Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the program ACTUALLY cost?
Some of the expenses related to the program are fixed and identical for every student, but some costs vary depending on geographical location and desired program outcomes.
The basic tuition cost of the program is $5000/year. This covers the cost of the four residential classroom experiences at our Kelowna campus and four off-campus (experiential immersion) courses which will be completed as part of the apprenticeship (approximately $625 per course). The four classroom experiences are outlined here and the on-site apprenticeship classes can be found on the spiritual formation and the experiential integration pages. Completing these 16 courses over the course of two years will lead to the Coalition Certificate in Vocational Youth Ministry Excellence.
Students taking the program for college or seminary credit may be required to pay additional fees to the school accrediting their courses. For example, Briercrest charges a one academic credit hour tuition fee – $330-$390 to accredit each transferred course. Some other academic partners transfer these academic credits at no charge. If you are interested in a breakdown of the various partners and their financial arrangements, please contact us at the Coalition office.
Additional costs for textbooks, accommodation, and transportation will vary, depending on your personal circumstances. For ballpark calculations, round-trip airfares to Kelowna from western Canadian cities tend to be in the $250-$400 range. Students are responsible to find their own accommodation. Airbnb’s are a good option and Green Bay Camp makes their facilities available. Some students have friends and family in the Okanagan and mooch off them during their class weeks.
Is Financial Aid available?
We understand that finances are often the biggest challenge for young leaders who are seeking vocational training. With this in mind, we have done our very best to keep the costs as affordable as possible. (In the end, the program ends up costing thousands of dollars less than a traditional college or seminary degree program). Also, the program requires you to be in a full-time ministry environment during the two years, and we encourage the locations that are hosting each student to consider a financial package that recognizes the significant contribution being made to their ministry site. We suggest that ministry locations provide a living allowance and perhaps even help with tuition costs. However, having said that, if you are taking the program for credit through one of our academic partners, you will be eligible to apply for student loans through the Canada Student Loans Program. More information is available through the registrar's office at each of our partner schools. We are also in the process of soliciting bursaries and scholarships from individuals who have an interest in supporting youth ministry education, and we will let you know how to access these funds as they become available.
Where will I stay during the class weeks in Kelowna?
Students will have a number of options for accommodation in Kelowna. If you know someone in the area you are welcome to crash at their house. We have also put out an appeal to churches in the Okanagan for people who are willing to open a guest room in their homes as a gift of hospitality, or for a very nominal fee. Green Bay Bible Camp is conveniently located in West Kelowna and has dormitory style accommodation available at a very reasonable cost if you want a beautiful lakefront location. A shuttle will run from the camp to the classroom to make it convenient for people who have no transportation of their own.
Will the class assignments/academic requirements distract me from doing my current ministry?
The truth of the matter is, that earning a degree will always be disruptive at some level. You don't get the parchment for "just showing up." A quality education will always require a degree of commitment and there will be a price to pay. The class assignments will be designed to take place in the regular routines of week-to-week ministry. There will be books to read, spiritual disciplines and practices to engage in, and cohort-based activities in which to participate. But this is not a program where you will be expected to spend hours in the library writing theoretical papers about ministry. You will be living out the assignments in the day-to-day realities of your ministry context. We believe that your participation in this program will actually make you better at what you do. However… realistically, you won't have a ton of time to play video games or binge-watch Netflix. But, having said that, we know that in the end it will be worth it for you and the people who support you in it.
I'm a rookie. How can I find a place to do an apprenticeship?
If you are not currently involved in a youth ministry that will allow you to do your apprenticeship, don't lose heart. There are a number of churches, camps, campus ministry chapters, and other ministry contexts who have indicated a willingness to host an apprentice and provide supervision and support. We cannot guarantee an apprenticeship placement, as students will need to earn their placement by applying to the ministry that seems compatible with their sense of calling. We will do everything in our power to help potential apprentices find a grace-filled learning community where they will be mentored, supported, and encouraged as they pursue their training.
Of course, for students who can secure their own apprenticeship locations, that challenge will not be an issue.
Is the program accredited and can I transfer credits to another college or seminary?
The Coalition program is approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) which is the accrediting body for most seminaries around the world. It is also approved and recognized by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) which is the group that accredits Bible colleges across North America. This accreditation means that courses can be transferred into ATS and ABHE schools at the discretion of the registrar in each of those schools (assuming certain grade levels).
Can I audit a class without registering in the program?
Of course, we want to make this training available to as many front-line youth workers as possible. A limited number of seats will be available during each class week for people who are interested in taking a course as an auditor (This means a student just attends the classes, takes advantage of the learning experience, participates fully in the week the class is gathered, but has no expectation of completing the assignments or course requirements.) The cost for auditing a class is $750, and priority will be given to auditors who are coming to class with an apprentice who is registered in the program. (There may be times an apprentice would like to bring their supervisor, or one of the volunteers from their ministry to benefit from the classes.)
Who will be my spiritual companion or director for the spiritual formation program?
One of the exciting elements of the Coalition program is the opportunity to engage in a purposeful two-year shared journey of spiritual formation. Every quarter, students will receive a spiritual formation journal which will guide them for six months of readings, conversations, and spiritual practices. Each student is required to find an individual with whom to share this journey. Ideally, this person will serve as a spiritual director, (in some cases a spiritual companion arrangement will be approved), and will accompany you on this part of the equipping journey. Each student will be required to find their own director/companion. It will be best to find someone who is locally accessible and with whom you can conveniently meet regularly to share what you are discovering and implementing. Look for someone whose spiritual journey you respect; someone who is further down the road and cares for you enough to make a significant investment over the course of two years. If the person you are thinking of has questions about what their responsibility will be, please put them in touch with us at the Coalition office and we will explain their role in more detail. This is not an onerous responsibility, but rather a beautiful gift of sharing together on a deep and personal level.
What will the schedule be like during the week of classes in Kelowna?
The class weeks in Kelowna are some of the highlights of the program. Taught by highly respected leaders in the field of youth ministry and shared as a cohort over the course of two years, these weeks are both educationally stretching and relationally rich. Out-of-town students should plan to arrive in Kelowna sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. Classes begin at 9 AM and are held in "The Refinery", the youth ministry building at Trinity Baptist Church. Classes run from 9 AM to 4 PM with appropriate breaks and an hour for lunch. There are many nearby restaurants. On Friday, the class is typically done by about 1 PM to allow students to get home in time for the weekend. If you are flying, plan a departure time after 3 PM on Friday. Evenings during the week are left unscheduled, but groups of students typically make arrangements to grab supper together, and when the weather is good, to enjoy the beauty of the Okanagan. During winter classes, some students love to stay around for the weekend and catch some world-class skiing and snowboarding.
What is the payment schedule?
The annual cost of $5000 is broken into two payments of $2500 each. The first payment is due on the first day of class in September/October and the second payment is due on the first day of the January class. This arrangement allows the payment to be spread over three calendar years, making it a bit easier for church or ministry organization budgets to handle.
How is it that the same classroom experience can count for a Bachelor's or Master's degree?
Graduate and undergraduate students are each given their own syllabus. The requirements for Masters students are more rigorous and represent a greater workload. The class material is taught at a high level, assuming that everyone in the classroom is in full-time ministry and is prepared to engage in higher-level conversations around theological and ministry issues. In addition, undergraduate students engage in experiential integration as apprentices with mentors to guide them in their ministry context. Graduate students are placed in small peer cohorts where accountability for growth and development takes place and personal assessment and evaluation of growth occurs.