2:8 House History
The first Nazarene ministry at OU was formed in the early 1950s as the Nazarene Preference Society. Ministry continued through Norman First Church of the Nazarene. In the late 1980s, the Rev. Rick Short began to host Bible studies on campus and at his home in Norman. The first Rick Short Day, a district-wide offering was held in 1988,
The Nazarene Student Center for the University of Oklahoma, Inc., was incorporated on July 22, 1992. The Rev. Wes Meisner served as the first president of the board of Directors. Dr. Robert McArthur served as one of the founding members of the board.
The first Nazarene Student Center building, 900 Elm, was purchased in December, 1993. Brint and Emily Montgomery served as the first paid staff, serving as a part-time director in 1994 and 1995. Rob and Debbie Thompson served in the same position from 1995 to 1997. The Kyncl family, David, Rhonda became the directors of the ministry in June, 1997.
Fall semester of 1998 Fat Tuesday lunch began. A free lunch was served to the students every Tuesday. The tradition began with a small group and grew to about 130 students.
The ministry house was purchased in November, 1999. The home was built in 1915 and is located in the Chautauqua Historic District. The historic, two-story home included two apartments upstairs and living quarters for the director’s family.
In the fall of 2004 Stephanie Lawler became the first volunteer to help with the lunches each Tuesday. She continued with this service until 2010.
In 2005 the house was purchased by a foundation of Hobby Lobby, Inc. That foundation leased the house to the ministry before donating to the Church of the Nazarene foundation. In the past several years, students from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Oklahoma and Texas have lived in the apartments.
In August, 2005, the ministry became known on campus as the 2:8 House, based on 1 Thessalonians 2:8, which states: “we loved you so much that we gave you not only God’s Good News, but our own lives, too.”
Summer of 2006, the same foundation decided to donate the house to the Church of the Nazarene Foundation. In the following Fall three new volunteers came to help with the Tuesday lunch. Thanks to Donna Moses, Jerry Johnson, and Faye Simpson. This help allowed the house to transition to using washable dishes to reduce the amount of trash generated by the ministry.
Craig and Anita Shepperd joined the staff in October, 2008.
In October, 2009, the Church of the Nazarene Foundation donated the house to the local ministry.
In 2010 the Fat Tuesday Lunch was discontinued as numbers were reaching 250. The goals of the ministry to make relationships weren’t being met due to the volume of students.
During the spring and summer months of 2010 the Kyncls and Shepperds attended Celebrate Recovery to be able to launch a recovery ministry at the 2:8 House. The 2:8 Recovery ministry was launched in September, 2010. Friendship and small group discipleship serve as the primary focus of the 2:8 House ministry. This focus provided the necessary foundation for relationships as we partnered with students who worked through a variety of hurts, habits and hang-ups through 2:8 Recovery.
Dave Kyncl resigned as Executive Director and concluded his leadership in December 2014.
Andy Bolerjack was hired as the new Executive Director in November 2015.