I’m Proud of My Alma Mater for Getting Ranked “Lowest Return on Investment”


Saturday, Ozark Christian College was ranked as the number 9 college “not worth the money” by Business Insider. I couldn’t be prouder. No, that’s not sarcasm – I’m beaming as I write.

See this kind of thing puts my little Alma Mater on the map while drafting up a stark contrast against those other 12 colleges Business Insider deemed “worthless.” At Ozark, they teach things like “who we teach you to love is more important than what we teach you to know.” The goal of the college has never been high-profit careers, and in an age plagued by greedy banks and out-of-control stock markets, that’s a beautiful thing.

As Seth Godin taught us in Linchpin, it’s the old forms of capitalism and communism that ask, “how much will we make?” The New Creatives, on the other hand, ask “how much do we care?” The latter measures the amount of humanity and excellence brought to the table. That in mind, Ozark has always taught us to do things well and to do them with great love.

When the ’09 crash kick-started the “Great Recession,” Ozark already boasted hundreds of alumni who served in some of the poorest nations on the planet, alumni that stand in solidarity with the poor. Countries like Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, and Haiti know nothing but constant recession year-in, year-out. While Wall Street whined about profit-loss, Ozark alumni cared for the poor.

This is the college where, during one chapel, I remember Dr. Mark Moore (University of Wales) requesting poverty relief for D.R. Congo. “I want you to go back to your dorms, back to your apartments and imagine a Congolese orphan or former child soldier standing next to you. And then I want you to grab anything that’s worthless compared to a fresh set of clothes or a meal and bring it back to give away.” The chapel stage that day filled to brimming with televisions, iPhones, computers, rare commentary sets – the list goes on – that were all sold to raise funds. This is the college whose alumni started refuge houses for sex-trafficked girls before that kind of thing came into vogue. This is the college whose grads were first on the ground during the Joplin tornado.

This is a college of world-changers.

Even the men in my dorm who grew up to become graphic designers, film makers, storytellers, and audio engineers all excel in their fields. Guess what? Ozark doesn’t teach a single class in any of those areas. We Americans live in a culture that offers transitive education – you do this task, you perform this skill. That’s not working out so well for us, is it? In the middle of a transitive culture, Ozark offers an intransitive education – learn to think for yourself, speak for yourself, write for yourself. You don’t perform tasks at Ozark. You bloom. Every class features some piece of logic, rhetoric, or grammar that accelerates the maturity of her students. While other universities raise students up for now non-existent factories, Ozark expands minds and hearts so her students can create and enrich humanity in whatever context they find themselves. It’s a school unconcerned with the bottom line, because it digs toward a deeper bottom line…

“The end then of Learning is to repair the ruines of our first Parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the neerest by possessing our souls of true vertue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection.

– John Milton, “Of Education”

My friend Stephen responded to the survey with W.E.B. DuBois:

“Whither, then, is the new-world quest of Goodness and Beauty and Truth gone glimmering? Must this, and that fair flower of Freedom which, despite the jeers of latter-day striplings, sprung from our fathers’ blood, must that too degenerate into a dusty quest of gold?
…the true college will ever have one goal — not to earn meat, but to know the end and aim of that life which meat nourishes.”

If learning how to sell everything I have and give to the poor, to walk the second mile, to love my enemies and neighbors, to put a tornado-devastated city back together piece-by-piece is “unprofitable,” then I don’t know if I ever want to make a profit again. That in mind, I suppose Mother Theresa’s work among poor lepers was “unprofitable.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s work among poor African Americans was “unprofitable.” Francis of Assisi’s peacemaking work among poor Europeans during the crusades was “unprofitable.” Ozark’s a school that follows a homeless, crucified savior who gave himself for everyone else. Profitability’s not an A-priotity. Nor a-priori. Ozark’s a school of alumni that keep founding non-profit organizations. They care more about observations and experiences that exegete the human condition and invent workable solutions than about profit.

In an academic climate where students will most certainly enslave themselves under the tyranny of near-unrepayable debt, Ozark remains the only college I would choose for a master. If they are “unprofitable,” it’s only because they choose to work in the framework of a broken system where American banks get a hall-pass to solicit ignorant freshmen and lobby for jacked-up tuition prices. We need more schools willing to crawl down into the mud and offer sanity, more schools that care about enabling their students to learn and mature rather than to take the next class. Open courseware’s a good start, but we need more ideas, and good ideas come from good-idea cultures. Ozark’s unprofitable by an outer association, but not an inner culture. If our education system’s broken, then Ozark’s one of the few schools mending it: they refuse to worry about profit and maintain the lowest costs compared to her peers, all while driving her students toward sacrificial generosity.

And no, I don’t work for the college. I’m just one more graduate who passionately cares for the work of the school.

As for the survey, basic statistics theory asks this question first: what are the demographics of this study? How big was the sample size? A bit of digging revealed that only 31 people filled out this survey (thanks, Troy).

I don’t know if they will – I’m just some no-name recent grad – but if my fellow alumni choose to pass this post around, I guarantee we can easily get over 31 grads who think the Ozark experience was well worth every penny, interest included.

If you read this and you stand for, in, with, or by Ozark – just comment below with a simple “worth it.” You might also add where you serve, your age, your chosen profession, your degree, or a story about how Ozark influenced your life for the better.


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PS> UPDATE (5.10.13) :: For those who choose to tweet this, I believe they’re using #WorthIt

235 thoughts on “I’m Proud of My Alma Mater for Getting Ranked “Lowest Return on Investment””

  1. Worth it. I got a bachelor in Theology: Preaching. I met a financial guru while at the college (that offers no classes in finance) and learned how to get debt-free and invest.

    I was debt-free the year after I graduated and had an investment portfolio that looked great for an obscure, 23-year-old freelance writer.

    I’d go on, but my experience was worth it.

    1. Lance, what a great response you wrote to the “13 Colleges That Aren’t Worth the Money” article. I first read your response in OCC’s Compass magazine. (It was quite eloquent; I didn’t realize at the time that you’re a free-lance writer…)

      The early years of my life were greatly influenced by graduates and attendees of Ozark- who knows where I would have ended up without their influence? I didn’t graduate from Ozark but attended Midwest Christian College which later “merged” with Ozark, and I moved to California and graduated from a different Christian school.

      Although I never made a ton of money, I learned tons of life skills, eventually working for Probation in a large Bay Area county. I’ve now retired after 26+ years there, but feel my education prepared me to deal respectfully with my “clients” through the years- human beings who have certainly done some things wrong, but are loved by God and have the potential to eventually “get their life together” (provided they submit to the “higher power” who created life in the first place).

      Like their father before them, none of my four adult children are “professional Christians”, but all are, (by the grace of God, despite my shortcomings), responsible, productive members of society, and actively involved in Christian ministry. I continue to do volunteer work for several non-profits, often helping those that the world might not find “worth it”, and I am certainly convinced that the education provided by OCC and other Christian schools is definitely “Worth It”. Thanks for your blog, and all those who’ve commented and shared their stories.

  2. This made me cry! Of course, everything makes me cry these days…God is chiseling “me” out of me slowly. I work in corrections. I went to Ozark Christian College with the goal of becoming a missionary. I’m not stupendously intelligent, so OCC was difficult for me from a collegiate standpoint. But, I passed. And even though my trajectory went further away than I could have ever imagined, I show Jesus in my consistency, grace (which is is quite dodgy in Corrections, let me tell you), and silent prayers for the folks I deal with on a daily basis. Ozark Christian College didn’t teach me how to handcuff, or how to de-escalate someone who is irate. OCC taught me to love people, for we are conduits to God’s grace and love, “as if God Himself were making His plea through US.”

    1. Thanks Becca. You rock and I’m so glad I met you there and got to sing songs with that group of twenty or so accoustic-guitar-armed mucisians (guitarmy?) down by Dennis. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Worth it. Life always teaches more lessons than a class or degree. But the atmosphere of family where professors wanted to be called Brother rather than a fancy title of Dr. And where humility and service and faithfulness was desired more than a perfect GPA.

  4. Worth it. Currently in France. Have an M.A. in Historical Theology from St. Louis University (where, incidentally, the head of the M.A. program there disagreed with the article saying “some the best students I’ve ever had came from there [OCC]. They must be doing something right.”). Chosen profession: professor of theology (someday!), theologian for the Church.

  5. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your perspective and I think attending Ozark Christian College was a great decision. Any critical perspective I have of OCC is only from ground on which OCC taught me to stand. I am thankful I attended.

    I will add, however, that OCC and those of us that love it cannot be content to merely say something along the lines of, “oh, well we know it isn’t about the money so this isn’t relevant.” We must constantly ask how we can make ministry training of OCC’s caliber affordable considering that students who follow through and get their degrees will enter a relatively low paying career field with lots of debt. Of course, we know that this isn’t just OCC’s problem– it is a problem, in greater or lesser form, in most college education, ministry training or otherwise. I hope that, while we recognize that ROI is not everything and reaffirm that we did not get into this for the money, that we can attempt to find ways to make this type of training more accessible for a more affordable rate so that we are not enrolling 18 year-olds in a program in which they will often graduate with over 30 thousand dollars of debt. also, If possible, for those who find themselves 2 or more years at OCC realizing that they do not want a career in ministry, I hope OCC can find a way to make more credits transferable towards other institutions. I imagine this would probably involve regional accreditation, which i believe they are already talking about. I know that OCC has these things on their radar and are working hard to both equip people for ministry while caring for their students financially. I have no doubt that they will move in the right direction out of both desire and necessity.

    I hope that this piece ranking OCC # 9 will spark the types of discussions that are necessary to grow and that we would never be blinded by bitterness towards our Alma Mater or blind support that ignores its shortcomings. I hope that we can, in all things, continue to support them in their mission by being actively engaged in the solution :) I am a better human being because I went to Ozark Christian College and I would recommend it for those who are seriously interested in ministry. I would attend it again.

    1. Well said, Tom, and points I would probably have made in another post if they didn’t get brought up here — so great stuff there.

      We do need to figure out some workable solution for the future. Personally? I’d love to create a full-ride program for under funded students — not even necessarily the “best and the brightest,” but the ones who model servanthood the best.

      Of course that takes HUGE funding so some of us are going to have to break beyond the pack either personally or corporately to generate that kind of program, but that’d be awesome.

      We should also look into more open courseware like brother Moore and ICR and Shane put out.

      Other ideas?

    2. THANK YOU Tom and Lance. You said exactly what I was thinking and I very much appreciate your tone of humbleness as well as addressing reality, which is that we desperately need to figure out how to make it out of OCC with out so much debt since so many of us will go into low paying jobs. I believe that most do not go to Ozark to prepare to make money in the future, but the reality is that, for most of us, money is required to live…We must depend on the Lord for all things, and at the same time use wisdom in the ways we spend our money and take on debt.
      We should all be in prayer about new and inventive ways for this goal to become a reality. On a side note, I have often thought about how beneficial it would be to have a budgeting class as a requirement.

