Best of Tour! The Final Post

  1. We decided to compile a survey for ourselves to let you know some of the things we enjoyed most about tour. See if you made the cut :)
  2. (DA- Dave Anderson, DM – Daniel Mulder, DG – Danny Gugger, PT – Pete Thompson, JZ – Joseph Zoller)
  3.  Favorite State
    1. DA – California hands down
    2. DM – Cali
    3. DG – Rt. 1 California
    4. PT – North Carolina
    5. JZ – North/Central California; Colorado
  4.  Favorite Food
    1. DA – Tuna steak at Oceans
    2. DM – scallops at Elijah’s
    3. DG – Flounder stuffed with crab cakes in lobster sauce at Oceans  in Wilmington, NC
    4. PT – Scallops and Shrimp platter at Oceans in Willmington, NC
    5. JZ – avocado bacon burger at “the Char Pit” Lake Tahoe, CA
  1.                                                i.     Macadamia-encrusted Mahi-Mahi at Oceans in Wilmington, NC
  2.                                              ii.     Smoked Salmon at the Fish Market, Pike Place, Seattle, WA
  3.                                             iii.     Mrs. Gugger’s clam chowdah
  1.  Favorite Restaurant
    1. DA – The Char Pit, Lake Tahoe
    2. DM – Elijah’s on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC
    3. DG – Oceans seaside restaurant on Wrightsville beach
    4. PT – Oceans Restaurant in Wilmington
    5. JZ – Elijah’s in old downtown Wilmington
  2. Favorite Hotel Experience
    1. DA – bartering over the cost of our room at the Super 8 in Fort Morgan, CO
    2. DM – robes at the Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburg
    3. DG – the Motel 6 in Mammoth Lakes, CA
    4. PT – Holiday Inn Sunspree Beach-side hotel in Wilmington
    5. JZ – the Renaissance hotel in Pittsburg. Namely because it was the nicest hotel we stayed in all tour (4 stars), and I spent half the night on a couch in the lobby because my roommates accidentally locked me out of my room.
  3. Favorite City
    1. DA – #1 Tahoe City, #2 Pittsburg, #3 Duluth
    2. DM – #1 Duluth; #2 Pittsburgh; #3 Philly
    3. DG – #1 Pittsburgh, #2 Seattle, #3 Duluth
    4. PT – #1 Boston; #2 Seattle; #3 Twin Falls, ID
    5. JZ – #1 Wilmington, NC; #2 Monterey, CA #3 San Fran, CA
  4. Place You’d Most Likely Retire
    1. DA – Monterey Peninsula, CA
    2. DM – Oceanside home along the 1 in CA
    3. DG – somewhere just south of Monterey, CA
    4. PT – Lake Tahoe, CA and yell at all the kids climbing on my dock throwing rocks
    5. JZ – Idaho, or Silverthorne, CO
  5. Overall Fav Story/Experience
    1. DA –#1 Mountain Biking in Moab, UT; #2 Falling through the ice into Lake Superior
    2. DM – #1Pushing Joe offstage; #2 Pastors trying to set me up with single women in their church
    3. DG – #1 Skiing at Mammoth, #2 Dave freaking out on the kiddie coasters at Mall of America, #3 riding a horse
    4. PT – Mountain biking with the Moabites; riding roller coasters at Mall of America and seeing Dave flip out; skiing at Mammoth mountain;
    5. JZ – #1 Skiing Mammoth Mt with Googs and Pete; #1.5 Mountain biking as a team in Moab #2 Driving up Rt. 1 to Monterey, CA #3 Rim Drive in Colorado National Monument; #4 Riding a horse (Princess) for the first time at Camp Ironwood #5 Sunset/sunrise in Twin Falls, ID, as well as watching people base jump from the bridge there.
  6. Least Favorite Fast Food
    1. DA – Taco Time
    2. DM – Gas station Cousin Subs
    3. DG – Jack in the Box
    4. PT – I love all food!
    5. JZ – Nathan’s Hot Dogs
  7. Favorite Team Picture
    1.  DA – Pebble Beach wharf
    2. DM – The Pittsburgh bridge
    3. DG – The Grand Canyon falling shot
    4. PT – Graffiti graveyard pic
    5. JZ – planking at the Cardinal in Indianapolis
  8. Most Valuable Lesson Learned
    1. DA – never assume that just because the schedule says we don’t have a Wednesday night service that we don’t; also, never go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in March
    2. DM – The gospel is powerful when talked about, but it’s most powerful when experienced in a real life situation.
    3. DG – Probably how easy it is for me to confuse personal preference with Biblical truth.
    4. PT – I’m a prideful person that does not see the God of the heavens for who He is.
    5. JZ – I am an incredibly selfish individual. I don’t like yielding my perceived “rights.” I am still amazed that God chooses to use one like me and be glorified in spite of my constant pride and weakness. God accomplishes His perfect will through imperfect individuals. The body of Christ is a fascinating organism, and one that God has uniquely orchestrated in various ways. The church of God is greater than myself, greater than my local church, greater than the churches in my geographic region. God’s Body is worldwide, and Christ is the glorious Head.
  9. Words of Thanks for MBBC?
    1. DA – Special BIG thank you to Doug Hewison and Jim Harrison for making our tour possible and keeping it smooth.
    2. DM – ¡Gracias!
    3. DG – You’re the man, sorry ‘bout your van.
    4. PT – Thanks for all the support through the tour!
    5. JZ – Thank you Maranatha for providing us with this once-in-a-lifetime experience! We are more privileged than we even realize.
  10. Number of Pounds Gained Over Tour
    1. DA – an even 14
    2. DM – 7
    3. DG – 8
    4. PT – none of your business…
    5. JZ – “like fist-pounds? Probably at least 3 per school…”
  11. Average Hours of Sleep Per Night
    1. DA – 6
    2. DM – 7/7.5
    3. DG – 7.5
    4. PT – 6.5 – 7
    5. JZ – 6.5
  12. Coolest Animal You Saw
    1. DA – Bald eagle
    2. DM – The insatiable seagulls of Boston
    3. DG – Elephant Seals
    4. PT – Whale off the coast of Cali
    5. JZ – playful sea otters in the harbor off Fisherman’s wharf in Monterey, CA
  13. Meaningful Scripture passage/verse for tour
    1. DA – the book of James
    2. DM – Romans
    3. DG – 1 Peter 3:18
    4. PT – Matthew 1
    5. JZ – Psalm 115:1; Hebrews 12:1-4
  14. Best Local Flav
    1. The Char Pit, Lake Tahoe, CA
    2. Jim’s, Philadelphia, PA
    3. Andy’s Burgers & Shakes, Greensboro, NC
    4. BRGR, Albuquerque, NM
    5. Jake’s Burgers, New Jersey
  15. Praisemen favorite fast food
    1. Q’doba
    2. Chic-fil-A
    3. Ironwood Camp

