Our History

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 to 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.

In 2005, Ecclesia received accreditation and now offers degrees both on campus and online.

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 have 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.

Foundational Values

As an Institution of Higher Learning, holding that all truth is God’s truth and Biblically consistent, Ecclesia College embraces these 7 Core Foundational Values:
Bible-Based Education

We are called to study all disciplines in light of the Scriptures to “show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” learning to think and walk honestly before Him in the light of His truth according to our ever-increasing frame of reference.

Life-Long Learning

Humankind is the highest order of intelligent beings on earth individually created by God in His own image for a unique purpose higher than ourselves to enjoy Him and be enjoyed by Him forever. We are called to a wholesome curiosity and continued learning of the why, what, how to, and eventual outcomes of the faithful stewardship of our thought, time, talent, treasure, and trust.

Comprehensive Learning

We are called to the ideal educational prescription of “adding virtue to faith and knowledge to virtue” in that order of cyclical increase through mentoring for life and learning, God-honoring and academically challenging classes, work learning internships, community service, and Christian outreach.

Inclusion of the Whole Body of Christ

The family of God under the Lordship of Christ is called to “maintain the Spirit of unity…until we come into the unity of the faith.” We are called to faithfully serve the whole Body of Christ, understanding that our true compatibility is based on our shared Christ-life, core foundational values, God-given vision, godly relationships, and wholehearted involvement.

Practical Norm for Life and Learning

The holy, spiritual, and eternal mindset of redeemed mankind eclipses and surpasses the profane, carnal, and temporal mindset of fallen mankind while re-establishing the only truly practical norm for all things. We are called to live and learn now in light of eternal values, anticipating God’s “well done.”

Missions Priority

Christ’s Great Commandment and Great Commission are integral to advancing His kingdom within ourselves and among all people groups in all nations. We are called to prepare and equip faithful ministry-minded persons of excellence, integrity, and order for professions across all aspects of society and to grow networking resources for them in their chosen vocations and further study, serving to increase and reinforce their quality of learning and service.

Community and Personal Wellness

We are called to interdependence over isolation based on God’s firm principle of domain with forgiveness of trespasses as the basis for healthy, committed relationships aligned with His heart and ways. We also honor God in preparing for long-term, faithful service by following good healthful practices such as proper diet, adequate rest, regular exercise, and consistent meditation on Him.

PREAMBLE | The Educational Philosophy of Ecclesia College is based on the belief:

The Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative Word, revealing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son;

• Man is created in God’s image.

• He created us to have eternal life in Him through His Son, Jesus, “Christ in you the hope of glory,” to “separate the holy from the profane,” “extract the precious from the worthless,” discern the spiritual, which is of God, by God, and for God, from the carnal, which is of self, by self, and for self, and to convert our thought, time, talent, treasure, and trust to God’s eternal riches over temporal values.

•Although all men have sinned and come short of God’s glory, God has made salvation possible through the death on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

•Hope, repentance, faith, love, and obedience are fitting responses to God’s initiative of grace toward us.

• God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

• The Holy Spirit’s power is demonstrated in and through us for the accomplishing of Christ’s Great Commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” with His Great Commission to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” and “make disciples of all nations.”

• Christ’s Church is God’s authorized model and agency for the advancement of His Kingdom. (Luke 10:27; Colossians 1:27; Jeremiah 15:19; Mark 16:15 KJV; Matthew 28:19 NIV)

Educational Philosophy

In accord with the above preamble of which we are convinced, it rightly and necessarily follows that:

The educational philosophy of EC is based on the belief that the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word. In accord with this, EC pursues biblical methods and practices in educating and equipping men and women for their chosen fields of service and for the wise conversion of their thought, time, talent, treasure, and trust into eternal riches to enjoy with God forever rather than passing, temporal values.

All truth is God’s truth and biblically based and should, therefore, be integrated with the principle approach to education from the biblical perspective. Such basic principles include:

  • God desires all mankind to come to the knowledge of the truth.
  • God intends mankind to know Him and His ways with His creation.
  • God speaks His truth in love through His living Word.
  • God calls all mankind to believe in Himself through His Son by His Spirit.
  • God calls all believers to their highest good by building virtue on their faith and knowledge of the truth on their virtue (2 Pet. 1:5-7).

God values and blesses EC’s five-point educational approach for learning, growing, and equipping:

  • Mentoring Program – Christ-centered mentoring for life and learning according to the student’s giftings and callings (2 Tim. 2:2).
  • Academically challenging faith and character-based classroom (2 Pet. 1:5-7).
  • Work-Study Internship Program with hands-on in-service related to the student’s chosen field of service and/or further study.
  • Community Service Program with practical application and outcomes.
  • Christian Outreach Program in response to God’s loving heart for others.

EC’s regular Assembly Program serves to communicate this educational approach, which addresses the three deepest heart questions of the student:

  • Leading students on their search for the “why” of each truth will inspire a growing knowledge, wisdom and understanding. This will deepen their enthusiasm and resolve of heart for excellence, integrity, and order to live their lives now in the light of eternity.
  • Leading students on their search for the “what” of each truth will clarify their frame of reference to know the highest good with the right objectives.
  • Leading students on their search for the “how to” will strengthen their confidence in God’s ways as always best.

Board of Governance

Pastor, Abundant Life Church, Hardy, AR

Joseph Barnes

Dr. Phillip Brassfield

Ecclesia College, Springdale, AR

Inez Paris

President, Ecclesia College, Springdale, AR

Dr. Oren Paris III

Joe Salcido III

Retired Pastor, Assembly of God, Effingham, IL

Don Wallace

Businessman, Fayetteville, AR

Jack Wright

Board of Regents

David Barton

Pat Boone

Dr. Steve Henderson

Dr. Dennis Lindsay

Dr. H. D. McCarty

Bob McEwen

Eric Metaxes

Twila Paris

Winkie Pratney

Valentin Vale

Accreditation and Recognition

Ecclesia College receives institutional accreditation for higher education with The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE; formerly known as AABC). Ecclesia College has been accredited with ABHE since 2005. ABHE is recognized by the U. S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Ecclesia College became a member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) in July of 2009.

The College participates in the following federal student aid programs: Federal Pell Grants; Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants; Veterans Assistance; Federal Work-Study; Federal Work College Program; FFEL Stafford Loans. For more information, visit the following website, www.studentaid.ed.gov. The Ecclesia College federal school code is 038553.

This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.

Pursuant to ACA §6-61-301, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB) recognizes Ecclesia College as an Arkansas independent four-year college as of January 30, 2015. However, this recognition does not constitute an endorsement of the institution or any degree offerings. AHECB acknowledges that selected courses offered by Ecclesia College have been reviewed by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) for inclusion in the Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS) under the provisions of Act 672 of 2005.

The Association for Biblical Higher Education
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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
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Recognized by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education
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National Christian College Athletic Association
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Council for Higher Education Accreditation
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Work College Consortium
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National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
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