Joe S. Ellis

We are saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Joe Ellis. The following are remarks from CCU President David Faust.

An outstanding leader, a creative thinker, a stimulating author, an inspiring teacher, and always an encourager of the church, Dr. Ellis served as Dean of the Seminary here at CCU, and in 2010 our Board of Trustees honored him at Commencement with the Distinguished Service Award. His son Scott and daughter-in-law Ann are members of University Christian Church here in Cincinnati, and they were recipients of CCU’s Honored Christian Servant award a few years ago as well. Here are some of the words I shared about Joe at graduation in May 2010:

Joe S. Ellis grew up in Sullivan, Indiana, and became a disciple of Jesus at age 17. He and his wife Bettye were married for 45 years before she went to be with the Lord a few years ago. He ministered with churches in Oklahoma and Indiana and received his Ph.D. from Indiana University before serving as director of the Church Growth department for Standard Publishing and teaching at Hope International University.

Dr. Ellis came to Cincinnati in 1978, where he served as Dean of the Seminary and Professor of Church Growth until 1990, then continued to serve as Distinguished Professor of Practical Ministries and a church consultant. He authored seven books on evangelism and church growth, including his highly acclaimed The Church on Purpose, which informed and challenged a generation of leaders and helped to inspire the current emphasis on the purpose-driven life.

A nationally-known writer and lecturer, an enthusiastic advocate for healthy, growing churches, and always an upbeat and cheerful encourager to his friends, he has been a living testimony of CCU’s vision to produce servant leaders who blend academic excellence with the practical side of ministry.

Sherwood Smith (1923-2013)

A Message from CCU President David Faust

A faithful and fruitful brother in Christ has gone to be with the Lord. Our friend Sherwood Smith died on January 24, 2013.

Brother Smith served as a member of our faculty for many years. He was known for his insightful teaching of the Scriptures and his passionate, unashamed love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Countless alumni remember fondly his classes in Gospels, Petrine Epistles, Johannine Epistles, and other courses of study. In his Gospels classes he challenged his students by inviting them “to the table” in front of the room where he continued R. C. Foster’s tradition of asking questions. Many of us recall how sometimes he was so personally touched by a biblical truth that his eyes would fill with tears as he preached or taught God’s Word.

God has blessed CCU with a long and noble line of godly professors. We are thankful for Sherwood Smith and his legacy of faithful teaching. Only the Lord knows how many lives this dear brother touched over the many years of his association with our school.

We will pass along news about funeral arrangements once the details are available. “‘Blessed are the dead who died in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them’” (Revelation 14:13).

The Passing of a Friend

A Message from President David Faust, October 31, 2012

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the sudden passing of our friend and brother, and Director of Alumni Ministries, Mark Koerner. Mark fell this morning going down his steps at home, hit his head, and experienced severe head trauma. He was trying to call 911, so it’s likely he sensed something was wrong before he fell. He was taken to the hospital and died around 12:30 this afternoon.

In recent months, Mark had taken on additional leadership responsibilities at CCU to help me and our staff. I am deeply grateful for all of his service to our university over the years. Mark will be missed as a husband, father, grandfather, elder at Whitewater Crossing Christian Church, and to so many of us a dear and trusted friend.

At this time funeral arrangements are not known, but after consulting with his family, we have determined we will go forward with the Impact and Reunions Day at CCU on Friday, November 2nd. Mark planned this event, and I am confident he would have wanted us to go forward with a day that would be uplifting and meaningful for everyone at CCU.

If there is anyone whose life has had an impact on the kingdom of God, it is Mark Koerner. Please pray for the family.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

Russell Golf Outing Recap

The first-ever CCU Russell Golf Classic took place on April 23, 2012, at Lake Forest Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky. More than 100 golfers from across the United States participated. The day was filled with excitement not only for golf, but for the higher purposes of honoring Bob and John Russell and their family and perpetuating their example of excellence in ministry for the Lord.

The event grossed a total of $256,437 ($214,937 in cash plus additional commitments of $41,500) for the Russell School of Ministry, which provides scholarships for ministry students at CCU, making it perhaps the single most productive fund-raising event in CCU’s history. Thanks to everyone who planned and participated in the event, and to all of the CCU supporters whose generosity made it such a big success.

