Stories of Degree Students

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he always equips the called

He Always Equips the Called

As he nears the end of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, David Ewing reflects on how he felt unworthy of the calling God had placed on his life. Read his story to hear the ways in which he learned that God does not only call the equipped, but that He always equips the called.

Called Into Ministry

In 2018, I retired and began enjoying doing the things I said I would do if I had more time. The plan was to enjoy the fruits of my labor, so to speak. I dove head-first into projects around my home, lawn, and farm. I played a lot of golf, and even got my fishing boat back out. It was pretty great at first, but I felt somewhat guilty. I wasn’t sure why I felt this way, after all this was the plan, right? It was the plan, but it was way more my plan than God’s plan. He began instilling it on my heart that now was a time I needed to draw closer to Him, and to use my time in a manner that would bring Him glory. His plan went a little deeper, and I felt a tug – a calling to become involved in ministry.

He Always Equips the Called

The calling was there, and I couldn’t deny it. I did what any normal person would do. I began coming up with all the reasons why I was unworthy and incapable. What I needed was to possess the attitude of Joshua and Caleb, and use this is an opportunity for God’s power to shine through. After all, God chose Gideon from the weakest tribe and what’s more the least of his tribe. God didn’t need Gideon because he had great power, he chose Gideon so His own power would be perfectly evident.  Not by my own might, but through the grace of God I could accomplish this new plan: God’s plan. I’ve heard it said God doesn’t always call the equipped, but He always equips the called.

The Seven Connections Philosophy

When I began courses at CLI, I was not sure what the Lord had in store for me. One of the first things I picked up on was the seven connections philosophy. I can honestly say it has changed not only my life, but the lives of my family and friends. Although it was a new concept for me, I started to put it into practice. The first step was a greater personal relationship with God. I began reading more scripture, studying more, and above all: praying more. Every instructor I’ve had at CLI stressed prayer as the starting point of everything. The focus on the connections is a personal relationship with Christ. As you move up to the next connection, you always do it to enrich and glorify the connections below it.

Enriched Connections

As I progressed, I began bringing Christ into my marriage, to my family, and then to my friends and small groups. I needed to look at this area in my life. We are all members of many small groups, whether we realize it or not. I was a member of small groups through my church but I was also a member of small groups with my golfing friends, my hunting friends, and a few others. What I needed to do was make sure every group I was a part of enriched the connection below it, and ultimately brings glory to God.

Through prayer and a great desire to be led by the Spirit, built upon in the first three connections, I was able to do just that. I also became more active in my church, attending early morning prayer meetings and filling in as a Bible Study leader. I have also made plans to attend, for the first time, a retreat that many of my friends have been doing for years. This brings me to the seventh connection and where my experience at CLI comes even more into the picture.

Enriched Spiritual Life

CLI has been a blessing in so many ways. The classes I took in earning my Bachelor of Divinity Degree enriched my spiritual life as I gained knowledge and understanding of the Bible. The instructors are men committed to bringing high-quality education to those who have a calling and desire to walk closer with the Lord. Their passion for the Lord was evident in their teaching, and their insight gained from years of pastoral care for the church was invaluable to me.

These men were not only educators, they were mentors and role models. The emphasis was on discipleship and leadership and there were many times during the course of my studies that an instructor would point out certain aspects of life. They would remind us that if we are not competent in that area, or exhibit certain character flaws, we were not capable of leadership roles. I appreciated their honest approach, and was compelled to search my heart and seek the Lord through prayer. The Bible tells us that leaders will be judged more critically. To accept a leadership role, one must exemplify fruits of the spirit and be grounded in the word of God.

Gained Knowledge and Understanding

When thinking on some of the highlights along the way, the first one that comes to mind is the knowledge I gained in Bible Interpretation 1 and 2. This course featured a video series by Ray Vander Laan. I have never been to Israel and had never given enough thought as to the time and location of many of the scriptures. Mr. Vander Laan presented the word in a historical and geographic context that was incredible. His knowledge of the scriptures, languages, and historical significance made the Bible come to life. It was almost like going to the cities and seeing the actual remains of temples and city gates and their magnificence. I can say this was the most eye-opening class for me. I now acknowledge that I have a very Western view, and will be much more appreciative and willing to share my riches with others.

Sermon Construction and Preparation was another significant class for me. There are many different styles in which a sermon may be constructed. I think we had a pretty good overview on them and how each one can be extremely effective in conveying God’s message. There were videos of great preachers delivering their sermons, each with a unique style. It was an honor to learn from sermons preached by men such as Ravi Zacharias, Francis Chan, Max Lucado, and John Piper. Great preachers!

Thank you, CLI!

In conclusion, I would just like to express my sincere gratitude for all the experiences I had. There was so much valuable information and knowledge gained during my studies. There were also many great resources shared that will be invaluable as my call to ministry continues. One common theme I picked up on was the willingness to share. Most instructors encouraged us to use and build from material they had so laboriously put together. One of my favorite phrases I will remember is “if my bullet fits your gun, shoot it”. That speaks volumes about the selflessness and Christian attitude of the instructors and programs.

I appreciate the time and energy it took in developing these lessons and the commitment it took. Although I have obtained my degree, I plan to continue taking classes to further enhance my ministry skills. What a blessing it has been to learn from some of the best. Thank you, CLI!


God Had Not Walked Out On Me

Read Kelly’s story to hear how she is able to say: “God had not walked out on me,” even when she lost her faith through some of her darkest seasons. This portion of her testimony is a powerful picture of the Lord’s redemptive grace. 