Random Tour Stats

Travel Stats

a. 32 states

b. Over 25,000 miles

c. 7.38 oil changes

d. 22,807,896 tire revolutions

e. 500 Liters of water consumed as a team

f. 75 GB of photo/video captured by Googs

g. Over 130 engagements (the ring-less kind)

h. 100 days i. Average speed of any given Praiseman at any given moment of this tour = 10.3 mph

j. 8,640,000 seconds

k. Over 200 Maranatha t-shirts given away

l. 6 National Parks/Monuments

m. 1,000,000 calories ingested as a team (calculations made using the approximation of 2,000 cal/day/person)

n. 583,752,913 – the number of flies, bugs, bees, and other large insects that ended their lives upon the pane of our windshield

Reading List: What to Put on Your Reading List for this Summer

by Danny Gugger

I’ve decided to compile a list of books that I’ve read over roughly the past year that I have really enjoyed. This is a positive review, so I’ve decided only to include the top books from this year. Enjoy. Get them for your shelf.

Before we start I must make the normal library disclaimer. I don’t endorse everything in every one of these books. Read with your head screwed on. The end.

Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity by Brian Zahnd 


This book has, in its effort to expose all the beautiful nuances of God’s story through the Gospel, completely transformed how I live and how I appreciate life as a part of God’s story. Nothing is as beautiful as the life of Christ.






A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller 



This book is all about living the best story possible by aligning your story with the one God has written for you. Everybody wants to live the best life possible. Take a journey through Miller’s life and become exposed to the underlying elements that make up a good story.





Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream By David Platt


I did a book study through this with a group of guys for a couple of months and I was greatly challenged through Platt’s unique perspective of the gospel and culture. Why don’t we take Jesus at his word and live live we actually believe him?






Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan 


Crazy love is the book that made the transition from hating reading (High School) to tapping into the vast ocean of resources on loving, learning, and desiring God. Every chapter has a video that goes along with it with Chan talkin about his writings and his personal relationship with God. This is not a “read if I have time book.” This is a “make time to read” book.





