By Rick Kern
“Our mission is to provide a Christ-centered liberal arts education with a Christian worldview along with our students’ chosen field of study,” explains Ron Heineman, President and CEO of Cincinnati Christian University (CCU). “To bring that to life, our vision is to train young people and adults to impact society for Christ and advance the Kingdom. We do that in over 70 degrees and programs now.”
Heineman is deeply committed to molding the hearts and minds of CCU’s students to passionately use their lives and educations to influence their communities for Christ. “We equip students and educate students on how to navigate the secular culture in the secular world biblically,” says Heineman, “so they will still stay centered and rooted in their belief systems, and teach from those belief systems.”
Applying a Christian worldview to its degree programs and majors appears to be the cornerstone of CCU’s academic foundation. Building its educational structure upon this spiritual bedrock, CCU equips its graduates to enter the workforce and practice their professions from a Christian or Kingdom perspective. Heineman continues, “Our goal will be to instill in young people; be it counselors, therapists, school teachers… the biblical mandate and biblical guidance morally so when they leave, they can work within the secular context and still promote Kingdom principles.”
And if constructing a Christian worldview is the cornerstone that the school’s academics rest on, then the Bible itself is its foundation-proper. Part of CCU’s strategy or philosophy of Christian higher education, is to help their students see the picture the way it is through a realistic, abiding grasp of Scripture. “We’re a liberal arts university and we protect our DNA by requiring every student here, regardless of their major, to have the equivalent of a minor in Bible,” Heineman notes. “Even though we run a ministry department and we have students earning their ministerial degrees — undergrad in ministry, and graduate degrees in ministry… our business school, psychology, counseling, education, all of those students are equipped with a minor in Bible,” he adds. “We prepare students to advance the Kingdom in their chosen field of study based on that kind of foundation.”
It is a foundation that the school has rested on from even before it was established when two like-minded educational institutions (McGarvey Bible College in Louisville, Kentucky, and Cincinnati Bible Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio) merged to form what was then known as the Cincinnati Bible Seminary in 1924. The founding principle and ultimate purpose of the school were to shape church leaders who were well-grounded in the Word of God and esteemed its authority.
In 1987, the corporate name of the institution was changed to Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary. Its undergraduate division was designated as Cincinnati Bible College, and the graduate division as Cincinnati Bible Seminary. In 2004, with the addition of the College for Adult Learning, the corporate name became Cincinnati Christian University.
For over 90 years, Cincinnati Christian University has sought to train Christian men and women to understand the Scripture and minister in the name of Jesus throughout the Church and the world in whatever profession God called them to. Today CCU’s mission endures as they strive to develop students into selfless, mature leaders who follow Christ with servant’s hearts and positively impact their communities, countries, and the world. With over 10,000 alumni, CCU has had a profound impact on the Church, training ministers, missionaries, and parachurch leaders as its graduates serve wherever the Lord leads them. The scope of their ministry reaches across the globe and at last count, CCU had alumni serving in some 71 nations throughout the world.
“It’s about academics and making sure we provide excellence in academics in all the chosen fields,” Heineman explains. “We will work on spiritual formation with every student’s development to make sure that they have a robust campus experience in their community and are prepared to take what they learned into the world upon graduation.”
It is a stance as a believer that Heineman himself is intimately familiar with and has lived out with passion and vision in the business world through the years. “I have degrees in business and I have graduate degrees in counseling and pastoral counseling,” he says, “my business background is in Venture Capital.” Saved at the ripe-old-age of twenty, he has served as an elder at one fellowship, and as the trustee of a number of churches. Additionally, he was both a trustee and Chairman of the Trustee Board at a large megachurch in Cincinnati with about 7,000 members. His godly perspective, experience, and professional skillsets eventually brought him to CCU. “I came out of the business world and entered into education several years ago,” recalls Heineman. “I became a trustee at CCU University. I was asked by the trustees to become president and CEO of this institution.”
In addition to its campus programs, CCU has partnered with Point University, an accredited, nonprofit Christian university, to bring more than 40 online programs to CCU. Thanks to the collaboration between CCU and Point, students can earn an accredited associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree as they take advantage of a wide range of online offerings. And just as its campus programs, the online curricula are designed to prepare students to bring their faith into the marketplace.
While the vast majority of its student body is made up of Christians, CCU attracts its share of unbelievers as well. “As a liberal arts university providing a good education, we actually appeal to seeker students as well as Christians, and expose them to the Gospel,” Heineman observes. “We’re pretty excited about what’s going on in the new school year — eight students have been saved so far this year and gone on to be baptized in chapel, so that’s pretty exciting.”
As an institution of higher learning, Cincinnati Christian University is more of an organism than an organization and a spiritual force to be reckoned with. It has pretty much dropped anchor at its mission and vision statements, remains largely conviction-driven, and true to its spiritual heritage and Christian legacy. To learn more about CCU, you can call them at (800) 949-4CCU or visit their website located at www.ccuniversity.edu.