By Tiffany Jothen | Published: February 03, 2015
You want to share your faith but aren’t sure how. You’d like to comfort that neighbor in distress but don’t know what to say. Or maybe you’re going into ministry and need tangible, effective ways of encouraging people to tell others about Jesus.
There are other people just like you who found what they were looking for through one of the online training courses at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. They found confidence in sharing their faith, guidance for comforting those in crisis and practical ways to proclaim the Gospel.
“Online study is becoming such a norm now,” said B.J. Rogers, assistant dean of distance learning for the BGEA.
Rogers went to seminary in the ’80s and said back then, “you actually went to seminary.” Now, a few decades later, his son is following in his footsteps, but at least two-thirds of his classes are online.
Each interactive course was developed from lessons learned and tools used over the past 60+ years of Billy Graham’s ministry. Participants learn through videos, quizzes and online discussion forums.
Rogers says these online study opportunities are more cost-effective, more accessible and give people more control over the pace of their learning.
School of Evangelism Online
More than 1,000 people have registered for the School of Evangelism Online since BGEA launched the training in the summer of 2012. Students litter the map, representing 37 countries—most in the United States, but also from places like Taiwan, Qatar, Indonesia, Norway, Germany and Namibia.
One online participant wrote that the training “lit the fire under me to want to witness and to finally feel I have the tools to do so.”
Another spoke of its “simplicity and straightforwardness.”
While the School of Evangelism Online training is particularly beneficial for pastors, missionaries and seminary students who want concrete strategies for proclaiming the Gospel and maintaining their ministry, you don’t have to be in ministry to get something out of it.
“The courses are written in such a way that literally anyone can benefit from them,” Rogers said. “We have people of all stripes going through the courses.”
Lessons feature past sermons from Billy Graham and draw from various Graham family evangelists—Franklin Graham, Will Graham and Anne Graham Lotz—as well as a number of others like Greg Laurie, Ravi Zacharias, John Stott, Ron Hutchcraft and Bill Bright.
Anyone can enroll in the School of Evangelism Online, and for $99, you’ll have six months to complete the training at your own pace.
Liberty University is using the School of Evangelism Online (SOE) as part of its Bachelor of Science in Religion major. Students working toward that degree can take a Christian Evangelism Cognate, which will include all four SOE courses by March.
Eighty-two students are enrolled in the three SOE courses currently available. Students earn three credit hours per course. Montreat College will also start offering all four courses this summer.
Whether you’re a seminary student, church staff member or just want direction for reaching non-Christians, ReIgnite can show you how to share your faith in daily situations and care for new Christians.
One ReIgnite participant saw the course’s five online lessons play out in the real world, explaining, “The Lord let me lead my dad to salvation principally because of this course.”
ReIgnite is an expanded online version of the Christian Life and Witness Course, which is used throughout BGEA. Prior to a Franklin Graham Festival or Will Graham Celebration, many local Christians take this course in person to prepare them for counseling new or questioning Christians at the event. BGEA’s TV Telephone Ministry volunteers, as well as Evangelism Online volunteers, also use this course to equip them for responding to spiritual questions online or by phone.
In the past year, more than 175 people from seven countries have registered for this course. Participants have 90 days to complete the self-paced training, which takes an estimated eight to 10 hours. The course is $49.
Sharing Hope in Crisis
You probably know people who have experienced a tragedy or personal crisis. How can you share God’s hope with them?
That’s something BGEA’s Rapid Response Team is always thinking about. When RRT chaplains deploy to disasters, they look for ways to comfort people who are hurting.
Now you, too, can learn how to provide emotional and spiritual care to those around you. The Sharing Hope in Crisis course offers the same kind of training RRT chaplains receive and is particularly helpful for first responders, pastors or people going into crisis ministry.
“It’s hooked my heart for the hurting,” one participant wrote.
From October to December, 85 people from six countries registered for this course, which teaches participants how to understand trauma, be a good listener and know what to say to someone who’s grieving.
Participants have 90 days to complete the eight-lesson course for $75.
BGEA is also working on a student version of Sharing Hope in Crisis.