Struggles with Addiction & Identity

If someone would have asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grow up, my answer would have been very different than what I became. If my parents were asked what they hoped for me to become their answer would never have been for me to become what I did. A Heroin Addict.

No parent wants to see their child suffer, and no person wants to be an addict. As I grew up, I became someone I am not proud of. I became a liar, a thief, someone I couldn’t even face in the mirror. Someone my family didn’t even want around. For ten long years, I struggled not only with the addiction but with my own identity.

Loss of Faith

I lost myself somewhere along the way, and I lost my faith too. In the past, I used to pray every night. I would kneel with my kids and pray with them as well. We went to church, and we lived accordingly. Yet somehow when my marriage took a turn and ended, I couldn’t handle the sorrow or the pain. I didn’t know what to do with all the guilt and shame. The hurt on the faces of my babies and parents was more than I could deal with. I found a way to make all the emotions that I didn’t want to feel anymore disappear. Or so I thought. Little did I know that those feelings and pain were still there lingering in the numbness, and would come out when the drugs were gone.

I finally woke up one day three years ago this past April, having a moment of clarity (a rare but amazing occurrence) and I begged for help. I realized I had stopped praying and I couldn’t remember the last time I spoke to God. So, I hit my knees and I prayed.  Never had I prayed so hard in my life as I did at that moment. I begged forgiveness even though I felt in my heart I surely didn’t deserve for the Lord to even listen to me. I begged for his help just one last time, and I would never ask for anything for myself again.

God Had Not Walked Out on Me

The fog lifted inside me something shifted that day. I saw for the first time the person I used to be and the monster I had become. I felt in my bones and my soul that God had not walked out on me. He was simply waiting for me to see in myself what he had always seen in me. He never left my side all those years: he was there loving me until I could love myself.

There is a book called, ” The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery,” by David G. Benner. This book changed my life. I had to take a deep look inside of myself, and I realized so much of what I read has happened for me. Now any doubts that I may have had and any questions that I couldn’t find an answer to I found. It put my life, my experience, and my transformational growth into an amazing perspective. I know now without a doubt that my Lord has spoken to me in the depths of my darkest moments. He has walked beside me through the depths of hell, and helped me find my way out.

Purpose in Christ

Through my transformational knowing and finding of my hidden self in Christ, I know what my purpose in life is. I have seen in my everyday life what living for Christ is like. He has made it abundantly clear what my calling is. I was given this life because he knew that once I found myself in Him, I could let him in and fully accept the amazing things He has for me. I believe I am meant to be a Chaplain, and to counsel and help those who are suffering.

Also, to give back what I was so freely given, and to bring others to the amazing understanding and knowing of Christ and themselves. I am aiming to work in Hospice Care or as a Hospital Chaplain. However, I have also considered Life Coaching, because I want so badly to show others the way. I can’t wait for the next chapter in my life. Without my transformational knowing or finding my hidden self in Christ, I never would have known my true potential. I would still be lost, and still be trying to figure out why.

I thank God for Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders College. With their guidance, I am now able to accomplish exactly what I know I am being called to do.  I have loved every class I have taken thus far, and until I am able to pay CLC fees in full for Associates/Bachelors in Chaplaincy I am continuing to take classes with CLI.  I have learned so much from the Counseling and Life Coaching classes, and I am so excited to continue to learn more on counseling those in need.

I believe anyone can do it

I Believe Anyone Can Do It

As a busy wife, mom, and ministry leader, Jessica Cantrell says that when it comes to getting a Bachelor of Divinity degree, “I believe anyone can do it”! Read her story to hear how she obeyed the Lord when He called her into ministry. 

The Power of Prayer

One of the main lessons that I have learned through my time at Christian Leader’s College has been the importance and power of prayer. In both the Prayer and Missions and Revival classes we learned what an important role prayer has in the Kingdom of God. We tend to underestimate the power of prayer, especially in the Global North. Here in the United States where I live, there is an apathy about prayer. It tends to be an after thought.

Christian Parenting

Another of the most helpful lessons I learned was in the Ministry Conversations class. I really enjoyed and took to heart the concept of authoritative parenting instead of authoritarian or submissive parenting. Authoritative parenting is what is in scripture. And yet, as believers we don’t tend to see that. We often define parenting success by whether or not our child obeys, and not by whether their heart is God’s. A major oversight on parent’s part and yet something that is fixable if one is willing to put in a little hard work and use an authoritative parenting style. The reality disciplining was so helpful as well. True to his word, Dr. Leman’s techniques gave me a “New Kid by Friday”.

Suffering and Persecution

A quote that stuck out to me showed up in a couple of classes but most notably the early church history class. Tertullian said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. While this was not woven through a majority of the classes martyrs were spoken of in several of them. I will never forget their sacrifice or how I would cry reading their stories. While it is clear that the church does indeed grow most when there is persecution, I do believe that hearing the stories of persecuted saints and martyrs strengthens the faith of those who hear them. Because of this class and this quote, I pray fervently for our brothers and sisters who face persecution.

My 10-year-old daughter, upon seeing and hearing me talk of these fellow persecuted saints also started showing an interest. Together we are now reading Jesus Freaks by DC Talk. We are also talking about what it looks like to have such a deep faith that you would be willing to suffer and die for the Cross of Christ. This one quote sparked many conversations and stories and even came up in our church staff meeting. This gave way for an opportunity to express the importance of sharing such stories with our congregation. Also, it encouraged them to develop a faith that would be willing to stand that kind of persecution.

