Life-Changing Ministry Impacts College Students’ Lives with the Saving Power of the Gospel

Coalition for Christian Outreach ResearchFinds that Only 2% of College and University Campuses Are Reaching Students with the Gospel

September 16, 2020

PITTSBURGHFor students like Stephen, whose life took a remarkable turn following his arrest for selling drugs, the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO)’s mission of “Transforming College Students to Transform the World by Calling Them to Serve Jesus Christ with Their Entire Lives,” is more than just a catch phrase. It is a complete transformation of their life—a metanoia—a total 180-degree turn from darkness towards the light of Christ—with amazing results.

CCO knows lives are transformed through the love of Jesus Christ, which participants experience in its programs and outreach; their stories range from miraculous to radical conversions, and they all end with the same lifechanging result:

“Students from our ministries have gone on to become leaders in their professions and in their churches. They are raising children, volunteering their time in the community, and continuing to give,” says Tyler Marwood, Marketing Coordinator at Coalition for Christian Outreach. “Stephen’s story (below), tells how a college student is touched by God through his mentor, and it also demonstrates how our mentors rely on God’s assistance in their ministry, too.”

Stephen was lost, landing in jail for selling drugs. He remained there for two weeks before his father paid his bail.

Stephen came to the Bible study that Sunday morning because it was one of three places the terms of his probation allowed him to be. Jason, CCO campus ministry staff at Westside Church and Indian River College in Fort Pierce, Florida, facilitated the Bible study for college students and young adults. 

Something in Jason’s gut told him God wanted him to pursue Stephen, even as he wondered, “God, are you sure?” 

So Jason invited Stephen to get together, but Stephen didn’t respond initially to Jason’s attempts at friendship – but then Stephen totaled his car, leaving him with no transportation.  

“I saw it as an opportunity—even a sign from above—to disciple Stephen,” Jason remembers. So Jason started picking up Stephen every day, and their friendship developed as they discovered common ground…bad choices. Both had fallen hard and were left wondering, “Does anyone care anymore?”

As Jason brought Stephen to Bible studies and service opportunities, they kept talking. And Jason kept praying. Together they read the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son, and Stephen recognized himself in the story. He began to hear the words of God instead of just reading them. As a result, he felt the Holy Spirit’s work inside him and heard God say, “I love you.” This allowed him to come home to his Heavenly Father, not as a stranger, but as a beloved son.

Stephen led the Sunday morning Bible studies, and is now working in Philadelphia and happily married to a woman he met at a CCO summer project called the Ocean City Beach Project. In addition, Stephen and his mentor continue to develop a deeper spiritual connection with the Father who ran to them with open arms, and enjoy sharing the freedom they’ve found with others.

College can be a time of upheaval for many students, who, cut adrift from their familiar moorings – their family and home church, if they even had one – struggle to find their own way. The Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) becomes a helpful resource, ministering to college students at this important time in their lives, and providing a sense of belonging, direction, and purpose.

CCO has found that the college and university campus is the most strategic mission field 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. This gives students a vision for serving Jesus Christ in their studies, jobs, communities, and families.


For more information about Coalition for Christian Outreach, contact, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.