Central Christian College of the Bible, Moberly, Mo., which is working toward opening an extension campus in Cincinnati next spring, has announced plans to maintain “three key ministry support services” that have been a part of the soon-to-close Cincinnati Christian University.
According to its website, CCCB plans to provide ministry education through the Russell School of Ministry, continue development of a national network of churches through the Center for Church Leadership, and provide library services through the George Mark Elliott Library.
The Missouri college is asking for “the [financial] support of Cincinnati constituent friends and church families” to help make all of this possible. CCCB’s website says one of its supporters “has pledged a $300,000 matching gift to double the value of any gift by a CCU supporter towards our Cincinnati work before the end of 2019.”
“All gifts will be used for the ministry needs of our sites there in Cincinnati,” CCCB president David Fincher says in a video at his school’s website.
Donations by check (made out to CCCB or Central Christian College of the Bible) may be mailed to CCCB at P.O. Box 14721, Cincinnati, OH 45250. Online gifts may be made at https://cccb.edu/cincinnati/.
A PARTNERSHIP TO CONTINUE MINISTRY TRAINING
In late October, when CCU’s board of trustees announced their decision to withdraw from accreditation and their intention to close after this semester, they also announced a partnership with CCCB. Under the arrangement, CCCB is offering to continue providing accredited training to CCU ministry students in Cincinnati through establishment of a CCCB extension campus in the spring. The extension site will also be open to new ministry students. (The Cincinnati extension site location has not been announced, but it will not be on CCU’s present campus.)
An important part of the plan to continue providing ministry education involves the Russell School of Ministry (RSM), which is named for CCU alum Bob Russell and his family.
“They [the Russells] have agreed to allow us to continue using that name to describe the work that will be done in Cincinnati training men and women for ministry leadership,” Fincher said in the video. “The Russell school provides innovative courses and experiences that are able to be utilized in a . . . church to give the student the best possible preparation through both courses that they take and experiences that are conducted while they are there.”
“We are currently in consultation with the Ohio Department of Higher Education to determine if the Russell School of Ministry qualifies for the Bible college exemption in Ohio,” Fincher said. “That outcome will determine how we can integrate the Russell experience into our approved status in the state of Missouri and nationally with ABHE as a degree-granting college.”
THE CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP
The Center for Church Leadership (CCL) was launched in November 2016 to address the high rate of ministerial attrition within the Christian churches and churches of Christ. CCL provides strategic resources and works to empower church leaders to thrive in ministry.
Since its inception, CCL—a national network of churches—has received primary funding from The Lilly Endowment and The Solomon Foundation. With the closure of CCU and the end of Lilly’s support, CCCB’s website said, “we have agreed to accept responsibility and oversight for the CCL.”
“The CCL has been outstanding in its different opportunities that it provides for leaders and their churches to grow healthy ministries that contribute to increased ministerial longevity,” Fincher said, adding that CCL “eventually will become part of a separate 501(c)3 [organization] that we are creating in Ohio called the CCU Foundation. The CCU Foundation will be the legal location for these ministries in the Cincinnati location, but they will also be underneath our board of trustees’ leadership and underneath our financial management.”
Tim Wallingford will remain as director, according to CCCB’s website, and “we plan to grow the reach of CCL to include churches that already support Central, as well as other churches in our region and across the country.”
THE GEORGE MARK ELLIOTT LIBRARY
The George Mark Elliott library “provides access to world-class collections of print and digital resources, contemporary and ancient artifacts, and special items from the Independent Christian Church/Church of Christ heritage,” CCCB writes. “The treasures . . . have been painstakingly collected and curated for the benefit of the entire Restoration Movement.”
Fincher noted that the library has more than “150,000 items in it that are especially important for theological and religious education.”
“We are working with the university and the library staff to make a plan for the next incarnation and location of the George Mark Elliott Library,” Fincher said.
In closing, Fincher said, “We would love to communicate more, [but] there are certain things we can’t communicate until we have a little more clarity.”
“We appreciate your prayers, your patience, and your support as we make this a reality.”