Birmingham based McDowell Bible College is offering free* on-line classes for churches. Churches are allowed one non-credit class of up to 30 students for any of the college’s courses scheduled during their three 15-week terms. If a church can provide at least five students, they may select from any of the courses in the college catalog appropriate for their staff or ministerial needs, not just the current term schedule. View course listings at www.McDowellBibleCollege.org. Church students will be provided access to on-line classroom lectures, quizzes and assignments and churches will be provided with their results at the end of the term. To enroll in this program for the coming Spring term, send an email with your requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Churches or students are responsible for the cost of course textbooks and computer and online requirements.
Q&A with McDowell Bible College Founder, Rev. Larry McDowell
Q. What led you to establish McDowell Bible College?
A. A Bible college in the 21st century should train and equip with knowledge all who want to be in service to the Lord, without amassing expensive infrastructure and demanding high tuition. The college first started out as a programming exercise – sort of a challenge. In music ministry for fifty years in piano, organ and occasionally worship leader in military chapels and churches across America, Asia, Latin America and Europe, I was called to pastoral ministry about four years ago. I began training at Luther Rice College and Seminary. Having completed an MA in computer resources management, programmed professionally for 25 years, and teaching at five college and universities on three continents, I was very irritated at the functionality, bugs and flaws in Blackboard. It is used at Luther Rice and 75% of U. S. colleges for on-line training. So, two years ago I sat down and decided to write my own classroom management program. It went so well, that I wrote a college website around it and decided to offer a Bible college that charged about 10% of average fees and tuition. I named it after myself, not for ego, but because I wanted to force myself to make this a quality effort. I can do this because I do not need to pay six figures up to a quarter million annually for Blackboard. We also use qualified faculty and staff, like my wife and myself, who volunteer or will work for low pay as an outreach in preparing workers for the Lord. It is fully on-line, so we do not have a lot of overhead.
Q. Why did you decide to offer free classes for churches as a part of the mission of the College?
A. In pursuing my Doctor of Ministry, I read John Dickerson’s The Great Evangelical Recession. The first half is a dark picture that included the problems of churches to fund their staff at current levels even now, and certainly after the older givers, who tithe better than younger generations, pass away. His solution was to depend more on volunteer lay ministers to do the work. However, the church would be unable to fund their education and if people funded it themselves or amassed education loans, they would need to get salaries to be compensated. Therefore, colleges like mine must step up and provide this education to help churches meet their needs. We also offer some free tuition scholarships to those who cannot afford our low requirements as well.