Campus Outreach was founded in 1978 in Birmingham, AL at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. The ministry began with one full-time staff person spending time at Samford University seeking to impact students’ lives with the good news of the gospel. This approach was fruitful and led to further campus expansion and then to regional expansion, with Campus Outreach going to First Presbyterian Church in Augusta. This model of multiplying campuses and then franchises, with each franchise under the authority of a local church, has continued to grow so that there are now 28 franchises and over 100 campuses being staffed worldwide.
In 2001 Campus Outreach hosted it’s first Global Conference and asked a pastor and author named John Piper to speak. His intrigue with the CO model led to eight staff members being commissioned in 2003 from Campus Outreach in Greenville, South Carolina and Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church to pioneer Campus Outreach Minneapolis under the authority of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Now COM has grown to more than 30 staff members on 5 campuses in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.