“Consider getting your Bible training online.”
The world of education has changed considerably thanks to new technologies. A growing number of Bible schools, colleges, and universities offer online classes and in some cases whole degrees which you can pursue online. Such a strategy will allow you to take classes without leaving your job, ministry, or city. Some missionaries take Bible classes while they are raising their support and preparing to go, and/or take classes while they are on the field.
Recognize, though, that online classes still require an investment of time and money; if you are taking classes and working full-time you will have to give up something else. Those in traditional residential programs often have fewer distractions or responsibilities to juggle. A program of study which could be completed in a year or two in residence may take you four or six years to complete when pursued online one class at a time.
Most of the classes have start and end dates. Some make use of online chats, group assignments, and other strategies that help students work together and persevere to the end – something with which many struggled in the days when independent, self-paced correspondence courses were more the norm.
Answer from Marti, an AskaMissionary editor with twenty years of mission agency experience.
Taking Bible courses by correspondence requires much personal initiative. (I did most of my M.Div. through correspondence and several courses toward a doctoral program, and I know the amount of discipline required.) There are numerous possibilities for Bible correspondence programs. In WEC we do accept those who have done much, most, or on some occasions all of their Bible requirements by correspondence.
In almost every case you should take correspondence courses for credit that are college-level. There is one exception. We and some other agencies accept non-credit courses from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. These are easier and cheaper, but they are good.
Will secular schools accept Bible credits? Some will. My daughter transferred from a Christian liberal arts college to Temple University in Pennsylvania. She was surprised to find that Temple allowed her Bible courses as electives. The only way to find out if a particular college does is to ask.
What we find as a great obstacle for potential missionaries is huge debt from college. By going to a secular university you may be able to minimize this. I encourage you to think of working hard during summers and breaks, being on a work program at the university, and trying for all the debts and scholarships you can. Do all you can to avoid debt.
Answer from David Smith, director of mobilization with WEC International. David has served for twenty-five years in West Africa and at WEC USA headquarters.
“Consider an Australian option.”
Moore Theological College, the Anglican college in Sydney, offers a Th.C. (certificate of theology) by correspondence. It’s a well regarded course and available is several languages.
Answer from Andrew in Australia.