Stories of Degree Students

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equipped for ministry

Feeling Equipped for Ministry

A recent graduate of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, Patrick Mwongera reflects on his time at Christian Leaders Institute and the ways in which the courses and training have made him feel equipped for ministry in the future.

Fear and Uncertainty

I discovered CLI in 2013. With lots of excitement, I enrolled in the first course, but stopped halfway after someone discouraged me from pursuing the studies. They claimed that seminaries are bad for serious ministers. In 2016, things took quite a different turn and it was a dark day in our country for the cause of Christ. Our hearts melted with fear and uncertainty. The Government of Kenya passed a law that had a direct impact on how to run a church in Kenya. One of these requirements was that a minister of the gospel MUST have a theological degree to be allowed to practice ministry in Kenya. The law introduced hefty penalties such as time in jail if these conditions were breached.

Proper Ministry Training

It was a gloomy future for most men and women who were called into ministry in our country – including myself. Global statistics on higher education state that more than 90% of the world does not have access to higher education. As president Reyenga puts it, the reason much of the population is locked out of higher education or a college degree is because of the high fees required to attain a degree.

My feelings about this were torn between two good things. We all know that a lack of proper ministry training has been the cause of many bad things that have happened in the church worldwide, including in my own country. On the other hand, I knew that there are so many men of God who did so well in ministry without higher education. Men of God like Dwight L. Moody and most importantly many of the Apostles did not possess degrees. However, what they did with the help of Godly mentoring stands out in history.

To put it politely, my ministry dream vanished before my very eyes. I gave up on ever going back into ministry. I suddenly remembered CLI, but as soon as I did, my heart sank. At this time, I did not think CLI was offering any degree programs. Nevertheless, I decided to check it out. It was beyond my wildest dreams: CLI was offering degrees! A Bachelor of Divinity degree was among them, and I cannot explain the joy that I felt!

Equipped for Ministry

This training has equipped me for ministry. I have come to appreciate the way our professors lecture. They are not simply giving us knowledge, but rather imparting the faith! When I started at CLI, I did not know what was ahead of me. Having gone through all the courses; my Christian faith, walk with God, ministry, and business have all been greatly impacted. These professors love God with undivided devotion. They are dedicated to the covenant of marriage to their wives and their service to the Lord for so many years. And yet, their devotion and perception of God has remained unchanged and untainted by the current trends among the learned theologians.

This has been the greatest impartation I have gained thus far. As I was listening to them, my faith grew significantly. They are defenders of the faith and this hit me so hard. I had to change the way I preached the gospel, how I read the Bible, and how I relate to the preaching of others. Many of my friends in ministry and life have noticed the change.  CLI made me more aware of the mistakes I have made in my preaching and general ministry career.

I’m eternally grateful to CLI. I must confess, the bible became alive when I got into Biblical interpretation. Although the videos did not have transcripts, I drank in every word of like a hungry-and-dying man. The tours through the biblical sites were the most amazing journey I have ever taken. His interpretations left me longing for the next video and the next site tour. I waited with great earnestness for the next site and its interpretation.

Ministry Dream

I became a pastor at the age of 24 after I went through a certificate ministry training that prepared me for leadership. However,  this training did not include subjects like Hermeneutics or Biblical Interpretation among many more things that I have studied at CLI. After serving for 13 years in different capacities with my denomination, I quit the ministry. This is a long story, but the short version is that I burned out.

Without anyone by my side to help me navigate, the ministry dream became blurry. Things have really changed since then. At the onset of the studies, President Reyenga asked “what’s your dream?” and later, questions from Professor Elzinga awakened in me the desire to serve again. It was through these personal probing questions that I had to be honest with myself. My purpose became clear and I had to study to be equipped to train other revival leaders.

I am graduating as a different man. I know exactly what I want to do with my training, and how to do things that a servant of the Lord should know and do. No longer will I leave the work I should do to the Holy Ghost, but will do my work and allow the Holy Ghost to do his part. I’m his well-equipped partner in the assigned field, the ‘sphere of influence’ as Larry put it in his Developing House Church class. In the next few days, I will be going for a season of prayer and fasting to plan the planting of a house church in our community with the intention of growing it to become a community church within one year.

