The History of the Ellerslie Campus
A thousand sentimental memories flood my mind when I think about The Ellerslie Campus. I’m certainly not the world’s foremost expert on the subject of the property at 655 Southwood Lane in Windsor, Colorado, but I may be the world’s most passionate connoisseur of its significance. And, as the president of the organization that currently owns the grounds, I would say I’m the most obvious one to hand the microphone to, and to receive comment from, on the matter of its history.
My personal involvement in the campus dates back to 2004. That was when I first heard about the property. At the time I was actually diligently praying for a piece of real-estate about a mile down the road from the Ellerslie Campus in hopes of building our training college there. It shocked me, that in the same town I lived that there was already a Bible college campus. It was so hidden—nestled cozily into a charming wildlife-decorated open space on the southern edge of the small town of Windsor, Colorado. In visiting the campus for the first time, I was taken with its feeling of set-apartness. Here I was, a minute from two major grocery stores, and yet I was out with the deer, the foxes, and the bald eagles—staring at a shimmering lake at the foot of the majestic rocky mountains. If the campus wasn't already being used for a Bible college, I would have said, “This is a perfect fit for what I’m trying to build!” But, alas, it was being used, and so I turned my attentions back to the property a mile down the road, and kept praying that God would supply the ideal place for our training school to launch. Little did I know how significant a role this lovely piece of ground would one day have in my personal spiritual development, and in the spiritual development of thousands upon thousands of others.
The Ellerslie Campus was originally built in 1998 as a strategic environment for training Christians in Biblical living. The heart behind its construction was big and the grace built into it profound. As the story goes, every beam used in the framing of the administration building had scriptures hand written on it, and every hammer swing wielded was accompanied with a prayer of blessing. The original builders desired that this environment would be used by God to raise up men and women in whom the Spirit of God dwells.
I’m so amazed as I think back to those men and women who labored long hours with their hands and prayed long hours with their souls, investing the blessing of heaven into these sacred grounds. For God has richly honored their sacrificial investment. This place is quite special. And I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people mention that, when they stepped onto this property, they felt the Presence of God. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing. It’s something we cherish here, and do not take for granted.
It all began in the mid-90’s when a businessman in Windsor, Colorado encountered Jesus Christ and his life was wholly transformed. This encounter had taken place while he was visiting a small Bible college in Canada and attending his son’s graduation. This businessman desired to offer a significant thank-you gift back to His newly found Father in Heaven, and so, he donated a lakeside piece of property in Windsor for the express purpose of the construction of a small Bible college. He wanted to see a place built that could supply others with the same redemptive message that changed him.
In 1998, this dream was realized and a small denominational Bible college opened its doors in Windsor on the location of the Ellerslie Campus. However, the dream also faced some grave complications. The Bible college struggled to make it financially. And this struggle would eventually lead to a unique transitional period of time for the campus.
It was in 2007 that the Ellerslie Campus once again entered my life. I had heard that the Bible college was struggling to make ends meet and that they were considering selling. I had the distinct sense that our organization should pursue the property for purchase. Which we did. And we pursued it with gusto. I had a clear sense that God was desiring us to shift our focus from developing the other property a mile down the road, and to turn our attentions toward the pursuit of the Ellerslie Campus as the designated place for our training. And, oh, was I excited! However, to my chagrin, an entrepreneur had also noticed the breathtaking location of the campus. And, in what was to become one of the most serious tests of my faith, this man purchased the campus from the struggling Bible college just before I was able to get the financing together.
Overnight, the campus was transformed from being a Bible college to being a wedding venue. A lot of investment dollars were transferred into the campus to make it one of Northern Colorado’s leading locations for marriage ceremonies and receptions. A wedding business? At the time it was hard to see it. How could such a consecrated location become a mere secular business? Sure, it was an amazing wedding business. But, with so much sacrificial love poured into this property, with the express purpose to see men and women of God trained, how could this be? But, in hindsight, this wedding business proved to be a very precious gift from God for the campus and its future. The artistic excellence of this wedding business added a luster to the campus grounds. The landscaping went from ordinary to exquisite. The interior finishes went from everyday to extraordinary. The Ellerslie Campus was taking on a whole new level of beauty.
In the years between 2007 and 2010, I spiritually laid down the Ellerslie Campus countless times. “It’s yours God!” I would say. “I relinquish any right, any hold, any expectation! I trust you with this vision to train up mighty Christian men and women, even if it’s not on that campus!” Then in February of 2010, I remember receiving a voice mail message. “Eric,” the message said, “get down on your knees quick. I just heard that the campus is going up for sale!”
In early 2010, the owner of the wedding business had suddenly been struck with some unexpected financial challenges due to his other outside investments. And this was forcing him to relinquish the campus.
After seventeen years of praying for the ideally suited property for the training of men and women of the faith, and after some rather fantastical spiritual evidences of supernatural provision, we took over the Ellerslie Campus in the fall of 2009. And on May 31, 2010 we met in the chapel for a formal dinner banquet commemorating the arrival of our first class of students—fifty-five of them.