  6. I’m not an alumni but I work here and I see CHANGED LIVES!!! What else matters? The education you can get here is priceless!!!!

  7. So worth it! Serving in Cambodia with a ministry that is offering care and healing to young girls who have been sexually abused and exploited through the evil that is human trafficking. Wouldn’t trade my time at Ozark for a million bucks!

  8. Worth it! Of course I wouldn’t have earned my degree here and continue to work here for 37 years and counting! It’s not about the size of the paycheck, it’s about the souls that go with us to an eternity in heaven! Maranatha, come quickly, Jesus.

  9. Definitely worth. I graduated in 1985 with a Bachelors in Music Ministry. Never did much music after that, but was lead into a 20+ year in hospice care. Nothing could have prepared for that the way the environment at Ozark did. Now I’m working in retail, but still ministering to people every single day. And encouraging my first grandchild to attend at least one year. Can’t imagine a better beginning to whatever life comes her way after that. Great response. Thanks for writing it.

    1. Thanks, Ginger. Glad you stopped by and so glad it was worth it for you! Kiddo does hospice care these days and escorting people through the threshold of death and dying is something that terrifies most Americans. So glad you did that and take great care of people in your retail environment.

      Awesome stuff.

  10. Wow! Evidently I didn’t pay attention in English class as evidenced by my last post. (In my defense, I didn’t proof read and was interrupted at least three times while trying to type!

  11. Worth it. Although not an alum, I am one from sister college St. Louis Christian. My career has nothing to do with my education background. However, the “intransitive” education has far surpassed what I may have learned (or experienced) would I have studied in my current field.

    Great article, research, and challenge. Certainly puts values into perspective.

    How about a study of the worst collegiate ROI on character and worldview development?

    1. Thanks, William. Yeah that’d be an awesome study, wouldn’t it? Worst ROI on integrity and business ethics…. a few corporations come to mind….

  12. Totally worth both degrees. I have accepted the calling of youth ministry in a very amazing area of Missouri. I’m in McDonald county. Thanks for putting to words what I couldn’t lance.

  13. WORTH IT!
    Spent time working for Rapha House serving those rescued out sex trafficking (who could CARE LESS what degree I have, but rather focused on the fact that I cared enough to help, listen and love them), and I now serving those in a sexual crisis in Joplin, MO.
    Thanks Lance!

  14. My dad once told me that no one could ever take away anything I learned at Ozark. He paid for my schooling there (1974-79) because he thought I deserved the best education. I am proud to be an Ozark Alum and I say–totally WORTH IT!!!

  15. worth it!! I am living here in Joplin and actually working in the Admissions Department to help students get enrolled! Thanks for these thoughts!

  16. Absolutely worth it!!

    I’m a 2006 alum with a Bachelor of Christian Education. It has allowed me to teach in private schools, and I just received a Master of English Education. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past year. Is that a good “return on investment”? Yes! My classes on development and education taught me so much about how my 10-month old learns best right now. My Bible classes have built a better foundation of faith and knowledge for me to pass on to my son. I never went to Ozark, worked in ministry, or became a teacher for the money! I did so because I love it and there are so many things in this world that you can’t attach a dollar sign to!

  17. Worth it. I’m 26 and serve as a Campus Minister at Missouri State University. OCC helped lay the foundation I’ve been building upon ever since.

  18. Absolutely Worth It!! Kevin Huston, 30, Class of 2004, BTh and BBL, Campus Minister at the University of South Carolina, if it weren’t for the likes of Dave Smith, Mark Moore, and Mark Scott, our little campus ministry (The Shack Campus Ministry) would just be pursuing the status quo in campus ministry. But we’re hoping that in the next 3 years we can expand from USC to add campus houses at College of Charleston and Clemson and go from trying to reach 35,000 college students in South Carolina to trying to affect close to 75,000 college/university students in South Carolina for Jesus!
    Thanks Lance for your article and passion!

  19. “If you are in ministry for the money then you are NOT in ministry” Mom Bare, Dorm Parent at Williamson Hal, OCC

  20. Not an alum, but I know OCC is with it because of the impact every friend and OCC grad I know has made on the world. Even friends who don’t go to OCC but spend time in and round the campus and with other OCC students have their lives deepened in strong and meaningful way.
    Lancelot, great words as usual, my friend.

  21. I wouldn’t be the man that I am today if it weren’t for OCC. And I wouldn’t be serving in a young church plant reaching many people for Jesus if it were not for my education that taught me to see people as people created by God, who is longing to redeem them. Love my alma mater. Great article and defense!

  22. I didn’t attend Ozark, but have certainly been a great witness to its’ affect on my home town. I know its’ not a perfect school… I’ve heard plenty of critique and sarcasm…but I know its’ heart is in the right place, and for me, having a heart in the first place is what counts.

    The folks that have come out of this school have gone on to do some amazing things. I know many insanely talented and extremely passionate and world-changing individuals who gained a great deal just from having been there. There’s many a joke floating around town about ‘nieve Ozark students’, but there’s also an unspoken respect for the genuineness and sheer Christ-driven force that those students create in this town and far beyond it.

    worth it.

    1. Thanks for the honesty, Mark. This kind of compliment carries the most weight, in my opinion.

      And as always, thanks for stopping by.

      ( Hey everyone else! The inventor and DP of Cold Brewed just stopped by! I’m flattered! )

  23. WORTH IT! As a child of an OCC professor, I basically grew up on campus. I loved the school for years before I ever took one class, but my experience there became the paradigm by which I evaluate the quality and lasting efficacy of any educational experience. Thanks, Lance, for putting what so many felt into words.

  24. Worth it! I only attended one year but I still feel today it was one of the best years of my life. I work with two ministries Turning Point DFW and Bibles for Tarrant County Inmates as well as being a wife and mother of three wonderful children. I have lifelong friends who went there and feel God blessed me with my experiences there

    1. Wow. Thanks so much for raising awesome kids and taking great care of those in prison. As a guy that had a good friend in prison recently, I know how important that kind of care can be.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sara.

  25. worth it. Bachelor of Biblical Literature from OCC in 19997. Worked for Christ In Youth then went on to earn a Master of Divinity at Lincoln Christian Seminary (2006). Worked in full time worship ministry and am now teaching at one of OCC’s sister schools, Manhattan Christian College. I completed my Doctorate in Worship Studies in 2012 and plan to continue helping to train Christian leaders for as long as God allows.

    1. Man, you’re from the future?! Guys! Someone from the future loves OCC!

      Sorry, I know that was a typo — I’m not making fun of you, I just thought it’d be funny if someone came back from the future to tell us all that OCC’s still awesome in the year 20,000. Reminds me about Harvard’s and Yale’s roots as Christian colleges…

      In any case, thanks so much for stopping by and for working at Manhattan — they need some love. Where are you getting your Doctorate?

  26. So very worth it!!! My husband and I both attended OCC in the early 80’s – he is a 1985 graduate and now serves on the board of trustees for the college. We’ve been in the ministry for 30 years and treasure what OCC (then OBC) taught us about loving and serving the Lord! Our children both attended OCC and are world changers. Our daughter will fly home next week from Japan, where she is serving with a new church plant, to attend her OCC graduation. We can’t even put into words what God has taught us through OCC, but the investment they made in our family and our investment in OCC has incredible eternal value!

  27. worth it. Just completed a Master of Divinity at Emmanuel Christian Seminary and will begin a PhD in historical theology at St. Louis University this fall with the goal of serving the church through teaching and writing theology.

    I do agree with Tom Tatterfield above. I hope this sparks an important conversation that ultimately helps the school continue to improve.

    1. Thanks, Stephen. And thanks for your superior quote. It seems every time you quote somebody, it sticks in my mind and I return to it as a well. I keep quoting your reference to baptism as “doubling as a form of execution” and to Moltman’s “delving deeper into our own traditions.” Great stuff.

      And yes, to second the second of the motion — Tom’s words SHOULD be heeded in the midst of all of this.

  28. Worth it!!!! As your former youth pastor and current pastor in Louisville I couldn’t say I’m more proud of who you have become. From a high school student who could barely put an understandable thought together to a sharp young man who has truly spent time with Jesus. Love ya Lance!!

    1. Thanks, James. You’re a good man and the athlete that this creative is indebted to for pushing him toward OCC when he wanted to go to Northwest for acting. Haven’t regretted the decision at all — in fact, I’d argue I have more opportunities BECAUSE I chose Ozark over acting.

      Love you too bro. Praying for the satellite campus.

    2. By the way, James, it’s SO PERFECT that your comment is the 31st — which was the number I was shooting for to match survey demographic.

      SO perfect.

  29. My mom is an Ozark Bible College alum (so you get an idea that she graduated a while ago). She loved it. I just wanted to share a link to a great ministry to teens that not a lot of people know about, but OCC grads who are interested in working in ministry may like to check out. You don’t have to be “Baptist” to work here. We work for modest salaries but great benefits. (Some Ministry Team members actually serve as full-time volunteers) Here is the link to the job openings page: http://www.oneidaschool.org/jobs.shtml

  30. Worth it! I graduated with a Bachelor of Music Ministry. I am 39 (still hanging on to my 30s) and have served in worship ministry for 15 years with a heart for helping to equip smaller churches. I currently serve as a pastor at a new church we started in 2010 in Olathe, KS. The lessons I learned at OCC laid the groundwork to understand people and the heart of God for people. With that basis I have been privileged to serve our city of nearly 130,000 people as a City Planning Commissioner and recently traveled to Chicago representing our city. I am so grateful for OCC’s investment in me so I can invest in the Kingdom around me every day.

  31. Worth it. Proud OCC alum, now serving and working in Cincinnati, OH as an American Sign Language interpreter.

  32. worth it!!! Within 4 years we were debt free from any college student loans- and now church planting in NY with hopes to travel internationally within the next couple years! BA in Intercultural Studies and Biblical Lit.

      1. Discovery Church in Rochester NY… we are a ways away from NYC but would love to meet up sometime when u move up north!

  33. I don’t think it was worth it, but my issues are with the accreditation, not the education.

    1. Thanks for offering your dissenting opinion, Sam. Good to get some variety in here, haha.

      It might encourage you to know that they not only have national accreditation but are working on regional accreditation that will be completed in a few short years.

      Between that and alumni who have graduated from Yale, SLU, University of Edinburgh, U of Wales, etc. — there are opportunities to branch out if you’re interested.

      In other words your degree can lead to all sorts of places if you’d like.