Opportunity to Serve

Studying at the institute been the best moment of my life. I have become deeply engaged with CLI’s mandate and vision through monthly Vision Partnership; and now I am also privileged to serve as a volunteer in growing CLI in my home country of Kenya. We have made major leaps in growing CLI here. Our main work is to motivate the students and uplift those who have stagnated in their studies. Through this initiative, we have seen more and more start their studies again. The number of enrollments has also risen significantly. I’m glad to say that at last CLI has given me an opportunity to serve and use the training I have received to impact my generation and my nation.

Literacy Courses

Literacy Courses

The CLI program seeks to adequately prepare students for their desired level of study.

Due to CLI offering courses on the World Wide Web, CLI has experienced individuals who may need to strengthen their English language before taking classes at CLI. CLI offers 3 different literacy courses to ensure students are well prepared to study at CLI.

English Literacy for Beginners 1:

This course is designed to bring the student from zero English Reading and Writing skills to a 3rd-grade level. The course also teaches students how to teach English proficiency to others. The class teaches students good test-taking skills.

English Literacy for Beginners 2: This course is designed to bring the student from a 4th grade level in English reading and writing skills to a 6th-grade level. This class will help advance English vocabulary, literacy, and proficiency. The course also teaches students how to teach English proficiency to others. The class teaches students good test-taking skills.

English Literacy for Beginners 3: This course is designed to bring the student from a 7th grade level in English reading and writing skills to mid-high school level. This class will help advance English vocabulary, literacy, and proficiency. The course also teaches students how to teach English proficiency to others. The class teaches students good test-taking skills.


Christian Leaders Institute is affiliated with the Christian Leaders Family of ministries and Websites;

Christian Leaders NFP (Ministries) Family

Christian Leaders Institute is a program and subsidiary of the Christian Leaders Ministries, which includes the Christian Leaders Institute, Christian Leaders Institute, and Christian Leaders Alliance (CLA).

Important note: Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Institute share the same educational platform. All students start at the Christian Leaders Insitute. They are allowed to enroll in the free college-level courses offered by the Christian Leaders Institute. In order to receive college credit for those free courses, they need to be accepted into the Christian Leaders Institute.

Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) (You are at the college website)

Christian Leaders Institute is the collegiate credential arm of Christian Leaders Ministries.  Christian Leaders Institute seeks to maintain the standards of accredited programs.

  • Christian Leaders Institute is seeking to comply with the 24 standards of accreditation.
  • Christian Leaders Institute has Applicant Status with the ABHE Association for Biblical Higher Education. Click here for details. 

Christian Leaders Alliance (CLA)

CLA provides you with a local minister licensing or ordination option with global recognition. Free studies at CLI, where you earn mission credentials, are all that you need for the ordination process. Your credentials at Christian Leaders Institute are also welcomed. Life Coach Minister Credentials are also available through the Christian Leaders Alliance.

Ignite Restoration

The American criminal justice system incarcerates almost 2.3 million people. There are 840,000 people on parole and a staggering 3.7 million people on probation. Christian leaders are being raised up inside prisons and outside of jails to proclaim the light to those in darkness.

Ignite Restoration is one of the Christian Leaders Ministries whose goal is to mobilize restorative justice leaders through training and ordination. Ignite Restoration is piloting the launch of the New Life Card. This restoring reputation card is a possible tool for local ministries to serve justice individuals.

Brian DeCook heads this Christian Leaders Ministry from Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Spanish Christian Leaders Institute – Instituto de Líderes Cristianos

Over 400 million people speak Spanish in the world. There is an excellent openness to the light of the gospel.

Since 2016, Spanish Christian Leaders Institute has been reaching Spanish speaking Christian leaders with free ministry training classes. Thousands of Christian leaders are enrolling, hundreds have graduated. See Spanish Directory

One World Nations Spanish Language Table

Spanish Speaking Countries in Africa
Equatorial Guinea
Spanish Speaking Countries in the Americas and the Caribbean
Argentina Bolivia Chile
Colombia Costa Rica Cuba
Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador
Guatemala Honduras Mexico
Nicaragua Panama Paraguay
Peru Puerto Rico United States
Uruguay Venezuela
Spanish is the official language** in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Chinese Christian Leaders Institute

In 2016, the Chinese Global reach began. Nearly one billion people speak Chinese. The opportunity for global impact is increasing as Chinese is spoken in a significant area of Asia.

