Six Reasons I Chose a Master’s Degree at WCBC
Bruce M. Burkett | January 04, 2018
Since entering into the ministry several years ago, one thing that I have discovered very quickly is how much I really don’t know. When I finished my college education, I just knew I had learned enough and that I was ready for ministry. What I discovered is that, though I certainly was ready to serve in full-time ministry, I had not necessarily “learned enough.” In fact, what is becoming more and more evident to me is that I will never have learned enough.
It was for this reason that God has put it on my heart to pursue a Master’s degree. My reason was not for the “title” of having such a degree, but for the continued growth it would produce in my life and ministry. After all, the Bible tells us that we are to continue to grow!
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (II Peter 3:18)
When I began to research which institution to go through to pursue this Master’s degree, I determined to do so without partiality. I graduated from West Coast Baptist College in 2012, but I did not want to go back just because of that fact. So I determined to scout out all my options and make the decision God led me to make.
Immediately, I had to cross out many institutions. Being that my purpose was to continue to grow in my knowledge of God’s Word and local church ministry, I was not going to pursue my continued education through an institution that has compromised in their stand on God’s Word, separation, etc. This presented me with a much more narrow field of options from which to choose. Yet, even within these parameters, there were still several good options.
After considering all of the options sincerely, there were several factors that led me right back to the very place I had told myself I would not allow any bias to lead me — WCBC.
Therefore, please allow me to share with you six reasons why I chose WCBC as the place to pursue a Master’s degree as a young pastor.
The Academic Excellence
My college journey did not begin at WCBC. I remember going to another Bible college as a freshman with a high expectation of how difficult it was going to be. Yet, after those first two semesters, I surmised that Bible college was not academically difficult at all. The philosophy was more of “we train you through your involvement in our ministries” and less of actually educating students.
When I was led to transfer to WCBC midway through college, I thought that the academic difficulty was going to be the same. But, I was wrong. WCBC challenged me more spiritually and academically than I had ever been before. Before my graduation, I had to pass an oral examination before two of my instructors wherein they gave me an unmarked Bible, asked me difficult doctrinal questions, and challenged me to use God’s Word to defend my faith.
I have found the level of excellence in the Master’s degree program to be the same.
The Authentic Educators
The men and women under whose influence students come under are exactly the type of people I desire to learn from. They are not mere professors, whose sole pursuit is teaching students to do something that they do not actually do themselves. Each teacher is a member of and an active participant in the local church. What students are being taught by these individuals is something that can also be observed by their example.
The Amiable Environment
If you have ever visited WCBC, you have likely found it to be, as has been my experience, a very warm, friendly place. It is a place where you will be accepted at whatever level of spiritual growth you find yourself in and encouraged to grow deeper in your walk with the Lord. It has been said, “Acceptance is the optimum environment for growth.” This being the case, whether you are young in your faith or mature in your faith, you will find the atmosphere of WCBC to be receptive and exhorting.
The Affordable Enrollment
Probably the greatest difficulty most face in pursuing an educational degree is financial. For several years, I have desired to continue my education, but was held back by this very reason. Obviously, education is an investment — and a good one at that. As the Bible says, “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23). Yet, many do not have the financial ability to make such an investment.
After doing some homework on the options available to an independent Baptist pursuing a Master’s degree, I have found WCBC to have the highest level of quality at the most affordable cost. (I contemplated including a comparison between colleges that offer either online or on-campus degrees, but I chose not to so as to not make this seem like a “competition.”)
On a side note, the alumni discount made the affordability too hard to resist! But, even if you cannot take advantage of that discount, WCBC is still the most affordable, quality option.
The Accommodating Entity
One of the greatest reasons I chose WCBC is the spirit of servant-leadership among both the administrative and the teaching staff. There is no one that is too busy to help you answer the questions you have or to stop to pray with you about the issues you are facing.
For example, at the time of this writing, I am taking a Master’s class with Dr. Tom Shepherd called Project Planning and Management. Though this class is filled with dozens of students (both online and on-campus), I have had no difficulty in having either Dr. Shepherd himself or one of his staff get my questions answered. Even though his administrative burden must be significant in working as the Chief of Staff of the Lancaster Baptist Church, he still personally finds the time to grade each of my assignments and attend to each of my questions.
To put it simply, the culture of this institution is to serve others and help them grow.
The Applicable Emphasis
One of the most critical reasons why I chose WCBC is the practical emphasis of their education. Their motto is “Training Laborers for His Harvest.” In practice, this is exactly what I have found that they do. They will give you the academic education you need while also putting tools into your hands to enable you to use what you have learned in actual ministry.