Christian Bible Colleges
Today's Christian Bible colleges combine faith with a fervent pursuit of high quality education. Men and women choose to attend faith-based institutions of higher learning for various reasons, however a major one may be because of an environment which helps support a strong belief system, which reinforces the principles and doctrine of Jesus Christ. Any true believer who has rubbed shoulders with the world can attest to the fact that faith-based colleges and universities usually strive to implement sound Biblical principles and moral and ethical values in and off the campus. Whereas, secular schools may offer a qualify education, but without a Biblically-based foundation. Those who desire to embrace the Christian lifestyle simultaneously with higher education frequently choose to enroll in faith-based institutions. The second reason adults choose to attend religious schools is to become spiritually and mentally prepared to enter Christian ministry. No other kind of institution embraces the noble goal of making disciples who will one day be equipped to evangelize the world with the gospel.
Fulfilling the ministry of Jesus Christ upon the earth is foremost in the mission and vision of Christian Bible colleges. Their main text is taken from the Word of God and students are encouraged to become familiar with the teachings of renowned scholars and translators, such as Wycliffe, Tyndale, Dakes, Thompson, and others. The focus for faith-based colleges and universities is to provide young men and women destined for ministerial careers the necessary tools to effectively reach both the churched and unchurched sectors of society with the good news of the kingdom of God. Curriculums include core academic courses suitable to compete in the secular world, but the emphasis is on a spiritual avocation. You won't find pastoral studies, evangelism and missions, or church government in a secular school; however Christian Bible colleges usually emphasize curriculum studies which will enable students to succeed as pastors, foreign and overseas missionaries, church administrators, or evangelists.
While some large ministries own universities and colleges which promote sectarian views, many institutions are independent and have no affiliation with a religious organization or church. Independent colleges and universities tend to offer degree programs which are non-denominational and appeal to the broader family of God, rather than focusing on any one doctrinal belief system. In addition to associate and bachelor degrees, accredited Christian Bible colleges also offer master's and doctoral degrees in theology, divinity, counseling and religious education. Some give credit for life experience, especially for seasoned ministers re-entering school. Many colleges offer onsite and distance learning education; and enrollees can download courses and complete them at their own pace. Initial evaluations and tests are taken on the college website and submitted according to schedule; however online students essentially work through the curriculum systematically, joining in chat rooms, blogs and web-based discussions. Computer-assisted programs enable students to do in depth studies and apply Biblical principles to real life situations. Some church-sponsored colleges require online students to complete a freshman level curriculum, which includes a practical understanding of the Bible using Hebrew and Greek translations and research via Bible concordances, lexicons, and dictionaries. Foundational courses serve to establish enrollees in basic doctrinal beliefs before allowing them to pursue individual courses of study in major programs.
Enrollment in two- or four-year Christian Bible colleges can be done online or by visiting local campuses. The advantage of online enrollment is that many websites feature digital catalogs, course outlines, maps, and financial information which prospective students can view at their leisure without making a long distance phone call or writing to campus recruitment officers. Deciding which school to attend is a personal choice which requires thoughtful prayer. By seeking God for direction, students can make the best decision for their individual lives. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:5-8).
In addition to preparing preachers, teachers and evangelists, today's Christian Bible colleges take a holistic approach to education by providing students with a well-rounded campus experience and diverse programs. Many offer marketing, graphic design, copywriting, and broadcasting programs designed to prepare men and women who seek post graduate employment behind the scenes of Christian ministry. Producing and publishing books, CDs, DVDs, and tapes requires skilled individuals with knowledge of technical applications and digital media. Faith-based organizations also employ advertising and marketing professionals who are trained in the art of developing and implementing marketing strategies to effectively position and promote ministries to a local, national and global audience. Web designers, photographers, and other creative individuals can all get a high quality education at Christian Bible colleges.
When it comes to the business of administrating a church, faith-based organization, or ministry, graduates of Christian Bible colleges shine. Degree programs in business administration, church government, office management, accounting, human resources, and data management are all beneficial to students of faith-based institutions. Students with these kinds of skills are in demand in both secular and religious communities; therefore, enrollees should not feel as though degrees earned from Bible colleges are not on par with those from secular schools. The disciplined environment of a faith-based college is excellent preparation for serious students seeking careers in the secular world or in the church. In many cases, prospective employers from both sides of the pew are looking for well educated college graduates with superior moral and ethical standards. In those instances, a faith-based education places graduates at the head of the class!
