Columbia Bible College launched its 78th academic year, welcoming 419 students onto campus.
The first week was full of community-building activities, including the annual Columbia Orientation Week (COW) Challenge, in which students competed in ice-cream-eating contests, a milky slip ’n’ slide and other dairy-infused challenges.
To kick off the year, new students participated in the annual retreat at Camp Luther in Hatzic, B.C. The overnight retreat focused on living a life of ministry in service to church and community, with messages from faculty members Kara Bergstrom and Ron Friesen.
With a commitment to quality Christian higher-education from an Anabaptist perspective, Columbia continues to look toward to the future and discern how best to serve and equip the next generation.
“Discipleship, service and leadership are the building blocks that make up our mission statement,” says president Bryan Born. “With a Christ-centred foundation, our mission gives us purpose and vision to do what we do: equip students to go out and make a difference in the world.”
In an effort to provide effective ministry preparation, Columbia continues to build on existing courses, and to offer new and innovative programs.
This fall, Columbia’s newest program, Praxis, launched its inaugural year. Praxis is an eight-month certificate program with an emphasis on faith and mission in an urban context. Directed by David Warkentin, the group will explore what it means to shape culture effectively through a variety of urban experiences, including a trip to New York City in the spring.
The term “praxis,” meaning “to put into practice,” encapsulates the goal of the program: Faith into action. The focus for students will be on developing a healthy Christian response to the issues facing large urban centres today, with an emphasis on discipleship and personal transformation.
Coming up is a new pilot program in servant-leadership projected for launch in 2015, as well as a proposed expansion of online studies.
Regardless of the specific program—and whether in the classroom, on a mission trip, in a service practicum or in community on campus—the students are challenged to realize that they are each created for relationships that matter; relationships that encourage, edify and empower people to experience life as God intended.