In late February, Christianity Today announced the results of the first Best Christian Places to Work survey, a landmark study commissioned by CT and administered by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. It is the largest survey ever conducted on the attitudes of employees at Christian workplaces, with more than 8,500 respondents across a range of industries.

A panel of independent judges selected four companies in ten categories for special recognition. For two weeks CT is saluting the first place organizations in each category.

Large Missions & Parachurch Organizations

Coalition for Christian Outreach
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Herb Kolbe, senior area director of the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), knows from personal experience that working for a Christian organization is not always easy. "A lot of people leave [ministry] feeling angry and burned out," he says. But since he joined CCO 13 years ago, burnout has not been an issue for him. "We take very good care of our people because we have a responsibility to be good stewards of people God gives us," he says. "It's also smart business."

The business of CCO is to "transform college students to transform the world," specifically focusing on campuses in the Tri-State region of Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Despite having the challenges typical of any ministry, CCO finds a variety of ways to care for its employees, most of whom are staff workers at colleges.

Although almost everyone in the organization raises support for a personal salary (including president Daniel Dupee), none of that support goes toward the overhead of the organization. In addition, CCO offers training to all staff, including a six-week orientation for new staff workers. "They not only want me to be the best campus minister God has created me to be, but they are also committed to my personal, professional, and spiritual development," says Vince Burens, director of recruiting and placement.

CCO's unique ministry model also demonstrates this same attitude of stewardship toward employees. Rather than being asked to use a particular ministry approach, staff workers spend time researching the needs of the particular campus they will be serving, then shape the ministry according to its needs and staff workers' gifts.

"At every campus we serve, God's work is being accomplished in innovative and image-bearing ways," says Steph Maier, area director. "No two ministries are alike." Nor, would it seem, is CCO similar to other Christian ministries—which is just the way that CCO employees like it.

Related Elsewhere

Our 40 Best Christian Places to Work articles include:

The 40 Best Christian Places to Work | What makes them so good? (Hint: Not money)
The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists | Christianity Today salutes four finalists in ten categories.
Inside CT: Great Places to Work | There is indeed much to praise and imitate in Christian companies.