Over 12 free ministry training classes have been developed, and many more are planned. Chinese ministry training classes are usually done by distinguished Chinese professors.

One World Nations Chinese Language Table

Chinese Speaking Countries in Asia
China Hong Kong Macau
Tibet (Tibet Autonomous Region within PR China) Singapore Taiwan (Republic of China)
Countries with a significant number of Chinese speaking population (more than 5 million)
Indonesia (Java and Bali) Malaysia (Peninsular) Thailand
Mandarin is an official spoken language in China, Taiwan and Singapore. Cantonese is an official spoken language in Hong Kong and Macau.

Russian Christian Leaders Institute

In 2018, four free ministry training classes were developed for the Russian Language. The plan for 2019 is to develop four more ministry training classes. Over 150 million people speak Russian. The urgent goal is to mobilize Russian Christians who are scattered through out the world.

Most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, Russian is spoken in RussiaBelarusKazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, the official (or co-official) language in 4 countries (ISO), spoken in 31 countries (E). Source

French Christian Leaders Institute

In 2014-2017 over twelve ministry training classes were offered to the French-speaking world. French Christian Leader Institute features free classes. The classes developed by Dr. Paul Mpindi are available to French-speaking Christian Leaders worldwide.

The need for trained ministry leaders in French Africa is urgent.

One World Nations French Speaking Table

Francophone countries of the world. List of countries where French is native language, or French is regularly in use.
French-Speaking Countries in Europe
France Belgium Luxembourg
Monaco Switzerland
French-Speaking Countries in Africa
Algeria Benin Burkina Faso
Burundi Cameroon The Central African Republic
Chad Comoros The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Congo, Republic of the Côte d’Ivoire Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea Gabon Guinea
Madagascar Mali Mauritius
Morocco Niger Réunion
Rwanda Senegal Seychelles
Togo Tunisia
French-Speaking Countries in the Americas and the Caribbean
Canada French Guiana Guadeloupe
Haiti Martinique
French-Speaking Countries in Australia and the Pacifics
French Polynesia New Caledonia Vanuatu
French is the official language** in Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu.


grateful to live freely

Grateful to Live Freely as a Believer

For the last two years, Brittany Sutton has immersed herself in growing and developing as a biblical student at Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Institute. As a recent graduate of the Associate of Divinity degree program, her story emphasizes how much she is grateful to live freely as a believer in Christ. 

Go Against the Grain

My youth pastor had a powerful impact on me when I was in high school. He changed the way that I looked at what it meant to be a Christian in the twentieth century. He challenged me to go against the grain and not be like every other teenager. For the first time in my Christian walk, I felt like I “belonged” as a believer. He built a family of teenagers that weren’t ashamed to represent Jesus everywhere we went. As an arising senior, I felt in my spirit that I should attend ministerial school. But there was still a part of me that feared the road less traveled.

While my classmates began applying to colleges and taking the SATs, I became caught up in the excitement of attending a university and participating in college life. I let the dream of formal biblical education become smothered. But that dream was never far from my heart. While the majority of my fellow students were going to football parties and raves, I joined Campus Crusade for Christ. I also joined the college ministry of my local church, and continued to pursue God throughout my adult life.

Bucket List

Almost twenty years later, while traveling with my best friend, we discussed what was on our “bucket lists”. Without even knowing that the words would come out of my mouth, I said, “To go to ministry school”. On the surface, I had completely forgotten that had ever been an aspiration of mine. My friend challenged me to go for it. It would have been easy to dismiss it as fantasy and go on about my life. In the midst of searching for a new position, saving for and researching the purchase of my first home, and helping my youngest sister with her first child, the Holy Spirit would not let me forget. In the fall of 2018, I enrolled in Christian Leaders Institute (CLI).