In fact, we have even considered adding a question to those we ask at baptism. We would ask, “would you be willing to suffer or die before you deny Jesus”? While in our context this question may seem extreme, there are still ways that people suffer for the cross in America. Although it may seem slight in comparison to other countries, it would allow them to be able to stand for the cross of Christ; knowing they stand for righteousness and to not fall because of fear.

Favorite Classes

I had several favorite classes. One of them was the Ministry Conversations class. I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Gunger’s “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” material. I enjoyed it so much that I would watch the lectures with my husband. A few of them that related to dating I watched with both my husband and my eldest daughter who is currently in college. I also really enjoyed Dr. Kevin Leman’s parenting helps. The information that he shared has greatly helped me to be able to better parent all three of my daughters and to help other parents be more confident in their own parenting abilities.

One of my favorite classes was the Old Testament Literature History and Theology class with Ted Hildebrandt. I loved listening to his stories and the information he shared in his lectures. Many of his lectures I watched with my, then, 8 year-old daughter. She would be captivated learning about the heroes of faith with new insights. Dr. Hildebrandt made his class both fun and informational which also made it memorable.

Ministry Applications

There have been many ministry applications throughout my time studying at Christian Leader’s College. So much of my studies I have already been able to apply in ministry settings. For example, from the prayer class we were able to start new prayer groups. I have used information from the Missions and Revivals class as examples and as a catalyst to help start those very prayer groups. The Sermon Construction and Presentation class was extremely helpful as a jumpstart to preparing sermons for our youth group. I had just finished the Hermeneutics and Exegesis class before taking it. I found it to be helpful in both the classroom and in my ministry setting. In particular, I enjoyed that the Hermeneutics and Exegesis class focused on being led by the Holy spirit in one’s study of the Word of God.

I have also noticed many applications from both the People Smart for Ministry class and the Pastoral Care and Marriage class. As a result of these classes, I have been able to apply many of the principles in ministry. I believe this is one main reason that I have been able to advance in ministry.

Obedience to the Lord

Throughout this process I have advanced in ministry in ways that have been unexpected and wonderful. When I began at Christian Leader’s College in 2017, I did so out of obedience to the Lord. I had no idea where it would lead me. At the time I had recently been healed from a chronic pain disorder that I had had for twelve years. This disorder had kept me from being able to go to college. The Lord healed me from it in the summer of 2016 and after a time of prayer and submitting my plans to the Lord I knew that the next step for me was to go to college.

After doing some research I enrolled and began pursuing a Bachelor of Divinity. At the same time I was involved as a youth leader in our church’s youth group.  Shortly after beginning the degree program I became a volunteer assistant for our current youth pastor. In 2018 that youth pastor announced that he would be leaving and planting a church in two years. This gave us plenty of time to prepare for the transition. I applied for the position and this past March accepted a part time position as the Youth Pastor of Spiritual Formation at our church. I am looking forward to shortly being licensed by our denomination and subsequently ordained.

Anyone Can Do It

The most challenging aspect of Christian Leader’s College for me was having the self-discipline to sit down and do the work. I am a busy mom of three, one of which was adopted during my studies at Christian Leader’s College. I am a wife, a Girl Scout leader, Youth Leader, and hold down a part-time job. If I am able to do all of these things and manage to graduate from Christian Leader’s College with a high GPA and highest honors in less than four years, I believe anyone can do it. It was challenging but part of the satisfaction of finishing is the very fact that it was a challenge. If it were easy then there wouldn’t be any pride in saying, “I did it!”.

When I began at Christian Leader’s College my goal was simple obedience to the Lord. I only knew that the Lord was calling me to ministry. I could pursue that by enrolling in Christian Leader’s College and serving our youth group. As I finish my degree I reflect on all the Lord has done over the past four years, I cannot stress enough the important role that Christian Leader’s College has played in my ministry development. I would not be where I am without Christian Leader’s College. Not only have I learned so many valuable lessons, but have also had many occasions on which to share and use the information from classes.

I would like to thank the staff and professors at Christian Leader’s College for their time and energy because I recognize that each class and course of study took hours of preparation, research, filming, and so on. I am so grateful for each and every class and even though I did not mention many of them, I greatly appreciate each and every one of them. Thank you.

God spoke to me

God Spoke to Me Through a Feeling

In reflection on how he knew it was time to get his Associate of Divinity degree, recent graduate Timothy Richards says, “God spoke to me” both through the people in his life as well as a feeling in his heart. Read his story to hear the ways in which God continued to speak to him and affirm him in his calling.

       God Spoke to Me

It took me a long time, many years in fact, to actually understand that I should pursue a degree. I had resisted it for all those years, because I didn’t see any reason for me to get a degree. But God spoke to me through my mother and my wife, as well as through a feeling in my heart. He made it known to me through them that it was time. I prayed to Him to give me the time to be able to dedicate myself to university level studies. In February of 2020, God gave me the opportunity to get started on this journey.

Preaching and Teaching

He also indicated to me that I needed to be more involved in my local church. The Lord impressed upon me that my area of ministry in my local church is to preach and teach. I preach once a month, but felt that I needed more instruction so I could give more effective sermons. I started looking for online seminaries, and found Christian Leaders Institute as well as other institutions. After careful consideration, I decided that Christian Leaders Institute was the perfect school for my needs. A degree in divinity seemed like the right one for me. In my opinion, Associate of Divinity Degree has all the core classes for most ministries.

