With 22 locations in the United States and 20 international locations, Charis Bible College is no small organization, but ironically, locating part of this large organization in a small mountain town seemed to be ideal for Andrew Wommack, founder of Andrew Wommack Ministries and Charis Bible College.
“I drove by the property every day for 21 years on my way into Colorado Springs and had no idea what the Lord had in store. Yet God had a plan and was working everything together for good. If the Lord tarries, many students will have their lives changed by attending CBC, and in turn, go out and change the world,” he said.
“We are a world-wide ministry with a small town heart. We value relationships and being headquartered in a small town allows us the opportunity to be involved and make a difference in our community,” said Director of Partner Relations and Marketing for Andrew Wommack Ministries, Mark Harrison.
Although concerns have been voiced about the new college changing the small town community, Charis feels they are only here to bring benefit. “We are aware that some residents are not in favor of our new location. Some are concerned about change in their town, and that is understandable. As time goes on, we hope to dispel those concerns. We love God and we love people. We are not here to be invasive; we are here to fulfill the mission of Charis Bible College, which is to equip faithful men and women for the work of the ministry by teaching spiritual truths, imparting biblical knowledge, providing practical ministry opportunities, and grounding them in the message of God’s unconditional love and grace,” Harrison said. “We love being a part of this small town. The heart of this ministry is to love and serve people, and we value the opportunity to be involved in the Woodland Park community.”
Revenue, business, and economic benefits are projected to come with the growth of the college. “Charis has a 10-year goal to have approximately around 3,000 students enrolled. As population of our town grows, financial benefits will grow as well,” said Brian Fleer, Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Downtown Development in Woodland Park.
“The phase two $54 million dollar construction of the college should be completed in 2016 and that will generate a lot of economic benefit for our community. The construction workers will likely be shopping and eating locally, and some of them who live here locally will have even more significant economic impact with food, housing and transportation.
Students and staff will shop in multiple types of commerce and retail operations which will be very beneficial to our community financially. Small businesses will benefit from more people in the community to shop at their stores, and national tenants such as Wal-Mart, City Market and Safeway will do quite well,” Fleer said.
Though the Bible college has not been open very long, changes are already being seen and talked about. According to the Charis Bible College website, a group of private investors has developed a proposal to construct and manage a small amount of student housing on the campus, but the proposal is still in a developmental stage and no dates have been currently set for construction to begin.
In addition to on campus housing, off campus housing is being accounted for as well. New apartment complexes like the Trail Ridge Apartments are already being developed in the city and the real estate market is doing very well. “Anytime there is increase in numbers in your community, there is an increase (in) demand for services and products. This is a win-win for our community,” Debbie Miller, IOM, ACE president of the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce said.
Talk of new businesses and restaurants springing up in the community because of the college bringing in a larger population and larger demand for services is very real. “There is an increase in interest for new hotels up here. With the high interest, there could be up to two new hotels here in Woodland Park within a 24-month period. Restaurants are also very interested in bringing business up here because of the college,” Fleer said.
Only time will tell how large of an impact the Charis Bible College will have on the community, but the outlook appears positive.
For more information about the Charis Bible College Woodland Park Campus visit www.charisbiblecollege.org/about-us/our-campus.