Christian Colleges in Missouri

Overall, Missouri is a welcoming state for Christians looking to advance their education. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 77% of adults in the state identify as Christian. More than half of adults say that religion is very important in their lives, and 37% attend religious services at least once per week.

More than half of adults say that religion is very important in their lives, and 37% attend religious services at least once per week Pew Research Center

Because of the central role faith plays in the lives of many Missourians, the state is home to a relatively large number of Christian colleges. As such, students have many options when choosing a school. For instance, students interested in a large Christian school may research Columbia College. Columbia is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ and serves more than 29,000 students annually. Alternatively, students may prefer the smaller, intimate environment offered by one of the many rural Bible colleges in missouri.

Students also have their pick of denominations and courses of study. Missouri boasts colleges founded by Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and members of the Assemblies of God. Many schools are independent, offering a Christian education without adherence to a particular denomination. While some Missouri Christian colleges work exclusively with undergraduate students, many offer graduate and seminary programs as well.

Online Christian colleges can be a great option for many students. Online programs, when delivered asynchronously, allow students to watch lectures, complete coursework, and take exams whenever and wherever is most convenient for them. This kind of format can help students continue their education while still tending to other obligations such as caring for a child, volunteering at church, or working.

Missouri's Christian online colleges are usually more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. Distance learners can live at home, thereby avoiding the costs of commuting to campus or paying for room and board. Some schools may also exempt online students from certain fees such as campus athletic facilities.

Finally, many Christian schools demonstrate a deep commitment to their online students' academic and spiritual well-being. Students at Christian online colleges receive the same faith-based curriculum as their on-campus peers, with classes often led by the same faculty members. Through the use of technology, online students can also access spiritual counseling services, join virtual discussion groups, and stream sermons and worship services taking place on campus.

Still, online programs require a great deal of self-discipline, and you should think carefully about whether you feel ready to take on the responsibility of directing your own learning.

Choosing one of the Christian colleges in Missouri can be a difficult decision. You may spend up to four years at your chosen institution, and so it is important to carefully consider all elements of your educational experience. You should make sure to research the available programs thoroughly and find one that is the right fit for you.

Two important factors are location and campus size. Smaller rural schools often foster a tight-knit Christian community among students and faculty. Larger schools in more densely populated areas allow students to find worship services, internships, or volunteer opportunities nearby. Larger schools may also have more resources. You should consider safety of the surrounding area as well.

Does the school only provide degrees in areas like biblical history and the Christian ministry, or does it also provide a liberal arts education from a Christian perspective?

You should also research each school's theological values. Some Christian colleges may prohibit the use of drugs or alcohol on campus. Others restrict co-ed housing or require students to attend religious services in addition to their classes. Not all schools share the same expectations of their students, and it is important to fully understand these requirements prior to enrolling.

Not all schools offer all programs, so you should ensure your chosen school offers your area of study. Does the school only provide degrees in areas like biblical history and the Christian ministry, or does it also provide a liberal arts education from a Christian perspective? Does the school offer coursework online? If so, how does it integrate faith into the online learning experience? Many online Christian colleges offer religious discussion boards, video conferencing with counselors, and live streams of worship services for distance learners.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Seminary schools and Bible colleges often have similar learning environments. At both colleges, students attend religious services, participate in community service, experience spiritual growth, join groups with like-minded individuals, and take classes led by Christian faculty members. However, there are significant differences between Bible colleges and seminary schools. Generally speaking, a Bible school educates students in many subjects through a Christian lens, and a seminary school specifically prepares individuals for ministry careers.

For example, a Bible college in Missouri may offer programs in biblical history or religious studies. However, it will also typically offer programs in areas like business administration, education, or information technology. All programs at a Bible college are taught from a Christian perspective, regardless of major. Bible schools usually provide associate and bachelor's degrees, but may also offer master's or doctoral degrees.

Seminary schools are usually graduate-level institutions that exclusively confer master's or doctoral degrees. These schools focus on the knowledge and skills students need to take on leadership roles in churches, religious organizations, or ministries.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Attending an accredited school is extremely important. Accreditation ensures that you will be eligible for financial aid, that you will be able to transfer your credits to another institution, and that future employers will recognize your degree. Most nonprofit, academically focused schools receive regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is considered the most prestigious form of accreditation since it requires rigorous standards and a multi-year process.

