By Spencer MacCuish, President
This past Saturday morning a handful of us attended graduation in pajamas.
It was a fitting end to a bizarre semester, culminating in our first ever online commencement ceremony. As much as I would have loved celebrating in person, it was deeply encouraging to see comments pop up from friends, family members, and past students who were watching with me from all around the country. It was impressive to see how a digital experience could still maintain a highly relational feel.
I’ve written at length about the value of online education, but the example of these graduates is far more compelling than any article I can write. Our graduates this year are spread out over 7 different states. Most of them have never set foot on our campus, instead, they stayed home and continued serving their churches and communities while pursuing their education.
Just a quick look at some of our graduates shows exactly what I’m talking about:
- One graduate has spent most of the last decade serving Latino youth in Western Washington.
- One graduate is helping mobilize foster care families in Hawaii.
- One graduate has been involved in ministry to Japan for years, and eventually plans to move there for greater evangelistic work.
- One graduate works full-time as an engineer, and enrolled in online classes to help him better serve his church and co-workers.
- One graduate is beginning a pastoral residency in Austin,Texas.
- Multiple graduates are discipling students in their local church.
- Finally, multiple graduates are continuing their education so they can bring the Gospel into the workplace (Clinical Psychology, Law, etc.)
That’s why we’re committed to online education. Without the flexibility to pursue degrees online, that list would look very different.
This semester, so many college students were forced into an online environment, many of them in a context that was less than stellar, which has led to a skepticism of online/distance learning. Praise God, our students had a different experience. Online education is not plan B for us, it’s been a priority for years, born from our commitment to help the church make disciples.
As I watched the ceremony, I was moved not only by the faithfulness of our students, but also the faithfulness of so many of you who have invested in our students. You’ve given generously, prayed for us, and sent students our way for years. Without your partnership, we wouldn’t have made it this far and we definitely wouldn’t be so well-positioned to weather the storm facing higher education right now.
If you haven’t had the chance, please watch the ceremony and learn more about the class of 2020. We’re also currently trying to raise $20,000 to develop and produce two new online courses to launch this year. Your tax-deducible donation will help us train the next generation of faithful servants, please consider giving today.