As I begin my third year in Christian higher education, I am constantly evaluating my teaching philosophy, meth0ds and strategies in the classroom. In the two years that I have been at Campbellsville Univ., I have taught 7 different graduate courses and 8 different undergrad courses. Each of these courses have required me to create and refine my teaching philosophy to that particular course. Most have been face-t0-face, but 6 have been hosted entirely online. I have had to learn, and re-learn, how to teach at the college level.
Many of my students are not going into Christian ministry. Nearly 60% are seeking degrees in other fields but are required to take a basic Christianity courses as part of their general education requirements. These students must check my course off their gen. ed. list. For those who are not believers (roughly 40%), it is my responsibility and calling to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly and openly with them. In the past 2 years, 6 individuals have made professions of faith in Jesus during my Religion in Life course. For those that are believers, my desire is to disciple them in their faith, building it stronger and not destroying it as other academic settings might.
For my Christian ministry students, my teaching philosophy is quite different. I see myself as a Educator/Mentor. I am their older brother in Christ, a fellow disciple, a minister of the Gospel just a few years down the road from them. Undoubtedly, I have to give them grades at the end of every semester. I have to determine if they have learned the content. But more so than anything else, I try to build deep and personal relationships with them. I want to know about their family, their romantic relationships, their church connection, their calling and God-given mission.
These are the students who are regularly invited to our home. These are the ones that I go to coffee with. I stay after class and help them prepare an upcoming sermon or Bible study. I look over and edit their ministry resume. These are the students that I talk with about dating and marriage. My goal is to help them discover how God has uniquely designed them for a specific purpose and task in his kingdom’s work.
Teaching is a calling. I love the calling God has given me. I deeply love my students and pray for them all the time. I see myself as one of their pastors. A guide and shepherd on their spritual journey.
I believe they see my passion and heart-felt love for them, even if they disagree with my grading scale.