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How to Start an Online Ministry School
You might have studied theology, or maybe you've always wanted to be a minister with your own school. Either way, the new trend in religion is starting your own online ministry school. You can incorporate Bible studies, activities and a following of interested students. You could even make a small profit for your church or ministry with the latest in Christian products and reading materials (see Resources).
Become an ordained minister if you aren't already one. You can do this online through official church or theology programs. Or you can receive a general ordination through a non-affiliation site, like Universal Ministries.
Decide on a theme for your online ministry school. Consider linking it to your church. You could include extra services such as online Bible study or confessions, a weekly newsletter or a Sunday seminar page. There are many Christian materials available for free (see Resources) that you can offer to your students.
Establish whether the form will be a website or a blog. Many online ministry schools are choosing to use a free blog format to reduce costs. Ask your church if it's willing to support the site's expenses, or have a collection to start it out.
Design your page with the links you need or want, or have a web design agency do it for you. You might have a designer in your congregation who would be willing to do it at cost or for free.
Hire qualified instructors for the school. They can be locals from the church or online freelancers with the same religious background.
Work with the teachers and create your online ministry school syllabuses for the courses.
Organize the final layout of the site, including the relevant contact information. Make sure the links and materials are working properly.
Advertise on sites that cater to your religion or toward the types of students you want to attract. For example, if you're Lutheran you could use Lutheran forums both locally and internationally to introduce your site to prospective students.
Be open to feedback from local parishioners, online students and fellow ministers to consistently improve your online ministry school.
Online ordination of ministers through sites like the Universal Church are not recognized by the “official” churches. Check with your church to find out if it accepts the course's accreditation.
Keep in mind that getting ordained can take from 2 days to 4 years, depending on the program.
Mel Candea has been writing for 15 years, with a B.L.A. acquired in-between. She has been published in several magazines, including "Harriet" and "Everyguys." Her online work has been extensive, with experience in copywriting, creative writing and researching.