Our program is a combination of an online learning cohort, regular classroom teaching, intensive classes, international trips, retreats, mentoring, ministry apprenticeships and projects.
The program begins with a foundation year in which you survey the Bible, begin your study of history and theology and begin laying the groundwork in leadership training and spiritual formation. In the second year, you begin an intensive study of the Old Testament, looking at every book of the Bible in detail, exploring the issues and theology it throws up.
You complete the classroom training in leadership and formation and specialize in your area of apprenticeship and elective study. In your third year, you move into the New Testament as you continue in-depth study of the Bible and theology. Your leadership training shifts to ministry mentoring by staff as you grow in taking responsibility in your apprenticeship. At the end of the year, you dive into culture and leadership, including a trip overseas.
In the final year, you wrap up the New Testament and your elective studies. More time is given to learning in your apprenticeship, including the senior project, which is a substantial opportunity to take ownership of identifying a Kingdom opportunity, strategizing, planning and executing, all with the support of your ministry team (it can also involve a semester abroad).
Let’s unpack the program elements…
Classes are where we get to unpack ideas and wrestle with connecting the Bible and theology to life. There is often homework and reading so that class time can be a space for conversation as we grapple with issues. You can check out what classes to expect on our program overview and you can read the class descriptions to learn more about what classes cover. In addition to the classes we run, students need to complete 18 credits of general education that we are not currently able to offer, but can be completed locally and inexpensively.
Online Learning Cohort
Online classes allow you great flexibility in your schedule, but normally mean that you miss the opportunity to discuss what you are learning with classmates and ask a teacher questions. We shoot for the best of both by supporting online classes with a weekly cohort meeting to process with your peers and a teacher.
Sometimes we want to have a giant conversation to bring big themes together or to tackle a big idea. We use intensive weeks to allow us to focus 100% on these and they are a lot of fun.
There is a required international trip as part of the third year of the programs you learn about culture and leadership, and the option of doing a semester abroad as part of your senior project.
In your first two years, you have a life-on-life mentor. This is someone further down the road than you, who can pass on what they have learned as well as be a sounding-board and encouragement as you process things. They will work with you in regular meetings to help you set goals and work at developing to be more like Jesus. In your final two years, someone in your apprenticeship department will become your mentor and will continue to work with you on personal development, adding some input on professional development.
This is where you get to gain real ministry experience to develop insight and situational awareness that will help you be an effective leader of people and give you skills for the strategic implementation of vision. You begin as a generalist, but in your second year, you make your home in a department that will stretch you into the skills and calling you believe God drawing you towards. We will work with you to help you figure out this decision during your first year.
While we spend a lot of time learning and serving, we are first and foremost a family of missionary disciples. Every year we go on a family style retreat to invest in our relationships with each other, seek God and be refreshed.