Transformed College Students Set Out To Transform the World through Gospel, Church, and Vision
June 29, 2021
PITTSBURGH – Despite the challenges that the pandemic-plagued world brought in 2020, the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO, www.ccojubilee.org) celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a strong-spirited return and a legacy of past college students transforming the world.
In 1971, CCO started with just four staff members reaching out to students at five campuses within a 200-mile radius of Pittsburgh. Now, in 2021, more than 300 staff members and associates are reaching students on nearly 140 campuses across the United States.
Through CCO’s Ocean City Beach Project, Rebecca Stevenson, a 1991 graduate of Grove City College, came to understand how to take Jesus Christ seriously – something she needed to do intentionally and deliberately on her own and not in her comfort-zone, such as her home setting or with family.
“It is sad but true to say that I found no teaching in my home church—which I loved—that demonstrated to me that following Christ meant a radical shift in the way we look at our culture and our place in it,” said Stevenson in a faith testimony. “The Beach Project helped me understand in new and life-changing ways what it meant to pursue justice, to live first as a citizen of God’s kingdom, to study scripture in meaningful ways, to think about my obedience to God in caring for His world and in loving others.”
“Rebecca’s experience shows the legacy of this coalition approach,” says Dan Dupee, former Chairman of the Board for CCO. “College students trained by a CCO ministry are equipped to be life-long church members and leaders. They learn what it means to be a part of the larger body of Christ.”
CCO knows the long-term positive effect of reaching college students where they are – and not relying on their home parish or home life to encourage this self-development – ultimately preparing them for accountability as they set out to make a difference in the world.
For 50 years,CCO staff have reached out to college students by entering into their world. CCO staff are on the college campus every day, meeting students where they are—at athletic practices, in cafeterias, student centers, coffee shops, residence halls, and sometimes even classrooms.
But this is only part of the story. CCO alsopartners with local churches, so college students who connect to CCO ministries find themselves integrated into the life of their local church, where they worship in a multi-generational congregation, participate in Sunday school classes, and get to know church members over meals.
The college and university campus are the most strategic mission fields in the world, with only 2% of students being reached with the Gospel. CCO partners with local church congregations to help students feel a sense of belonging. A community is formed between the CCO staff and students, who are invited into the lives of local congregations. Through this community of fellowship, CCO is able to minister to the students in a life-changing way.
To interview Dan Dupee or for more information about the Coalition for Christian Outreach, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.