Learning New Things

My favorite classes were Church History and World History. History is one of my favorite subjects, and when you talk about history you can not leave out Christianity. There are two time periods in history: before Christ and after Christ. So Church History was a mix of two subjects I like. And World History, which talked about different world civilizations, was by far my most favorite. It was interesting to see what the different cultures and civilizations built. Also, to learn why they did the things they did, and why they believed what they believed.

There were also classes from which I learned some things I did not previously know. One was Sociology. I had no idea that all of the founders of sociology were atheists. It was surprising because in other areas of science and study there were many Christians. Another class that I learned a lot from was Economics 101. I always thought I knew about economics, but it turns out I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. I learned capitalism is motivated by self-interest and is squarely based in private property rights. Self-interest is actually a good thing, because in looking out for our own self-interest, we help others in the process. Also, private property is a biblical principle. The Lord made us stewards of creation, and gave us dominion over it as we see in Genesis 1:28-29. And in Exodus 20, verse 15 says, “You shall not steal” and verse 17 says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s,” which reinforces the principle.

Helping People Along the Way

Some other useful classes for working in ministry were Pastoral Care and Marriage, People Smart For Ministry and Church and Ministry. Although my ministry is preaching God’s Word, these classes helped me to understand that we must also deal with and help people even if we consider it out of the scope of our primary ministry. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”. Of these classes, the one that helped me the most was People Smart For Ministry. This class had great tips on how to handle people in different situations, particularly difficult people.

Well-Rounded Studies

The biggest challenge for me in the process of getting my Associate of Divinity Degree were the different types of classes. It’s the old debate of why do I need to study math if my major is in literature, or, in this case, biology if my degree is in divinity. The answer is to be a well-rounded individual. Before you study the courses outside of your main area of focus, it seems like a waste of time, and even daunting. But in this journey of acquiring a college degree, we pick up valuable pieces of knowledge in those courses.  And those little tidbits can help us in different ways and moments in life.

Impact on Ministry

Finally, getting the Associate Degree will have a huge impact not only on my life, but in the lives of my wife, my family, and my ministry. It’s the first part of accomplishing my goal of getting the Bachelor of Divinity Degree. It’s a stepping stone to that goal, but this stepping stone is made up of many little steps. And I am learning more and more with each one. My wife and mother are the main ones supporting me and helping me, with the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Their belief in me and the guidance of the Lord have motivated me to get this far.

This degree will also impact my ministry by helping me develop better sermons. Also, in being more effective in how I deal with people, and having a better overall knowledge of the different aspects of life. God places us in different circumstances and situations so we can testify to others who might be in a similar one to ours some day. Then, we can help them through those moments. Getting this degree will be a great blessing in my life, and one that I hope to use to be a blessing in the lives of others.

encouraged and prepared

Encouraged and Prepared to Serve the Lord

Read Ivan Sharp’s story to hear of the many ways in which Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders College both encouraged and prepared him to serve the Lord for the rest of his life.

Come So Far

In June of 2014, I first became aware of Christian Leaders Institute. As I sat in a coffee shop searching online for a Christian University, the Lord pressed in with His call on me to pursue ministry for Him. It was during this search that I found Christian Leaders Institute. At that time, there were no degree programs and no coaching certifications. Christian Leaders College did not exist yet, nor did the online presence of Christian Leaders Alliance at that time. It has all come so far from that point in time.

I began my basic studies right away and went on to complete both the Old and New Testament Survey courses. However, in my earlier studies, the course I really enjoyed was Church History. To understand our Christian Roots was transformational. I especially made note of the period of Constantine when the church gained relief from much persecution, and how this was reflected negatively in the advancement of the church. This helped me to understand that sometimes the tough times are good for us. Tough times can force us to be committed and to live out what we believe.

Digging Deeper

As I dug deeper, the Lord provided me with an education through CLI. As the Lord was building me up, He was also building up CLI. Over the time that I have been studying, I have also been listening to and remaining obedient to the Lord. He has used me in the coaching and counseling of many individuals since my CLI journey began. This has especially been with those who have experienced broken marriages and difficult family situations. Most recently, I have found that the new coaching certification was quite beneficial to this part of ministry. I continue to work in this area of service.

It was not long after the degree programs were offered that I decided to make this investment in my education. I believe that these credentials will be quite helpful in providing valuable understanding and formal credentials that can bring credibility. I did have a temporary period where I was not able to complete courses due to my employment workload. However, the flexibility of completing courses online has also been a great blessing. Over the years, God has adjusted my employment workload and my studies have been able to ebb and flow accordingly. I have now completed all the requirements of the Associate Degree and I am moving forward on the requirements for my Bachelor’s Degree!

Another blessing has also been that I have found myself telling others about CLI as well. I have been able to encourage others to follow my lead: to complete their own studies with CLI as they prepare for what the Lord has called them to as well. This has been a valuable resource of encouragement and development of others.

Favorite Courses

I am not sure if I could pick a favorite class from all the ones that I have taken over the past six years. However, I did find the Christian Coaching classes to be quite interesting and valuable to me. I think my favorite epiphany as I took classes was the realization that the Lord was directing my path in the order in which the classes came. This was particularly clear toward the end of my Associate Degree requirements. I had left a core course decision to the end and had to select between Astronomy or Biology. After much consideration I decided to take the Astronomy course.

I found this extremely interesting and realized I would never have ventured into this arena without the course requirement. My final full course was “Old Testament Literature, History and Theology. It was so rewarding and revealing to have taken these two courses back-to-back. To consider what I had just learned about the cosmos as I studied Scripture was an absolute wow-factor for me. I remember my comparison of the content as I considered the idea of the Big Bang Theory and an expanding universe, and then lined it up with scripture. It caused me to be in awe as I read the story of creation in the beginning and saw how consistent it was with the things learned in the astronomy course.