    2. I graduated from the “unaccredited era” (BCE 1978) but was admitted to and completed my Masters from University of Missouri – Columbia almost 30 years later. That is not to say getting admitted didn’t take some determination and proving to the powers-that-be there that my OBC education prepared me for graduate school. But they DID admit me, unaccredited degree and all.

      My husband, also a ’78 grad(BSL) has served in two only ministries since graduation. We’ve served in two ministries since graduation and can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives. (Plus we met and married there!) :-)

      So, the verdict is: Worth it!

  34. Worth it. I just have an associate’s degree but I currently work at CIY and would have never had that chance without coming here.. heaven’s I wouldn’t be here with OCC b/c my parents probably would not have met, being my mom was from here and my dad was from Ohio. The price can be steep financially but I wouldn’t trade my lifelong friends and great education for anything.

    1. Thanks, Rachel. As for the steep price, I’d point to Tom and Stephen’s comments.

      I should mention that CIY was also founded by a grad and sustained primarily by grads.

  35. Worth it!!! My name is Becky King. I am a Kindergarten teacher in Webb City MO and I started my Education at OCC. I know that God used OCC in my life to prepare me for my career and I would not change my choice of attending OCC for a second! My husband Isaac king is also an OCC grad and he is a full time youth pastor now! We are blessed by our education from OCC daily! Thanks Lance!

  36. I believe it was very much worth it and would have done it again. Could things have been better with the BTH and BBL programs I took? Yes. But it was still very much worth it and I have no problem at all seeing my kids pursue OCC. As a college of higher learning . . . they’ve kept to their purpose and I’m proud of that.

    1. Thanks, Steve. Out of curiosity: what would you have changed about your program of choice? That information might be helpful if any administration or curriculum committee personnel sneak over this way…

      And thanks for your honesty, bro.

      1. My response to your question might not be too popular, especially with incoming freshman, but I’d gear it actually more toward something like West Point or the Naval Academy. More “life intentionality” in addition to simple curriculum. More direct mentorship.

  37. Absolutely worth it! I’m currently a ministry wife and stay at home mom in SE Iowa, and I mentor teenage girls during my spare time.

  38. i didn’t go to ozark but i spent a summer working along ozark students and alumni. i was jealous of you all who got to study how to share God’s love and so impressed by your commitment to changing the world for the better!

  39. Absolutely. My husband and I graduated from OCC. My husband ministers in Fredonia, KS. We have seven children, the oldest of whom is now at OCC as a freshman. Our oldest daughter plans to follow him there in another year. I wouldn’t want to send them anywhere else and am so thankful they are choosing OCC. They see the big picture. They see eternity.

  40. I am very proud to both work at Ozark and to have graduated from Ozark. But I am blessed that you have been gifted to be able to articulate the thoughts of so many. Thanks Lance!

    1. Well thank you, Mary. And THANKS for that AWESOME production of “Singin’ in the Rain.” Tell Colby that rain machine was incredible. Seriously, that was so so so much fun and has been Tara’s favorite for years.

      Thank YOU!

  41. Worth it!!! Every penny and my life long support and devotion to the mission of OCC. I will be graduating with my Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry – Administrative Ministry Specialization next week and am currently living in Nagoya, Japan – one of the largest unreached cities in the world were less than 1% are Christian. Ozark taught me to desperately love the Gospel and to devote my life to making Christ famous in the places where many have never heard his name or felt his love from his Church. Ozark completely changed my heart and transformed my mind – what other kind of education do you want?!

  42. SO WORTH IT!!! We’ve been in the “real world” with a good salary…but no fulfillment. Now we’re on staff at Cookson Hills Christian Ministries (graphic designer) with a “ministry” salary and LOVE IT! Our time at Ozark was worth every cent and more! Our oldest transferred to OCC this year after one year at a state college that cost us nothing. We’re thrilled she’s there no matter what it costs!

  43. WORTH IT!!

    Serving in Las Vegas as a youth Pastor at Canyon Ridge Christian Church. Didn’t take one youth ministry class but my entire education set me up to tell Middle School and High School students in Vegas about Jesus!

    Enjoyed the article Lance after seeing the report last week, however this thread was even more encouraging than I could have imagined!

    Keep up the good work everyone!

    -Kim Fish

  44. SO WORTH IT!!! We’ve had jobs in the “real world” with a good salary…but no fulfillment. Now we’re on staff at Cookson Hills Christian Ministries with a “ministry” salary and LOVE IT! Our time at Ozark was worthy every cent and more! Our oldest transferred to Ozark after a year at a state college that cost us nothing. We’re thrilled she’s there no matter what it costs!

  45. Worth it!!! ’06 Alum. The character shaping, knowledge building, and strong faith that I developed at Ozark allowed me to serve as a Youth Minister for 8 years and enabled me to continue on for a MDiv & MA. Now I’m serving at a children’s home as a Residential Counselor. Ozark helped me to turn around my life and give it to God so that I could spend the rest of my life helping other kids do the same. I would spend the money again in a haertbeat! Thanks for your words, Lance!

    I concur with others that Ozark should look into regional accreditation, adding masters programs, and continue to look at everything they can do to keep tuition affordable.

    1. And thanks for yours, Tony. I still think the alumni should band together above and beyond their help in the development office in order to create full ride scholarships for underprivileged students.

  46. Worth It i have gone on as a graduate from Ozark to work in several fields. Currently I’m selling Cars! My time at Ozark was some of the best years in my life and though she is not perfect it’s what molded me into the Man i am today. and i know tons of my fellow grads who went on to do something else besides located ministry (and are doing quite well might i add) who are better at their careers and generally just better people because of Ozark’s influential spirit.

    1. Thanks for your first comment and for selling cars with integrity, Brian. I think the world would be a much better place if we simply could trust all of our car salesmen — so you do great work. Keep it up.

  47. Went one year, met my wife and helped get a foundation so that when I transferred to another bible college (CCCB) I was prepared with more than most of the “one trick pony” bible college students.

    BTW I am currently serving as youth minister at RCC in Boonville MO

  48. My time at OCC has always been a cherished part of my life! Totally worth it!

  49. Worth it! I graduated in ’08 with a Bachelors on Christian Ministry with an emphasis in Psychology. I’m 29 and serve alongside my husband in worship ministry. (We’re currently closing a ministry at New Life church of the Nazarene in Miami, OK, and beginning a new one with Cornerstone Christian Church in Joplin.)

    I was able to use my one of a kind education to minister personally to the mentally ill and corporate America in two different jobs. Now, I am able to use all my knowledge from developmental education and psychology classes to care for and understand my 8 month old, as a stay at home mom.

    My education and experience at OCC is invaluable. However, I did have scholarships and assistance from my parents to complete my degree. Without that, I would still be paying on student loans as many of my peers are. I do think that working while one goes to school to pay off debts as one incurs them is a plausible idea to diminish debt. My husband and I did that for his education and are currently doing that for his masters degree in worship studies. As over 31 surveyed above have said, we didn’t go to OCC to make money ROI, but people ROI!

    Great thoughts, Lance! You have always been a thoughtful person and had good things to say. I am excited to hear of your next adventure with your lovely wife in NYC!

    1. Great thoughts, Jess. I’m reminded of a sermon Mark Moore preached on the issue and how he used the example of students that spent ten years getting a five-year degree in order to graduate debt-free. My uncle did that for pharmacy school and it’s still viable as an option today.

  50. Worth it by a long shot. 5 years at this college and I don’t regret any of it. BCM with an emphasis on missions, or inother schools intercultural studies. I am a case manager currently working in Joplin, I have achieved alot in the work field and only have taken one psychology class and one counseling class, but I was taught how to love people. I am good at that! Thank you Ozark!

  51. Worth it! Graduated with a Bachelor of Christian Education in 1993. Both of my parents, my sister, her husband, his brother (and his wife), THEIR parents, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of the family have attended and graduated from OBC/OCC. We would all tell you it’s worth it!

  52. Worth it! I graduated in 1996 with an associates degree. I’m currently a licensed massage therapist, working on a military installation. I have alot of contact with our active duty personnel and their spouses. And, boy, do they ever need massage! :)

  53. Where do I start. I have one son that wanted to attend for a couple of years just to “get ground”. I wanted to say, we can’t afford that, but how to you say getting really ground in God and the Bible is a waste of money – you can’t. He did that for a year and half before beginning his piano degree at Southern. It was well worth the money. My oldest son will be finish his Theology degree there in another year and though he was knowledgeable and on his way to being a good speaker/preacher when he enter there, he is now on his way to being a top notch/outstanding speaker/preacher. He has soaked in everything, and it has become a deep-down part of him. We couldn’t be happier with the education he is getting there. He knows it doesn’t matter the size of the church you preach at, the amount of money you make, or where you live but how you love others, serve others, and your willingness to go where God leads you. Those are things we tried to instill in our children and OCC also strives to instill those same values. So, definitely worth it.

    1. That’s awesome, Holly. I’m sure you’ve sacrificed a lot to make that happen and I’m also sure those sacrifices will not fall by the wayside. Thanks for sending your boys and for sharing with everyone here.

  54. Worth it.

    After graduating from Ozark I went on to Lincoln Christian Seminary to get Master’s Degree in Biblical Languages. There I married my husband (also an Ozark grad) who has been in full-time ministry ever since our marriage. I am now tasked with the monumental undertaking of making our home and raising our 2 beautiful children–a “non-job” which yields zero financial profits but which affords possibilities the effects of which will hopefully echo powerfully in the lives of my children and on into eternity. Ozark helped prepare me for this fruitful life. We are not wealthy by many standards, but again and always I will say, worth it.

    1. Man, we pulled a huge contingency of single moms with this one, huh? Thanks so much for pulling 112+ unpaid hours per week raising up the next generation, Julie. It took a good mother to raise up Tolkien — he said so in all of his correspondence.

