My last post launched a series in which, over the next several months, I am setting out to unpack the ABHE-Barna Group college enrollment research project, major findings of which are summarized in the monograph: What’s Next for Biblical Higher Education?

If you don’t yet have a copy or you haven’t made use of the accompanying video resources, what are you waiting for? Download them here: https://www.barna.com/abhe/

 

Moving from Tree View to Forest View

As I have attempted to distill for myself the vast and complex data the Barna Group has amassed on our behalf, I have indulged my characteristic tendency to want to look for mega-patterns and simple category labels. I have no wish to oversimplify a complex, highly nuanced data set and its infinitely variable applicability and implications for your local context.  I merely want to offer general observations and perspective that can stimulate you to undertake your own analysis and make the appropriate strategy decisions and resource allocations. This needs to be an intra- and inter-institutional team effort.

Whatever you and your local institutional leaders do with the data, you need to be sure you survey the forest before you start hacking at individual trees.

So, what are some of the major categories to which the data speak? I can identify at least the following:

 

Definitional Dilemma

The tension between established public perception about the nature and scope of Bible colleges and the institutional self-identity, scope, and aspirations of many ABHE member colleges.

 

Differentiation

The key to enrollment success and mission fulfillment.

 

 

Demographics

This is not a problem, it is a fact of life.

 

 

Discipleship

Today’s prospective students are hungry for what we’re good at.

 

 

Distribution

One size does not fit all—and it doesn’t fit most of our prospects.

 

 

Digital

Will you be talking past your audiences, or will your digital media mastery have a leveling effect?

 

Well, there’s a teaser for you. In future posts, we will dive into each of the big buckets one by one. Next time, I’ll attempt to explain our Definitional Dilemma.

 


Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …

 

  To Be or Not to Be … An Evangelical

If you’re like me, you have struggled in recent months with the “baggage” attaching itself to the term evangelical in our American context. Some in our country are eager to abandon the designation. World Evangelical Alliance Global Ambassador, Brian Stiller (former president of ABHE-member Tyndale University College & Seminary) offers some helpful global perspective on the term which has been with us for five centuries. He reminds us that those of us in North America are in no position to speak for global evangelicalism anyway.

 

  Who Is My Neighbor?

If you haven’t seen the feature-length documentary film about beloved Public Television children’s programming icon Fred Rogers, I hope you will. Rogers saw with spiritual eyes the tremendous positive potential and the proportional culturally corrosive power of broadcast television. His seemingly innocuous Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood programs were subversively redemptive. Jenna Badecker offers an insightful and inspiring perspective on Rogers and on the film that is earning both popular and critical acclaim.