by Halle Johnson, Student Public Relations Writer
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of a good shepherd, who leaves his herd to go after the one stray sheep. One group of Cedarville University business students is selling a clothing line focused on reaching the one, selling merchandise off-campus, and donating all proceeds to One Bistro café in Xenia.
The Cedarville student business Pursuit, which is an outgrowth of the university’s Integrated Business Core(IBC), is selling shirts, hats, and pins with the unique logo “XCIX --> I.” This is the Roman numeral version of the number 99. It is based on the parable of the wandering sheep from Matthew 18 and Luke 15, in which the good shepherd leaves the herd of 99 to run after the one who is lost.
“We wanted the logo to be ambiguous,” said Parker Johnson, a junior accounting major from Kailua, Hawaii, and the team leader of Pursuit. “By creating a logo that causes people to ask questions, we can fully explain the parable and its meaning. The goal of Pursuit this year is simply to initiate gospel conversations, and we wanted to create a brand that would cause people to ask those questions.”
Similar to the parable of the lost sheep, Johnson and his team are intent on reaching the one — creating conversations that lead to personal relationships.
“We chose that parable specifically to lead into personal testimony,” said Johnson. “When people ask about our logo, we want the conversation to lead naturally into a personal testimony. Every Christian has the ability to say, “I was the one sheep and he pursued me,” and that is powerful and personal.”
All IBCteams are completely nonprofit, and for Johnson and his team, this has opened opportunities to connect their products with a wider audience. Every member of Johnson’s team volunteered at One Bistro Café, 87 East Main Street, Xenia, Ohio, a restaurant that focuses on “paying it forward” — customers can choose the amount they pay to ensure that those who cannot afford a meal can still eat. Those who are not able to pay have the option of working at One Bistro to help pay for a meal. All proceeds from Pursuit merchandise sales will be donated to One Bistro.
“We not only want people to see where the profits from the products are going, but we want to move into the community to have even greater gospel impact,” Johnson explained.
Pursuit’s products not only have a ministry impact, but they also make great gifts heading into the holiday season.
Pursuit’s merchandise can be purchased at its website or through its Instagram ( @ptn.pursuit). In addition, Pursuit pins can be purchased at Beans-n-Cream coffee shop at 65 North Main Street, Cedarville, Ohio.
“We are planning several more pop-up shops both on and off-campus, so keep an eye open for that,” said Johnson. “All updates should be available on our website and through our Instagram to make our products as accessible for purchase as possible.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in accounting, Bachelor of Science in business management, the Bachelor of Arts in marketing, and Bachelor of Science in finance degrees, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.