In June of 1975, Oren and Inez Paris, accompanied by their children and Oren’s parents, veterans of the ministry, established Ecclesia Inc.
Ecclesia was founded on the basis of the family’s life theme from Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” As the first step in Ecclesia’s development, a one-year school of discipleship and ministry commenced, equipping students to bring God’s hope to their world. This school would become the central core of Ecclesia College’s educational approach: mentoring, faith and character-based classes, and a practical student-work program.
Trans-denominationally diverse, Ecclesia began building and serving a growing network of local, national, and international enterprises. We continue to work together with community leaders and pastors of all denominations and fellowships who share the common commitment of the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Starting in 1976, the school enjoyed a strong and autonomous relationship with Youth With A Mission, “an international movement of Christians dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world.” In 1996 Ecclesia College applied for membership in the Association For Biblical Higher Education. ABHE’s institutional stability and faculty credentials requirements accelerated the College’s decision to pay salaries to credentialed, accountable personnel, which was in direct conflict with YWAM’s strong conviction for an unsalaried staff with less formal expectations. In order to meet ABHE standards and to preserve important distinctions of Ecclesia’s original vision, it became mutually clear that Ecclesia should conclude its official affiliation with YWAM. Ecclesia College does and will retain a spirit of unity and cooperation with YWAM as it does with all Christ-centered ministries.
Ecclesia College is an important branch of the Ecclesia Network. Other ministries in the network include Strategic Missions, Ecclesia Relief and Development, Bibles For the Nations, Twila Paris Productions, Ecclesia Children’s Ministries, and Happy Few Unlimited.
In March of 1997, Ecclesia’s Board of Governance inaugurated Oren Paris III as the new president. Under the leadership of Oren III, the campus has expanded to 200 acres with extensive plans for future growth and development. Also under the new president, the College expanded its Biblical faith and character-based education to positively affect all aspects of society, including family, church, education, government, communications, arts, sciences, and economics. Without changing the emphasis of “Christ in you the hope of glory,” Ecclesia College became a Liberal Arts school, teaching more than Bible classes, but bringing Christ into view through every subject.
In July of 2003, Ecclesia’s Board of Governance named Oren Paris II as Chancellor. In March 2004, the board confirmed the president’s installation of Administrative Council members: the Academic Dean, the Assistant Dean, and four Director positions over Business and Finance, Student Services, Communications and Advancement. This team has shown themselves to be deeply committed to “keeping the old landmarks” while “discerning the times” in our generation.
Founder and Chancellor, Oren Paris II, went to be with the Lord in June of 2012. His wife of 56 years, Inez Paris, was installed as Chancellor the following July.
June of 2015 marked Ecclesia’s 40th anniversary. The College’s Biblical faith and character-based education has prepared students and graduates to positively influence their world. Ecclesia alumni have been exemplars in today’s professions, enterprises, and churches, touching over 106 nations to date.