Orleans Seminary, was founded on the Nebraska plains in 1884 by Free Methodist preacher Rev. C.M. Damon and his wife. At that time, "seminary" designated a Christian school regardless of grade levels. Orleans Seminary endured years of small enrollments, repeated faculty turnover, and deteriorating facilities.
Because of deteriorating facilities and a more central location in the support area, Orleans Seminary was moved to McPherson, Kansas, in 1914. The relocated school was named Central Academy and College. Along with its elementary and secondary grades, Central added the first two years of college to its curriculum at this time. Occupying a four-story brick building left by the relocated Covenant Church affiliated Walden College, Science Hall was a welcome change to the faculty and students of Central. The first president of Central Academy and College was L. Glenn Lewis, and the first principal, Charles H. Watson. In 1918, Central received accreditation from the Kansas State Department of Education, becoming the oldest accredited junior college in Kansas.
Charles A. Stoll became president in 1923, presiding until his untimely death in an automobile accident in 1939. A residence hall, built in 1927and remodeled in recent years, bears his name.
Orville S. Walters assumed the presidency from 1939-44. During the war years, Dr. Walters was able to successfully complete a $40,000 debt elimination campaign, upgrade facilities, and change the official name from Central Academy and College to Central College. Dr. Walters inspired a number of young men to enter the field of medicine. He resigned as president in 1944 to practice medicine and serve as the school physician. It was during President Walters' administration that the first intercollegiate athletic program (basketball) was begun after the Free Methodist Church lifted a ban against interscholastic athletics in their affiliated colleges. Howard J. Krober was the first coach of the basketball program. By 1950, Central boasted men's basketball, baseball, track, and ping pong.
During a period of transition, Warren McMullen and Charles V. Fairbairn served successively as acting presidents in 1944-45. Following McMullen and Fairbarin, was Mendal B. Miller, known as M.B., who served as president from 1945-53. Miller advocated equal treatment of women and African Americans and called for a consumerist society to use its wealth for Godly purposes. The college did not appreciate his views at the time and terminated Miller in 1953. Six decades later, in May 2013, the college dedicated a new plaza in his honor, recognizing his positive influence on students and the college.
Edgar Whiteman served as President from 1953-1955 and then left to start his own school in Central City, Nebraska. Under Whiteman's influence the name Central College was changed to Central College of the Free Methodist Church in 1954. Beginning in 1955, under President Elmer Parsons' leadership, the college was able to construct a gymnasium, fine arts addition, and student center. In 1957, tragedy struck the campus when volunteer workers left some rags in the auditorium which were damp with linseed oil from polishing the stage. The rags combusted overnight and resulted in the burning of the auditorium, taking with it the entire music department facilities. Thirty years later, Wesley Black Fine Arts Center, a facility housing the music and drama departments. Following his service to Central, President Parsons was further distinguished as president of Japan's Osaka Christian College and as a bishop of the Free Methodist Church.
During Dr. Kline's tenure, the high school closed. The elementary grades had closed earlier. In addition to a new classroom building, constructed during his administration and housing the science and home economics departments, Dr. Kline orchestrated the college's push toward regional accreditation. In 1974, a team of educators representing the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, granted Central regional accreditation forever strengthening the academic programs at the College.
Following several years of strategic planning, on May 23, 1999, Central College became Central Christian College of Kansas. During this time Central developed a third, innovative bachelor program, namely the Bachelor of Science - Liberal Studies major. The athletic program began competing at the four-year level in 1999. In 2000, the Carnegie Foundation officially recognized Central Christian College as a four-year college. In 2004, the Higher Learning Commission - North Central Association awarded Central ten years of continued accreditation and approved seven additional majors, namely Communications, Exercise Science, Music, Natural Science, Psychology, Social Science, and Sport Management. The College also completed a successful $5.8 million capital campaign raising funds for student scholarships and facilities.
Central Christian (CCC) teams are nicknamed as the Tigers. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the A.I.I Conference ( Association of Independent Institutions) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Division 1. Before July 2015, CCC competed in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.