors of opportunity to change our direction.  Through what both organizations view as the Lord’s providential hand, connections were developed with the two non-denominational organizations with TLUSA and CSB.  We found them to be godly men who also want to expand the Kingdom for Christ the same way we did.  Yes, their culture is different as to be expected, but the core of who we are and who they are aligned!  It seemed like there were a variety of potential ways we could work together.

They have excellent youth protection practices.  This is very important to us, especially when navigating youth ministry in the culture we live in today.  They also have a first-class communication structure, and technology that we just don’t have the ability to develop with the resources we have.

Is this a done deal with TLUSA?

We have put a lot of time and effort over the past few months working towards the integration of our program with TLUSA.  We appreciate their friendship and brotherhood and believe a partnership has the potential of great success.  We have heard the concerns coming from our Brigade leaders and partners.  That is why we are holding this round table event to answer your questions and gain valuable input.  In addition, we are also asking everyone to fill out a survey to give us feedback on CSB and the directions you feel we should take.  We have decided as a board to move forward with a pilot program this year.  This will allow units that are eager for the possibility and willing to pilot to experience TLUSA first hand.  We hope to learn from the pilot program and to provide you with the results, that way we can all make a more informed decision moving forward.  We do want to slow down, your participation and perspective are important to us, and we welcome your ideas.

Can you give us a little history on the 40 years of decline you mentioned?

CSB has been and continues to be a wonderful organization focused on spreading the salvation message of Jesus Christ and discipling boys to be the next generation of faithful Christian men.  With 8100 churches who have registered with us since 1937, we had been the largest weekly boy only program in the scouting category outside of the Boy Scouts.  Our height was in the 1970s when we had close to 4000 churches going across the US at once.  We currently have 154 active units with a majority slipping to 10 boys or less.  As you see this progression, we hope you can understand the urgency we feel to change the direction of CSB so more men and boys are impacted for the Kingdom.  

Over the long years of our history, the CSB board has tried many areas of change to the ministry without overall success to growth of more church units.  These areas of change included:

  • Different partners in girl’s ministry
  • Trying girl’s ministry ourselves
  • Programs like TREKS for churches that weren’t interested in the scouting model
  • Programs for individuals, home-schools, or those not large enough to start a unit like mentoring in a box
  • Partnering with other men’s ministry organizations and conferences
  • Developing materials that could be used for Bible studies or small group settings like our 7 points of valor
  • To develop marketing strategies to reach out to boy scout troops in solid churches that were disappointed with the direction Boy Scouts headed with homosexuality and moral relativism.  

At the same time, we dropped individual achievements for boys in our skill patch program for junior high and high school boys.  This lack of individual achievement shows sharply when CSB has only developed 115 Heralds of Christ over the last 30 years.  We also did not keep up with technology. 

As we shrank, CSB could not support home office staff to maintain marketing, communications, publications, and other roles.  In turn, these were pushed out to regional staff who had a calling to be missionaries in boy’s discipleship and not necessarily called or gifted at being specialists in many areas.  It has been difficult to find and maintain missionary staff with a shrinking pool who know of CSB with these expectations and qualifications. We did not develop a grassroots movement that contributed to the overall organization.

With an estimated 2 million boys coming through CSB’s history, we discarded or lost the records along the way.  CSB was forced to sell buildings that we owned to maintain the organization.  Unfortunately, we didn’t keep most of the old card catalogs.  In downsizing and moving computer systems, we lost some of the data along the way.  In efforts to save money and administrative time, we went to a church registration instead of a per boy registration several decades back.  As a result, we don’t have a deep field to know who to call on for help.