Do I miss out on the spiritual atmosphere of Bible college by being online? – Rosalie Lopinto, Online Contributor
For students preparing for ministry, this question is a natural one. After all, Northpoint isn’t just about academics but also about the spiritual development of the individual.
I guess it’s safe to say that just like attending church on the web is a bit different from actually being present in a church service and rubbing shoulders with fellow believers, there also is a different dynamic when “attending” college online. Still, that doesn’t mean that a spiritual atmosphere can’t be cultivated by both professors and students as they participate in the online experience.
Here are just a few of the means Northpoint uses to bridge the gap in order to provide online students with a rich spiritual component to their program.
- Wide Range of Learning Experiences – Your online professor is committed to diversified course content, which may include video lectures, interesting links to spiritually and intellectually stimulating material, discussion boards, music, creative projects, and opportunities for reflection on course content.
- Spiritual Formation – A professor will often ask you to reflect in writing on how a course was spiritually formative for you personally. This helps you to really analyze and digest all that you have studied and learned. These reflections also provides valuable insights for the professor which may be incorporated into future course development.
- Student Interaction – In addition to communicating with fellow students and the professor via discussion boards, our learning management system offers the ability to have live conferences, both one-on-one and in groups. This type of interaction is effective in helping the student to go deeper and be affected and changed by the material covered and by the input of the others in the group.
- Committed Professors – Your professors are deeply committed to Christ and have years of experience in ministry settings. They consider their teacher/student relationship with you to be a sacred trust. They are there for you, ready to offer input, answer questions, and make themselves available to you should you need additional help or counsel.
- Committed Students – Northpoint recruits students who are committed to the call of God on their lives. Your commitment to your studies and spiritual development is critical. You will need to be disciplined, but more than that, you will need to be attentive to how God is working in your life as you progress. It is up to you to glean as much as you can from required reading, video lectures, links to compelling content, writing assignments, and creative projects. You have decided that online classes are what work best for you and your lifestyle at this time, but that doesn’t mean that this mode of study requires any less diligence than if you were in the classroom. You will get out of your courses what you put into them.
- Community – When students participate in an online course together, they essentially become a small community. The opportunities you have to interact with one another can be powerful experiences! Your shared insights will benefit each other enormously. You may even find yourself having the opportunity to pray for a classmate, or in some way offer wisdom or encouragement that will be a great blessing. Online does not have to mean a lack of community! Long distance friendships can be developed. As part of this Christian community, you are linking arms through cyberspace with new brothers and sisters in Christ with whom you will share eternity!
Your walk with Christ is an adventure, and He will lead you into many avenues to teach you, train you, develop you, encourage you, and guide you on the path He has prepared for you. In this process, He will also use you. When you think of your online education, think of it as one more open door for you to walk through to both give and receive all that God intends.
“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you’” (Psalm 32:8).