Oral Roberts University
Link to ORU
Among Oral Roberts' many successes, the story of Oral Roberts University must be at the top of the list. Oral's revival ministry had been blooming for a decade, however, it was slowly but surely losing its appeal to the people. He had reached millions of people, and he needed a new vision to be able to reach more.
While having dinner with Pat Robertson in the summer of 1960, Oral experienced yet another calling from God. On his dinner napkin, he wrote, "Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, Where My voice is small and My healing power is now known. To go even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours and in this I am well pleased" (Harrell, 207).
Oral did not know what to make of this calling. Not much time passed, though for Oral to decipher what this message meant. He knew that God wanted him to establish an institution for foreign ministers and to educate them in the Great Commission. ORU would, in the words of Oral himself, "perpetuate my ministry and multiply it thousands of times, a ministry that otherwise would die" (Harrell, 207).
Oral's new calling made him ecstatic. Upon briefing his now extensive staff on his new plans, he received a much more somber reaction. If fact, at first, his staff wrote this idea off as a joke, or some whim that Oral had dreamed up. He received criticism from his family and press as well. "...everybody laughed at that and everybody said to him, 'you can't do it'" (Harrell, 208). Little did they know however, that ORU was a very real and very important new aspect to the Roberts ministry.
The initial plans of Oral were to construct and establish a '"boot camp' for training foreign evangelists" (Harrell, 208). Oral began working on fundraising almost immediately. Within a year, he had finalized the plans and raised enough funds to buy the land for the institution. A 160-acre farm was bought at $1,850 an acre, and the association did not hesitate to buy an additional 20 acres to assist in building the new school (Harrell, 209).
Construction on the University of Evangelism was started in the winter of 1962 and from this point, the Roberts ministry took on a life-long dedication to reaching people with the word of God. Eventually, Oral would dedicate his ministry to expanding the school, and never blinked at any cost. Also, he wanted his students to receive an education free from room and board and at invitation only. Eventually, ORU vision would rise to a cost of nearly 50,000,000 dollars and be scheduled to open by 1965 (Harrell, 211).
The new Oral Roberts University accomplished two major things for the Roberts ministry. One, it paved the way to extend Oral's original ministry to all over the world and to all types of people. Secondly, it gave rise to the criticism that would plague Oral for the rest of his life's mission. Criticism rose from nearly every area of his ministry, beginning with his "healing services," which saw success and failure, and continued throughout the formation and establishment of Oral Roberts University.
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This page was created by Will Runyon and you can e-mail me by clicking on my name. This page was last updated on April 18, 2001.