The Life-Changing Ministry that Builds Up Disciples – Who then Build the Church

The Life-Changing Ministry that Builds Up Disciples – Who then Build the Church

Coalition for Christian Outreach’s Mission: “Transforming College Students to Transform the World by Calling Them to Serve Jesus Christ with Their Entire Lives”

August 31, 2020

PITTSBURGHCoalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) is just scratching the surface of how many lives have been transformed through its programs and outreach. The stories range from minor miracles to major full-blown conversions, yet all end with the same happy 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 its website.

For students like Cain, the 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 phrase that sounds good. It is a spiritual turning point in their life, drawing closer towards the light of Christ. The Greek have a great word for this spiritual life transformation—“metanoia”—which means “a change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion.”

Here is Cain’s story:

When Cain began college, there was no shortage of Christian groups on Clemson’s campus, with hundreds of students, athletes, and other groups meeting on campus each week.

“But the thing I sensed was missing — was the Church,” said Cain. “That’s what the CCO brought to my experience as a college student at Clemson, a Christian group that intentionally connected to a local church. A place where I could worship God, serve others, grow in faith in Christ, and invite others to do the same.”

He found this in Christ the Redeemer Church—it felt warm and welcoming, like family.

The first Sunday he was there, they mentioned their new space needed repair and renovation, so he jumped right in to help. Cain helped out a couple times a week doing whatever was needed, from roof repairs to mulching.

“And the more I worked on the church, the more I talked about it. And the more I talked about it, the more my friends started showing up on Sundays,” said Cain. “They’d come, they’d love it, then they’d bring more friends. Until one day, we finished the renovations, and I look around and we’ve had to move to three services, because we’ve nearly tripled in size.”

Cain marvels at the irony as he states, “And I realized: As I was helping to build the church, I was helping to build the Church.”

Although Cain did have the opportunity to “officially” serve as a student-leader, Justin (his CCO campus minister), along with the other student leaders, agreed with Cain that he should be commissioned to spend his time in outreach with other men on campus in his major, inviting them into the church and the CCO Bible study to grow.

Cain has enjoyed offering words of encouragement to fellow college students who are seeking God like he was. “Friends, we need the Church. You need the Church. … if you aren’t engaged in the family of God—the Church is the missing piece in your life. Why? Because it is through the Church that Christ is redeeming all things to Himself. We are His hands and feet.

“Let’s get to work!”

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 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.


To interview a Coalition for Christian Outreach representative, contact, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.