  55. Considering the fact that aside from your first grade teachers enrolling you into the gifted program in school, your diagnosed genious IQ was undetectable by all but the most astute who knew you while you were growing up through those tough, “awkward” years. I knew God had a plan from the beginning of your life and while I didn’t know exactly what path your OCC education might lead you to, I trusted the One Who who designed your creativity and who made it all come to pass. Through true lovers of people, mentors, community, and the truest disciples of Christ I’ve ever known, God has used OCC to help mold and shape you to be what He desires of you. Was OCC worth it? To this one very proud and humbly thankful mother, the value is priceless! Lance~P.S. (Please excuse any embarrassment I may have caused……it’s payback time!) –Love, MOM

  56. My wife and I graduated from Ozark in 1976. In dollars it cost a lot less, but in its time it was tough. I had a college degree in education when I came to Ozark because I knew I wasn’t where God wanted me and I figured I could find direction at this school. I worked at McDonald’s, nearly full time, ate left over apple pies for breakfast, drove a ’65 Dodge Dart and slept about 3 to 4 hours a night. But it was all worth it. The education I received in addition to facts and words, and books was that satisfaction in life comes from doing what God’s wants, he will supply all your needs, just serve. The past years have been filled with ministry 20+ years in local church and now 18 years in an administrative position in the corrections industry. I meet really bad people who I hope to influence, I have Muslims that come to me to pray for their mother who is dying, I have staff who want to talk to me about life, marriage, etc. All the things I learned counted at Ozark. Thanks Ozark. I love traveling to the Philippines to preach the Word there. I do that through a fellow Ozark Alum organization. My wife was a big part of my local church ministries and then the principles enhanced at Ozark were the driving force in her applying her gift in the retail business world and being a smashing success there. Her business is often referred to as The ___________ __________ and counseling service. She ministers to more women everyday than you can imagine as they enter to buy and leave to live. Thanks to Ozark. Our kids though never attending Ozark reflect those principles we learned there and passed along to them. Solid lovers of God; solid families; solid citizens. Thanks Ozark Christian College for taking my money and making me a man that seeks God.

  57. Worth it! I’m a 1999 graduate with a BBL in Bible and Psychology. I now hold a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, and it was the educational foundation that I received at OCC that made obtaining a graduate degree a piece of cake! I now have the privilege of teaching English to college freshman at a university in South Korea. I’m thankful that I can count myself among OCC’s alumni! What a great group of ambassadors!

    1. Wow, thanks Angie. It’s interesting, isn’t it? How often master’s and PhD candidates from Ozark get named “best prepared” compared to alumni from everywhere else?

  58. I think Ozark is getting it right. Some “journalist” who makes his living taking a small, random survey, and writes an article about ” the lowest return on investment colleges” needs to go out and get a REAL job. He would do better to READ articles instead of WRITE them. I have friends who are OCC alumni…………ALL QUALITY PEOPLE.

    1. Thanks for the enthusiasm for the college, Don. I’m sure the journalist was well-intended, trying to encourage students toward options that wouldn’t enslave them to debt. I just hoped here to reevaluate the scale of what’s “worthwhile” and what’s not.

      If the journalist gets ahold of this, I should probably say that I forgive him for bad mouthing my school. S/he’s not the first and won’t be the last.

      But thanks for your enthusiasm all the same, don. Keep in mind, we try to keep it classy in the comments here. That’s a warning, but a warning from a source of gratitude, not meanness.

  59. So Worth It! BKC ’89 serving in Indiana…church secretary.
    “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

  60. Totally worth it! I’ve been the youth minister at Prairie Grove Christian Church in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, for almost 7 years now. Cannot imagine doing my passion without the education and training I received at OCC. And you are right, while my degree is in Biblical Literature…my vocation is youth ministry. But it’s not the major, minor, emphasis, or class lineup so much that matter. It’s the character focus and Bible knowledge that prepare you for whatever lies on the other side of the walk across the stage.

    Matt Tibbit
    OCC Alumni – Class of 2004
    Bachelor of Biblical Literature

  61. SO worth it! I wasn’t able to graduate from OCC but my time and studies there really opened my heart to the calling from God. I am a teacher. I teach Special Needs students in Rogers Arkansas. My heart was opened to the needs in the community of special needs while I was at OCC. to this day, God has given this teacher many opportunities to serve those who have struggles, physical, mental or academic in more ways than I ever dreamed would take place.

    Speaking of Joplin, with my OCC connections and working with my other OCC friends and family, our church was able to arrange and organize hundreds of groups and individuals to help rebuild Joplin after the tornadoes. It was time to serve the town that brought us all together from ALL OVER THE WORLD!!

  62. Worth it. 2004 grad with a BBL in Bible and Ministry. Serving as a youth minister in SE Kansas. OCC introduced to my wife and taught me how to share Christ with teens. I would say that my “investment” was definitely worth it.

  63. Thanks for this post.

    I spent my day talking with a family whose adult son passed away (whom I helped lead to Christ last week), hearing and hugging a man broken by addiction, pitching baseballs to a boy whose family has split, writing a blog for Blackbox International (care for trafficked boys), and feeling fatigued, inadequate, and refreshed.

    It was all worth it for this ’98 grad. I am humbled that God lets a mess like me do my little part in the Kingdom, and I am thankful that OCC helped prepare me.

    In related news, OCC ranks dead last in their number of graduates drafted into the NFL. So there is another reason to avoid it.

    1. Well… Thanks for your first comment, Brian.

      And thanks for pouring your life out into the lives of hurting people. Those who carry crosses are working with the grain of the universe.

      As for the football thing, I heard President Proctor say that he wants us to make t-shirts that read:

      OCC Football
      Undefeated since 1942

  64. Worth it.

    22, Bachelor of Science in Counseling from Florida Christian College. In six days I move to Cambodia to live and work with Rapha House for a year.

  65. Worth it! ’05 gad teaching Kindergarten and coaching High School students in Indiana.

  66. Worth it!! God has always provided for our needs! So choosing a career and college was never about becoming the most successful in some multi million dollar business. It was about following God’s lead. Ministry was in my blood and I knew OCC was the place to prepare for it.
    Ozark Christian was our family’s school. My parents had attended, all 4 of us kids, and its where I met my husband. It was a great place to grow in those first years out of high school. Many fellow students are still close, life-long friends.
    Our life in ministry has benefitted greatly from all we gained while we attended OCC.
    and I agree that this achievement only proves that Ozark is still firmly on the right path–IN the world, making a BIG difference, but not OF it!

  67. Bth Intercultural Studies. Community developer, anti-human trafficking worker, and missionary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  68. I may not be in “the ministry” any more, but I find in my current profession of law enforcement that my OCC degree/experience is invaluable. I see the worst of society on a daily basis, but God keeps me strong. I was not the model student while there, but I was shown mercy & grace time and time again. I ended up graduating on time, and with a clear picture of who Jesus really is!

    Thank you, OCC!

  69. I worked for Ozark for 5 years until we moved out of state. It is the most amazing school full of wonderful faculty, staff, and students! I can’t count the number of times the students touched my heart with their compassion, knowledge, and wisdom. The faculty and staff not only work hard at their jobs but they invest their lives in God’s kingdom and the students. I don’t know another school that compares! Thanks, Lance, for speaking out and giving me the opportunity to comment as well.

  70. Proud…Bachelor of Christian Education, Associate Degree in Sacred Literature, Associate Degree in Bible and Elementary Education, and a lifetime of ministry. Make enough money to be debt-free and have what I need and more.

  71. Worth it. My wife and I graduated in 2005 and moved to minister at a church in Springfield, IL. Attended LCU to get a Masters of Worship Studies, did music ministry for 8 years. Now I oversee daily operations at the same church. Even though I’m not using any of the practical music skills I learned at OCC I’m thankful for the leadership experiences learned in the whole environment. I think”Accelerated Maturity” is how Mark Scott referred to it.

  72. There have been many angry nights where I’ve said it wasn’t worth it at all, and not just financially. But that’s natural, I suppose, when troubles are faced.

    Now? I would say it is worth it. We had been studying John 13 when I saw the article. Ozark and her alumni popped into my head as a place with people who generally try to serve others in the ways Jesus did.

    I did not meet a financial guru and will have my student debts for quite some time, but God is providing for us daily to serve in Mansfield, MO as a part time youth minister as I work full time in the public school with a student who needs one on one help. I am in no way qualified to help the student other than trying to emulate the patience and love and grace that was modeled to me at OCC and, more often than that, after my college years through the alumni that I’ve encountered.

    Thanks, Lance, for being one of those people.

  73. “worth it” I appreciate everything that Ozark has taught me. I was a vocal major, and have since done nothing more with my quote, unquote education than sing with my church’s worship team. Not very impressive, understandably. I, however, wouldn’t have traded my time there for anything. It has made me into the person I am. It was truly the best time of my life.

  74. worth every penny – Ozark shaped me and forced me to focus – she taught me to think – and how to study the Bible for what it really says instead of how I feel about what it says. My mind is better – and I am blessed – class of 1990

  75. Worth it.

    I only attended OCC for three semesters, and I would not trade them. The Christ centered relationships I formed in that year and a half are priceless. When my husband was deployed, my OCC family carried me through. I am now a stay at home mom to three sweet babies, and my Ozark education frequently comes to mind as I try teach them to love and serve. My husband, Rob, also only attended for three semesters, but because of our relationships with OCC graduates we were able to take a path that led to him managing the finances of a large church planting organization. He could have made other choices with his accounting degree that would have equalled a bigger paycheck, but the eternal return on our investment is worth far more than any monetary gain. We would be thrilled for our children to spend any amount of time at OCC. It would be worth every penny.

  76. My time at OCC was worth every penny. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and I had to endure an abusive relationship with my father and watched my parents get divorced a year before I graduated high school. I came to OCC because I felt God’s calling to work in His kingdom. I spent several years doing vocational ministry and have discovered that maybe it’s not for me. I currently work in a nursing home as a cook, and have found a great group of people to not only serve and worship with, but to pray for and with as well. My time at OCC was spent trying to find not only myself, but what I needed to do. I may not be a rich person today, but the four years I spent learning from people like Proctor, Moore, Scott, Wilkinson, Wohlenhaus, Fields and Bowland have been paying a greater return investment than any paycheck ever could.

  77. “WORTH IT!” Facing my Sr. of high school 20 years ago, I never would have dreamt the path that God was about to lead me on. To attend a college I had never even heard of, to major in a field of ministry, I never knew existed. To quote Brian Adam’s, my years at Ozark “were the best years of my life!”
    My closest friends, mentors, and encouragers came from Ozark.
    I have served in ministry now for 15 plus years, mostly in music ministry and now the past 3 years as a preaching minister. Even though I have had some extremely challenging times ministry, I love the Bride of Christ more today, than I did when I started this journey, and that is THANKS to Ozark for starting this journey.

  78. I’m just a freshman at Ozark trying to work my way through, but I can’t even describe how much I’ve grown and learned this year. God is doing mighty things from this campus. It’s worth every penny.

  79. Thanks for this. I love OCC and I am so proud to have spent four years there. I am forever grateful for that school.

  80. Worth it! In one class the professor informed us that we would not be having class the next day. As each student began that mental dance of freedom the professor commented, “That only with education are people excited to get less than they paid for.” This troubled me (though I had heard the thought articulated before). I saw the professor when class resumed and clarified my perspective: If I thought the difference between getting my money’s worth was missing a few class periods I would go to school somewhere else. My time at Ozark was worth far more than I paid for it. – Austin Scott, pastor at LaCenter Christian Church in LaCenter, KY

  81. Thank you so much, Lance, for these positive words! I only got to attend Ozark for one year and my only regret was that I could not go back. However, it was definitely a life changing experience for me. My time spent at Ozark was absolutely the BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE! The life experience spent at Ozark was PRICELESS! The friendships I gained from there were and are golden! I live in Oregon, and even though I lost touch with most of my Ozark friends for well over twenty years, it was no problem to regain those friendships. One may not be able to say that if going to “another kind” of college. What is the price tag of friendships of which I have confidence will last for decades to come?