Tim Tebow at CCU

On Wednesday April 25, Cincinnati Christian University hosted Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. Mr Tebow is nationally known for being an athlete open about his Christian faith.

Unfortunately, Tim’s flight was delayed and he did not arrive to campus until 40 minutes after scheduled. Still, CCU staff adjusted to a revised schedule and professionally accommodated campus guests. A sold out crowd listened as two Cincinnati Christian University students interviewed Mr Tebow in a general admission event. Afterward, Tebow headlined a fundraising banquet where he was interviewed by CCU President David Faust. Overall, Mr Tebow spoke to approximately 2,000 people while at Cincinnati Christian University.

While reflecting on events from his college and professional career, Mr. Tebow used the opportunity to describe how his faith has influenced his vocation. He encouraged attendees to not limit their influence to words, stating that, “people are affected much more by what we do than by what we say.”
CCU senior Leah Claibourne was excited that Tebow visited. “Its hard to stand up for you faith in this world and he’s able to do that. There’s always going to be haters. People are always going to be criticizing. There’s always going to be complaints and people who don’t agree but its important to stand strong,”

CCU alum Ron Vance, associate minister at the Western Hills Church of Christ, was excited that Tebow visited. “I’m all for it. I think he is an amazing man. Anyone who does anything they believe in, they’re going to find criticism. And that’s exactly what’s happening to him.”

Coverage of the event was featured in the online editions of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated.

Below are a few photographs from the general admission event.

Tornado Relief

Members of our CCU family are responding in a variety of ways to assist those who were affected by the tornadoes that touched down in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana on March 2. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are reaching out individually and through their local churches.

Here are some additional ways we can help:

1. We are still accepting cash gifts from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others to our CCU Benevolence Fund. Checks should be made out to “CCU.” Every dollar designated for “Tornado Relief” will be distributed to a church in one of the communities affected by the tornadoes. If you have questions, contact Jeanette Pressley at

2. We encourage the entire CCU family to pray for:
· the families who have lost loved ones,
· the residents who have suffered the loss of their property,
· the volunteers, community leaders and public servants who are assisting with the cleanup,
· the churches who are ministering to the suffering.

We held a special prayer time on campus after our students returned from spring break.

3. This week, President Faust will personally deliver checks from the CCU Benevolence Fund to some of the churches in the affected areas.

4. We have been in contact with International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES), a Christian organization that has volunteers on the ground in a number of communities damaged by the tornadoes. You can contact IDES directly at:

International Disaster Emergency Service
PO Box 60
Kempton, IN 46049-0060

(765) 947-5100

During our Community Service Day, CCU students to Holton, Indiana to help with the clean up there. Below are some pictures from the day.


CCU Grad Receives Education Award

The Education Department would like to CONGRATULATE CCU graduate Laura Jones

We are pleased to announce that one of our 2011 CCU Education graduates was just recognized as the recipient of the Ohio Association of Teacher Education Outstanding Student Teacher award for 2012. Laura Jones will be honored at the OATE award dinner held Thursday March 22 at the OATE conference in Columbus. Laura Jones competed against all student teachers nominated in the 51 colleges and universities in Ohio. Our congratulations to Laura on receiving this well deserved award!
Humility at Work

This current generation is tied to technology and, as a result, is conditioned to expect immediate access to all of life’s amenities. It’s almost like effortlessness has become their culture value.

Amanda Rogers, a senior at Cincinnati Christian University, is the antithesis of this stereotype. Her life is defined by a work ethic that made a difficult path seem easy.

Amanda grew up in a family of hardworking individuals. Her parents were often called to work throughout the night, forcing Amanda and her siblings to learn to fend for themselves. Amanda quickly discovered, however, that the two younger children were struggling. Seeing a need, she stepped in as their de facto mother.

Even though Amanda served her siblings wholeheartedly, she was still a teenager—there were times she needed a break. Amanda often visited the family across the road, building a special relationship with Leanna, a farmer’s wife and mother of three children. During the height of their relationship, Leanna was diagnosed with cancer and died suddenly. The children’s father had no idea how he would raise them alone, so he turned to Amanda for assistance. Again, Amanda went to work. She woke up at five-o’clock every morning to take care of five children (her two siblings and the three kids of the farmer), all under the age of 12.

