911 E. Urbandale Drive, Moberly, MO 65270 | 660-263-3900

Issue 10: March 2020

Our Cincinnati Heritage



The legacy of ministry education in Cincinnati and at Central Christian College of the Bible illustrates the power of teaching the Word and serving the Church. We will work together to equip, network, and resource ministry leaders for lifelong success.

In 1956, a small Missouri Bible college closed. Its trustees saw that northern Missouri still needed ministry education. In early 1957, some of them met in Moberly and asked John Hall, a graduate of Cincinnati Bible Seminary, to be the new school’s first president. His tasks were to find a faculty and create a curriculum. He took the train from his preaching ministry in Vandalia, Missouri, to Cincinnati for graduate courses. His summer school classmate Reuben Bullard designed and drew the original seal for Central Christian College of the Bible (CCCB) in the summer of 1957.

At that time, three recent Cincinnati graduates accepted the call to teach. Frank Watson and Gareth Reese drove from Cincinnati, and Lloyd Pelfrey drove from Englewood, Tennessee. They joined two professors already in Missouri to beginclas ses in September 1957. These men raised their families in Moberly and never left.

In October 2019, the Trustees of Cincinnati Christian University (CCU) asked CCCB’s Trustees to help continue the legacy of Cincinnati ministry education. Twice a month since then, I have flown back and forth to Cincinnati, helping our Moberly team work with our employees there to plan the next incarnation of accredited ministry education in that region. On each trip, someone tells me another piece of this story that has been decades in the making. Click the titles below for descriptions of our current work in an area where so many ministers, missionaries, and biblical scholars were produced for 95 years. Will you join me in asking God to bring His favor and blessings to our efforts there?


On December 12, 2019, Central Christian College of the Bible legally established the Christian Church Leadership Foundation (CCLF) as an Ohio LLC. On January 12, 2020, the founding trustees met in Covington, Kentucky, to begin oversight of the Foundation’s formation and finances.

Those trustees include Gene McCoy (Columbia, MO), Dr. David Roadcup (Hebron, KY), Dr. Phil Claycomb (Dallas, TX), Bob Hightchew (Verona, KY), Dr. John Derry (Dallas, TX), Shawn McMullen (Lawrenceburg, IN), and Dr. Larry Pechawer (Joplin, MO). Dr. David Fincher was asked to continue serving as the president of CCLF, which was then approved by the CCCB trustees.

Legally separate from Cincinnati Christian University, CCLF currently maintains and operates three ministry enterprises during the final days of CCU: the Christian Church Leadership Network (a ministry formerly pursued by the Center for Church Leadership), the Russell School of Ministry, and the George Mark Elliott Library.

These three entities are designed to continue working together within the CCLF. This will allow CCCB to operate these ministry enterprises in the Cincinnati region and build new leadership for the Christian church through a collaborative model with participating colleges and universities in various locations.


The Russell School of Ministry uses innovative courses and experiences to produce successful church leaders for the 21st century.

The Russell School of Ministry (RSM) is named to honor John Russell and Bob Russell, brothers who studied for the ministry in Cincinnati and faithfully served churches in Kentucky. Today, RSM trains men and women for ministry careers, uniquely combining a Bible college education in a metropolitan context with a university flavor.

Students in Cincinnati can earn a Certificate of Ministry or Diploma of Bible and Ministry from RSM. CCCB provides students with accredited Bible courses and online degrees that coordinate with the RSM curriculum. Students can take courses at Central or another partner institution that apply towards associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees.

Our VP of Academics, Dr. Jim Estep, is working with the RSM leadership team to integrate the academic programs and seek the necessary approvals to start an extension site in the Cincinnati region that will work closely with the Russell School of Ministry and the other CCLF entities. Together, Russell School of Ministry and Central Christian College of the Bible will challenge young adults, ministry staff, and midlife career-changers from the Cincinnati area to make ministry their lifelong calling. (www.RSMinistry.org)

The Christian Church Leadership Network provides strategic resources that empower church leaders to thrive in ministry.

This ministry was originally pursued by Cincinnati Christian University, with primary funding from The Lilly Endowment. With the closure of CCU and the end of Lilly’s support, CCCB undertook pursuing this ministry as the Christian Church Leadership Network, obtaining financial support, and operating it with continued financial sponsorship from The Solomon Foundation.

Under the direction of Dr. Tim Wallingford and his team of representatives, we will reach out to churches that support CCCB. The CCL Network is growing to become a national network of churches and leaders experiencing healthy, effective, and relevant ministry. (www.CCL.network)

The George Mark Elliott Library provides access to collections of print & digital resources, contemporary & ancient artifacts, and special items from the heritage of Christian Churches & Churches of Christ.

This collection has been painstakingly collected and curated to benefit the entire Restoration Movement. We are working with the University to formulate a plan for the library’s future footprint and long-term location as the collection is being evaluated and prepared for relocation. At an appropriate time, there will be further information provided about the library’s composition, services, and resources for its regional and national patrons.

Churches, families, and friends who care about these ministries are needed to continue providing financial support in addition to the startup funds already raised. Your gifts to continue the legacy of ministry education in Cincinnati will provide ongoing resources to hire staff, lease property, and recruit students who will be trained starting in Fall of 2020. To set up a secure automatic gift to support this work in Cincinnati, please fill out the form below. Thank you for your generosity in this endeavor.