Christian Coaching

I really enjoyed my recent Christian Coaching studies. I believe these courses as well as my certification and ordination in Coaching will be extremely helpful and impactful to my ministry with others. This has been an area of calling and passion for awhile now. It has been an answer to prayer to have these added to the CLI curriculum. I view the coaching approach to be essential to my practice, and I have begun to take this approach in my mentoring ministry as well. I look forward in anticipation as I watch and am directed in this area by the Lord.

The most challenging task for me has been to stay focused on my studies during parts of my journey. It is not always easy to find the time to keep going, especially when having to break from studies for a bit. Sometimes I have found it a little hard to start up again. However, I believe this is all part of the learning process as well. We need to learn commitment and routines in our continual studies and in our life too.

Looking Ahead

As I look ahead to what comes next, I realize the large impact that CLI has had on my life, both spiritually and vocationally. The doors that have already begun to open are numerous, and I can envision an enlarging of the territory that I will be responsible for. The Lord has used CLI in such a way that has encouraged and prepared me to serve the Lord. I can see ahead a ministry of helping others both in finding the Lord and helping to encourage others in their own walk and ministry for the Lord. As I begin to take the next steps toward my Bachelor’s Degree, I look forward to the hand of God leading me and His using Christian Leaders Ministries to be in partnership with me and others within the body of Christ. I understand that it takes more than good intentions to properly impact the world around us. We must prepare for the fight ahead, taking on the full amour of God. We must be committed, armed for battle – encouraged in our faith and obedience to the Lord.

I thank the Lord for His touch upon my life, His direction that comes from many places (including the large impact from being a student with CLI) and through the understanding that I do not stand alone. We are all a part of the Body of Christ and together we will be strong. I look forward to the ways that God will use me both in ministry here in Canada and potentially in support of by fellow CLI students around the globe. I continue to pray for Christian Leaders Ministries, its leadership, staff, volunteers, and students. May the blessings of the Lord flow to them and through them all.

equipped for ministry

Feeling Equipped for Ministry

A recent graduate of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, Patrick Mwongera reflects on his time at Christian Leaders Institute and the ways in which the courses and training have made him feel equipped for ministry in the future.

Fear and Uncertainty

I discovered CLI in 2013. With lots of excitement, I enrolled in the first course, but stopped halfway after someone discouraged me from pursuing the studies. They claimed that seminaries are bad for serious ministers. In 2016, things took quite a different turn and it was a dark day in our country for the cause of Christ. Our hearts melted with fear and uncertainty. The Government of Kenya passed a law that had a direct impact on how to run a church in Kenya. One of these requirements was that a minister of the gospel MUST have a theological degree to be allowed to practice ministry in Kenya. The law introduced hefty penalties such as time in jail if these conditions were breached.

Proper Ministry Training

It was a gloomy future for most men and women who were called into ministry in our country – including myself. Global statistics on higher education state that more than 90% of the world does not have access to higher education. As president Reyenga puts it, the reason much of the population is locked out of higher education or a college degree is because of the high fees required to attain a degree.

My feelings about this were torn between two good things. We all know that a lack of proper ministry training has been the cause of many bad things that have happened in the church worldwide, including in my own country. On the other hand, I knew that there are so many men of God who did so well in ministry without higher education. Men of God like Dwight L. Moody and most importantly many of the Apostles did not possess degrees. However, what they did with the help of Godly mentoring stands out in history.

To put it politely, my ministry dream vanished before my very eyes. I gave up on ever going back into ministry. I suddenly remembered CLI, but as soon as I did, my heart sank. At this time, I did not think CLI was offering any degree programs. Nevertheless, I decided to check it out. It was beyond my wildest dreams: CLI was offering degrees! A Bachelor of Divinity degree was among them, and I cannot explain the joy that I felt!

Equipped for Ministry

This training has equipped me for ministry. I have come to appreciate the way our professors lecture. They are not simply giving us knowledge, but rather imparting the faith! When I started at CLI, I did not know what was ahead of me. Having gone through all the courses; my Christian faith, walk with God, ministry, and business have all been greatly impacted. These professors love God with undivided devotion. They are dedicated to the covenant of marriage to their wives and their service to the Lord for so many years. And yet, their devotion and perception of God has remained unchanged and untainted by the current trends among the learned theologians.

This has been the greatest impartation I have gained thus far. As I was listening to them, my faith grew significantly. They are defenders of the faith and this hit me so hard. I had to change the way I preached the gospel, how I read the Bible, and how I relate to the preaching of others. Many of my friends in ministry and life have noticed the change.  CLI made me more aware of the mistakes I have made in my preaching and general ministry career.

I’m eternally grateful to CLI. I must confess, the bible became alive when I got into Biblical interpretation. Although the videos did not have transcripts, I drank in every word of like a hungry-and-dying man. The tours through the biblical sites were the most amazing journey I have ever taken. His interpretations left me longing for the next video and the next site tour. I waited with great earnestness for the next site and its interpretation.

Ministry Dream

I became a pastor at the age of 24 after I went through a certificate ministry training that prepared me for leadership. However,  this training did not include subjects like Hermeneutics or Biblical Interpretation among many more things that I have studied at CLI. After serving for 13 years in different capacities with my denomination, I quit the ministry. This is a long story, but the short version is that I burned out.

