Top Sending Campuses – Cal Poly SLO

February 27, 2015 — 1 Comment

sloThis is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.

See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each). 

Quick facts on Cal Poly SLO Cru:

  • Avg # on staff team –  12 (1/2 to 2/3 interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 700-800; first cru over 1,000
  • Students at school – 20,000; Freshmen – almost 5,000
  • Students in Community Groups – 950
  • Partnership – East Asia (for the last 12 years), just switched from El Salvador to Oasis (Middle Eastern)
  • We Just launched 2 new campuses this week (both community colleges)!
    • Cuesta Community College
    • We just doubled the number of campuses we are on!
  • We’re also on one high school campus (launched Cru High School)
  • SLO is a town of 43,000
  • 190 on fall retreat (112 previous year)

I talked to Jamey Pappas who has led the team at SLO for many years. His response on most of these – “I’m not a numbers guy – so I’m guessing a little!” 

Average Sending Stats:

  • 12 STINT
  • 8ish interns/yr (some years more or less)
  • some years as many as 8 staff/year (this year 5-6)
  • Avg used to be 60-75 on Summer Missions (mostly stateside).
  • Now sending
    • International – 20-25
    • Stateside – 5-10 

What contributed to that decline in Summer Missions?

  • It’s the biggest sending problem we have
    • We’re not sending stateside
    • So we’re not getting students coming back trained in knowing how to share their faith and doing it on campus
    • It will probably take us 5 years to get back
  • One factor is we’ve ramped up international sending in having 2 partnerships
    • Our international sending numbers have gone way up
    • We kind of stopped talking about stateside missions and students stop going and you lose the student recruiting voice telling their friends to go
    • In a large movement, you need a critical mass of people talking about it to get it to happen
    • Now, we’re trying to build back but it’s all staff voices, it’s not grassroots now
  • Sometime you go to a Winter Conference and it’s all focused on international partnerships and you lose the stateside focus
  • Why is there benefit in sending stateside first?
    • I’m still convinced there’s no better summer experience to prepare you for Win/Build/Send back on campus – it’s the most easily translatable back to campus
    • Students do come back from international trained in evangelism. But it doesn’t always translate as well back to campus.
    • We had 20 go internationally, maybe a little more than half of them come back and do what they did there and do it back on campus
    • When we were sending dozens on stateside, the vast majority would come back on mission on campus
    • It just seemed more accessible for more people, more palatable – not as scary, cheaper. Students were more willing to go stateside
    • I think that’s changed a little bit

How did you become a sending campus?

  • It’s the culture we’ve created here where missions is just who we are at SLO Cru
  • It’s what our movement is about – we’re about mission
  • Showing that is what God is about – creating theological roots
    • There’s an inner motivation from teaching and exposure
    • “Oh yeah, this is what the Bible is about and what God is about”
  • Giving students lots of opportunities to experience that
    • Vision trips (11 days – East Asia over winter break)
    • Spring Break (El Salvador)
    • Summer Missions
  • They lead into each other – baby step of vision trip leads to SM which leads to STINT
  • So it’s built in conviction through the Word paired with opportunities to go
  • Having opportunities for experience has really helped our sending
  • Opportunities to lead as a student:
    • We’re very much student-led heavy
    • We give away student leadership
    • Students get to experience what staff is like as a student maybe more so than other places
      • They get to experience strategic planning
  • Our staff team is a fun and healthy environment
    • Our staff really enjoy their job
  • We’ve done recruiting dinners for STINT and Internship dinners
    • Juniors and seniors by invitation come to a nice dress up dinner (50-60 students)
    • We want to work with you
    • Thank you for serving in this movement
    • We want to bless you with this meal
    • Let me tell you why I love my job and why I want you to join us
    • Had a donor with a big house host it
    • Took a break from it this year because it kind of lost it’s appeal
  • Do students ever feel over recruited?
    • Absolutely
    • We’ve been trying to figure out ways to not let that happen
    • I’m trying to do things to spotlight what we’re doing internationally without recruiting them to join us on STINT
      • This is part of our family overseas (day in the life of a STINTer video; skyping with STINTer)
      • Creating a conviction and vision over the year without an appeal being attached to it
      • They’re being influenced, the idea is being planted 

What advice do you have for a campus that wants to grow from not much sending to being a sending campus?

  • We are cultural architects – creating a culture that loves and embraces the mission of sharing Jesus with people. And here’s an opportunity to do that full time.
  • Be a visionary for what we are doing
  • And then ask to do it full time
  • Hopefully the response is, “yeah, why would I not want to be a part of that?”

What motivates students to intern?

  • Part of our planning times in the winter, we asked our interns/stint – “What made you join us?”
    • Theme – Somebody asked me to do it and convinced me I could do it
  • This year’s strategy is more one on one and less big group.
  • We divvied up students we wanted to join us, and challenged them one on one
  • As an MTL (Team Leader), you have a lot of persuasion.
  • When the boss says, hey I’d love for you to be on my team, it means a lot
  • When we asked our students why they interned, they were like, “because Jamey talked to me”, “because Jamey asked me.”
  • It was kind of embarrassing. Cuz I’m not that good at recruiting
  • But there’s something very honoring about being asked by the guy in charge


What has helped raise up long term staff?

  • I initially wondered if STINT would help us recruit long term – but it hasn’t panned out as well as internships
  • The vast majority of our staff interned first
  • It’s a win/win – we get them for a couple years and then we get to send them out and resource the region (sending them to be staff on other campuses)

What are your big takeaways from Cal Poly SLO? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?


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