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About the
Russell school
of ministry

Quick Links:

What We Believe:

Our Mission:

The RSM exists to help students become who God wants them to become so that they can do what He’s asking them to do.

Our Vision:

The VISION of the Russell School of Ministry is to carry out our mission by employing innovative, experiential learning environments with proven ministry leaders to create a training path that helps servants to become spiritually formed, biblically and culturally informed, and experientially transformed.

Overview

The Russell School of Ministry seeks to solve two problems the church and ministry organizations are facing today. The first such problem is the need for trained ministry leaders who are ready to hit the ground running on the first day of employment. These ministry leaders need to be problem solvers, capable of making disciples, and able to perform their duties with excellence. The next problem we seek to solve is the student debt so many ministry leaders find themselves under once they graduate. College debt alone forces some ministers to leave the ministry altogether to take higher-paying secular careers. The Russell School of Ministry is uniquely positioned to offer a program that will resolve both issues.

Our real-world ministry training is unique in that we provide exceptional learning experiences paired with on-the-job training. We can do this because our program benefits from already established ties to a community rich with ministry training opportunities. Redesigning our program will allow us to extend this model to not only the Cincinnati area but to a much broader audience.

Because we seek to offer this program at zero cost to our students, it is imperative that we raise funds to accomplish our mission. We can only do this by providing an excellent top-shelf product and by responding to our customer base, whether it be students, pastors, field partners, and donors with exceptional customer service in a timely manner. We also need to build a solid bridge of trust with our customer base by being honest, real, and transparent in everything we do. We are committed to seeking God’s wisdom and His guidance as we conduct business and make decisions. We are also committed to keeping ministry training our one and only focus. Finally, we will need to hold fast to our Restoration roots to gain the much-needed support of churches who felt that Cincinnati Christian University had abandoned the cause.

The Russell School of Ministry (RSM)

is a non-accredited, non-profit school of ministry that plans to offer courses in Florence, Kentucky, which will prepare students to be ministry leaders in mostly non-denominational Christian churches or non-profit organizations.

Our Values

The VALUES of the Russell School of Ministry are comprised of these five elements:

  • We are led spiritually. Our decisions and motivations are rooted in our faith. We look for the spiritual reality in the everyday. We do not see prayer as an accent but as power and possibility. We go where He tells us to go with the strength He provides, for His glory.
  • We take risks. Growth does not come from playing it safe and doing the same things in the same way. We are not afraid to do things differently, question the status quo, and hack the system to take new ground for the Kingdom of Heaven. We take right and bold risks.
  • We create discipling community. We care more about the person than what they produce. We ask the deeper questions, encourage one another, and point one another toward the Truth regularly.
  • We lead with excellence. We are not slick but are well prepared. When we set out to do a task, we choose to do it outrageously well. No one expects perfection but we believe in what we are doing and will execute as well as possible.
  • We have fun together. We share meals, enjoy stories, and create space for enjoyable and meaningful environments.

CCL Foundation

The Russell of School of Ministry exists to equip men and women to serve in ministry roles whether it be in the church, as part of a ministry organization, or on the mission field. While some ministry responsibilities have remained constant, the methods have drastically changed over the last 50 years mainly because the ministry field no longer looks the same. Equipping students to minister in this new culture requires a new approach – personalized, hands-on, and practical. The Russell School of Ministry uses a unique multi-layered approach to equipping students to meet the needs of ministry work today.

This training approach is not new to the Cincinnati area as it was developed out of an existing program offered at Cincinnati Christian University, formerly known as the Russell School of Ministry’s Teaching Church Program. Since the closure of Cincinnati Christian University, it was evident that this ministry program was still viable and could be launched as a stand-alone ministry training with a certificate option or in combination with other accredited programs as part of a diploma option or degree option. Partnerships with Central Christian College of the Bible, Hope International, and Gateway Community and Technical College make the diploma and degree options possible. While portions of this program remain unchanged, several aspects of the program have been completely redesigned under its new stand-alone model and in a concentrated effort to offer this unique training to areas beyond its home base.

The Russell School of Ministry will operate as one of three pillars creating the Christian Church Leadership Foundation. The mission of the Christian Church Leadership Foundation is to educate current and future church leaders in theories, practices, and doctrines that contribute to healthy, effective, and relevant ministry. These three pillars or ministry enterprises will work together to support the Foundation’s mission. The other two pillars consist of the Christian Church Leadership Network and the George Mark Elliot Library. The Christian Church Leadership Foundation has been made possible by the efforts of Central Christian College of the Bible, who set forth the following vision for the three pillars comprising the Foundation.

