Top Sending Campuses – Ohio State

March 13, 2015 — 2 Comments

ohio stateThis 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 Ohio State:

  • Staff – 9 interns, 17 on campus staff (plus 5-6 AIA; 3 Bridges – both of those teams are totally autonomous)
  • Weekly Meeting Average –  500-600 avg
    • First week did 2 Real Life meetings (what they call their weekly meetings)
      • Thursday – over 600
      • Sunday – 550
  • Fall Retreat – 360 (hope to break 400 this year)
  • Students in Community Groups – 708 (264 freshmen)

Sending Stats Last year (which is about average):

  • STINT – 6
  • Intern – 9
  • Staff – 5
  • Summer Missions – Every year we’re trusting God to put 100 students in the pipeline/100 apply. This year we had over 100 apply
    • 50-60 go on Summer Missions
  • Partnership – Slovenia and Venezuela (phasing out into Brazil); starting Chicago
    • We have a partnership coordinator working in conjunction with Chicago Cru
    • We hope to send a STINT team to UI-Chicago
    • Every 4th person that works in downtown chicago went to UIC
    • Bacho leads the Summer Mission in Chicago

I talked to Bacho Bordjadze who has led the team at Ohio State for many years and has been on staff there since 1995.

My first question to him was, “You’ve been on staff at the same campus for 20 years. Why have you stayed so long at Ohio State?”

  • The heritage of Ohio State’s ministry
  • God’s doing a lot of things here and has done a lot over the years
  • The vision of what God is going to do here in the next few decades –
    • My email signature is “on the way to the Schott”
    • The vision is that in the next three decades, that the Schott (Ohio State’s basketball arena that seats 19,000) will be cram packed full of students worshipping Jesus (once a week)
      • The campus will be so transformed that Jesus will be the focus of this campus
    • That there will be an OSU grad impacting every country in the world and people group

How did you become a sending campus?

  • Clarity of Mission (always true here – Jim Sylvester, Carrie Walker, etc) – the ship is going in the right direction, we just try to stay on course
    • Turning lost students into christ centered laborers
    • Doing initiative evangelism
    • There is nothing fancy about our ministry
    • We stay true to what got us here
  • Staff team
    • This is what makes or breaks our movement
    • Jim Collins – if you have the right people on the bus…
    • There’s intentionality of getting those people on the bus and then creating the environment where people love doing ministry together
      • 2x/semester we bring all of our action groups together and just love on them
        • share stories
        • Have cookies and milk
        • Our staff team is having more fun than they are
          • Taking crazy pictures/selfies together
          • dancing
      • How do you create that environment of fun?
        • You sink money into it!
        • For our whole ministry we have a $30,000 total budget
        • We lavish it on staff and student leaders
        • On Monday we have staff meeting (have coffee and treats)
        • On Wednesday we have staff bible study (campus pays for childcare)
        • Friday we have a staff brunch
          • Eat meals together and at different tables with different questions and we talk life
        • We work hard and play hard
        • Give the team 2 days off after fall retreat
          • Next week: Thursday night we’re going to celebrate all that God has done in the first 6 weeks
  • Do not be ashamed or shy to invite students into full time ministry
    • Come help change the world
    • Life Options – this is worthy of your life
    • These are sharp students – of course they have 4-5 great options after college
      • It’s not, if your other options fall through
      • One of the significant pages in God’s history (in 200 years) will be what God is doing at OSU and Arkansas, etc
      • We don’t chase people – we invite them because this is a great thing
    • Even if you say no to this, consider yourself invited because we like you
  • We do Shepherd Team once/month
    • You get to interact with some of the sharpest/most gifted people on the planet
    • Because of what God is doing and who he’s made us, it’s an honor to run with us

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

  • Our movements always reflect our leaders’ passions
  • As a student, I was watching Jim Sylvester bleed [Jim is the godfather of “movement building” – the art of building a movement that is of the size, health, and maturity to reach the entire campus with the gospel. I HIGHLY recommend reading a brief introduction to his ministry philosophy – Building Movements. No other article has had a greater impact on how I do college ministry.]
  • The movement is always going to reflect the strength of the staff team
  • If I’m asking how do I change the movement, I need to ask, what do I need to change?
  • I need to ask – how passionate am I about it? What am I teaching? What am I talking about? Am I living this out? Are we highlighting it?

What are your big takeaways from Ohio State Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?


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