The Challenge of Academic Hostility Towards Christianity

Coalition for Christian Outreach‘With Parental Guidance, Young Christians Have the Support to Thrive’

November 10, 2020

PITTSBURGHCollege can be a time of upheaval for many students, who, separated from their family and home church – struggle to find their own way.

It is in this space that the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) becomes a valuable resource, ministering to college students at this important time in their lives, and providing a sense of belonging, direction, and purpose:

“Transforming College Students to Transform the World by Calling Them to Serve Jesus Christ with Their Entire Lives,” as their website states.

The Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) reports that Christian parents are very concerned about the hostility toward the Christian faith demonstrated by those in American higher education, and for good reason. Just a short time ago, the entire California State University system stopped recognizing Christian organizations on campus because these organizations insisted that their leaders actually be Christians. (Berry, S. 09/11/2014. California State University ‘Derecognizes’ Campus Christian Organization. Retrieved from

According to Dan Dupee, former Chairman of the Board for CCO, “The surrounding, prevailing culture does not see faith and intellectual pursuit as compatible. Facts exist in one realm and faith in another, never to meet. And so, Christians are often assumed to be folks who can’t handle reality and who are part of something that will die away as scientific discoveries supplant the need for belief in a supreme being.”

The parental concern is valid. If Christian students are steeped in a tradition that is suspicious of intellectual inquiry, and surrounded by a culture that reinforces this belief, parents might not send our kids into a place of intellectual rigor with all that much confidence.

What makes Dupee so confident that students can thrive in college, particularly in light of the challenges young people face these days? Says Dupee, “I rely on the nature of God and the truth of Scripture. God loves and pursues college students, and Scripture affirms repeatedly that God’s affections toward His children are unchanging. I hold fast to Scriptures, such as Philippians 1:6, where Paul encourages the church: ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ This reminds me that God is not done with our children as they transition to college. Neither is He done with parents as they transition to empty nests.”

If thriving is the goal, connection to other Christians, exposure to scriptural teaching and going deeper into the gospel are musts during college. Dupee suggests that parents encourage their children to do the following:

  1. Join a supportive Christian community, no matter what type of campus they end up on.
  2. Help them to understand the importance of church on Sundays.
  3. Teach them the importance of regular fellowship to combat the strains of Bible-challenging professors and the regular stresses of college life.
  4. Remind them that as parents, you are always available as their biggest support system.

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


For more information about Coalition for Christian Outreach, or to interview a spokesperson from the CCO, contact, Nick DiFazio, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.