Biblical Principles

Without a doubt, I can say that my life has changed for the better since embarking on formal Christian education. It seemed that the more I studied and the more classes I took, the more difficult situations my friends and family sought counsel. Rather than being timid in responding or taking a worldly stance, I have been able to provide insight based on sound biblical principles. Since those in my circle know that I have been training for such instances, my advice has more weight. I have enjoyed learning so much that the time has flown by. My favorite classes have been Apologetics, Church History, and People Smart for Ministry.

The approach taught by Dr. Feddes opened my eyes to the perspectives of non-Christians, and his directives for responding to having my faith challenged were enlightening. Church History opened my eyes to the many unsung heroes of the faith. Conceptually, I understood that martyrdom was not unique to biblical times. Studying story after story of believers from many different backgrounds and depths they went to in furthering the gospel tested my thought process. It also made me more thankful to live in a time and place where I can freely serve the Lord and share my faith. People Smart for Ministry was so practical in spelling out guidelines for relating to and treating people from all walks of life. In particular, those who are sensitive and struggling.

Grateful to Live Freely

I do not have aspirations of taking on a formal ministerial role. However, I embarked upon this journey because I wanted to know God and His heart more deeply. I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the roles of believers in the modern world and expand my capacity to share the gospel in my everyday life. The Associates degree program has challenged me to think and live beyond myself. In many ways, my perspective has changed. Both as it relates to what a Christian life should look like, as well as being able to see more clearly how non-Christians look at and relate to Christians.

I have also gained a greater appreciation for my life. It is easy to get weighed down by the day-to-day, or to have tunnel vision when it comes to your own problems. I have become increasingly grateful to live freely as a believer. I am also grateful to be largely protected from the emotional turmoil that stems from not living life God’s way. Also, for the men and women of God who have sown biblical wisdom into my life.

Pressing Forward

While my formal biblical education is coming to a close, I will continue to press forward to the mark of the high calling of Jesus. I am looking forward to taking additional courses through CLI and regularly attending church services. Also, participating in Bible studies and pursuing being closer to God. I also look forward to additional opportunities to share my testimony, faith walk, and all the wonderful teaching that I have gleaned through my studies with CLI.

What My Mom Taught Me

When I received my Officiant Minister Ordination, one of my sisters said to me that she wishes that our mom was still alive to hear about it, because she would be so proud of me. That statement was bittersweet. What my mom taught me above anything else was to follow God with all my heart. Unbeknownst to me, she used to tell her friends that I was the one who prayed in our family, and that I was still going to church faithfully in my twenties. Before my mom passed away, I had received both Bachelors and Master’s degrees in business. But that wasn’t what she bragged about – she bragged about my walk with God.

I would love for her to be here to share the news that I have completed a degree in ministry. What I can do is take every lesson about the Lord that she taught me and her dream that I would follow God all the days of my life. I can continue to pursue God and serve. Thank you to each instructor for their teaching and exams, which brought focus and clarity into my life. I hope that many more students have the opportunity to experience life-changing biblical teaching through CLI.

made possible by God's Plan

Made Possible by God’s Plan

In 2015, Clayton Moore first began studying at Christian Leaders Institute. Five years later, he is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program. Read on to hear how his journey has been made possible by God’s plan for him all along! 

The Entire Story

I had a frustrating experience in church one Sunday morning. I cannot recall precisely what the minister was talking about; likely because I was so caught off guard when he abruptly ended his message after about fifteen minutes. As everyone prepared for communion, I could not shake off the fact that I was waiting for the rest of the story; (his sermon). I’m sorry to say that this had become the worst experience in church I have ever had. I left church that day in such amazement, even as my wife was telling me to “let it go”. I could not let it go that day and truthfully, I am still very perplexed. However, this experience clarifies extraordinarily the value that Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) brings to its students every single day. I have never been left ‘holding the bag’ so-to-speak by any class at the Institute or the College.

It was also this experience that made me realize how, to me at least, church came off as being little more than a pageantry of ceremonies. Church had become little more than a Broadway Stage Show, with the focus on all the music, singing,  announcements, ceremonies, and precessions. I’m not naïve, however. I certainly realize that this church does not reflect the whole of Christ’s body. Christian Leaders Institute provides the entire story. It also has successfully created an environment that filters away virtually all denominational biases. It trims off the unnecessary fat and presents the meat of the topic at hand.

