A question for serious Bible students…
I’ve got an idea for a Bible study, I’m just not sure that there’s a market for it. What do you think?
So our preacher has been doing an excellent study on idolatry in our Wednesday night class. He’s dug deep into what modern idolatry looks like and how it manifests itself in the lives of modern day America, but then really looked at the root causes of that idolatry and why we feel the need to fill our lives with goals-dreams-desires of this life rather than with God.
I’ve appreciated a lot of our preacher’s classes but for some reason this class is one that I really wished I could share with the world.
About that same time I’ve been hearing about how hard Obamacare is impacting preachers who don’t have standard healthcare. I’m afraid that some preachers who have really devoted their lives to the Word are going to have to start finding work away from the church to be able to afford healthcare, especially those in smaller congregations.
Before you object that some preachers should take up a secular job to support themselves, I’d like to say that I agree. Some should. Some preachers are only preachers because they’re too lazy to do anything else. Some congregations don’t have a need for a full time preacher. But for those preachers who make good use of their full time support, but still find too much week at the end of their paycheck, how can they supplement their income?
Which brings us to my question…..
If a gospel preacher offered an online Bible course on a topic such as modern day idolatry or a study of the many false doctrines surrounding the “end times”, would you be willing to pay to take it?
What I have in mind is not just typical Bible class material but a very serious, in depth look at the subject….the meat of the word. Imagine a college level Bible class, with lessons presented every week for a quarter complete with homework assignments (which I suppose would be optional since there’s no “grade” at the end of the course) and interaction with the teacher and other students in an online format.
There are many Bible subjects that I’d like to know more about, but I don’t (or at least don’t THINK that I) have the time and resources to give them their proper attention. The books needed to research some false doctrines would cost so much to purchase, and take so much time to read, that it would take me a year to save to purchase and then study them all. But if a preacher has devoted himself to the study and defense of God’s word, and has the time to study the material, and is able to teach that material in an understandable and relevant manner….would you pay to take a class from him?
Now may be a good time to address what may be a knee jerk reaction to my idea, that a preacher is already being paid to prepare Bible classes and sermons….So is he “double-dipping” by being paid for them twice? What I have in mind isn’t a preacher taking a 2nd job as an online professor, but rather a preacher giving a broader audience an opportunity to access his class material while at the same time being able to better support his family. The classes that he’s already prepared for his congregation would be “free” for them, but his online students would pay for the ability to take the class as well.
Personally, I would. I’ve been in these classes and there are some that I’d already, only a year or so later, take again. And even after being through them, and having my notes and the preacher’s notes for the class, I’d still pay to take the online version. And that’s partly because of the convenience offered in an online class. I’d be able to view the material any time I wanted (while on lunch at work or late at night after everyone else is asleep) and interact and have specific questions answered or points clarified without bogging down a regular class or making random phone calls to the teacher when a difficult question crosses my mind.
So my question is… Is there a market for an online college-level class in spiritual material that is relevant to a Christian in 2015 America?
Keep in mind that the teacher would not be me, and the material would be considerably better than anything I could put together for you. Our preacher was a college professor in a secular field several years ago, but has since devoted himself to preaching full time, and his classes certainly reflect that.
If you’d be interested in something like that please respond with a comment below, email or give me a call. If there’s interest in this, I’m going to encourage our preacher to pursue this and do what I can to help him get it off the ground if he’s willing.
And I suppose it’d be important to question what this kind of class would be worth. My initial thought was something like $50 per quarter. You would, of course, know in advance what the material would be and could decide each quarter if you wanted to participate. That’s only $4 per week and is less than what we spend to take the family to the movies, once. It seems like a worthwhile use of my money and a great way for a preacher to know that every three months he’d probably have a few hundred dollars available for all of the surprise expenses that come along with raising a family.
What do you think?
And please do share this post and pass it along. If you’re interested, surely someone you know would be too.