The year begins in late August, usually the week before Labor Day. The year ends after the summer intensives, usually the last week of May or first week of June. We have a substantial Christmas break of around four weeks, in addition to Spring Break, which is taken at the same time as our local school districts, and a week off at Thanksgiving. We also take the following holidays off and have a make-up day on the following Thursday: Labor Day, Presidents’ Day, Easter Monday.
Some students will have international trips that run in the summer, but we do not otherwise run summer or winter break courses. However, it is suggested that students work on their General Education credits during breaks if they want to graduate with their degree at the end of their fourth year.
We recognize that most of our students need to work a part-time job throughout the program. So we plan a schedule that allows for regular rhythms in which there is space to do this. For this reason, we try to limit our regular schedule to Sunday to Wednesday.
Sunday is a ministry day in which all students serve, normally at two gatherings (though this can vary depending on their apprenticeship area). This leaves some time on Sundays for a job and completing homework. We have classes scheduled on Mondays to Wednesdays, though students will rarely have classes all day. This leaves room for completing homework, and occasional afternoons to leave early for a job. Thursdays to Saturdays are left open (however some students may choose to undertake some apprentice responsibilities on these days).
But this does not necessarily mean that there are three days to work a job! Remember that you will have a substantial amount of reading, online classwork and homework to complete. In addition, you will have some apprenticeship hours to schedule in your week, and occasional meetings with your mentor to schedule – and at some point, you should be taking some Sabbath rest!
As much as we have tried to make a schedule that can work for students, this is going to be a full four years! It will require making some sacrifices, being well organized, and a whole lot of effort. But having a time of preparation and training for ministry and Kingdom leadership that is challenging is not a bad thing (actually it’s quite a biblical thing - just ask Moses). We would encourage you to plan your schedule well and talk to your mentor if you are anticipating a problem.
The program aims to develop head, heart and hands. Upon graduation, we want to be able to say that you know a ton about the Bible and theology, and have developed lots of experience and skills about making disciples and using your gifts for the Kingdom. We also want to be able to say that you have grown up and matured as a human, and as a Jesus-follower. We expect our graduates to have processed some of the trauma, hurt, or junk they entered the program with, and to have developed their heart and character. For this reason progression in the program is not only dependent on passing classes – we care about you, not just your grades! At the end of each year you will be interviewed by a panel representing your teachers, mentors and leaders. If you have not developed to a stage of readiness for the challenges of the next year, we will not push you into it - we want to set you up for success, not failure. If there was something to work on, we would make a plan with you to tackle it alongside you.