A Difference Defined

CCU Difference #5: Urban Hub

Volume 6 | Issue 3 | Fall 2010

A Difference Defined

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Acts 4:13

This verse describes the reaction of members of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council) to the bold testimony given by Peter and John in their presence. How could such common, “unschooled” men possess so much courage? The Sanhedrin quickly realized what made the difference: “these men had been with Jesus.” Anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus should manifest a difference that separates him or her from others. And any school that bears the name Christian, as Cincinnati Christian University does, should also demonstrate a discernible difference that separates it from other institutions of higher learning.

Recently some of our students offered their perspectives on the “CCU difference.” These students represent the three schools that are part of CCU: Cincinnati Bible College (CBC), Cincinnati Bible Seminary (CBS), and the College of Adult Learning. Responses from these students may be summarized under the following topics:

Growing Spiritually

One of the characteristics of CCU to which many of the students called attention was a campus atmosphere that fosters spiritual growth and encourages the pursuit of God’s calling in an individual’s life. Heather Susong, a CBC student, commented on the “warm, welcoming atmosphere” at the school. “The difference,” she said, “is that not only the professors but all of the staff want you to succeed.” Emily Beck, who is majoring in psychology and plans to graduate with the class of 2013, wrote, “I can feel my relationship with Christ growing with each day that I spend on campus. Being continually surrounded by peers with the same beliefs that I have has inspired me to put more trust in God, motivated me to become a better Christian, opened my eyes to the world that we are living in, and made me realize that this world needs more strong Christian leaders.” Lisa Dunn, who is a student in the College of Adult Learning and plans to graduate in 2013 with a degree in Leadership and Ministry, voiced similar thoughts: “I appreciate that CCU’s goal is training thousands to impact millions for Christ. The classes I have taken so far prove that CCU is serious about what they represent and their goal. The classes have taken me to another level in my spiritual life, as well as my family life, church life, and work.”

Lisa’s comment brings to mind the vision of CCU: “training thousands to impact millions for Christ.” At CCU education is not just about dispensing information and facts, but creating a climate where spiritual passion is ignited and where students are motivated to make a difference that will last for eternity!

Guidance from Caring People.

The people who work at CCU are a significant part of the CCU difference. Several students commented on the impact made upon their lives by the faculty at CCU. Eddie Schmidt, a student at CBC, took note of one professor’s personal concern: “Out of all the schools I visited and professors I met with, the preaching professor at CCU was the only one who prayed for me, and that meant everything to me. That act ‘closed the deal’ for me to come to CCU.” Ronnie DuPuy, a student in the College of Adult Learning pursuing a degree in Leadership and Ministry, wrote, “I chose to study at CCU because of this school’s academic excellence, its Spirit-filled faculty and staff, and because I felt a divine nudge in the direction of this school.” Anthony Jones, a student in Cincinnati Bible Seminary, also cited the faculty’s quality as something that he would highlight to a person trying to decide which seminary to attend: “The location, quality of professors, class size, and reputation of CBS make it stand above the rest.”

Anthony’s observation calls attention to something else that is part of CCU’s difference: class size. Closely tied to the faculty’s impact on students is the smaller size of the typical classroom at CCU. This makes the close relationship between faculty and students much more attainable. Courtney Thurman, a CBC student in the Early Childhood Education program who plans to graduate with the class of 2012, described the CCU difference in this way: “I decided to attend CCU, but for my freshman year only. I had no idea how life-transforming my first year would be, and I have grown in incredible ways spiritually. CCU has been a great fit for me; I love the small classes and the personal environment, but most of all I love that it is all Christ-centered.” Courtney’s thoughts are echoed by many students who attend CCU on a “trial” basis and end up becoming enthusiastic about the school and its distinctives. Class size is just one factor that makes not only education possible in a Christian setting, but also real discipleship.

Gaining a Clearer Focus

Many students find that CCU helps them gain a clearer view of what their future careers should be. They see the CCU experience as equipping them to be more competent to face the challenges of serving Christ in an increasingly secular atmosphere. Stephanie Ellis, who plans to graduate with the class of 2012, put it this way: “When I decided to attend CCU, my strongest motivator was my desire to grow more deeply in my relationship with God. However, in the course of my studies, I have been able to grow in other ways as well. I have had the opportunity to develop my writing skills. As this passion has grown and developed, the idea of becoming a professional editor and writer has become more of a real possibility.”

Sara Meyer, another CBC student in the Early Childhood Education program with plans to graduate in 2011, told of the impact a visit to the CCU campus made on her: “I toured CCU on a dreary winter day in 2008. Even through my shivering teeth, I knew I had found the place to live out my faith and learn how to educate and minister to young children and their families. I probably could have attended another college and finished my degree sooner, but I believe that God is leading me to gain Biblical knowledge that will better help me to be a light in a dark world.”

All of these students (and others like them) have come to see CCU as the place that ignites the spark of service that the Lord has placed within them. They see the CCU difference as something that is not to be hoarded within the confines of the hill on which the campus is located. While the difference has drawn them to study at CCU, the difference also sends them forth from the school to impact the world where God calls them to serve.

The Difference Continues

As graduates of CCU are sent forth, they not only proclaim the good news of Christ, but they also find numerous opportunities to tell others of the CCU difference that has impacted them so powerfully. Katie Brunner, a CBC student who plans to graduate in 2013 with a major in Biblical studies and a minor in communications, noted, “I was brought to CCU by my brother David who works in the undergraduate admissions department and also by my grandfather Bill who graduated from Cincinnati Bible Seminary in 1949.” This reflects the experience of many of CCU’s students, who learned about the school through the word of a family member, minister, youth minister, or someone else in their church. Perhaps they spent a week during the summer with a camp team from CCU or had the opportunity to see and hear the enthusiasm of the school’s concert choir. For some, like Sara Meyer, a campus visit, even on a cold winter day, was all they needed to convince them that CCU was the place for them to be.

Deshay Linn is a member of the most recent graduating class this past spring. Her grandfather, Ray Linn, is a trustee of CCU and has been a faithful preacher of the gospel for many years. Her father, David Linn, serves Christ as a missionary in Venezuela and is the president of this year’s National Missionary Convention to be held in Lexington, Kentucky, in November. Deshay observes, “I am grateful for this school’s mission to answer the call to serve Christ and to train many to do the same. I hope to give back to His kingdom all that I have received while being here.”

Doug Redford

by Dr. Doug Redford
Professor of Old Testament