Top Sending Campuses – Miami, Ohio

March 11, 2015 — 1 Comment

miamiThis 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 Cru at Miami:

  • Avg # on staff team –  20 full time (counting interns)
  • Avg Cru meeting size = 250-300 first cru= 500 (low week below 200)
  • Students at school – 16,000
  • Freshmen – 3,000-3,5000
  • How many in Bible Studies = 250-300 avg
  • Partnership – Monte Negro (Serbia area), just finished Fiji and are looking for another one
  • 180 on fall retreat (have had up to 350)

Sending Stats last year:

  • 15 STINTers
  • 10 interns
  • 5 staff
  • (That’s a pretty average year for those three)
  • Avg around 40-50 on Summer Missions
    • 1/3 overseas
    • 2/3 stateside  (Virgina Beach, Ocean City, Chicago – our regional projects)

I talked to the two Missional Team Leaders (MTLs) who lead Cru at Miami, Ohio:

  • Jane Armstrong who is in her 36th(!) year on staff with Cru at Miami
  • Ryan Elliott has been at Miami 7-8 years (2 years as MTL)

For those of you outside of Cru, here’s a little background on the Cru movement at Miami of Ohio:

Inside the Cru family is the only place in the world where when you say, “I went to school at Miami” everyone immediately assumes you’re talking about the Miami in Ohio. Cru at Miami is legendary in Cru circles. It’s been huge, one of the largest movements in the nation, for nearly three decades.

They have consistently sent out more full time Cru staff than any other campus.

How did you become a sending campus?

  • Prayer is the main thing
  • Creating an atmosphere of love and grace where people have the freedom to fail and try things and be real about who they are
  • Building relationships from early on
  • Jane: When Roger Hershey (former Director at Miami) and I worked together for years. And we found these elements to be essential for sending AND building a movement:
    • Atmosphere of love and grace
    • The Word, prayer, evangelism, spirit filled life and lordship
    • Scope being the world
      • If that’s not there, it becomes ingrown and people don’t see much of a need
    • Eternal perspective
  • If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a movement
  • And if you don’t have a movement it’s hard to send
  • We’ve never been huge on special events
    • It’s been steady praying, asking students whether they’re praying about staff/internship
    • It’s never been a hard sell or twisting arms
  • A lot of students just lack confidence that they’d be any good at it
    • “We’d love it if you’d join our team! Are you praying about staff/internship?”
    • And a lot of the time, that’s all they need
  • Our emphasis is more on Lordship and eternal perspective and then giving them an opportunity to respond
    • And the Lord just calls some of them
  • We don’t really do sending events much year after year
    • We do Govember and talk about the world in October
  • There’s an atmosphere that we hope to create on our team of growth and health
    • Healthy teams are attractive to people
    • “Wow, I could go and grow in my walk with God”
    • “It’s a gracious place where I can be pushed but always loved”
    • “My performance isn’t what I’m here for”
    • We tell students, if you are to intern, if you’re walking with Christ in intimacy, you’re going to have a successful year of ministry
    • That becomes attractive to people
    • Whether or not they have ministry skills is less important
  • For our international partnership – we really like to emphasize ownership. We’ll very rarely go to a location where we are not owning it as a campus
    • We don’t want to be one of 5 campuses sending to a location
    • We want our students and staff to feel the weight of owning it – if we don’t go, no one will
    • When it comes time to decide on a location, we want the students to be a part of that so that they own it and get behind it
    • Once you’re on the ground, the feeling of ownership, that STINT team is owning the health and direction of that movement there
  • Having a lot of students go for spring breaks really makes a difference (and summer missions)
    • That really helps in raising up STINT’ers – it takes some of the unknown out)
  • We tend to choose a location where we sense that students will really see God using them.
    • If it’s really a tough location, and students walk away thinking “I don’t really know if I accomplished anything”, it’s unlikely they’ll want to go back.
    • We only get one chance for us to help them see God using them
    • Then, after they’ve seen a good summer, they’re willing to go somewhere hard where the soil is more difficult
    • We want to go somewhere where we are seeing fruit happen pretty quickly – for the sake of students
    • We’ve been in locations before where the philosophy is just making friends- learn the culture, win them over over years. Not so much of a boldly share the gospel type of place. And that just hasn’t translated into sending as many laborers to those locations.

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

  • Jane – my greatest need was the spirit filled life and to realize that Christianity is not about me
    • I grew up in the south, and the southerners I know really need to understand the spirit filled life- with Lordship being a huge part of that
    • Also, seeing the need – seeing that not everyone is a Christian and the needs of the world
    • The training for me was huge – I went through the basic follow up and my confidence went through the roof
      • The average southerner is not trained in the basics, they assume they know it because they grow up in the church
      • If you’re not confident of how to explain to someone the basics (forgiveness, assurance), and how to pass that on, you will not lead for God.
      • So we go through the 5 Follow Ups with pretty much every student
      • When we go through the 5 Follow Ups, we present it as – this is not only for your sake, but to train you for a lifetime of ministry
    • Being invited. My staff person, we weren’t even great friends. She just asked me to pray about it. And it made a big impact
    • I wouldn’t have thought that God could use me. I didn’t feel that special or spiritual – I didn’t feel like God could use me. Letting them know that you think God could use you.
  • A lot of it is just getting one person to intern.
    • And you get that one. And they communicate to so many more – “this is normal”
    • It creates this culture of “look, this is something you can do when you graduate”
    • Then you’re up to 5 interns and 5 staff in 4-5 years
  • Identify certain people, it’s not just a blanket ask. “I feel like this could be great for your development, I would love to have you on my team, God will really use you.”
  • I feel like there are a lot of students who have never even thought about ministry for themselves
  • It needs to go from something only special people do to a normal option. This is a normal consideration for every Christian
  • If we’re training people (and helping them know it – “you’re getting more training in just going through basic follow up, then 90% of Christians in the world”), then they will feel confident enough to pour into others
  • Having a really good partnership
    • Have a partnership director (not the Director)
    • Make sure the MTLs embrace the partnership
      • Make sure our staff go to our partnerships
    • It gives students a big picture
    • They get to share their faith
    • 24 students in Fiji saw 100 students trust Christ the first week – how can that not change you?


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