Central Christian College of the Bible and St. Louis Christian College are investigating “the possible benefits of a merger or similar formal arrangement between the two institutions,” according to announcements at the Missouri colleges’ websites.
The boards of trustees authorized the discussions to “provide traditional and innovative options for ministry education in the St. Louis area,” the joint announcement said. Dr. David Fincher, president of CCCB, is leading design of a formal plan.
Trustees of both schools may consider a plan for approval at their October 2021 meetings—that is the stated hope, at least. “Any agreed plan will then be implemented during the following months with the support of The Solomon Foundation and other regional partners,” the announcement said.
“Current SLCC students will have a path to complete their educational programs, either on Central’s campus in Moberly or at a location in the St. Louis area,” the announcement continued. “It will also provide affordable options for future students in the greater St. Louis area to be served in new and exciting ways.”
CCCB is located in Moberly, Mo., about 125 miles west of Florissant, Mo., the home of SLCC. Florissant is 15 miles northwest of St. Louis.
For an article last October, SLCC president Terry Stine said his school had declined from 74 to 66 full-time equivalent students in a one-year span, from the start of the 2019-20 school year until last fall. Ten freshmen students in fall 2020 “canceled directly related to COVID-19.” At that time, Stine said that “fortunately, general income from congregations and individuals has remained solid, but being a tuition-driven college, the lack of students puts us in a fragile situation financially.”
It’s still unclear what will happen in St. Louis, but over the past two years, Central Christian College of the Bible has been integral in an effort to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people of the Greater Cincinnati area in the wake of the announced closing of Cincinnati Christian University. That closing occurred in late 2019.
Those efforts led to the 2020 opening of the Christian Church Leadership Center in Northern Kentucky (only a few miles from downtown Cincinnati), and the continued operation of three of CCU’s legacy ministries: the Russell School of Ministry, the Center for Church Leadership (since renamed the Christian Church Leadership Network), and the George Mark Elliott Library.
As talks between CCCB and SLCC continue, both schools said they will continue to update their websites with information.