In reflection on his time at Christian Leaders Institute, Mark Peverett says that the Bachelor of Ministry degree program fully equipped him with the tools he needed to lead.
An Inspiring Journey
This has been a truly inspiring journey. Fulfilling, rewarding and comprehensive are some of the descriptive words that come to mind. One can hardly believe that a quality, college-level degree of such a high standard is available for free anywhere.
I completed the Bachelor of Divinity degree in May of this year. The major reason I took that course was to broaden and reinforce my understanding of the Christian faith. Having been a Christian for most of my life, I still felt that I was on shaky ground. In particular, I felt this way when it came to apologetics and theology. The courses changed my entire outlook and really convicted me. The more I learned, the more I realized how much there was still to learn. The more I learned, the deeper my conviction became. I started the degree course in Ministry in order to equip myself to put what I had learned into practice. In addition to this, I want to be able to give back. I want to be as fully equipped as possible to minister and fulfill the Great Commission to the best of my ability.
Developing House Churches
The course on developing house churches was both insightful and enlightening. I hope to develop a house church when and if the opportunity arises. Some of the challenges I face at the moment are language and culture. I am a South African living in Ghana. Under these circumstances, I think it would be quite a challenge to start a house church here. Not impossible I guess – but challenging. It is far easier to do with one’s wife and family involved. I am a “part time” bachelor with a full-time job. My wife and daughters live in South Africa and I travel back and forth every 2 months or so. It is certainly something I would like to do when I am finally reunited with my wife full time.
Philosophy and Psychology
The course on Christian Philosophy was intriguing. It is not a subject that would normally grab my attention. However, this was an eye-opener and I am thrilled that this was part of the curriculum. In addition to this, I have held management positions for most of my adult life. I assumed that I was well versed in enterprise. I thought that the Enterprise course would be a course that I could teach. It was a humbling experience to realize how little I knew. It is not too late to pass on what I have learned in my courses. The content is helpful to me when advising and ministering to my children, as well as the many younger people I interact with.
The introduction to Psychology was challenging yet fascinating. I think everyone accepts that the brain is incredibly complex. The millions and millions of lightning-fast interactions are like millions of miracles happening within us all the time that we are unaware of. I cannot fathom how anybody can doubt that God exists when everything within us is so beautifully and perfectly ordered. God, in His infinite wisdom, has created each one of us to be unique and perfectly part of His own grand design. There are so many character types and personality traits that all complement each other. As the apostle Paul has taught: we are all unique, but nevertheless, part of one body. Our individual differences strengthen the whole.
Our family has a history of anxiety disorders as well as mental illness. This course gave me a much clearer understanding of the multitude of possible mental and emotional conditions. Many of these are a result of genetics, while others could be caused by a traumatic experience. Without a clearer understanding, it is all too easy to be dismissive and to assume the affected person will – or should just get over it. It must be traumatic living with a debilitating condition that few people fully grasp.
A Thriving Marriage
My wife and I have been married for 36 years this August. I am the lucky one – I have an awesome wife. I’m at least as in love with her now as I was when we first met. That is not to say that we have always had an idyllic relationship or that we have not had more than our fair share of challenges. We have definitely had rocky patches and I thank the Lord that my wife has had the fortitude or downright stubbornness to stick with me through thick and thin. A lesser woman would have headed for the hills long ago.
How I wish that I had taken the course on thriving marriages many years ago. Even after 36 years, this has been helpful for me. I have a better understanding of my own flaws as well as the vast differences in thinking and approaches to various situations between men and women. Physically, the difference between the genders is obvious. The stark but invisible difference is in the way that our thought processes and emotions function. If I had known all of this when I was younger it would have saved me much agonizing and soul-searching, not to mention unnecessary anger and frustration.
A Traumatic Time
The Introduction to Chaplaincy course has been particularly helpful given the traumatic time that most of the world is going through now, with the Coronavirus wreaking havoc indiscriminately. I have found myself counseling and comforting many people, none less than within my own family. It has been tough dealing with loss my own loss while trying to comfort others.
I lost my youngest brother to this dreadful disease ten days ago. My daughter and 8-month-old grandson have been hospitalized. My grandson was born two months premature, so his little lungs are struggling. Needless to say, all of our close family are feeling emotionally bruised. Whilst no amount of study or knowledge can dull the pain, it has given me a clearer understanding of the stages of grief. It has helped me to have a heightened awareness of my own utterances and the need to lend a listening and empathetic ear rather than to give unsolicited advice. I have a bad habit of being to quick to voice my opinion – often completing someone else’s sentences. I fear I would not have the awareness of my own behavior if I had not taken this course.
What I have learned has been particularly helpful in conversation with my elderly mother. As with any parent, the loss of her child has been a serious blow. Emotionally, she is very fragile. I hope that I have been able to give at least a small measure of comfort.
Equipped with the Tools to Lead
The quality and diversity of the courses that Christian Leaders Institute offers is incredible. For most of my life I have felt like a passenger in church. Now I have been equipped with the tools to take a more active leadership role. Previously, I felt that I would be an imposter. Despite my strong conviction, I felt inadequate without any formal training. There is hardly a meaningful subject that has not been covered in the courses I have taken. I plan to continue to take courses beyond what was required for this degree, because my studies with CLI have left me yearning for more.