Without anyone by my side to help me navigate, the ministry dream became blurry. Things have really changed since then. At the onset of the studies, President Reyenga asked “what’s your dream?” and later, questions from Professor Elzinga awakened in me the desire to serve again. It was through these personal probing questions that I had to be honest with myself. My purpose became clear and I had to study to be equipped to train other revival leaders.

I am graduating as a different man. I know exactly what I want to do with my training, and how to do things that a servant of the Lord should know and do. No longer will I leave the work I should do to the Holy Ghost, but will do my work and allow the Holy Ghost to do his part. I’m his well-equipped partner in the assigned field, the ‘sphere of influence’ as Larry put it in his Developing House Church class. In the next few days, I will be going for a season of prayer and fasting to plan the planting of a house church in our community with the intention of growing it to become a community church within one year.

Opportunity to Serve

Studying at the institute been the best moment of my life. I have become deeply engaged with CLI’s mandate and vision through monthly Vision Partnership; and now I am also privileged to serve as a volunteer in growing CLI in my home country of Kenya. We have made major leaps in growing CLI here. Our main work is to motivate the students and uplift those who have stagnated in their studies. Through this initiative, we have seen more and more start their studies again. The number of enrollments has also risen significantly. I’m glad to say that at last CLI has given me an opportunity to serve and use the training I have received to impact my generation and my nation.

Literacy Courses

Literacy Courses

The CLC program seeks to adequately prepare students for their desired level of study.

Due to CLI offering courses on the World Wide Web, CLI has experienced individuals who may need to strengthen their English language before taking classes at CLI. CLI offers 3 different literacy courses to ensure students are well prepared to study at CLC.

English Literacy for Beginners 1:

This course is designed to bring the student from zero English Reading and Writing skills to a 3rd-grade level. The course also teaches students how to teach English proficiency to others. The class teaches students good test-taking skills.

English Literacy for Beginners 2: This course is designed to bring the student from a 4th grade level in English reading and writing skills to a 6th-grade level. This class will help advance English vocabulary, literacy, and proficiency. The course also teaches students how to teach English proficiency to others. The class teaches students good test-taking skills.

English Literacy for Beginners 3: This course is designed to bring the student from a 7th grade level in English reading and writing skills to mid-high school level. This class will help advance English vocabulary, literacy, and proficiency. The course also teaches students how to teach English proficiency to others. The class teaches students good test-taking skills.


Christian Leaders College is affiliated with the Christian Leaders Family of ministries and Websites;

Christian Leaders NFP (Ministries) Family

Christian Leaders College is a program and subsidiary of the Christian Leaders Ministries, which includes the Christian Leaders College, Christian Leaders Institute, and Christian Leaders Alliance (CLA).

Important note: Christian Leaders College and Christian Leaders Institute share the same educational platform. All students start at the Christian Leaders Insitute. They are allowed to enroll in the free college-level courses offered by the Christian Leaders College. In order to receive college credit for those free courses, they need to be accepted into the Christian Leaders College.

Christian Leaders College (CLC) (You are at the college website)

Christian Leaders College is the collegiate credential arm of Christian Leaders Ministries.  Christian Leaders College seeks to maintain the standards of accredited programs.

  • Christian Leaders College is seeking to comply with the 24 standards of accreditation.
  • Christian Leaders College has Applicant Status with the ABHE Association for Biblical Higher Education. Click here for details. 

Christian Leaders Alliance (CLA)

CLA provides you with a local minister licensing or ordination option with global recognition. Free studies at CLI, where you earn mission credentials, are all that you need for the ordination process. Your credentials at Christian Leaders College are also welcomed. Life Coach Minister Credentials are also available through the Christian Leaders Alliance.

Ignite Restoration

The American criminal justice system incarcerates almost 2.3 million people. There are 840,000 people on parole and a staggering 3.7 million people on probation. Christian leaders are being raised up inside prisons and outside of jails to proclaim the light to those in darkness.

Ignite Restoration is one of the Christian Leaders Ministries whose goal is to mobilize restorative justice leaders through training and ordination. Ignite Restoration is piloting the launch of the New Life Card. This restoring reputation card is a possible tool for local ministries to serve justice individuals.

Brian DeCook heads this Christian Leaders Ministry from Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Spanish Christian Leaders Institute – Instituto de Líderes Cristianos

Over 400 million people speak Spanish in the world. There is an excellent openness to the light of the gospel.

Since 2016, Spanish Christian Leaders Institute has been reaching Spanish speaking Christian leaders with free ministry training classes. Thousands of Christian leaders are enrolling, hundreds have graduated. See Spanish Directory

One World Nations Spanish Language Table

Spanish Speaking Countries in Africa
Equatorial Guinea
Spanish Speaking Countries in the Americas and the Caribbean
Argentina Bolivia Chile
Colombia Costa Rica Cuba
Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador
Guatemala Honduras Mexico
Nicaragua Panama Paraguay
Peru Puerto Rico United States
Uruguay Venezuela
Spanish is the official language** in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Chinese Christian Leaders Institute

In 2016, the Chinese Global reach began. Nearly one billion people speak Chinese. The opportunity for global impact is increasing as Chinese is spoken in a significant area of Asia.

Over 12 free ministry training classes have been developed, and many more are planned. Chinese ministry training classes are usually done by distinguished Chinese professors.

One World Nations Chinese Language Table

Chinese Speaking Countries in Asia
China Hong Kong Macau
Tibet (Tibet Autonomous Region within PR China) Singapore Taiwan (Republic of China)
Countries with a significant number of Chinese speaking population (more than 5 million)
Indonesia (Java and Bali) Malaysia (Peninsular) Thailand
Mandarin is an official spoken language in China, Taiwan and Singapore. Cantonese is an official spoken language in Hong Kong and Macau.