I’ll never forget walking up onto the stage in the chapel and looking out upon the troupe of hungry students. So many of the people that had labored to see this campus become a training ground for world-changing Christians were there in the crowd. So many of those that had personally sacrificed to see this vision become a reality, were present. The fresh realization of God’s amazing faithfulness washed over me. I stood there on the stage and wept. My first words to inaugurate this next step for the campus, weren’t really words. They were tears. About five minutes of them. Still to this day, it ranks as one of the most meaningful moments of my life. The Ellerslie Campus was once again the home for a Bible college. Ellerslie Discipleship Training had officially begun.
And over the next seven years Ellerslie Discipleship Training thrived. Its model of training and its powerful training content were uniquely suited to both the campus and the needs of the hungry Christian community during that stretch of time. So, from May 31st, 2010 to August 31st, 2017, on this cozy little campus, in Windsor, Colorado, over 1,700 students, coming from all over the world, were personally handed the powerful biblical tools to change the earth in which they live. And hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Christians were built stronger in their faith and in their practical walk due to the material disseminated from these campus grounds via sermons, short films, and books.
To chronicle the amazing battle fronts we faced in those seven years would detract from the focus of this brief history of the campus, but suffice it to say, that the Ellerslie Campus was, in that stretch, much like Gettysburg. It was proven to be a piece of ground pivotal in the war for souls.
On this campus I have wept with travailing agony and I have laughed with sidesplitting hilarity. The memories of so many souls changed fill every square inch of this beautiful property.
Before we took over the campus, in the Fall of 2009 I remember standing outside the chapel, under a gazebo, in the midst of the driving rain. I was staring intently at the chapel building next to my wife, Leslie. We were praying; praying for God to give us the campus. And I remember praying a very specific prayer. “Lord, build the next generation of Hudson Taylor’s and Amy Carmichael’s in that building.”
It’s too early to say that the fulness of an answer to that prayer has been realized, but the beginnings of it certainly have. And, for this, we praise our God.
But, before you think this history is done. There’s more!
June 4, 2017 marked a big day in the history of this storied campus. On this day, the final semester of Ellerslie Discipleship Training officially began with a formal dinner banquet offered in the chapel for the incoming students of the summer semester. After seven years, this powerful program has handed off the baton. However, the new model of training, entitled Bravehearted Personal Discipleship, is arguably even more athletic in its ability to deliver truth and even more effective for our modern day version of students—weaving together an entirely new dimension of online training into its model, and offering a much lower financial hurdle for students to leap over.
As the leader of both of these programs, I can say that, though it is painful to say goodbye to a program that has been so powerfully used by God to change lives, I am thrilled to see the advent of this new and potent delivery-vehicle of truth.
We live in a unique time of history when technological advancements force constant adaptation in the training of human lives—yet without altering or changing the Biblical truth we teach. We desire this campus to be used for the premier training of Biblical living. And to do this, Bravehearted Personal Discipleship has officially taken the reigns of the Ellerslie Campus.
Ellerslie, Scotland (the campus’s namesake), was the birthplace of the famed Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace. And it is the vision of Bravehearted Personal Discipleship to continue in concord with its predecessors, to see the Ellerslie Campus in Windsor, Colorado, be the birthplace of countless thousands of freedom fighters who cover this globe, spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It is my sincere expectation, that these next seven years will prove a hundred times more powerful than the last. For we have invited Jesus Christ to sit in the seat of honor and His Holy Spirit to superintend in all matters of decision and training.
I believe strongly that the Lion of Judah is desiring to shake His mane and growl again in this generation. And that the majesty of our grand and triumphant King will be, once again, seen throughout this earth.
That is our prayer here. The Ellerslie Campus is a place of consecration, of prayer, of hope, and sacred expectation. He has shaken these grounds with the power of His Presence many times to date. May the future of these grounds be marked with the triumph and the grandeur of the Lord Most High.
For the Kingdom and the King’s Glory,
President, Ellerslie Mission Society
A FAMILY OF MINISTRIES
The Ellerslie Campus is the main location for the coalition of Bravehearted Christian Ministries—which desires to mentor and raise up up a new generation of humble, godly, servant-hearted Christians that stand boldly for truth; live holy lives; serve the destitute, weak, and needy; preach with unction; pray with fervor; and willing to lay down their lives to see true Biblical Christianity return to the stage of time. Jesus Christ is our focus and aim, the Word of God our foundation, joy and love is our defining characteristics, and the glory of God our sole purpose. Please visit the following Bravehearted Christian ministries that use the Ellerslie Campus:
Set Apart Girl
Set Apart Motherhood
His Little Feet
STATEMENT OF BELIEF
We take a strong stance on the authoritative, inspired, and infallible Word of God and the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things. Learn more about our statement of faith and answers to key questions about Ellerslie’s beliefs.
ERIC AND LESLIE LUDY
Eric and Leslie Ludy are the founders of Ellerslie Mission Society, Bravehearted Christian and its family of ministries including Set Apart Girl and Set Apart Motherhood. Bestselling authors and speakers who have published nearly two dozen books, Eric and Leslie have shared their message around the country, overseas, and on virtually every conceivable Christian media platform for the last twenty years. As a strong voice in the Church today, the Ludys’ poignant books and powerful messages present a clarion call to a return to triumphant, Bible-centered, Christ-empowered Christianity. Learn more about Eric and Leslie Ludy, their books, ministries, and message.
ARTICLES FOR FURTHER READINGTHE REBIRTH OF HONOR THE RETURN OF THE IRISH ELK BECOMING A WORLD-CHANGER
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