Forgotten God by Francis Chan  


A great book to read alongside Crazy Love




Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage by Ted Cunningham 


Good Work Ted Cunningham. Way to write a book about accepting responsibility and finally deciding to grow up. Also…I’m hoping to get married sometime soon and this book really debunks a lot of the myths about waiting until your 25 and independently wealthy to get married.






The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis 



C.S. Lewis has an imagination like no other. The Screwtape Letters is a compilation of letters from Screwtape (a master demon) to Wormwood (an aspiring tempter) on how to make his patient fall into sin. A unique approach on the often unseen interaction between the powers of darkness and humanity.




Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper


The Big Daddy of all John Piper works. A great resource on learning to glorify God by enjoying him forever.






Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christianity by Donald Miller 


Miller really brings out the essential components of a true relationship with God. He manages to skirt around religious cliches and jargon. Again…read with your head screwed on.






The Millennials by Tom and Jess Rainer 


The Millennials is probably the best book I’ve read on bridging generation gaps. I learned more about my parents, my grandparents, myself and my peers through their thorough discussion of what differentiates the most recent generations.





Sexual Detox by Tim Challies


With the rise of technology and the ever increasing availability of pornography, the nature of pornography has become a silent, yet very real threat. Due to potential shame and embarrassment, any feel as if they have to face the battle alone. Challies examines why the philosophy behind pornography is so damaging and how to begin to rely on God’s grace to overcome it. I really appreciate his “think this way” approach rather than a “do this” approach.





Deep Church: A Third Way Between Emerging and Reformed by Jim Belcher 


Belcher has been heavily involved in both traditional and emerging churches. He defines exactly what both are and how not to swing the pendulum when forming beliefs and world-views as a Christian. A great read today with the declining popularity of Fundamentalism and the ever appealing lure of the emerging church.






The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if he Doesn’t by Craig Groeschel 


A definite kick in the pants. Groeschel exposes areas in which we are all nominal Christians to some extent. If we truly believe God, why don’t we act differently? Why don’t we say so?






Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney 


The Gospel is so essential for every part of our lives as believers. It is not something to simply dismiss after our salvation. Mahaney shows how the Gospel affects each and every aspect of our lives.






Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias 


Ravi is the master of all things apologetics. This book is fairly philosophical yet extremely moving. Ravi defends the faith by exposing the inconsistencies of atheistic thought and the beauty of truth.






Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper 


If you have read Desiring God you have probably also read this book…whether or not you realized it. The majority of Piper’s books are taken from parts of different sections of Desiring God and expanded into a full length book. If you want more of what Piper talks about in using your time in Desiring God, this is a good read.





The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion  by Tim Challies


Challies tackles the meanings behind the forms of media invented throughout the last century. For example: Face to face communication is less common today because of the invention of the telephone…and even less common after the invention of text messaging. How can we as Christians avoid hiding behind our protective forms of media without completely dismissing them. A very balanced approach that is careful not to condemn technological advancement.




Think: The Life of the mind and the Love of God by John Piper 


Think addresses how your theology effects your worship. Piper is a master at showing how knowledge of God and feelings for God go hand in hand.








WARNING!!!!  I’m going to recommend the following 3 books but only if you read them together!



Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell,, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell  


A Universalist perspective on Heaven, Hell and Eternity. Very wrong…but he gets some things right.






God Wins by Mark Galli 



A somewhat moderate perspective on judgment and eternity. Heavily stresses the sovereignty of God.





Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle 



A great easy read. Fairly theological but in a Francis Chan real personal kind of a way.






And last but not least…a little bit of Tozer to top things off.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer 

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer 











I hope by this point you are well on your way to putting your summer reading list together. Feel free to add any of these. Let me know which ones you would add for yourself outside of this list.   :)

Truth Triumphant: A meditation on the Resurrection by Joseph Zoller

Truth Triumphant

The morning sun rose bright and clear

Yet something in the air

Was different.

The sky a richer blue

The grass a greener hue

And every breath tasted sweeter.

The stone outside was rolled away

And somehow the cold tomb

Was empty.

The darkness held no sway

The truth shone forth with day

For hope had risen with the Son.

From Death’s sure grasp there’s no escape

But someone- our Savior

Was alive.

For us He’d bled and died

His body crucified

The grave now conquered; He has won.