Christian Theological SeminariesAt Christian theological seminaries, a student can take many varying paths into ministerial professions by completing a bachelors or masters degree. Some students may even continue on to achieve the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, which takes several more years of study beyond the Masters degree. The learning environment at most seminaries is outstanding, replete with professors who are knowledgeable in rich Bible texts and can expound the mysteries of the Word to those in the classes. Others may be interested in gaining a firm foundation in Biblical studies before going on to secular schools to pursue non-theological degrees, perhaps in Chemistry or Computer Science. Many Christians take this path in order to finally take positions as professors at seminaries once the secular studies are complete. Men and women from all over the world come to Christian theological seminaries for myriads of reasons, but all have a desire to learn more about God's Word.
Some professions which are sought after are those within churches such as pastors, music directors, counselors and youth leaders. Pursuing these lines of study will present people with a variety of angles from which to look at other faiths and approaches to ministry. Still others may desire to be administrators and handle all of the business aspects of running a ministry. Those in this line of work may have already had positions in business in large companies as corporate officers or directors, but want to branch out into the non-profit sector. There are people desiring to become archaeologists, and therefore have interests in ancient Biblical languages such as Greek or Aramaic which are essential when studying extremely old writings from the early centuries. Attending Christian theological seminaries will ensure the student has a well-rounded background for studying these languages in the proper contexts.
Many professionals in the world of Psychology have had very successful careers after getting degrees in Christian Counseling or a Doctor of Psychology degree. Psychologists are in need in almost every area of professional life, as well as in the non-profit and ministry sectors. Churches often employ family counselors and psychologists to help people going through difficult life changes such as drug addiction, divorce or death of loved ones. Marriage counseling is almost mandatory these days at many churches, and having a professional psychologist on staff can therefore turn into a full time position. Christian theological seminaries are great places to learn about human suffering and remedies to assist others on to wholeness. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
Graduates of Christian theological seminaries will find that interaction with those from the branches of Philosophy will be able to intelligently discourse on the minutia and deep tenets of the great philosophers, both secular and non-secular, to help bring together lines of thought for greater understanding between those who have faith and those who do not. Often people with interests in this realm do a high level of research and write scholarly papers for later publication in well-known journals and magazines for public consumption. The pure pleasure of learning may be at the root here, and people who enjoy research this much will become life- long learners.
For the most part, entrance into Christian theological seminaries is attained after having achieved a bachelors or masters degree at another university. The seminary is often considered a graduate school, but there are schools out there providing associates and bachelor degrees as well. More often than not, lower- level degrees are conferred at Bible Colleges instead of seminaries. Bible colleges prepare people to face the secular world head-on, while seminaries prepare those for both secular and non-secular work at a high level. The tuition at Christian theological seminaries of course varies depending on the degree desired and length of study. The longer the course goes the higher the cost. Therefore, the student would be wise to seek out grants and scholarships to pay for the education. Some students may be able to help pay for school via a co-operative work-study arrangement through the school.
People who desire to teach for a living will find excellent preparation at Christian theological seminaries. Teachers graduating from seminaries will find positions in private sector schools all across the nation. Many of these jobs are not high paying, but seek out educators with a love for children, God and who desire to teach as a ministry. The satisfaction for Christian educators can come through serving others. Christian education is a deeply rewarding profession which helps to bring together families and students from various churches that might not otherwise interact on a daily basis. Through this type of ministry, seminaries serve not only the students, but the communities as well.
Younger folks are increasingly becoming interested in pursuing professions in graphic arts. This too can be put to great use within a ministry context, as there are many churches and other ministry-related non-profit entities seeking talented young men and women who can create worship slides and videos for presentation during services. Very large ministries especially seek after people who are adept at handling this type of technology and artistic software on a full-time basis. What a fun profession this could be for an aspiring worship leader or resident graphic artist! Consider a seminary for a great faith-based educational experience. The education will go a long way and last a life time.