Example Compassion Projects
The redesign of courses to embed Service Learning (S-L) assignment options is anticipated to be a fairly straightforward process. Academic departments will identify the core courses and electives in their departments that provide a close connection to the purposes of the QEP. Faculty who teach those courses will identify a particular assignment that already exists (or possibly design a new assignment) that may allow for an S-L optional assignment. Students who choose (students will do only four S-L options under the umbrella of The Compassionate Servant project) to do an S-L assignment in a particular course will notify the professor and will substitute an S-L option for the normal required assignment. Individual faculty will work with the QEP leadership to ensure that the S-L assignment- option workload is comparable to the outside-of-class workload of the original assignment. This would include the 12–14 hours of service required to complete the S-L assignment. Some academic departments have already identified courses where this will occur. The following are current courses that have identified a current required assignment that will provide for a substitute S-L assignment.
The Romans class is a required class in the ThM curriculum. It currently requires a ten-page theological paper based on exegesis in the book of Romans and written on a topic related to Paul’s doctrine of sanctification/salvation with emphasis on the objective (theological) and subjective (ethical) dimensions of the course. The New Testament Studies department has identified this assignment that will provide an S-L alternative assignment for the QEP.
BE104 Old Testament Prophets
In this required ThM course, students may choose the following optional QEP S-L assignment as one of their optional assignments in the class.
A Biblical Theology of Suffering
Students are required to do a personal assessment of their time spent as it relates to the various types and aspects of “suffering” ministries (10-12 hours outside of the classroom). This can include disability ministries, but any and all ministries related to “suffering” can be included, such as hospital visitation, Celebrate Recovery, support groups, counseling programs, church outreach, homeless ministries, etc. Students will write a 5 to 7 page reflection paper based on the experiences of the student as they relate to pertinent passages in the Prophets dealing with the responsibility of the Christian toward the poor, orphans, widows, disabled, etc.
On the first day of class, ThM students who opt to do this assignment as part of their requirement of Service-Learning will write a concise yet thorough, logical, and elemental paper on a biblical theology of suffering. For the purposes of this assignment, students will assume a “lay” audience such as a church congregation or study group. Students will be graded on how well core elements of a biblical theology of suffering are included/explained with a logical progression and concluding applications.
Style and form will account for 20% of each student’s grade; 60% will be based on adequate and thorough coverage on a biblical theology of suffering, and the remaining 20% will be based on the student’s ability to defend his/her position based on passages from the Prophets.
BE105 The Gospels
In this required ThM course, students may replace the four application projects, “How Is This Book Significant?” with the following optional QEP S-L assignment.
A Day in the Life
Students will be required to rent or borrow a manual wheelchair. The student will choose one full day (8 to 10 hours) and utilize it as part of their “normal” day routine. A visitation to at least two public establishments is required. It is recommended that the student go to places that he or she does not normally visit or is known – this can include restaurants, libraries, a church (once again, try to not go to your home church if Sunday is chosen), or some other public institution. It is recommended when possible that a friend go to the above places with you in order to provide transportation and also to provide feedback on the experiences. This is not an exercise of “deception,” but a chance to sense and feel what it is like to “live” for several hours in a wheelchair. Take mental notes of how you are perceived and looked upon in the above establishments. If asked about your “disability,” be honest and inform the one who asks regarding the assignment and its purpose.
Upon completion of the “Day in the Life,” write a 4-5 page paper reflecting on the experience and lessons learned and relate those lessons to one of the disabled people that encountered Jesus in the Gospels.
BE107 Hebrews, General Epistles, and Revelation
In this required ThM course, students replace an interaction assignment with the following optional QEP S-L assignment.
This assignment will count as part of a Service-Learning assignment. Students will interact with one of the following applying the principles that they have observed from the study of James or 1 Peter. Focus is on the application of passages from one of these books to the student’s experience in the field. Choose one of the following.
- Visit, observe, and interact with a church Disability Ministry.
- Evaluate and assess the interest and need for a Disability Ministry in your home church if one does not exist.
- Interview an individual who works in a Disability Ministry field.
- Interview an individual with a disability or family who has a member with a disablement. Seek to gracefully listen and learn from their perspective regarding life with disability (not counsel, not judge, and not instruct).
- Visit, observe, and interact with a “grief” or disability-related support group. Both Christian and secular groups (such as a “Parkinson’s Group”, a “Cancer Support Group”, hospice care, or a hospital chaplain) can be visited.
- Shadow a Home Health RN, Physical Therapist, or Occupational Therapist for up to 3 hours.
- Attend and interact with attendees at a local Gospel Mission or homeless center.
- Other ideas that the student may have can be approved by the professor.
A minimum of 12 total contact hours are required. Write a 4 to 5 page reflection paper regarding the type of ministry or group observed, the experiences themselves, and lessons learned. At least three written sources are to be referenced that correspond to the ministries observed. For example, if a Parkinson’s support group or a Disability Ministry is visited interact with the passages from your book choice (James or 1 Peter) from at least 3 sources on either James or 1 Peter as those sources apply to what you have observed.
BE547 A Biblical Theology of Suffering, Disability, and the Church
This elective in the Bible Exposition department requires the same Interaction Assignment as required in BE107 above.
The Eschatology class is a required class in the ThM curriculum. It requires a ten-page research project designed to ensure the student’s ability to carry out academic research on some aspect of eschatology. This assignment has been identified by a faculty member who teaches the course as an assignment that will allow for a QEP S-L alternative assignment for students who select that option.
WM101 Introduction to World Missions
This required ThM course includes an assignment that requires students to “cultivate a friendship during the course of the semester with an international non-Christian who is outside the Seminary environment and from a culture different than their own.” The department chair of World Missions and Intercultural Studies sees this assignment as allowing for an optional S-L alternative assignment.