Online College Experience

Even though I have been studying “online,” I feel more connected, in a personal way, to other CLI students and some of the staff. I know the reservation that some have toward a completely online college experience. Others question the effectiveness of courses and the weighing of a certificate or degree. However, I also see how much of the lack of acceptance is waning as we move forward in a post-coronavirus world. I was utterly amazed when I first happened across CLI on the internet. And it has been nothing but extended blessings ever since I enrolled. With virtually all students around the world currently doing 100% of their school/college work online, suddenly the hesitation to be accepting of online schooling and its credentials seems to be disappearing. If I dare say it, I have no problem being a CLI Apologist.

Another great testament to Christian Leaders Institute I’ve discovered is the number of people beginning studies here that are already ordained ministers and have been so for many years. I feel them wanting to either refresh their work through the continuing education courses or learn something that may have been outside their own little circles throughout the years.

The Impact of CLI

Although he did not expect the impact that Christian Leaders Institute would have on him, it was completely made possible by God’s plan for him and his life.

I sincerely never thought that CLI would have the impact on me that it has had. I am ministering to hundreds of people each day in different ways. My passion to preach Jesus as the Christ has never been more alive as it is now and with all I have learned since I first enrolled in Christian Leaders Institute. I know that during my journey, CLI has also been growing and not only in the number of courses it offers. The school is becoming focused on interacting in a more personal way, as much as possible with its students. The addition of Christian Leaders Institute and its impending accreditation helps to invite even more people to study.

Encouragement, I learned over the past 55 plus years, does not in many ways find its way to people. So, it’s sometimes not easily accepted when it is given. It is a pleasure to deal with and in some cases chat with the CLI staff throughout the day. They have all been such an encouraging force behind me, standing in the wings.

Connecting With Students

I also am very appreciative of CLI giving me the opportunity to volunteer. I pray that I am making a positive impact in the role they have blessed me to be in. CLI has been such a blessing to me. It allows me to gain experience every day through corresponding with CLI students. Each day, I reach out to between 40 and 50 students a day offering congratulations. I also reach out and welcome every new student. I get to connect with myriad of the students via Facebook, answering questions, pointing them in the right direction, and in some cases even asked to counsel on course paths and ministry career decisions. In other words, a School Counselor, if you will.

I love connecting with and hearing back from the myriad students around the world. It’s truly amazing how CLI connects all of us in a ministerial bond. This in itself touches me because I always enjoy meeting people outside of my own little world. From Africa to China, from Germany to Italy, India, and beyond, I get to chat with other students. I offer some advice here and there (as someone who has been through the CLI experience), encourage them, and share the word of God.

Made Possible by God’s Plan

So, how does my journey and everything I have learned with CLI manifest in my daily life? I make a concerted effort each day to pray and ask God to glorify His name and the name of my Lord Jesus to all the world. Everything we do, everything we learn, share, and teach all comes down to ensuring that Jesus and God are glorified. I also remind myself that if the work of Jesus is not touching me and making an impact on my life and family, then it is not touching and making an impact on those I share Him with.

Everything I have learned and accomplished while studying here at CLI, was made possible by God’s plan for me, not my own. Throughout the past decade and half, as I can see it now in hindsight. God was surely calling the shots the entire time. This is evidenced by all the people He put along my path to not only get me back to Him, but to make me, yes me, a disciple of Jesus and to share Him and His work with anyone I can. I could not have reached this place in my life without Christian Leaders Institute, without the encouragement of my wife and family, and with God making it all possible.

by the grace of God

Achieving Her Goal by the Grace of God

As a 57-year-old  student of Christian Leaders Institute (CLI), Martha Brabaek’s dream goal was to obtain an Associate in Enterprise Degree by 2020. Although she has never taken any college-level courses until now, the time has come for her to achieve this lofty goal by the grace of God.

Answer to Prayers

Christian Leaders Institute was an answer to my prayers. I asked the Lord to allow me to go to school to obtain a degree from a Christian educational institution. However, I was quickly stopped by the massive expense to enroll in any of the Christian Universities located in Colorado. As I look back, I see that God’s timing is always perfect. By the grace of God, Christian Leaders Institute been a great fit for me and my financial situation. I would not have been able to consistently attend a traditional brick-and-mortar university. I am a home-schooling mother and it would have been difficult for me to attend college courses in-person.