Russian Christian Leaders Institute

In 2018, four free ministry training classes were developed for the Russian Language. The plan for 2019 is to develop four more ministry training classes. Over 150 million people speak Russian. The urgent goal is to mobilize Russian Christians who are scattered through out the world.

Most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, Russian is spoken in RussiaBelarusKazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, the official (or co-official) language in 4 countries (ISO), spoken in 31 countries (E). Source

French Christian Leaders Institute

In 2014-2017 over twelve ministry training classes were offered to the French-speaking world. French Christian Leader Institute features free classes. The classes developed by Dr. Paul Mpindi are available to French-speaking Christian Leaders worldwide.

The need for trained ministry leaders in French Africa is urgent.

One World Nations French Speaking Table

Francophone countries of the world. List of countries where French is native language, or French is regularly in use.
French-Speaking Countries in Europe
France Belgium Luxembourg
Monaco Switzerland
French-Speaking Countries in Africa
Algeria Benin Burkina Faso
Burundi Cameroon The Central African Republic
Chad Comoros The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Congo, Republic of the Côte d’Ivoire Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea Gabon Guinea
Madagascar Mali Mauritius
Morocco Niger Réunion
Rwanda Senegal Seychelles
Togo Tunisia
French-Speaking Countries in the Americas and the Caribbean
Canada French Guiana Guadeloupe
Haiti Martinique
French-Speaking Countries in Australia and the Pacifics
French Polynesia New Caledonia Vanuatu
French is the official language** in Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, France, Guinea, Haiti, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Switzerland, Togo, and Vanuatu.


grateful to live freely

Grateful to Live Freely as a Believer

For the last two years, Brittany Sutton has immersed herself in growing and developing as a biblical student at Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders College. As a recent graduate of the Associate of Divinity degree program, her story emphasizes how much she is grateful to live freely as a believer in Christ. 

Go Against the Grain

My youth pastor had a powerful impact on me when I was in high school. He changed the way that I looked at what it meant to be a Christian in the twentieth century. He challenged me to go against the grain and not be like every other teenager. For the first time in my Christian walk, I felt like I “belonged” as a believer. He built a family of teenagers that weren’t ashamed to represent Jesus everywhere we went. As an arising senior, I felt in my spirit that I should attend ministerial school. But there was still a part of me that feared the road less traveled.

While my classmates began applying to colleges and taking the SATs, I became caught up in the excitement of attending a university and participating in college life. I let the dream of formal biblical education become smothered. But that dream was never far from my heart. While the majority of my fellow students were going to football parties and raves, I joined Campus Crusade for Christ. I also joined the college ministry of my local church, and continued to pursue God throughout my adult life.

Bucket List

Almost twenty years later, while traveling with my best friend, we discussed what was on our “bucket lists”. Without even knowing that the words would come out of my mouth, I said, “To go to ministry school”. On the surface, I had completely forgotten that had ever been an aspiration of mine. My friend challenged me to go for it. It would have been easy to dismiss it as fantasy and go on about my life. In the midst of searching for a new position, saving for and researching the purchase of my first home, and helping my youngest sister with her first child, the Holy Spirit would not let me forget. In the fall of 2018, I enrolled in Christian Leaders Institute (CLI).

Biblical Principles

Without a doubt, I can say that my life has changed for the better since embarking on formal Christian education. It seemed that the more I studied and the more classes I took, the more difficult situations my friends and family sought counsel. Rather than being timid in responding or taking a worldly stance, I have been able to provide insight based on sound biblical principles. Since those in my circle know that I have been training for such instances, my advice has more weight. I have enjoyed learning so much that the time has flown by. My favorite classes have been Apologetics, Church History, and People Smart for Ministry.

The approach taught by Dr. Feddes opened my eyes to the perspectives of non-Christians, and his directives for responding to having my faith challenged were enlightening. Church History opened my eyes to the many unsung heroes of the faith. Conceptually, I understood that martyrdom was not unique to biblical times. Studying story after story of believers from many different backgrounds and depths they went to in furthering the gospel tested my thought process. It also made me more thankful to live in a time and place where I can freely serve the Lord and share my faith. People Smart for Ministry was so practical in spelling out guidelines for relating to and treating people from all walks of life. In particular, those who are sensitive and struggling.

Grateful to Live Freely

I do not have aspirations of taking on a formal ministerial role. However, I embarked upon this journey because I wanted to know God and His heart more deeply. I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the roles of believers in the modern world and expand my capacity to share the gospel in my everyday life. The Associates degree program has challenged me to think and live beyond myself. In many ways, my perspective has changed. Both as it relates to what a Christian life should look like, as well as being able to see more clearly how non-Christians look at and relate to Christians.

I have also gained a greater appreciation for my life. It is easy to get weighed down by the day-to-day, or to have tunnel vision when it comes to your own problems. I have become increasingly grateful to live freely as a believer. I am also grateful to be largely protected from the emotional turmoil that stems from not living life God’s way. Also, for the men and women of God who have sown biblical wisdom into my life.

Pressing Forward

While my formal biblical education is coming to a close, I will continue to press forward to the mark of the high calling of Jesus. I am looking forward to taking additional courses through CLI and regularly attending church services. Also, participating in Bible studies and pursuing being closer to God. I also look forward to additional opportunities to share my testimony, faith walk, and all the wonderful teaching that I have gleaned through my studies with CLI.

