Monday, November 5, 2012

Midwestern University now offers Persecution Studies in Mini-Term Format

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BARTLESVILLE, OK (ANS) -- In cooperation with the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU) has created the mini-term version of its award winning Persecuted Church Ministries
In a letter to the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), whose mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth, OKWU explains the Mini-Terms are offered 3 times a year (January, June, and July) and provide advanced learning in the areas of Christian persecution and a biblical response to worldwide suffering.
Each mini-term is a one-week, intensive, three-credit-hour college course that takes place on the campus of OKWU located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The mini-term also includes a service project with VOM at its headquarters in Bartlesville. The tuition cost of this residence program ($150 per credit hour or $450 total) covers housing, books and meals on the campus of OKWU.
OKWU developed the concept of the Mini-Terms to benefit ministry and religion students who are looking for in-depth, advanced courses dealing with biblical teaching on suffering and persecution.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University, in partnership with The Voice of the Martyrs, has developed a one-of-a-kind bachelor's degree with a major in Global Studies.
This unique major may be earned as a stand-alone bachelor degree, or it may be combined with a number of other majors, such as nursing, communication, business, education, or cross-cultural management and languages.
This program challenges students to understand the suffering of Christ's Body, the church, as an extension of the suffering of Jesus Himself, and, therefore, as a source of grace and wisdom (Philippians 3:10). OKWU programs examine political, social, cultural, and economic context of persecution and provide students with practical communication and advocacy skills to use on behalf of today's persecuted and suffering people groups.
The bachelor's program includes practicum and internship experiences, under the direction of The Voice of the Martyrs staff, either in Oklahoma or internationally.
The bachelor degree in Global Studies provides the intellectual and spiritual breadth, as well as, practical skills necessary to those who are called to serve, to minister, to teach, and to speak for the Christian brothers and sisters living and worshiping under restricted or hostile governments.
The program has the following benefits and advantages:
** Gain access to global outreach opportunities.
** Direct collaborations with teaching fellows and guest
speakers from restricted and hostile nations.
** Have face-to-face exchanges with professors who
have working experiences from those nations.
** Deepen your theological understanding of persecution
as participation in the sufferings of Jesus.
** Become a vocal advocate for Christians in restricted
and hostile nations, regardless of your vocation.
** Increase your understanding of the nature of
evangelism in restricted and hostile nations.
** Become a more effective prayer warrior and advocate
for Christians under persecution.
** Develop a biblical worldview on the nature of what it
means to follow Christ in the world today.
Darek Jarmola, a spokesman for the program, said: "We are looking at ways to respond to the need - among academic credit and non-credit seeking individuals - for biblically grounded, systematic, teaching of theology of suffering and persecution.
"We are aiming to offer the most extensive, the most comprehensive, and the most advanced, biblically-based research on suffering and practically grounded it with the current geo-political realities of Christian persecution."
Jarmola told ASSIST News the mini-term is a week-long intensive, residential, program that combines the theological quest for biblical answers to pain and suffering with practical opportunities to serve those Christians who are persecuted right now.
Jarmola said OKWU/VOM offers four stand-alone courses. Each mini-term offers one course worth 3 academic credits (undergraduate or graduate).
"Mini-terms will be offered in January, June, and July. June and July terms are offered back to back, allowing participants to spend two weeks in Bartlesville and earn 6 academic credits. Credits are fully transferable and may be used toward Persecuted Church Ministries major at OKWU," he said.
Jarmola explained the mini-term programs are targeting three groups: college students who want elective credits in persecuted church ministries; High School juniors and seniors who are eligible for concurrent enrollment; and non-credit seeking, nontraditional participants who want to advance their understanding of biblical truth concerning suffering and pain.
He said undergraduate and graduate level credits are available at the end of the program for transfer to home institutions or to OKWU for advanced standing.
Jarmola added: "These mini-terms are designed to be an advanced resource in the areas of Christian persecution and biblical responses to worldwide suffering and injustice. Each mini-term consists of one, week long, intensive, advanced college course."
In addition, the mini-term requirement includes a service project with VOM.
The four tracks offered by the program are:
** God and Government: looks at role of religion in shaping and forming of civil authority in major world nations (includes discussion of ethics of patriotism and civil disobedience). Academic credit transfer options: Theology/Ministry, Religion, Humanities, Politics, Government, Ethics, Philosophy.
** Global Context of Service: looks at developing practical skills for cross cultural communication, living, and service. Academic credit transfer options: Theology/Ministry, Intercultural Studies, Anthropology, Linguistics.
** International Human Rights: Introductory Global Studies course - overview of issues related to suffering, persecution, and human rights in global context. Academic credit transfer options: Theology/Ministry, Religion, Human Rights, Ethics, Intercultural Studies.
** Global Human Suffering: looks at universal and biblical responses to human suffering and persecution (includes assessment of current persecution map). Academic credit transfer options: Theology/Ministry, Religion, Politics, Ethics, Civil Rights, Government, Contemporary Events.
Jarmola said the Global Studies Mini-Term is an academic, as well as, a ministry tool for anyone who wants an advanced level immersion into ministries to the persecuted Christians in the restricted and hostile nations.
All courses and programs offered by Oklahoma Wesleyan University are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Jarmola stressed that the application process takes only a few minutes, and each mini-term is limited to 15 enrollments, so it is important to sign-up early.

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