Resurrection Weekend Part#2 Rest: Between Friday and Sunday

by: Danny Gugger

I love taking naps. Sometimes, I get so excited about taking naps that I can’t sleep. I used to hate naps (mostly because I was forced to take them instead of playing outside). Those days have long passed. I have a fairly busy schedule, so, to me, naps are like the instant recharge and refuel that keep me going. Also…I wake up feeling amazing. Most often, naps are my relief from the weariness of work or pain. I used to think that Christ offered rest like that…like the rest he offered was some sort of spiritual nap to relieve me from all the pains and trials of everyday life. I thought it was kind of like an escape from real life. I remember seeing a painting of the following verse depicting Christ with a sleeping child on his lap and a lamb sitting at his feet.


Matt. 11:28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


God promises an easy life and a Joel Osteen brand of heaven on earth type bliss, Right? Isn’t that what this passage is saying? Isn’t Christ offering spiritual nap-time to all the weary travelers of the world? I don’t think so. Let’s back up a couple verses and see who he’s talking to.


Matt 11:20-30 Then He proceeded to denounce the towns where most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin!  Woe to you, Bethsaida!  For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon,  they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes long ago! 22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment  than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to Hades.  For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until today. 24 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”


Jesus has just issued the strongest warning toward people that he ever gave while on this earth. He’s talking to the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida. After explaining the horrible logic they used to give themselves a reason to hate the messiah (accusing Christ of being a drunkard for eating with sinners), he begins to pronounce a warning to two cities; mostly because of the amount of revelation they received and the degree to which they rejected it. He says that even the most notoriously evil cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, will be better off on the day of judgment than these two cities (Chorazin and Bethsaida). The reason the day of Judgment will be so bad for them is that salvation was so close to them and they refused to see it. It’s that they were so arrogant that they didn’t care to notice Christ standing in front of them on earth. The feeling that they rejected something so obvious will be worse for them than Sodom and Gommorrah who never saw God in person or his miracles. Let’s continue on:


At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him….


Jesus is telling them…you think you know me. And what you think you know about me…you don’t like. Just like John the Baptist (Matt. 11:1-15)…you are letting your presuppositions of what you think the Messiah should be like influence the view you have of him. You think he should fit into your little mold. So instead…you ask for another. You write the one off who’s actually the Messiah as a drunkard and a glutton. Your values are completely skewed. You think that you are wise. I thank God that he does not take your human intellect into account. (It is interesting that when Peter came to a true understanding of who Christ was, Jesus commented by saying that it wasn’t flesh or blood that revealed Christ to him…it was by “my Father”). Instead the gospel is easer for those who are not as arrogant and foolishly wise as you. They have less to be offended by (v. 6). In fact…this is how things really work. You think you know me… but nobody knows me except my Father. Nobody knows the Father except me and whomever I desire to reveal him to. Instead of being the glutton and drunkard you think I am…I’m going to turn your world upside down and reveal myself to you in the middle of your unbelief. This is who I really am. I am one who extends rest and patient learning to all who will come to me. Even you. The one’s who are rejecting me.


These are the people Christ is talking to when he issues the following invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


He gave that invitation to the people who hated him. He says to them, “I will give you rest.” Often, as Christians today, we get confused about this “rest” that Christ promised. Instead of spiritual nap-time Christ offers a rest that is a burden. He says, “You’re already burdened, but you have no help carrying it. I will carry your burden for you. In return I’ll give you a burden that is only seemingly a burden. It’s only a burden if you make it one. It’s called the cross. You give me the burden of your sin…I’ll give you my cross. My yoke is the cross. You are not content wrapped up in your burdens. You can’t be. So, I offer you another way. You have the yoke of your sin and it’s so hard because you make it that way. All you have is the law that constantly condemns you. Your life is hard because you’re beaten down by the law. Let me take that from you and give you my grace. Let me give you my grace.” This is the rest that we find in the Messiah.


Our burden has been exchanged for a cross. Life is not promised to be “easy.” However, if we are trusting God he share’s the weight of our life. It’s no longer you who has to carry it.


Rejoice in the work of Christ this season. Explore the greatness of his offer.

Why the Cross? Resurrection Weekend Part #1: Good Friday

by: Joe Zoller

Easter weekend centers on the gospel, which is broken down into two main events: the death of Christ and His resurrection from the grave. Good Friday, in particular, focuses on the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross of Calvary. The cross, the symbol that has become the icon of modern Christendom, bore much that day outside Jerusalem. The cross bore the weight of our Savior, who in turn carried the awful weight of all the sins of humankind.