By The Grace of God

After I realized I could not attend a local Christian university, God compelled me to do an extensive internet search for an online Christian college. By the grace of God, I found my beloved Christian Leaders Institute and College. The education I have received through this program has been of the highest level. I have only praise and gratitude for what the Lord has provided through these nearly two years of study. As a result of the flexible on-line format, I have been able to maintain a consistent pace of learning. Sometimes I have studied on my phone in my car, and other times in the middle of the night at my home. Regardless of the time and place of study, it has been an enriching experience.

Supportive Staff

Another aspect that has been outstanding is the support that the staff has provided. The Christian Leaders Institute staff has had to put up with many questions and a few missteps on my part. They have always been gracious and supportive beyond words. As a new student, this was an encouragement to me and helped me press on even when I was discouraged.

Impactful Classes

As I look back over the last several months, I have been pleasantly surprised that every class has applied to my life. Each class has been a blessing, and the Lord has used what I have learned in wonderful ways. Some of the most important facets of what I have learned have been the improvement to my Christian walk.

The classes in Christian leadership have made the biggest impact in my day-to-day life. Those studies were outstanding, and I have been able to apply what I have learned. First and foremost, I have applied it in my household with my family, and secondly in the public arena through my volunteer work. I have gained confidence in my ability to deal with people in a Christian manner, even in difficult circumstances. I feel able to represent our Lord as a true Christian Ambassador because of the classes I have taken.

Challenges Along the Way

Additionally, during my educational journey, an unexpected pair of situations arose earlier this year that challenged me in many ways. I have seen where the Lord prepared my heart through the various Christian leadership classes that I had previously taken. In January, I learned that I needed a complete hip replacement. This was both shocking and unexpected. As I was investigating the best way to have the procedure done, the worldwide bombshell of COVID-19 dropped. As a result of the complete shutdown of nearly everything, my surgery was put on hold along with many other things.

Through it all, our Lord has been merciful. He has kept my eyes on Him and on continuing the completion of my education. Praise God for His steadfastness and the strength He provides to His children! Romans 8:28 says that, “we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (NIV). God is always looking after us and we can be confident that His precious promises to all of his children are always for our good.

Looking Ahead

I can definitely say this has been one of the best experiences I have had in my life as a Christian. Overall, I am so grateful to God for the strong desire He has placed in me to continue my educational pursuits at my age. If it is God’s will, I plan to sign up to obtain the Bachelor of Christian Leadership with Christian Leaders Institute this fall. I will possibly even push beyond that point to pursue a Master’s degree in Christian leadership! I do not know what the Lord has in store for my future. However, I can rest assured it is going to be good, and probably thrilling as well!


planted in good soil

Planted in Good Soil

As a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, William Arnold shares the impact of being firmly planted in the good soil of God’s Word.

Good Soil

What an incredible journey it has been at Christian Leaders Institute (CLI)! I started my studies at CLI three years ago after having previously attended a “brick & mortar” Bible College. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew God led me here, and where God leads there is always blessing. When I think of studying at CLI the word “Growth” is what stands out most in my mind. The Parable of the Sower is such a good analogy for CLI. I think of the seeds in the Parable like students looking for fertile ground to grow in. Not only do they grow strong and healthy when they are planted in good soil, but they “grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times” (Mark 4:20). Jesus explained the Word of God is the soil. The multiplication is at the heart of the great commission. That is CLI’s core mission and has been true of my studies: growing in the Word of God and becoming a revival leader to multiply Jesus’ disciples.

Biblical Growth

Every CLI course is planted in good soil: God’s Word. One of the wonderful things I found in many courses was scripture memorization. I have been led many times to share scripture that I knew because of CLI courses. There are a few keys I have taken away from my study of the Bible at CLI. One is a deeper understanding of the word itself in Dr. Feddes Theology courses. Another is a better understanding of the background of Biblical times in courses like Old and New Testament history and Biblical Interpretation. The third are tools to pull out some of the deeper context such as Hermeneutics and Exegesis. Overall, my growth in Biblical understanding and developing a Biblical worldview have increased tremendously during my time at CLI.

Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is where Biblical knowledge becomes Biblical application. I found many courses focused on the spiritual life itself as a result of being planted in good soil. I think this is one way theology has been such a blessing: it teaches the real-life application of the scripture. In my studies, courses that specifically focus on the daily Spiritual walk have been abundant at CLI. The course in Prayer and the course on Evangelism were both particularly impactful. As a result of those courses, both my prayer life and ability to evangelize have been sharpened.

Digging Deeper

I have also been challenged to think more deeply about my beliefs. Sometimes, those of us raised in the Church simply accept what we’re told, even if it’s basic like the belief in God. Although we are planted in good soil, sometimes that root isn’t as deep as it could be because we never dig deeper.

When I think of a challenging course Dr. Clouser’s “How Can We Know God Exists” course quickly comes to mind. For those of us who believe in God, it seems like a preposterous question to even ask. But as revival leaders it’s one we should ask, because the world does ask. This course asked me to think about what I believed and why I believe it. This has deepened my spiritual walk, and now I encourage other believers to think about why they hold certain beliefs. This, too, is part of the parable of the sower. It says, “Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Mark 4:16-17). CLI has encouraged me to grow much deeper roots and to challenge others to do the same.

Ministry Growth

This is an of the area of growth I have appreciated the most at CLI. It is also part of what makes the course of study for a Bachelor of Divinity Degree unique. There are many ways a Christian can grow spiritually and in biblical knowledge. Good Bible studies, books, sermons, retreats, and many other ways – but most of these opportunities don’t focus on vocational or bi-vocational ministry.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about the one who produces a crop of 100, 60, or 30 fold increase (Matt 13:23). I think about why some produce 30 fold and why others produce 100 fold. I ask myself: wouldn’t God want us all to produce maximum results for His Kingdom? If the answer is yes, and I believe it is, then what makes the difference in our yield? Just like Jesus raising up his own twelve disciples to lead the Church, ministry training and discipleship at CLI has raised the effectiveness of my ministry several fold.

There are also excellent nuts and bolts classes teaching how to organize and run a ministry effectively. Professor Elzinga’s Management by the Book provided practical leadership lessons that I immediately applied week after week. In fact, several issues and opportunities for growth in my Church would seem to come up right after I had finished a lesson. I was able to effectively work through those challenges as a direct result of the teachings that week.

What’s Next

In one of the first courses I took at CLI, Pastor Reyenga asked the profound question: “what is your Ministry dream?”, and I’ve prayerfully considered that question throughout my studies here. In part, my dream is to be the most effective bi-vocational minister possible. This is why I believe the Lord led me to CLI in the first place, and has blessed my ministry with increasing effectiveness as I’ve grown in the good soil here. I also plan to continue to take courses offered by CLI and continue to support CLI’s work as a Vision Partner.

As an alumni, I plan to complete the Christian Leaders Volunteer class and find ways to help other students follow their ministry dreams. I am also prayerfully considering continuing onto my Master’s degree at one of the graduate schools CLI has partnered with. Finally, I dream of starting a mentor center at my church to help give in-person support to upcoming revival leaders. One of the best ways to increase the harvest is to use the principles of discipleship and multiplication.

Those are some specific goals, but my biggest ministry dream is to allow that dream to evolve as the Lord continues to grow me in my faith and walk. The Professors in the courses didn’t just share information, they shared their hearts and stories of their lives and ministry journeys. It was a blessing to hear how their own ministries had evolved in ways they couldn’t have imagined. I pray that above all else, I’m open to what God has in store as he uses me, planted in good soil, to plant His seeds in fertile ground.

Life Forever Changed

A Life Forever Changed

Almost a year ago, Shaun Davis’ life was forever changed in the blink of an eye.  As he nears the completion of his Bachelor of Divinity degree, he reflects on the new directions that God has taken him in and the second chance that he received. 

Life Forever Changed

On June 9, 2019, I nearly died from a motorcycle crash. My life was forever changed. I was lucky not to be paralyzed, let alone die. I have been an athlete my entire life – running is my favorite. According to doctors, I will never run again. I use a cane part-time. Faced with a long recovery, I needed something to focus on. I did not want depression to claim me. The Lord was with me, so I knew I would be okay.