  82. Absolutely worth it. I’m a senior at OCC with 14 credit hours left on my degree after this semester. My wife is graduating in a week. We don’t know where we are going or what area of ministry we will serve in, but we know who we are and what kind of people we want to be. Ozark has given me the foundation that I need to serve faithfully for a lifetime.

  83. I have always told my high school students that learning to think critically is the number one thing that the college experience has to offer. OCC was awesome at this! I appreciate so much my education from OCC. I’m now a high school teacher (through an alternative certification program which, by the way, was possible because of my OCC degree) and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to my students.

  84. Worth it! Though I did not attend, and have never visited, three of the most influential people in my life today graduated from Ozark. Their leadership at our SoCal church has guided me and hundreds of others into serving as the hands and feet. My small contribution has been with media production and helping out as a volunteer during services. It has also sent me on two international mission trips so far (one with my 11-year-old son), and another for my wife and daughter. Our lives are changed for the better because of grads Rusty George, Steve Meyers, and Michael DeFazio. Thank you, Ozark, for making a true difference in thousands of lives across the U.S. and the world.

  85. I’d have to say, as a current student who sometimes worries about school debt, that every dollar I spend here is worth it. This is a place that will change the lives of many leaders who will leave this place and be the spark to a chain reaction of sparks. We are the people of God. Each and every one of us are a spark to the dark world. We will be a city on a hill, burning brightly. What we do after we leave this place will exponentially and eternally change the world.

    What was the price on my head, because of sin, that Jesus was willing to pay? The answer to that is certainly worth every dollar I spent going to Ozark Christian College. Worth it.

  86. totally worth it! Founder of Christ’s Word For All Nations, laboring in Kenya to teach and train leaders in the Word of God, helping with adult literacy, transforming cultures through theGospel of Jesus Christ.

  87. This pretty much proves how wrong that original ROI article was. It’s hard to quantify how worth it OCC has been to so many graduates and people ministered to by those graduates!

  88. So worth it!
    I didn’t graduate from there, but the 2 years i spent there i learned so much about serving and was inspired by passionate professors. I was encouraged to get involved in churches in Joplin and started working with teens. Now i’m a youth coach with my husband (unpaid) and i feel so richly blessed by the teens that i get to encourage and nudge in the right direction. Now when i go to Christ In Youth functions with the teens from my church, it is like going to a college reunion. I always see other former OCC students with the youth groups and love getting to talk to them. (i’m a stay at home foster mom who volunteers with teens, so i make no money, but i wouldn’t change it for the world.

  89. Worth it. Graduated from OCC in 2007 with a BTh in Missions. We may make very little by the world’s standards but we have been able to see God do great things here in Honduras and it is definitely worth it.

    Good job, Lance. Excellent article.

  90. Worth It…Best BAD investment I have ever made!

    I did not get the opportunity to be a student at Ozark…and lose count the number of times I think about wishing I had been given the chance to attend there. I have walked on campus, shot hoops on the bball court outside, ate plenty of food in the Caf, attended many classes, stayed in the dorms, attended Chapel, played ping pong in the Student Center, visited professor’s offices, purchased books at the bookstore, made a few visits to the Financial Aid office and have even attended Commencement…in some ways it sounds kinda like I was a student…

    I can tell you that I have made my share of St. Louis to Joplin roadtrips…hauling more stuff back and forth on I-44 than Two Men & a Truck. I may even hold some kind of record for the number of times I have walked up and down Dennis Hall stairs (thankfully, usually only to the 2nd floor), and waited more hours in the Dennis lobby than most boyfriends have. I have traveled the 600 miles (roundtrip) for long weekends, short weekends, HS retreats, surprise birthday visits, and even made the trip there and back in the same evening once.

    Everytime I arrive on Ozark’s campus it feels good to be there…it just feels right. I have cried on trips down to OCC and shed many a tear on the way back north after leaving. I have memories that I cherish and gained lasting friendships from meeting people for the first time there.

    My wife and I have invested heavily in OCC…two daughters who are graduates and daughter #3 soon will complete her freshman year…my son has plans to make it four out of four children to attend Ozark…I continually browse The Compass trying to find that “buy 3, get the 4th one free coupon” to no avail…yet. I have gained two sons (thru marriage) – both Ozark graduates also – and even walked one daughter down the aisle in the Chapel on her wedding day. I have another daughter graduating this month who is not like family – she is family to us. So my math skills compute the following: started with 3 daughters and now have 4 + started with 1 son and have 3 (so far)…that’s a good investment for starters…

    I could go on and on and list the Essential knowledge learned, the maturity displayed, the Gifts made known and shared with others, the sacrifices made, etc…but if you’re reading down this blog this far still, you already get the picture…

    My children have Served and continue to Serve in Jesus’ name.


    But let’s get back to the numbers…By the time #4 child graduates I will have invested more in OCC than I originally paid for my house – need I say more? OCC is an investment that does not depreciate…like brick & mortar seems to do these days…or any other material thing in this “material world” does.

    Oh, one more thing…the author of this blog is one of those “bonus” sons as my wife likes to put it…so proud of how he can put stuff down on paper to communicate and then watch and see how God can do so much more with it than we can ever imagine…that’s just one of those “intangible benefits” that the world seems to have so much difficulty in quantifying…

    Lance, you made me cry this morning while reading your blog at breakfast…as I prepared for a day of sightseeing in Jerusalem today…imagine that timing…that was sure a good investment that paid many dividends to me as I walked where Our Savior walked and as I reflected on His teachings – especially to those He spoke in the very city I was in today!

    Press On Ozark Christian College! You have the most important job in the world…and I am thankful you are willing to do it.

  91. Worth It. 2012 Graduate, 24 yo and a youth minister in Fort Collins, CO. My life was changed at OCC. Huge steps in my faith made that are still pushing me to Christlikeness. Met my wife there (of course) and formed relationships that will last my entire life. So thankful for my mentors and professors, as well as the older and younger students who influenced me.

  92. Worth it! I graduated with an Associates in Ministry (music emphasis) in ’86 and then worked on a PHT (putting hubby through) with my late husband, who graduate with his BS in Christian Ed in ’89). We had 20 wonderful years in children’s ministry, mainly in California and Colorado. I was finally able to complete my BS in Management in 2006 by transferring to Hope Int’l University’s online program. The only “bad thing” about Ozark that I had to deal with was the regional accreditation issues. I was very limited in where my credits would transfer. However, I don’t think I would want Ozark to have to sacrifice any of its integrity just to accommodate the accreditation committee. I think the best bet is to continue working on cooperative programs with Missouri Southern and PSU in order to get facilitate the needs of those wanting to be in the service-minded atmosphere as well as seeking a degree plan in another area that Ozark doesn’t or can’t provide. I know that I wouldn’t trade my experience at Ozark for anything. It was fantastic.

  93. WORTH IT. I love Ozark. I got the BBL in 2000 (before it was a BA) and when I went to seminary on the West Coast, I was shocked at how much Bible I knew compared to seniors in the MDiv and ThM programs. OCC not only formed my knowledge, but my soul. I found out who I was there, and fell deeply in love with the Gospel. I still cherish friends from there and talk to them regularly.

    Ozark is definitely worth it… not sure if the world is worthy of a place like OCC :)

  94. WORTH IT! Bachelors of Ministry Emphasis on Church Planting.
    OCC has taught me so much. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better place to be prepared for ministry. You learn much self-discipline, courage, and MUCH BIBLE! Blessed to be a part of this body.

  95. Oh, so worth it!! I graduated from Ozark with a BBL in 1994 before serving on the mission field nine years. I currently serve on a church staff in the Northwest as the communications director. After graduating from OCC I’ve never wanted to have just “a job” that isn’t first a place of ministry and growing as part of the body of Christ. No, OCC didn’t train me to fight for the highest paying position in a major company, but I did learn a lot about making a difference in light of eternity. Totally worth it!

  96. Worth it. Met my bride here, first of all. Challenged by great profs to think critically. Gained a passion for visible unity across all lines society draws. Now part of the team working on this important affordability piece -for current and future students. To keep costs low, we need to do a better job of cultivating relationships with our younger alumni and the churches and individuals with which they serve. I know this: nobody working at Ozark is getting rich in the earthly sense. It’s not like there’s a small contingency pocketing money. :0). Anyway… humbled to be on staff and proud of this place. Thanks for your post, Lance.

  97. Worth it! Graduated in 1991…husband graduated in 1993…
    2 children attending currently..worth it!!

  98. Worth it !! My wife and I have seen how our daughter has grown in many ways… She is radiant as ever when she talks about the love that she has for the Lord. OCC has helped blossom that beautiful Texas rose. Thanks to the blogger for speaking up. As we say in Texas, “Bless there heart” to the ones who choose NOT to go to OCC.

  99. More than worth it!!!
    Not only do I take issue with the methodology of the article that spawned this discussion, but the premise that money is what we seek from our education is flawed.
    When I was going through school at Ozark I worked for Wal-Mart so I could cover my bills. I am a person that has difficulty separating my work and personal life. This caused stress and frustration in my life because I would get incredibly stressed by the intense revenue-driven environment. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe that I am working this hard, and being this stressed for something as temporary as money.” I thought that if I was going to be that stressed it should be for something that really mattered. My life is honestly still filled with stress, but I am changing lives and bringing the light of truth into a dark world. My payoff will be in Heaven when I see the lives that are there because of my work.

    The ultimate test of ROI will be shown when all those who came to Christ because of OCC and the students she produced are compared with Harvey Mudd College (the school ranked first in the article). I have a very strong feeling that the ROI that matters will be HEAVILY in OCC’s favor.

    Minister in Amoret, Missouri.
    Met my wife at OCC as well.