What My Mom Taught Me

When I received my Officiant Minister Ordination, one of my sisters said to me that she wishes that our mom was still alive to hear about it, because she would be so proud of me. That statement was bittersweet. What my mom taught me above anything else was to follow God with all my heart. Unbeknownst to me, she used to tell her friends that I was the one who prayed in our family, and that I was still going to church faithfully in my twenties. Before my mom passed away, I had received both Bachelors and Master’s degrees in business. But that wasn’t what she bragged about – she bragged about my walk with God.

I would love for her to be here to share the news that I have completed a degree in ministry. What I can do is take every lesson about the Lord that she taught me and her dream that I would follow God all the days of my life. I can continue to pursue God and serve. Thank you to each instructor for their teaching and exams, which brought focus and clarity into my life. I hope that many more students have the opportunity to experience life-changing biblical teaching through CLI.

made possible by God's Plan

Made Possible by God’s Plan

In 2015, Clayton Moore first began studying at Christian Leaders Institute. Five years later, he is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program. Read on to hear how his journey has been made possible by God’s plan for him all along! 

The Entire Story

I had a frustrating experience in church one Sunday morning. I cannot recall precisely what the minister was talking about; likely because I was so caught off guard when he abruptly ended his message after about fifteen minutes. As everyone prepared for communion, I could not shake off the fact that I was waiting for the rest of the story; (his sermon). I’m sorry to say that this had become the worst experience in church I have ever had. I left church that day in such amazement, even as my wife was telling me to “let it go”. I could not let it go that day and truthfully, I am still very perplexed. However, this experience clarifies extraordinarily the value that Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) brings to its students every single day. I have never been left ‘holding the bag’ so-to-speak by any class at the Institute or the College.

It was also this experience that made me realize how, to me at least, church came off as being little more than a pageantry of ceremonies. Church had become little more than a Broadway Stage Show, with the focus on all the music, singing,  announcements, ceremonies, and precessions. I’m not naïve, however. I certainly realize that this church does not reflect the whole of Christ’s body. Christian Leaders Institute provides the entire story. It also has successfully created an environment that filters away virtually all denominational biases. It trims off the unnecessary fat and presents the meat of the topic at hand.

Online College Experience

Even though I have been studying “online,” I feel more connected, in a personal way, to other CLI students and some of the staff. I know the reservation that some have toward a completely online college experience. Others question the effectiveness of courses and the weighing of a certificate or degree. However, I also see how much of the lack of acceptance is waning as we move forward in a post-coronavirus world. I was utterly amazed when I first happened across CLI on the internet. And it has been nothing but extended blessings ever since I enrolled. With virtually all students around the world currently doing 100% of their school/college work online, suddenly the hesitation to be accepting of online schooling and its credentials seems to be disappearing. If I dare say it, I have no problem being a CLI Apologist.

Another great testament to Christian Leaders Institute I’ve discovered is the number of people beginning studies here that are already ordained ministers and have been so for many years. I feel them wanting to either refresh their work through the continuing education courses or learn something that may have been outside their own little circles throughout the years.

The Impact of CLI

Although he did not expect the impact that Christian Leaders Institute would have on him, it was completely made possible by God’s plan for him and his life.

I sincerely never thought that CLI would have the impact on me that it has had. I am ministering to hundreds of people each day in different ways. My passion to preach Jesus as the Christ has never been more alive as it is now and with all I have learned since I first enrolled in Christian Leaders Institute. I know that during my journey, CLI has also been growing and not only in the number of courses it offers. The school is becoming focused on interacting in a more personal way, as much as possible with its students. The addition of Christian Leaders College and its impending accreditation helps to invite even more people to study.

Encouragement, I learned over the past 55 plus years, does not in many ways find its way to people. So, it’s sometimes not easily accepted when it is given. It is a pleasure to deal with and in some cases chat with the CLI staff throughout the day. They have all been such an encouraging force behind me, standing in the wings.

Connecting With Students

I also am very appreciative of CLI giving me the opportunity to volunteer. I pray that I am making a positive impact in the role they have blessed me to be in. CLI has been such a blessing to me. It allows me to gain experience every day through corresponding with CLI students. Each day, I reach out to between 40 and 50 students a day offering congratulations. I also reach out and welcome every new student. I get to connect with myriad of the students via Facebook, answering questions, pointing them in the right direction, and in some cases even asked to counsel on course paths and ministry career decisions. In other words, a School Counselor, if you will.

I love connecting with and hearing back from the myriad students around the world. It’s truly amazing how CLI connects all of us in a ministerial bond. This in itself touches me because I always enjoy meeting people outside of my own little world. From Africa to China, from Germany to Italy, India, and beyond, I get to chat with other students. I offer some advice here and there (as someone who has been through the CLI experience), encourage them, and share the word of God.

Made Possible by God’s Plan

So, how does my journey and everything I have learned with CLI manifest in my daily life? I make a concerted effort each day to pray and ask God to glorify His name and the name of my Lord Jesus to all the world. Everything we do, everything we learn, share, and teach all comes down to ensuring that Jesus and God are glorified. I also remind myself that if the work of Jesus is not touching me and making an impact on my life and family, then it is not touching and making an impact on those I share Him with.

Everything I have learned and accomplished while studying here at CLI, was made possible by God’s plan for me, not my own. Throughout the past decade and half, as I can see it now in hindsight. God was surely calling the shots the entire time. This is evidenced by all the people He put along my path to not only get me back to Him, but to make me, yes me, a disciple of Jesus and to share Him and His work with anyone I can. I could not have reached this place in my life without Christian Leaders Institute, without the encouragement of my wife and family, and with God making it all possible.