“I’m going to China in a few minutes to teach another 316NOW Bible institute class,” one of our faculty members tells the members of this church.
Teaching in China, but not quite
Of course, this pastor will not be there physically because our classes are taught over Skype, an online program that is capable of bringing people from all over the world into a tele-conference. (If the internet connect is fast enough, people on Skype can use video features to see each other. 316NOW’s connection with our students in China is not that fast so we only use the Skype’s tele-conference features.)
Almost like a physical classroom
Even though our faculty members are not physically in the same room with our students, they are only a step removed from a “real” classroom. As in every other classroom there are notes to take, books to reference, and computers to access. Though students and teachers are separated by half a globe, precious Scripture truths are shared, hearts are stirred, and faith is strengthened.
Teacher and students talk with each other for an hour and a half to two hours at a time. They listen to voices filled with joy, hope, and the thrill of learning. Sometimes they hear sadness and fear in another student’s voice. Then they have opportunity to respond with messages of God’s grace.
They can’t shake hands or hug, but they do encourage each other and pray for each other.
Such are the blessings the Spirit brings about through our online courses.
The Spirit still brings his blessings
“I’m going to China in a few minutes.” Our faculty member is only partially joking when he reminds his church members that he’s about to lead another 316NOW class. The reality is the Spirit is using him as powerfully as if he was in China.
God’s Word still “accomplish[es] what [he] desire[s] and achieve[s] the purpose for which [he] sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).