  100. Hi Lance and friends,
    let me say first that Ozark is very much a family school; my brother Levi and sister Heidi attended there, and I married into the “Lang Dynasty”. Ozark is very much a family school, but I did not graduate from there.
    I have graduated from Houghton College, another Christian school which was documented recently in Forbes Magazine as being in the top 4% of colleges nationwide for the same criteria. http://www.houghton.edu/about-us/national-recognition/
    I do not “post to boast”, but as an “Ozark brother” I believe I have a unique perspective from attending both colleges. At Houghton I graduated more properly from the Greatbatch School of Music, named after the Houghton professor Wilson Greatbatch who developed and patented the implantable pace-maker. He was a scholar-servant whose life-long motto was: “if, in the LORD’s sight it is right, then do it with all your might.” and so from this we have an example of a man who worked to serve the Lord, and yet was rewarded in earthly terms.
    It is a basic truth that if you serve someone, they will often thank you in the currency most meaningful to them. If you serve a close relation, often you will be thanked not with money but with time, simple gifts, spiritual gifts and affection. (one part that makes Ozark “worth it”.) If you provide a service to the world, they will often thank you with money (the most meaningful currency to them).
    My observation is this,
    it is the Ozark graduates’ glory if they did not choose the higher paying job,
    but it is not the Ozark graduates’ glory if they could not choose the higher paying job.
    – what if the linguistics department were so strong that a graduate could just as easily be hired as a United Nations diplomat, as become a Bible translator in a third world country.
    – what if Ozark had a computer sciences program that a graduate could make evangelistic videos of professional quality just as easily as they could earn a job at IBM?
    the Bible gives us the model of fishermen becoming Jesus’ chosen apostles, but it also gives the model of Paul, the true academic who also chose the path of the servant: “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more…” (Philippians 3:4)
    as J.S. Bach wrote at the end of every manuscript,
    Soli Deo Gloria

    1. Interesting thoughts. I’ll be interested to see how the others on here respond to this.

      I’ll mention in passing at the start that the linguistics department is that strong assume you talk to the right people and create the right classes. I took both Latin and German extra-curricularly at Ozark for fun. Those boys above who got full rides to SLU got them by having Ancient Sumerian, Accadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin on their transcripts as well as some practice in German and Jordan’s now learning French while in France. He and his wife could easily do UN work down the road if they wanted. As for Bible translation, Molly French planned on doing just that with a similar degree. Computer sciences is a better argument in my opinion, but I think I could still point to some autodidacts who taught themselves the craft because they learned to learn.

      For me, the question would be this: Does Houghton (as the representative ideal) live up to the the criteria posted in my response? I believe that there are even liberal arts institutions around the country that offer intransitive educations and have nothing to do with Christianity, but they are even fewer than those Christian colleges that practice this — perhaps because Christian colleges are more readily medieval in their mindset? In any case, few institutions practice this sort of education, an education that can easily meld in and out of various fields of employment / production.

      In other words if we simply because a task-teaching school, then we’ve missed the point. But I would argue that degrees mean little to nothing in today’s climate, that you can get a $100k education for a buck-fifty in late fees from the library and simple interviews from experts in their fields. Open courseware simply further expands the possibilites here, as indicated by the man who recently patched together a liberal arts education for $10k and guys like Steve Jobs that never went to college. All of those I linked to above (the graphic designer, the audio engineer, the filmmaker, the storyteller) are autodidacts — they taught themselves. Heck, I taught myself photomanipulation by reading posts and entering contests on Worth1000.com Do I do that any more? Well no, but I learned it in the same way those career designers and more learned it — I looked it up and read and watched and studied.

      The question is not “does college teach them to perform task in their industry of choice” but “does college teach them to teach themselves?”

      If it cannot do the latter, it cannot do the former.

      1. Lance, I appreciate your thoughts.
        Houghton College is not “the ideal”; the ideal is beyond a singular institution, although it does fulfill the requirements of your question: a liberal arts institution that teaches creative thinking beyond rote-learning.
        I agree that we must “get the point” of the gospel first, and everything beyond that is secondary. My observation is that the majority of graduates from Bible Colleges do not take up pulpit ministry for their vocation after graduation; and that is fabulous because we need passionate Christians in every workplace. And so after being “sent out” we rely on the tools we have been given and the tools we have sharpened ourselves to do work in the Kingdom (the work that these boys and girls above are doing). The question I am asking is, can we do a better job at being prepared in the medium we have been entrusted with? (graphic design, audio engineering, etc.) because I believe that if a Christian ethic and vision transforms Wall Street and Broadway and Silicon Valley, the world will soon take notice.
        In many ways, Lance, I think we are fired up about the same vision. I have been doing in western New York exactly the same things you are talking about. the number one music school in America is here, and annual tuition alone is over $44,000. I decided to take an alternate route. I banged on doors at this school for four months and was turned down by three violin professors before I was given a single hearing by one professor after I prayed and prayed. I have continued on with this teacher and I believe that I will make a difference, but the Christian community needs, in this generation as in every generation, to create new poetry that holds the same truth.

        1. Thanks, bro.

          Yeah, I didn’t mean the “ideal” thing to sound snarky — I just meant Houghton seems to fill the requirements you mentioned, so if we extrapolate it out as an archetype, where does it leave us? Good to know they’re teaching the same…

          I agree with you about getting to the gospel, but I was even going beyond that with this article. Intransitive teaching, in my estimation, needs to happen first — starting as soon as the child enrolls in school. It doesn’t. We teach math to our kindergardeners and, rightly so, they ask as highschoolers “When are we going to use this in real life?” That’s not a problem with algebra. That’s a problem with learning in general. Unfortunately in this culture, we must wait until college to have any hope of learning to learn. The high schools that show us working exceptions prove the rule: none of us modern Americans know how to learn at an early age. We simply prepare for the factory. 2 + 2 = 4 and you’re good. We must set a higher standard and lean in toward the right side of the bell curve, not the left.

          That said, you’re talking about Bible College graduates not going into preaching ministry. Agreed that we need solid people of integrity in the workplace, I think we can and should be better prepared in the medium we have been called to… but if that’s the case, we don’t need Bible Colleges in general. In my opinion, we’d be better off if the churches did this work and I think they will in a hundred years from now, but we must work with what we have — right now, the Bible College model is how we disciple AND the good ones happen to be providing the majority of what little intransitive education remains in the Americas. If any give person has already gotten an intransitive education, I say they’d best move on to learn their medium however they can. Heck, I learned to knit through YouTube and a four-dollar book.

          Which is what the majority of OCC grads say: go to Ozark for a year and then go wherever you need to go.

          Which is also what you yourself seem to have done.

          Which is why both your assumptions and your argument are predicated, even if only in part, on an Ozark education.

          Again, I’m not being mean here. Not in the least. I’m merely pointing out the logic undergirding this line of thinking…

          As for culture-creators, the best ones I know have been influenced by Ozark or Ozark-like institutions. I spent a weekend getting oriented to my forwarding agency, which is a collective of artists who care deeply about giving grace to the world through service. I met Leann Rimes’ guitar player, a grammy & dove award-winning producer, a lady whose paintings currently hang in the European Parliament, all influenced by this kind of education and all taking good care of the people in their lives. I still maintain that excellence in your given craft is just one of many hues in the spectrum of an intransitive education and those who listen will naturally bloom in whatever field they find themselves within. You seem to have done so, even if it meant jumping from one to the other.

          But yeah, you’re right. In the end, we’re fired up over the same thing. I just really REALLY believe in the power of autodidacticism within the life of the young adult. SO glad to hear that you’ve been living and working this out in upstate NYC. Gosh, that tuition’s high. Which school? You seem to have the kind of tenacity and ambition I admire — the sort that was in James and John and was diverted by Jesus toward service for the other. Such an awesome story and so glad you got picked up. How many years have you been at it?

          “Create new poetry that holds the same truth.”

          Man after my own heart. That’s exactly what we talk about on here all day every day: How do we recast language to express our own relational thoughts? In short: How better Imago Dei?

        2. hey Lance, thanks for your dialogue and heart.
          I think that you’re right about beginning an “intransitive” education from a young age- my main criticism is that I have met many people who follow this model, and the only thing truly intransitive about their approach to learning/success is their wardrobe and blackberry. “fake it ’til you make it” is sometimes a motto for this. In the primary education system (ages 5-18), maybe we should not ask questions like: “what is the meaning of pi?”, rather, “what is the process that must take place in order for me to come to the mastery of this skill?” that is truly an intransitive process that imbues meaning to 2+2 at age 5 and you + editor at age 25.
          you are correct, my time at OCC had influence on me; I learned what it means to be a disciple there. my conviction, though, was a “yes, but” conviction. “yes, I know that who you teach me to love is more important that what you teach me to know. But what you teach me to know is very important.” My conviction was influenced by the research of psychologists such as Anders Ericsson (10,000 hour rule), Oliver Sacks, Daniel Levitin, and others who insist that a base-level of training must occur in the brain before a certain age (usually 26) or certain neural pathways shut down. And so, insisting that I would be the best God-glorifying artist that I could be, I decided that the present growth pattern I was in was not working, and made a change, Which brings me back to the original recommendation of a liberal-arts education in a Christian context, and in that sense my argument is not predicated on an Ozark education. here, I believe there is the organic growth of the entire person, not putting any potential “on-hold” for even a year, but allowing growth spiritually, socially, academically, and professionally at the same time.
          What is your forwarding agency? that sounds like a blast! are you in NYC right now?
          the school I was referring to is the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. I have been in the Rochester area 2 years now.
          I must say, I heard your senior sermon at Ozark, I was impressed with you then, and I know God will continue to do great things with you.
          What is happening with you right now?

        3. Yeah, unfortunately some pretty lame people have taken a really great word and applied it to a nonexistent education system. I think that’s a good question to start off. Also “what does it mean ‘to know?'” or “what does it mean to work?” or “how small is small?”

          In response to the love/know dichotamy, I’ll quote Socrates:

          “I know nothing.”

          And Paul:

          “I know nothing except Christ and him crucified.”

          I try to start there with every endeavor. It’s when I try to assume knowledge that I actually lose. But there is still this base-level training thing…

          Question: what would you consider “base-level” knowledge? Perhaps it’s not “I know [this]” but rather “I know how to admit ‘I don’t know’ in every endeavor;” not “I feel [this]” but rather “I have felt that which goes beyond feeling;” not “I have achieved [this]” but rather “I have achieved failure and loss and now see their value;” not “I have done [this]” but “I have been undone” ?

          I like the sound of what you’re saying, but I feel as if I’m still miscommunicating my own: we cannot learn tasks until we’ve learned to unlearn our very selves in the face of any task left undone. I know that sounds eastern or whatever, but I actually mean it: I don’t know anything. That assumption has made me an autodidact. I read a half dozen books based on Warren Buffett’s investing this weekend and trade far better than I did. Why? Because I know nothing about investing. Ozark taught me how to admit my ignorance, my apathy, my ambivalence, my inaction so that I can learn from the wise, stand with the zealous, feel with the hurting, act with the activists. I think it impossible for me to learn, feel, will, or do until I discover how ignorant, heartless, stubborn, and passive I truly am. And I actually don’t think those can be taught at the same time. I’ve had to relearn mathematical equations I “knew” in high school, reread books that were assigned and have now taken on new depths, etc.

          Artists in Christian Testimony. We’re not there yet. Currently raising support, but even the support raising is fun because we get to cast vision and get people excited about the work in Brooklyn!

