New Program Responds to Needs of Others

April 6, 2020

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which means it can feel a bit odd to talk about new and exciting things happening within the Kairos Project. As I write this, several small businesses are completing their applications for loans made available through the CARES Act. I know several seminaries and churches are doing the same.

We are in the midst of paradigmatic change.

In the middle of this change, we are searching for ways to walk alongside those God places in our care. Whether by providing telemental health services through Sioux Falls Psychological Services, praying with students who are losing jobs or facing challenges in their congregations, or offering help to partners around the world, we are looking for ways to be responsive to the needs of others.

In many ways, that desire to be responsive was the original catalyst behind the launch of the Kairos Project. In our very first article on the Project, I shared that traditional approaches to education had, in many instances, created a system of theological education that was prohibitively expensive, lacked integration, and was disconnected from day-to-day life and ministry.

In response, we sought to develop something that was affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.

About two years ago, several people in our network began asking if we could provide undergraduate degrees through the Kairos Project. In response, we developed relationships with several colleges and universities in order to create educational journeys that could blend a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with a Master of Divinity degree, thereby creating a pathway for students to complete both degrees in five years.

While several students took advantage of those partnerships, the vast majority of students, partner organizations, churches, and parents we spoke with continued to ask if we could do a full BA degree through Kairos. Their reasons for asking were very similar to the reasons that led to the launch of Kairos in 2014: 1) undergraduate education is prohibitively expensive, 2) there seems to be a disconnect between traditional approaches to undergraduate education and the reality facing young adults, and 3) students pursuing a ministry vocation struggled to find programs that fully integrated faith, ministry, and learning.

After receiving a grant from a foundation which included funding for developing an accredited undergraduate program, we began exploring what could be possible. We talked with students, churches, and ministry partners around the world. Those conversations reinforced our commitment to developing a system of education that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful.

After a two-year process of discernment, we are excited to launch a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Thought and Practice and an Associate of Arts in Christian Thought and Practice! I will share much more about the program next week, but let me share a few highlights today.

1) The program can be completed from anywhere in the world and is designed to integrate with a student’s local vocational context through the guidance of a mentor team and learning experiences crafted by high-quality faculty.

2) Tuition is $300/month – this means if a student finishes the program in four years the total cost of tuition will be $14,400.

3) Students will not only participate in courses led by top-notch faculty; they will also develop deep relationships with their fellow students through something called Huddles.

4) Through the Kairos Project, students will have access to a vast network of learning experiences provided by partners from around the world.

Our prayer is that by responding to the needs of those God has placed in our care, we will be faithful participants in his mission. We didn’t create a new degree program in order to get more revenue or expand our reach. We created a discipleship journey that we pray is affordable, accessible, and relevant while remaining faithful to the unshakable truth of God’s word.

Come back next week to hear more about the program’s design, the unique opportunities it provides, and how you can join us as we lean into this new initiative.

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