The cross is an interesting icon. Its very structure gives us a clue to its significance. The cross upon which Christ died was formed by the intersection of two wooden beams. But the beams were only the beginning. At the cross of Christ, heaven collided with hell. Holiness clashed with sin. Justice converged with mercy. Human injustice met divine judgment. The immortal became mortal.

The cross became the epicenter of the waging war between Holy God and wayward Man. God had to punish justly the sin that He despised—the sins of you and me. And God did punish them, but not before He had placed their burden solely upon the bowed shoulders of His Son, Jesus Christ.

It is for this reason that we reverently celebrate Christ’s cross. Christ stepped between us and His righteously wrathful Father and took the blow. Christ drank the entire bitter cup of God’s unbridled wrath . . . the cup that I deserve. Jesus stood between us and God and absorbed the punishment that we have so arrogantly earned. Christ upon the cross is effectively our shield against God’s wrath . . . our only shield.

Colossians 2:14 mentions the fact that we all had a record of debt, a transcript of our sinful history. This evidence condemned us, because our offense was worthy of death. But at Calvary, Christ “took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” He blotted out our list of debt with His own blood. Our sins are forgiven because of the work of Christ on the cross! That is why we rejoice and boast in the gruesome cross—because we are forgiven! This indeed is the awesome power of the cross; Christ became sin for us, and suffered the consequences of our transgressions (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The payment of Christ’s life satisfied God’s justice. Jesus provided a means of peace between us and God (Colossians 1:20). This peace, this reconciliation, came only at the expense of Christ’s precious blood. It is because of Christ alone that I am justified; it is only because of Him that I am no longer under condemnation for my sin (Romans 8:1). Can I then ever try to claim credit for my righteousness (which is of Christ)? My life I live now is 100% grace-favor, and 0% earned-favor. Christ has earned my favor, and exchanged my filthy life for His own perfect one. How dare I spit in the face of His sacrifice by claiming my own righteousness?

In the cross we also see the ultimate example of the love of Christ. He gave Himself up for us. This is the sacrificial love which we as Christians are called to. Christ gave all; His home, His family, His innocence, His life, His righteousness. Christ’s death was an offering and sacrifice to God. His offering consisted of giving, and that is how we are now called to live. In the shadow of the cross, how can we do anything but live in the love wherein Christ has loved us?

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

-Ephesians 5:2


Your College Shopping List Part #5: The Local Church

When you’re looking to choose a college, there are five questions you should ask.

1)     How will this college impact  my worldview?

2)     What opportunities does it offer?

3)     Does it have quality academics?

4)     What are the faculty like?

5)     Can I get involved in a local church?

Can I get involved in a local church?

The last of our five factors to consider in your college decision, is often overlooked by young people: Local Church Involvement. As believers, our purpose and meaning in life is found solely in our relationship with Christ. However, God does not intend for us to be islands in this world, isolated from all other community. Thus, in His sovereign plan, He has established the church, comprised of all believers. Involvement in this body is crucial in our development as a child of God, for in this body we have fellowship, community, accountability, and many other blessings. So when considering colleges, it is important to make sure that we will be able to be involved in a local church while we are at college.


Sadly, many neglect to consider that they will be spending 4 years of their life at the institution which they choose for their formal education.  For that reason, it is essential to look at whether or not our college choice will facilitate local church involvement. It would be tragic to spend 4 years advancing ourselves in academic prowess, all the while neglecting spiritual development and ministry opportunities.


Now, this does not mean that you necessarily have to attend a Christian college, nor does this mean that attending a Christian college will guarantee spiritual growth in your life. We certainly believe that Christian education is a wise decision for multiple reasons, however, regardless of where you end up going for your education, involvement in a local church will be a massive part of that education, for the local church is where we get to take those concepts and ideas which we are learning in the classroom and put them into practical use as we serve and minister to others. You can study for hours in the classroom and not learn much. It is when you face real-life issues and questions as you serve in your local church that your education begins to take root. And so, we cannot over emphasize the importance of considering your ability to be involved in a local church, when you look at your college options.

Your College Shopping List Part #4: Faculty

When you’re looking to choose a college, there are five questions you should ask.

1)     How will this college impact  my worldview?

2)     What opportunities does it offer?

3)     Does it have quality academics?

4)     What are the faculty like?

5)     Can I get involved in a local church?