          I think I’ve heard of that school now. Sounds like a blast.

          Thanks so much for the compliments, but I assure you that if there was anything good in that sermon, it came from the Holy Spirit, not from me. I’m just a vessel that tends to get in the way — like a jerky transmission in an otherwise brand-new car.

          As for me, I’m publishing as often as the editors of various journals allow me. I’m copywriting for businesses and marketing agencies as well as writing short scripts and long research reports for nonfiction writers and non-profits. Occasionally I’ll do a manuscript evaluation or a story consulting session with a writer, but those happen less than the copy and scripts. Fun stuff, but working my way into the fiction market bit by bit.

          Thanks for asking, Isaac. Good to have you on board here.

  101. I will say that I am a graduate of Ozark Christian College (2000). I understand that the survey that places Ozark on the “not worth it” list was/is flawed. However, I do not see Bible College worth it. No, it isn’t about money we don’t eneter ministry to make money. This doesn’t change the fact that is costs more money (5-10k per year more on average than a State University) to attend a Bible college. It doesn’t change the fact that debt is the number one reason for minister’s getting divorced. It doesn’t change the fact that debt is the number one reason ministers leave ministry – becuase they have to make a living that will provide for their families and pay off debt. I have read a lot about Ozark Christian College being worth it based on the ministry it’s students have been doing around the world. I am with you, this is great stuff! – BUT, are you meaning to tell me that Bible College is the reason? Brothers and Sisters, the reason marriages have been mended, people have come to know Jesus and ministry of all stripes is accomplished in the lives of people belongs to Jesus Christ living through your life…This is not the result of attending Bible college. The simple and practical fact is that a Bible College education will cost you more than your earning potential in most student’s cases. This isn’t the case for State Colleges, in fact, a BA in Theology may earn an average of 40k year salary, while a BA in say Buisness Managment will earn 80k a year salary and cost you half of what that Bible College Education charged you. And guess what? This world could use some godly Christian buisness men with integrity.

    1. It ain’t about the Benjamins John

      Many go to OCC because God calls them there

      I wasn’t worried about earning a lot when I got outta there. I was interested in putting into action all that I’ve learned.

      I think the BA in Theology salary compared to a business degree is a weak argument

      1. I understand its not about the money. I get that. I am just making the point that Bible College causes a lot of debt. The BA in Theology vs. BA Buisness Management is used to show the comparison between a high theology undergrad degree that costs half again as much and in many cases twice as much with a n earning potential at roughly half when compared to a BA degree from a State college. I am not comparing study load… I am comparing tuition cost and earning potential. NO… minsitry isn’t about the money, I agree. However, our Bible colleges places their students in debt. Am I not to be a goodsteward of what God has given me? Am I being a good steward by paying outragious Bible College tuition that will keep me in debt for most of my adult life? When it comes down to it, in my opinion, those who graduated from OCC and its administration has had a knee jerk reaction to the practical facts of tuition cost not correlating to the degrees they are offering and then scrambling to justify it by claiming that alumni’s ministry accomplishments were some how only possible becuase they attended Ozark.. this is ridiculous. I love Jesus, I am nothing without Him and His grace is overflowing and I will always strive to be more like Christ. This was and is not the result of attending Ozark, this is the result of Jesus in my life. That is my point. Then, where does this leave the facts of a Bible College tuition and earning potential for those who want to support their families and make a reasonable living all the while trying to pay off student loans that are unreasonably high?

        1. Thanks for the response, John. Good thoughts.

          Again, I’d point out that *education* causes a lot of debt in the current climate, and only assuming a student is unwilling to take their time in paying off school by alternating work and schooling — something that more and more people are willing to do since experience, not degrees, are governing the workplace. The most consistent phrase I heard from my youth minister growing up (James Hauser above ^) was “go to Ozark for a year, then do whatever you want” — the education equivalent of Augustine’s “love Jesus and do what you will.”

          I maintain that unchecked rising tuition costs (shown in the chart from the article you share below) coupled with a deregulated financial industry (I paid interest to US Bank — which was backed by the government — for my loans), signed by individual students puts students in debt. Bible Colleges have enslaved spare few, in my experience, but the principalities and powers along with a radical capitalism seem hell-bent on creating a utopia of usury through slaves named “debtors.”

          Granted, better financial counseling would encourage students to avoid this, but the ladies in OCC’s financial department were some of the best advisors I had at the school. I was debt-free after two short years thanks to their help, a massive scholarship from my home church given to anyone that went to bible college, my own part-time work, and grants provided by the school. I stand by what I said — those who create innovative options for the future are making the financial end of Bible College easier, but applying statements that affect the general climate of education to Bible College in a specific, isolated, superlative sense cannot help. It can’t. Talk about reform of our current education climate, talk about innovating new forms of education, talk about how churches could reinvent this unchecked assumption in America — that “we need” a degree to thrive in the workplace — but don’t blame it on Bible Colleges.

          Especially not on one of the cheapest in our movement.

          So let’s say “worth it” in a financial sense, if we insist on going that route. I’m nuts to talk like this since Christ, not money, is my God. But if you insist on speaking of the virtues of an ROI argument, then let’s use me as an example. I’ve been debt-free for three years thanks to the empowerment put in place by the college, my home church, and my desire to work. I married a woman whose father paid for the remainder of her education after a church scholarship, a scholarship from the school, and grants. The whole no-debt thing was further emphasized while we were at college. We have an emergency fund (also encouraged through Ozark mentors), though it’s low right now due to some significant dental bills and some chronic illness. We’ve grown an investment portfolio thanks to the help of a former financial consultant we met at Ozark with money we earned through skills acquired while at Ozark and additionally as a result of Ozark’s intransitive education that grew us into life-learners. For me, that means copywriting and other skills that I picked up after learning to learn through Ozark, something many of my peers from high-school have yet to learn even after education. That’s not an us-verses-them statement, nor am I insulting their intelligence. I’m simply communicating something Ozark does that few universities accomplish: helping students become the best versions of themselves they were created to be.

          For The Schauberts, following this path has already put us in the black. And then some.

          Again, I’m nuts to talk like this because, as I said above, the money doesn’t matter. What matters is immaterial. Literally and literally.

          Which brings us to your statement about following Jesus. I firmly believe that the thousands of Ozark grads out there (going off hit counts) who shared and agreed with this post in person, on facebook, on twitter, and in the comments here are in agreement because they felt called to Ozark. For them, the call to follow Jesus was in part a call to attend Ozark. For them, the journey on the road to discipleship was inseparable from the journey through an intransitive education.

          And had the case been otherwise, had they merely stumbled onto that campus on a hill at 1111 N. Main, Joplin MO, they would have found a depth there that they may or may not have found in their walk. To say they offer an “intransitive education” is to say they open the mind in a very particular way that accelerates the maturity of those who choose to follow Jesus. One of the guys who lived in the dorm with me, a popular, well-known preacher, scoffed at the idea of accelerated maturity. He thought that we would have matured anyways.

          But I’ve looked at age-for-age, degree-for-degree comparisons and I’m telling you that the 24- and 25- and 26-year-olds (or non-traditional students) who graduate from Ozark possess a maturity that far surpasses the maturity of their peers. It’s more than an intellectual thing, although that’s a piece. It’s a depth of character and depth of wholeness in “every category of their metaphysical being” as Mark Scott would say.

          My other path would not have created this. Indeed, in retrospect, I may have left the faith completely had I not come to Ozark.

          Students of OCC find a depth there that they might never have found. I know I wouldn’t have. I know where my road was headed, and it was (and often is) a selfish road without Ozark speaking into my mind.


    2. Thanks for the comment John. I’m just getting back to work, so I don’t have enough time to respond to this in full at the moment. Know that I’ll respond in full soon. Also know that I really appreciate your thoughts, your heart, and the presence of something other than a monochromatic response on this post. Yours may generate some dialog on here, so thank you on several counts.

      One quick note. Had I gone to an out-of-Illinois State University (which I would have picked over a community college), I believe the costs would still outweigh that of a private college. For instance coming from Illinois to Missouri, degree-for-degree, a BA in “Theology” or “Intercultural Studies” at Ozark Christian College runs you roughly

      • $14,800 per year.
      • $36,180 per year, on the other hand,

      would land you a comparable degree in “Religious Studies” or “Intercultural Studies” from Missouri State in Columbia. My good friend graduated from U of I in music and then pursued an advanced degree. His ROI on the $100k of debt will be insubstantial at best, a negative return at worst. This is a not a problem unique to Ozark, but — as you wisely pointed out — hits all Bible Colleges in general, and universities at large in the United States. The problem stems primarily from current legislation concerning tuition prices and the deregulation of the finance industry. I maintain that in the current academic climate, the questions we Bible College alumni should be asking are the following:

      1. As a student, am I truly called to vocational ministry? If not, could I content myself to a shorter stint at a Bible College?
      2. As a parent, can I proactively involve myself in my child’s education early by educating myself through free courses available online and so supplement their education (whatever it looks like) with healthly doses of Bible College thought from an early age? And can I consider becoming a financial supporter of our colleges as well?
      3. As a supporter of Bible Colleges, what can I do to innovate new ways to reduce costs? Can we create full-ride options for students? Grants? Memorial funds? Can we donate more to the general mission of the school?
      4. As a member of Christ’s body, can I help create new modes of discipleship and christian education by studying the ways in which the Church has educated her people in the past? What can we learn from monasteries, catechism, the Trivium, and the origins of Sunday School as a method of teaching literacy? Can we create something new so as to steer around the involvement of the state in the affairs of the Church’s education?
      5. As a Christian reformer in culture with relational connections to those in power, can I talk with those governing powers God has put over the constituency to which I’ve been assigned to help them rationally see the problems with rising tuition and deregulated loans? I’m not talking about voting, protesting, or bumper stickers here. I’m talking about a phone call or a conversation with whoever happens to be a representative in your area. Paul didn’t vote or protest, he just talked with Felix and Festus (the current governing powers) as he carried out his mission. Could conversations help us more than political involvement in the American system? I think so, if you look at the history of the Church’s influence on the world. We have always accomplished more by influencing those who happen to be in power than we have by attempting to start revolutions and involve ourselves in political coups. Historically, we’ve neutered our power when we sank to the level of a ruling statehood compared to when we transcended to the level of a serving Church.
      6. As an educator, whether faculty or staff, can I involve myself in the innovative track of open courseware and create ways to accept credits from free or near-free online classes that students can take prior to highschool graduation? Can I make a way for them to have a literal headstart on their completed credits and so reduce their tuition load?

