Eckhard Schnabel in Paul the Missionary says that the term “missions” or “mission” refers to the activity of a community of faith. He notes three distinguishing factors in the missional task: communicating the news of Jesus the Messiah, declaring a new way of life, and integrating new believers into new community.
Central Christian College of the Bible was founded by area churches in 1957 to “recruit and train leadership for the church at large according to the New Testament.” This statement of purpose was brought up by Gareth Reese at our recent 60th anniversary celebration. (You can view the video of the anniversary)
I was particularly moved as I listened to Mr. Reese share memories from the early days of CCCB, “Mr. John Hall from Vandalia was to find a faculty for the college and invited several of us to become missionaries to the state of Missouri.” He continued, “The churches needed preachers. The third week of the college’s existence the ‘boys’ were already out preaching in the churches.”
CCCB continues to send ‘boys’ out to preach in the area churches. Furthermore, now there are also churches in the area and around the world that have been established by CCCB graduates with new believers in new communities. The missional task of communicating the Good News of Jesus is being fulfilled both locally and globally.
Young men and women are being trained to be servant leaders for the church as missionaries, associate ministers, youth and family ministers, counselors, preachers, Christian education teachers and leaders, church planters, missions pastors, accountants for missionaries, Bible College professors, elders, and other church leaders. I could go on and on. Each of these and many others are ful lling the ongoing vision of the early “missionaries” called to the state of Missouri, sixty years ago.
There is a plaque hanging in my study that reads, “There is probably nothing more crucial, in terms of the needs in missions today, than the development of leadership . . . that is the cry all over the world.” Leaders who are committed to discipleship and church planting are essential for the church in the 21st Century.
God often expands our vision beyond our imagination. Training future leaders for the global church may have been a part of the “church at large” envisioned by the founding leaders of CCCB. Today it is a reality.
For one to be a part of the missional task of what God is doing with CCCB is truly a great privilege. But as we all know this is not accomplished alone. This task is completed by a community of faith. CCCB is grateful for your participation in the life changing missional task of communicating the Good News of Jesus globally.