Top Sending Campuses – Oklahoma State

March 6, 2015 — 2 Comments

ok 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 Oklahoma State Cru:

  • Avg # on staff team – 6 staff, 3 interns
  • Avg Cru meeting size – 125
  • Students at school – 21,000; freshmen – 4,500
  • Students in Community Groups = 150-200
  • Partnership – Ethiopia

Sending Stats last year:

  • STINT – 1-2
  • Intern – 5-6
  • Staff – 1-2
  • Avg on SP – 20-25
    • 1/4 overseas
    • ¾ stateside (Ozark Lakes, Santa Cruz)

How did you become a sending campus?

  • I don’t think it’s necessarily a strength of ours. It kind of just happened
  • Here at Oklahoma State in the small town of Stillwater, I’ve been here 13 years and I’ve never had outside staff come here
    • If I want staff, it’s up to us raise them up
    • I can’t wait on the regional team to send me staff
  • We looked at why people come on staff
    • And it’s because of the relationship they have with a staff member
    • So we made sure we had really strong touchpoints in our movement where students are
    • “Come back and give me a year or two and be a part of me helping you develop, I will shepherd you and help you grow, especially as a man”
    • “I want to help you make that next step from being in your early 20’s to being in the real world. I’ll meet with you weekly and help you grow personally and spiritually.”
    • That’s just on the guys side of it
  • Of all the summer projects, the ones coming off Ozark Lakes want to intern with us
    • They get to know other staff in our region, it’s a smaller project where they really connect with staff
    • And part of that is that I was the director at Ozark Lake for so long
  • Part of it is a culture thing:
    • When they see their friends do it, and it makes them think they can do it
    • Support is a big barrier
    • A lot of them want to do 2 years
    • We try to make it a real desirable thing – they’ll be loved well and cared for on our staff team
    • It’s creating a culture that students want to be a part of – they feel valued
    • Once it happens it becomes a norm and they see other students do it and they want to do it
  • In the fall, we come up with a list of students we want to join with us
    • We take them out to dinner
    • The current interns give their pitch
  • We have a relationally close movement that feels like a family
    • Part of the problem – it’s hard to grow a close group
      • It’s hard for a relational based movement to grow bigger
    • We’ll have our leadership meeting once a month at our house, with our kids and their toys and our dogs.
    • And that’s partly who I am – I want to have students in my home
  • What do you do to care for your staff team?
    • I try to be real grace oriented toward them, because it’s a privilege to have them here and not a right
    • Because it is Stillwater
    • Letting my intern go on a road trip to Duke to watch his favorite team play
      • He’ll be a harder worker because I extended that grace
    • How can we make this an incredible working environment that people want to come work for us?
    • Giving our team flexibility in their schedule
    • Building a culture of appreciation

How do you build a close knit family/relational culture?

    • It kind of has to be who you are
    • It’s caring for people other than what they can do for you
    • I probably swing too far on the side of not wanting to burn students out
    • I want them more connected to Jesus than I want them connected to Cru
    • Sunday night I’ll have my Bible study of guys over at my house – 10-25 Senior guys
      • Invite them into my home
      • “Alright everyone, let’s go downstairs and pray with my son (for bedtime)– this is what all you will have to do someday”
      • I’ll do things with students – go on a quail hunt
      • Just inviting them into my personal life
      • Encourage staff to get out of coffee shops and do stuff with students
      • Call students and ask them how they’re doing (not what they’re doing for us)
      • Just loving students for who they are
      • I’m taking students over to a missions conference in Tulsa and hang out and eat together and make memories
      • It’s some of the random things I do with guys (going deer hunting, going fishing with me and my dad) – that really impacts them
      • Just sharing real life with them

What motivates students to intern?

  • They’re usually kind of shocked that you asked them to intern (“no, not me”) – it’s a chance to speak vision into their lives
  • They like to do discipleship and have been doing it for the last couple of years so it gives them a chance to continue those relationships that they’ve been having

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


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