      There are other questions to ask, but I think these address the issue more head-on. Hopefully more to come…

      1. I can agree that as a student, parent, supporter and as a Christian we should be concerned with making Bible College accessible and affordable. I whole-heartily agree. But this isn’t the point. Sure, from your comments above, I agree again. There is much a would-be-student could do to plan ahead for their educational costs. However, many student like myself did not have available to them the scholarships and church support to attend Bible College. Honest to goodness…I heard about David and Goliath, but not until I heard the story in Woody Wilkinson’s class did I know it was in the Bible! I was called to full-time ministry, I do love what I GET to do for God’s kingdom. I do believe that Ozark produces maturity in it’s students that far exceeds their peers (humbly speaking). It seems to me that you agree with me that Bible Colleges (education in general) are way out of line in their tuition costs when compared to earning potential. I am looking at it this further and saying, “if tuition costs are far exceeding earning potential, how can education be worth it? it practically and logically does not add up”. The simple math proves that education (at least in this economy) is not worth it. I can agree that Ozark and other Bible college educations teach much more than academics. They teach a way of life that not only blesses their life but also the lives of others. I suppose an honest question for myself would be…”had I known the financial cost of earning a Bible education so that I could enter into the ministry of chaplaincy, a ministry I feel called to would I have still gone to Ozark?” … the answer to the question would have to be, “Yes”. Even if I have to be indebt most of my adult life. It’s a catch 22 at best.

  102. $325.00 – Ozark Christian College Tuition (in-state or out of state)
    $173.20 – Missouri Southern Undergrad Tuition (In-State)
    $346.40 – Missouri Southern Tuition Undergrad (Out of state)

    Unless you are an out of state student your tuition at Southern is far greater than Ozark. This is my point using the facts about ROI. Not sure why it bothers me so much when I hear people using the blessings of ministry as ROI for Ozark. Yes, the survey has some real flaws in it, but it still points to simple math. It also shows that a Bible college vs. a State University, the State College is able to provide an undergraduate degree at far less tuition which translates to a better ROI. This is a problem unique to Bible Colleges. The reason I says this is because Bible College train men and women for ministry and ministry in any vocation (with the exception of very few) will not generate an earning potential substantial enough to meet the demands of paying off the loan, especially at a Tuition rate that exceeds most State Universities. To me this is not rocket science. Does this make me an ungrateful student? a bitter person? or am just trying to look at this from a practical stand point ? People will judge me the way they wish, but, 2+2 will always equal 4.

    1. Then you should’ve gone to a state school. Or a Christian liberal arts university like Biola, Liberty, Wheaton, etc

      It’s not Ozark’s fault that you decided to go there. Seems to me that for many of us it was worth it, and if someone thought it wasn’t–that’s on you because it was your choice.

      Also, it wasn’t Ozark’s choice for anyone to take out loans. Students and parents make that choice. Solution: take longer to get your degree and pay as you go if you don’t wanna do loans. Many are doing it

      1. Caleb, You have replied to my post on two occasions. Both times you have answered me without reading my reply in it’s context (something we learn at Ozark). I am not blaming Ozark. I am stating the facts of tuition vs. earning potential and the facts about tuition at a Bible College vs. a State School. Then, drawing the conclusions using simple math that tuition costs are now 50% + than most student’s earning potential. I am not casting blame on anyone or saying Ozark was a mistake for me. As Christians we need to learn to look at things for what they are even when the name “Christian” is attached to it. Just because Ozark is a Christian college doesn’t mean you are obligated to pay such high tuition without question. They way many people sound when defending the ROI of Ozark “Just shut up and pay it! its a Christian college for gosh sake!”. So, how high of tuition would it take for you (Caleb) to begin to question if its worth it or not?

  103. We met at Ozark Bible College (now Ozark Christian College) our freshman year in 1967. We are still married after 45 years. Having raised 3 daughters who married and have given us 6 grandchildren and one great-grandchild expected next year we exclaim, “Worth it!” After a full life of 4 decades pastoring and public school teaching, we know that the strong foundation for a life of selfless service had it’s foundation at OCC. With the Summer 2013 edition of OCC’s “Compass” magazine, no doubt many more students are taking issue with Business Insiders article. BTW, we had never heard of BI and don’t believe they have much credibility when it comes to their taking such and apparently ill-informed position on the value of college education. For us, and thousands of other OCC students, our education their was not just “worth it” but beyond worth!

  104. $325.00 – Ozark Christian College Tuition (in-state or out of state)
    $173.20 – Missouri Southern Undergrad Tuition (In-State)

    I would like someone to atleast comment on the facts. Please understand it is not appropriate to claim the blessings of ministry to indicate a Bible College education is worth it. I would hope that you follow Jesus becuase you love Him and want to honor His Father through service and personal devotion. These things are the result of a relationship with Christ not the result of having gone to a Bible College. Many have claimed that OCC is/was foundational to their willingness to serve Christ… This is sad and makes the claim that anyone who does not go to a Bible College cannot serve Christ as well as those who have gone to Bible College. Are you beginning to see the craziness yet? …

    Now back to the issue and I promise to let this conversation die. I have given the tuition facts of both a State College and Bible College from the same city. Facts are the facts and given these facts I would like to know how anyone can justify that an undergraduate degree from a Bible College can in any possible way be a better investment than a State College? Keep in mind the earning potential of a Bible Degree compared with an Undergraduate Degree from A State College. A Bible Degree will be suited for ministry positions ONLY and a Degree from a State College can be in any number of areas. I understand that students from Bible College may go into other fields (But, not without further education outside of the Bible College). No..I am not against OCC or any Bible College education. I just want people to look at the facts without giving a Bible College the credit that only Christ deserves.

    1. I’m not irritated at all with the conversation, in fact I’m enjoying it. No one’s been mean, so I see no reason to let this talk die.

      I would tell you, though, that this post was a complete and utter fluke. There really aren’t that many people reading any more short of you me and this Caleb guy. People from Ozark, in general, don’t read my blog. I have a larger readership from book readers living in big cities thank from my alma mater. I tell you that so you know that it might only be me and you continuing this conversation.

      Something I enjoy, by the way, but might have to take time between responses due to my schedule.

      There’s a significant difference between what you’re addressing and my main point. An “intransitive education” is a phrase used often by advocates of Trivium education — education beginning with logic, rhetoric, and grammar and ending with things like math. This is what I’m pointing out. I’m not pointing first and foremost to the benefits of ministry and of following Jesus as the number one reason to justify the cost. My main argument is this:

      Ozark, unlike other colleges, teaches you to teach yourself. Other colleges judge their ROI based on performance in the transitive tasks learned at the college. Since Ozark seldom teaches tasks, the ROI would come from the an effect intransitive education has on learning any given task. I, having learned logic, rhetoric, and grammar, at Ozark Christian College find the ability to think for myself, speak for myself, write for myself far more valuable than learning a specific trade for the ability to learn trades is greater than any given trade.

      In specific, I learned finance from people I know in the finance industry — something I may not have done had I continued with the “high school part 2” approach found at many undergrad universities. I learned finance because I loved to learn, not because I was getting a finance degree.

      That’s “Intransitive.” Transitive verbs have an object: I balance check book. I drive truck. I build my business.

      Intransitive verbs affect the subject: I bloomed. I thrive. I mature.

      The latter happens at Ozark, but seldom at other schools. That has less to do with my walk as a Christian or with my ministry and more to do with Ozark’s heavy focus on the way you think, the way you talk, the way you write.


      1. I would fundamentally disagree with you. I do believe a State College teaches it’s student how to think for themselves, write for themselves and teach themselves. This is what education does on any level. This is not primarily a Bible College attribute. I might even argue that it happens better at a State College….why? Think about the college’s purpose. At Ozark (and I agree with their mission) they are focused on training up leaders for ministry and thus, how to think ministry, write ministry, teach ministry in the name of Christ. Ozark is heavily focused on ministry which it should be. At a State College the students would be more apt to study more broadly in any given area. This is why Ozark has a BA Theology and A State College may offer BA in World Religious Studies.

    1. Not to teach you what to think, but to teach you how to think. I like this and believe this is and should be the direction of any education. Does this new “educational approach” give license to demand a tuition cost for a degree that will be overwhelmed by it’s potential earnings? Not trying to be hard nosed about this issue – but this doesn’t aswer the statment made about OCC’s ROI? – I just hope students will be able to “think for themselves” before it’s too late and end up to their ears in debt and find that thier “calling” is placed on hold because the the debt collector is calling on the other line. Even if you plan for your education, the tuition for any Bible college is nearing 3 times the tuition at local state colleges.

  105. Not to teach you what to think, but to teach you how to think. I like this and believe this is and should be the direction of any education. Does this new “educational approach” give license to demand a tuition cost for a degree that will be overwhelmed by it’s potential earnings? Not trying to be hard nosed about this issue – but this doesn’t aswer the statment made about OCC’s ROI? – I just hope students will be able to “think for themselves” before it’s too late and end up to their ears in debt and find that thier “calling” is placed on hold because the the debt collector is calling on the other line. Even if you plan for your education, the tuition for any Bible college is nearing 3 times the tuition at local state colleges.

    1. Thanks.

      Again, no it doesn’t. But the problem is a systemic problem weighted by the influence of administrations over that of faculty. To bring the chaos back to order, ALL American schools must stop running themselves like businesses and start running themselves like… well…


      Monasteries. Catechestical societies. Scriptoriums. The lecture halls of Athens.

      Again, and this is the point you’ve yet to address short of with alternate articles: is this an Ozark issue or an American issue. I believe I have argued that the questions we must ask are not unique to Ozark and that, in the terrible education climate — and it is a terrible, awful education climate — if there’s any school worth going to, that school would be an institution committed to giving a holistically intransitive education. Not trivial, but trivium. This kind of thing.

      I do agree with this statement about debt — in fact I’m encouraging my sister not to go to college unless it makes business sense, which right now I’ve yet to see an institution in which this is the case.

      My argument is not in favor of going into debt.

      My argument is assuming this:

      If the American college experience has any value left in it whatsoever, then that value starts at places like Ozark Christian College.

      Of course, I have no debt left from US Bank which profited off of my stay there, so it’s kind of something for another person currently in-debt should process through.

      1. I agree Lance.Wholeheartedly in fact. The reason I am “singling out” Ozark and Bible college in particuliar is becuase Bibles colleges are doing much worse than State colleges. In a previous post I compared Tuition costs of MSSU and Ozark. This comparison can be made in any State. My argument is based on the factual math – regardless of the “kind of education” that is offered the education must be able to afford the student a livable wage considering that 90% of students must pay off atleast some of their student loan once out of college. Also consider that most of that 90% holds atleast 60% of their total loan as debt. My point also being…a Bible college graduate, unlike a State school graduate, will have limited opportunities with limited earning potential while holding a debt on average 2x that of a State college (see tution comparison above). It isn’t that I am picking on Ozark, it is the nature of it all.

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