An analysis of Bible college training in relationship to ministry satisfaction and persistence in Christian service
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This dissertation examines how satisfied Bible college graduates were with their Bible college training, along with the degree of impact, if any, that their training had toward their persistence in their area of Christian service. Rank order statistics are used to rank the areas of training according to level of satisfaction. The influence of a specific ministry position and length of time in ministry is researched for satisfaction with Bible college training and degree of impact toward persistence for graduates. Possible relationships between level of satisfaction and persistence in Christian service are analyzed through correlation statistics. Chapter 1 presents the research concern related to the need for Bible college training to be more than just acquiring academic content. Attention is also given to the need for Bible college training to be practical, making it easier for graduates to apply their training to a ministry setting once the graduate is on the field of service. Chapter 2 addresses theological foundations for Christian higher education and then moves to an examination of the precedent literature concerning factors that facilitate satisfaction and persistence in Christian service. This chapter also examines arguments related to the need for practical ministry training in Bible colleges and some issues that must be addressed to achieve this outcome. The threat of secularization in Christian higher education institutions like the Bible college is addressed along with suggestions as to how Bible colleges can keep from succumbing to this threat. Chapter 3 presents the methodological design of the research. The study surveyed 463 Bible college graduates regrading their perceptions of how satisfied they were with their Bible college training and what degree of impact, if any, they felt their training had on their persistence in Christian service. The "Satisfaction and Persistence in Christian Service" survey was developed by the researcher in consultation with an expert panel. The instrument measured perceptions of satisfaction and impact toward persistence in overall Bible college experience and specific areas of training identified by the literature and the expert panel. Chapter 4 presents the demographic data and the analysis of findings related to five research questions. Demographic data is displayed in the form of figures. Statistical analysis of the data is displayed in the form of tables. Chapter 5 presents the conclusions of the research that can be drawn through the examination of each research question in light of the findings presented. Findings show that the majority of Bible college graduates were more satisfied with and most impacted by the academic areas of their training than they were the practical areas of their training. Findings showed correlations indicating that the more satisfied Bible college graduates are with their training, the more likely they are to persist in their Christian service.