#4 Teachers

Seriously. College is the first time you get to choose your teachers. Honestly, your choice of teachers can make or break your college experience. So often students have a good idea of what they want to study, but fail to look at who is going to be teaching it to them. It is interesting how throughout history men have sought out their master/teacher to learn specifically under an individual who has both inspired them and has been proven as a worthy instructor. When choosing college professors you want teachers who are experienced, academic, personable, and real.

When you are sitting in class you want to be able to feel like, “I would never be able to know as much as my professor no matter how hard I try.” But at the same time, you want to be able to have a good relationship with your teacher as a friend. This is essential because, chances are, you won’t get all your questions answered or learn all the material and philosophies you should know before you graduate by sitting in class. More often than not you will leave classes with more questions that remain unanswered. This is why it is important to have teachers who are personable. You want to be able to go to your professors office frequently or his/her house and sit down with them to talk over real life issues. This is huge in formulating your worldview and coming to an understanding of why you believe what you believe. Examine the faculty. Make an informed decision.

Your College Shopping List Part #3: Quality Education

When you’re looking to choose a college, there are five questions you should ask.

1)     How will this college impact  my worldview?

2)     What opportunities does it offer?

3)     Does it have quality academics?

4)     What are the faculty like?

5)     Can I get involved in a local church?


 Quality Academics – A Fundamental College Requirement

It almost goes without saying that academic quality will be an important criterion for prospective college students. Colleges are schools of higher education, and are thus expected to be places of academic quality. For most students, college is the final stop on their long academic journey to the professional world. College, more than any other educational chapter, is designed to be a training ground for life. College is preparation. Therefore, students need to evaluate the academic caliber of whatever colleges they are considering.

One of the biggest indicators of the academic quality of an institution is its accreditation status. College accreditation is a status granted to an institution when it meets a set of criteria given by an accrediting organization. Accreditation is a way to ensure educational quality and adherence to academic standards.

There are a few different levels of accreditation, but the two most common are national accreditation and regional accreditation. National accreditation is typically given to non-traditional degree programs, such as career schools, trade schools, and some online schools. Regional accreditation is the most desirable form of accreditation a college can have. This type of accreditation is the most recognized and accepted in the United States. Generally, college credits or degrees from a regionally accredited college will be accepted by any other regionally accredited institution. Since each school is autonomous, acceptance is not necessarily guaranteed. However, a regionally accredited degree is the most recognizable degree possible in the U.S.

Regional accreditation offers many student benefits. Federal and state financial aid programs require that the school in question be accredited. Regional accreditation also allows the transfer and acceptance of college credit, and is a prerequisite for most graduate programs.

Accreditation is not the only factor that determines an institution’s academic quality, but it is certainly one the most important. College is a wonderful experience, but it requires a large investment of time, effort, and money. By attending a regionally accredited institution, you will give yourself the best chance of maximizing your educational experience and potential.

Your College Shopping List Part #2: Opportunities

When you’re looking to choose a college, there are five questions you should ask.

1)     How will this college impact  my worldview?

2)     What opportunities does it offer?

3)     Does it have quality academics?

4)     What are the faculty like?

5)     Can I get involved in a local church?



2)     What opportunities does it offer?


Another important aspect to consider when looking at any college is the opportunities available to students at that college. Opportunities vary from college to college due to size, certification, programs and even location. Because of these variations, a prospective student looking at any college would be wise to put some serious consideration into the opportunities available at a particular college. Some of these opportunities include social interaction at the college. Is the college relatively big or small? Are there not enough students to get to know or is it too big to know anybody at all? Trips that involve traveling abroad could also be a question to consider asking the college. Are there programs that handle overseas trips for students to study abroad? Participating in the area of fine arts is another way to get involved socially. Does the college under consideration have such a program in which students can get involved.

Opportunities at college also often include sports. Do the colleges under consideration have adequate sports programs for the serious sports-minded student to get involved? Many colleges are now realizing the importance of having student involvement in the intramural sports within a college. Do these colleges have these programs and are they run well? Does the college participate in intercollegiate sports. If so, how? Do they take part in the NCAA or the NCCAA? But yet another thing to consider is the work opportunities available within and around the college. Many institutions are hiring students for on-campus jobs to help out with their school bills. If on-campus jobs are not available, then are there sufficient work opportunities available in the surrounding areas and cities? These are some of the questions that should be asked when looking at colleges. However, the most important thing is for the student to be stretched, to be put in an environment that demands getting out of one’s “box.” College is too awesome to not get involved with as much as possible!