One of Amanda’s priorities was attending church. But just getting there was a hassle. Without an automobile, Amanda often biked to church. And in order to get the kids there too, she would ask the people at church for rides. Amanda was insistent that she and the children attend worship services because she knew it would enhance their lives.

It was at church when she first heard about CCU and Amanda decided to make it a goal to attend. But after her high school graduation, Amanda’s father requested that she stay at home to continue to assist with the children. In order to honor her family, Amanda selflessly decided to put off college for a year.

When Amanda finally made it to campus, she became renown for her incredible work ethic. At CCU, she has worked for the maintenance department (cleaning President’s Hall), played for the women’s soccer team and currently serves as a resident assistant in the Phyllis Rine dorm. Hard work has always been the modus operandi for Amanda’s life and her service makes our campus a better place.

British philosopher James Allen sums up Amanda’s life well, observing that, “in all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.” Amanda’s life displays the results of a hardworking woman, committed to the message of the gospel and to selflessly helping others.

Written by Nate Kline, 2011 graduate, M.A. student at Cincinnati Bible Seminary.

Step Up To The Streets

Taking a step into the city is a pretty radical idea for someone from a small town. Living rurally means hopping into your car, knowing exactly where it will lead you. But in the city there is a unique form of transportation: the bus. And while it ultimately takes you where you need to go, you never know where it might lead.

Almost eight years ago, Andrew Farie stepped up onto a bus while visiting prospective colleges in Cincinnati. Being from a country town, he wasn’t entirely sure where this bus would lead. But two things he did know: he wanted pizza and the bus downtown would take him there. After stepping out of the bus, Andrew saw a diverse community, something much different than his hometown of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

After satisfying his pizza craving, Andrew stepped back onto a bus to return to campus. But this time he opened his eyes to the dynamics of the bus. After taking his seat, a rough looking man next to Andrew started a conversation with him.

“Hey buddy, I see you have some extra pizza there. Could I have a piece?”

“Um, I guess so.”

“Thanks, my man. And do you have some money to spare? I’ve had it rough these days.”

For the first time, Andrew interacted with a community different than his own and it forever changed his life. But that bus ride was just the first step. His next step was enrolling as a student at Cincinnati Christian University where he learned to love the city passionately. While in school, Andrew became involved with BLOC Ministries, an organization that works with inner city youth. And upon his graduation from CCU in 2009, Andrew took another decisive step: to serve full-time as an employee of BLOC Ministries, living in the inner-city.

It hasn’t been easy as there are always challenges associated with urban ministry (there was a drive-by shooting in front of his house just days after he moved in). While the distance between Mt. Vernon and Cincinnati is great, Andrew has cultivated an unshakeable love for this city and its people. Now, three years after graduation, Andrew keeps in step daily with the struggling residents of his neighborhood.

Andrew took the step onto a bus, which led to him to the steps of CCU and eventually his stepping into the very neighborhood of people on the bus.

“What I believed going in to CCU was different from what I became. Simple steps to change my life by following God’s guidance.”

Where will your steps lead you?

Written by Nate Kline, 2011 graduate, M.A. student at Cincinnati Bible Seminary.

Christopher Yuan at CCU
On February 7, 2012 Cincinnati Christian University is proud to host Christopher Yuan. He is a graduate Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College Graduate School, and is a doctoral student at Bethel Seminary. Christopher is a professor at Moody while continuing his speaking ministry, which has reached four continents around the world. His recent appearance at Yale University sparked controversy. Christopher is featured in the award-winning documentary, “HOPE Positive: Surviving the Sentence of AIDS,” and has co-authored (with his mother) “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God, A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.”
Christopher’s Schedule
10:00–10:50 a.m. Undergraduate Chapel in the W&M Building:
Christopher will share his testimony
11:00–11:50 a.m. Graduate Chapel in Foster Hall:
“Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture?”
4:00– 5:00 p.m. In the Parlor of the W&M Building:
Question & Answer
7:00– 8:00 p.m. In the Chapel of the W&M Building:
“A Christian Witness to the LGBT Community”

For further information contact Dan Burton at