I was still in the hospital when I found Christian Leaders Institute online and signed up for some courses for self-enrichment. I wanted something positive and constructive to do with my down time. Not long after, I felt like I was being led to do something different with my life, so I signed up for college. I am now at the end of my journey, and I will soon have my degree! These courses have had a profound effect on my life, and I think differently now. I have a deeper understanding of God and what is written in the Bible.  My plan is to be ordained through the church that I attend as a Deacon Minister. I would also like to be ordained as a Chaplain through Christian Leaders Alliance.

Long-Range Plans

Occasionally, our Head Pastor has had me deliver the Communion Message. He has also asked me to deliver my personal testimony message when we are meeting after the COVID-19 restrictions are rescinded. The Associate Pastor has asked me to accompany him on some hospital visits. I also plan to learn some Chaplain duties from our local American Legion Chaplain. Currently, I am the substitute Sunday Bible School Teacher. The long-range plan is for me to take over for the current teacher who wants to focus on youth. I will be retiring from my career in corrections in the next one to three years. I would like to work with current inmates as well as former inmates. With my experience, I believe that I could make a difference in their lives. I plan to finish the Restorative Justice classes that CLI offers in the next little while.

Ultimate Calling

The combination of my life experience, work experience, and the classes that I have taken will be valuable tools to use for these endeavors that I wish to undertake. I am a busy person who needs to stay busy in retirement, so I chose volunteer work. Not only do I enjoy teaching, but I also like working with inmates. I have had ample opportunity to do both. About five years ago, I returned home to Jesus as the prodigal son. I changed a lot about myself and the way I treat others, and it did not go unnoticed at work.

I have had numerous inmates come to me for advice, so I felt like a counselor at times. Many of them have told me that I should switch to a correctional counselor instead of a job foreman. I know that I have made a difference in some of their lives, but I would like to do more. It feels as if my ultimate calling is to work with these offenders: I want to help them have self-confidence, a productive life, and faith in Jesus.

I plan to continue taking CLI courses for my own self-enrichment. Even though I am almost finished with my degree, I want to keep my mind sharp! These courses make a great daily bible study program. Not only do I envision these courses benefitting me in whatever endeavor that I undertake, but they are enriching my personal life. In turn, this affects my friends, family, and co-workers. Everyone notices the changes, and some are curious to know what is different about me.

New Direction

Since my near fatal accident, almost a year past, I have heard the same few comments spoken by so many people: “How do you stay so positive?”; “Why aren’t you angry or depressed?”; “Why aren’t you suing them?”;  “You look happy”. I tell them that my faith in God has carried me through this time, and that He has something better planned for my life. God is not done with me yet! He has given my life new direction. I had felt the pull to put in practice The Great Commission, but I had not put it into place yet. There was always something else to do. I was too preoccupied with my projects and my obsession with trying to stay physically fit. I will never again be the athlete that I once was. Medically, I will never be capable of doing those things again. I have replaced that void in my life with something much more valuable: God and His will.

A Second Chance

About five years ago, I re-dedicated my life to God. I spent two years working on myself, and restructured how I think and treat others. I eliminated vulgar language and talking down to others. Also, I try to treat all people with respect and really listen to what they have to say. In the year before my accident, I felt like my life was missing something. I felt that I should start sharing my faith with others. Gradually, I put it out there that I was a Christian, but I was fearful of witnessing. I was afraid that I would not have the right words, and that I would look foolish. Now, I have a second chance to do something for God’s kingdom. I have learned so much valuable information in my time at Christian Leaders Institute! My fear has lessened, and I am stepping out in faith that God will work in any situation that I am involved in. I am to plant seeds and water them, but it is the Holy Spirit that changes someone. It is in God’s hands, not mine! I am moving forward with the Holy Spirit as my partner and my guide!

Do you feel like there is something missing in your life, too? It might be that God is calling you to leave your past behind and step into a life that will be forever changed by His power, grace, and love. 

Christian Leaders Institute Degree

Ministry Degree with Free Courses

Ministry Degree with Free Courses