  • The Christian Church Leadership Network supports current Christian church leaders to help them thrive in ministry.
  • The Russell School of Ministry produces future Christian church leaders of congregations.
  • The Library preserves and honors the Christian church stories and doctrines of past leaders.

With the task set before us of producing the future Christian church leaders of congregations, the Russell School of Ministry has designed its ministry training program to fit the current needs of its Cincinnati-based partnerships while casting a much larger vision of taking this same ministry training program to cities across the nation.

Educational Program and Curriculum

The Russell School of Ministry offers a 36-hour Certificate in Ministry. Students can focus on one of six ministry areas, including Preaching & Congregational Ministry, Urban & Intercultural Ministry, General Ministry, Children & Youth Ministry, and Worship Ministry. Certificate programs consist of 18 credit hours of classes (6 courses) and 18 credit hours of field experience.

Physical Facilities

The Russell School of Ministry is located in the CCL Center, a 14,000 square foot facility in Florence, Kentucky, that is operated by the Christian Church Leadership Foundation. This newly renovated space contains classrooms with wireless Internet and other educational technology, student community areas, library facilities, study space, and faculty and staff offices.

Licensure

The Russell School of Ministry serves Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, a non-denominational fellowship of churches that has no judicatory body. Therefore, the Russell School of Ministry does not convey licensure, ordination, or commissioning. Students who desire these ministerial credentials should pursue a conversation with their local church leaders.

Accreditation

The Russell School of Ministry is a non-accredited Bible College, which means there may be some limitations on its courses being transferred by other institutions into associate and baccalaureate degrees. Students who desire to use Russell School of Ministry courses toward a traditional degree program should work out those details with their degree-granting school of choice in advance of taking any RSM courses.

Central Christian College of the Bible (Moberly, MO) and Hope International University (Fullerton, CA) have vetted the Russell School of Ministry courses and field experiences and agreed to accept them toward specific associate or baccalaureate degrees. Some limitations apply, so students interested in completing a degree at one of these partner schools should seek guidance from the respective school in advance of taking RSM courses.

Appeals and grievances

Academic appeals:

Academic appeals may be presented in writing to the Academic Dean’s Office. Upon receipt, the appeal will be reviewed by the Academic Dean and a decision will be rendered. That decision will be communicated to the student in writing. 

The Community & Academic Standards Committee (CASC) serves as a second level of academic appeal. Appeals to the Academic Dean’s decision may be submitted in writing to the Dean of Students. Upon receipt, the Dean of Students will facilitate a CASC review of the appeal, upon which a decision will be rendered. The CASC decision will be considered final. The CASC, in instances in which it is reviewing an academic appeal, will be chaired by the Dean of Students and will include two adjunct faculty members and two students selected by the Dean of Students.

Non-Academic Appeals:

Non-academic appeals may be presented in writing to the Dean of Student’s office. Upon receipt, the appeal will be reviewed by the Dean of Students and a decision will be rendered. That decision will be communicated to the student in writing.

The Community & Academic Standards Committee (CASC) serves as a second level of non-academic appeal. Appeals to the decision made by the Dean of Students may be submitted in writing to the Academic Dean. Upon receipt, the Academic Dean will facilitate a CASC review of the appeal, upon which a decision will be rendered. The CASC decision will be considered final. The CASC, in instances in which it is reviewing a non-academic appeal, will be chaired by the Academic Dean and will include two adjunct faculty members and two students selected by the Academic Dean.

Grievances:

The Russell School of Ministry is committed to being a safe environment. Toward this end, the RSM has a grievance process that gives students, faculty, and staff a mechanism to report grievances.

Grievances may be submitted in writing to the office of the Dean of Students. Upon receipt, grievances will be reviewed by the Dean of Students and an investigation will be conducted.

Upon completion of the investigation, the complainant will be notified of the result. If the grievance is ruled actionable, an action plan will be developed. 

The action plan will seek to maintain confidentiality when possible. However, when required by statute or law, the action plan will include the Russell School of Ministry’s cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies.

The action plan will be managed by the Dean of Students.

Lifestyle Statement

Students, faculty, and staff of the Russell School of Ministry are expected to maintain a lifestyle that reflects the high calling of a ministry leader. Toward this end, members of the RSM family agree to abide by governing laws, avoid sexual immorality, maintain academic integrity, and conduct all interactions with dignity, honor, and respect.

Failure to adhere to these standards may result in disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the RSM.

Why RSM?

In July of 2019, an extensive survey was completed called the CCU “Thriving Churches” Survey. Eight questions were sent to the area’s “thriving churches.” Forty-five responses were collected, yielding 91 pages of comments.

Results from the survey show that now more than ever, churches need trained individuals to develop, design, and deliver programs to reach church members, church attendees who are seeking a relationship with Jesus, and the lost. Often these churches need ministry employees who can hit the ground running.

We know the need for our program exists. Additionally, the Russell School of Ministry is needed to fill a void created by the closure of Cincinnati Christian University. A Teaching Church program was being offered at Cincinnati Christian Church when it closed its doors. This Teaching Church program, although low in numbers, was viewed as a valuable resource for the tri-state area. It was the voiced concerns of ministry partners that prompted the idea that a new program be developed to take the place of the Teaching Church program.

While the Russell School of Ministry program looks like the Teaching Church program in that it serves a similar purpose, it has been retooled and redesigned. The new program enhances features of the Teaching Church program and is more robust in nature. The ideology of excellence is engrained into the new program from the moment a student expresses interest until they earn their ministry certificate. A discipling forum has been added, and the lecture style with the flipped model classroom will look vastly different from the more collegiate format.

One different aspect of the program is the commitment to provide this program at zero cost to the students, allowing students to not go into college debt to do ministry work. The second difference is that format of the Russell School of Ministry will allow it to be offered to locations other than Cincinnati. In fact, churches, colleges, and ministry organizations have already been in touch with us, seeking to bring this program to their locations. The new format will allow us to do this, potentially serving more students than the Teaching Church would have been designed to do.

The Russell School of Ministry program has two primary markets. The first market is the Christian believer who desires to do ministry or serve in a leadership role in their church. The second market is the organization seeking ministry workers. These ministries include churches, ministry organizations, or mission organizations.

While other colleges do offer ministry programs, the Russell School of Ministry is unique in that it offers ministry training integrated with hands-on field experience. Initially, Cincinnati Christian University was able to do this because of the high concentration of Christian ministry Services Business Plan 15 organizations close to its campus. These opportunities still exist, but other cities or larger ministry organizations are hungry for the same opportunity. By redesigning elements of the program, we can expand our residency base to cities outside of Cincinnati.

Statement of Faith

  • There is only one true God,

    revealed in the Old and New Testaments as God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are fully inspired,

    without error in their original form, and serve as our basis of faith and practice.

  • Jesus is the Christ,

    the divine Son of God, who was born of the virgin Mary, and who is our one and only Savior.

  • Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life,

    suffered and died on a cross to make atonement available to all people, rose bodily from the grave, and now sits at the right hand of the Father until His second coming.

  • Jesus commissioned his followers

    to share the gospel to every nation, tribe, language, and people.

  • The only conditions for salvation are those presented in the New Testament:

    Faith, repentance, confession of faith in Jesus Christ, and baptism by immersion.

  • Jesus will one day return to judge all people,

    resulting in their being welcomed into eternal blessedness in heaven or being condemned to eternal suffering in hell.

Affirmations

The following affirmations should be interpreted within the frameworks of the RSM’s Statement of Faith and the school’s ongoing commitment to Restoration Movement values and principles.

Unity:

The RSM affirms Christian unity based on a commitment to biblical truth, grants liberty of individual believers and churches on non-essential points of doctrine, and adopts a spirit of love and a posture of grace in all interactions.

Scripture:

The RSM affirms that the sixty-six books of the Bible are divinely inspired and inerrant in their original form. Therefore, the authoritative Word of God is the standard against which all theological claims, ecclesiastical practices, social trends, and lifestyle choices must be weighed.

God, Christ, & Holy Spirit:

The RSM affirms that God the Father is the sovereign and transcendent Creator of the universe, and as such His attributes cannot be fully represented by analogy to anything in the material world. Jesus Christ is His incarnate Son and the only Savior, who was crucified on a cross and raised from the dead on the third day. The Holy Spirit is a divine person who convicts the world in regard to sin and indwells Christians to aid in sanctification, help them bear fruit, and empower them with gifts to serve the church.

The Church:

The RSM affirms that biblical teaching and the example of the New Testament church should guide the beliefs, practices, and mission of the church.

The RSM affirms that every local congregation has autonomy under the prayerful leadership of its own elders.

Sexuality:

The RSM affirms that Scripture teaches that God’s intention and design from creation are that sexual acts between humans should occur solely within the context of marriage between one man and one woman.

Humanity:

The RSM affirms that all human beings are made in God’s image and therefore every person possesses inherent value and dignity beginning at the point of conception. This is a unique status that prioritizes humans above all other created things and is the basis for the innate unity and equality of all people.

Politics:

The RSM affirms that biblical truth should inform the political views and political engagement of the Church and of individual believers and that engaging in civic activities is biblical and honorable.

The RSM affirms the freedom of individuals to reach their own political conclusions. The RSM does not endorse any political party or candidate, nor does it adopt official political positions.

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