Most schools and employers prefer graduates from regionally accredited schools. Nationally accredited schools are more likely to be vocational or for-profit. Students at nationally accredited schools may not be able to transfer credits to a regionally accredited school. Program-specific accreditation may exist for a particular area of study, such as theology.

Three agencies accredit the majority of Christian colleges in Missouri. The first is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. HLC is one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The second is the Association for Biblical Higher Education, a national accrediting agency authorized by the ED. The third is the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. This specialized accrediting agency has also been recognized by the ED and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

You can check to see if your program has been regionally or nationally accredited using the ED database of postsecondary institutions.

By most measures, Missouri's economy is roughly in line with the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Missouri's unemployment rate in March 2018 was 3.6%. This was slightly below the national unemployment rate of 4.1% at that same time.

The state's annual mean salary in 2017 was $45,520, compared to the national mean salary of $50,620. Similarly, Missouri's mean hourly wage was $21.89, compared to the national mean of $24.34. However, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state has one of the lowest costs of living in the country. So while you may earn less, your purchasing power remains on par with the national average.

The state's annual mean salary in 2017 was $45,520, compared to the national mean salary of $50,620.

The Department of Economic Development also projects that certain industries in the state will grow faster than others. These include automotive suppliers, biosciences, energy solutions, advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services, health sciences and services, information technology, and transportation and logistics.

Many graduates of Christian colleges in Missouri choose to work in public service. The table below details some jobs in this sector, including careers in healthcare or ministry.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Missouri
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 1,810 $17.72 $36,850
Marriage and Family Therapists 430 $21.13 $43,950
Mental Health Counselors 2,860 $20.01 $41,620
Rehabilitation Counselors 2,890 $18.34 $38,150
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 8,070 $17.58 $36,560
Healthcare Social Workers 4,300 $22.42 $46,630
Social and Human Service Assistants 3,960 $13.65 $28,400
Clergy 730 $22.84 $47,500
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 90 $27.41 $57,020
Source: BLS, May 2016

Scholarships are an excellent way to help pay for tuition and fees at a Bible college in Missouri. Many private organizations across the country offer scholarships to students attending online Christian colleges. In addition, you may be eligible to receive scholarships specifically for students in Missouri.

Christian Scholarships

National Presbyterian Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be members of the Presbyterian Church who plan to attend a Presbyterian Church college or university. Students should also have a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Foundation for College Christian Leaders Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: To apply, students must have experience as a Christian leader, a 3.0 GPA, and a family income of less than $75,000. View Scholarship

Harvey Fellows Program $16,000

Who Can Apply: The Harvey Fellows Program is open to graduate students who demonstrate personal faith in Jesus Christ. The foundation chooses candidates based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and planned service in a field where Christians are underrepresented. View Scholarship

Kulis Educational Scholarships $5,000

Who Can Apply: Kulis Scholarships assist practicing Greek Orthodox students. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and academic excellence. Students who have received scholarships totaling more than 50% of their educational costs are not eligible. View Scholarship

Young Christian Leaders Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: This program is open to high school seniors and college undergraduates who possess a "profound measure of character," a commitment to public service, and financial need. Candidates must also have a 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Missouri Residents

Horatio Alger State Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply: To be eligible for this scholarship, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and participate in community service activities. Candidates must also demonstrate critical financial need, defined as an adjusted family gross income of $55,000 or less. View Scholarship

Marguerite Ross Barnett Memorial Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: This program is open to students who are both attending college and working at least 20 hours per week. Students cannot use this scholarship to pay for a theology degree, although they can use it to help pay for tuition at a Christian college in Missouri. View Scholarship

Access Missouri $300-$2,850

Who Can Apply: Access Missouri is a need-based grant program for full-time undergraduate students in Missouri. This award cannot finance a theology or divinity degree, but it can be used for other courses of study at Bible colleges in Missouri. View Scholarship

Bright Flight Program $3,000

Who Can Apply: To qualify for this scholarship, Missouri students must have a composite SAT or ACT score in the top 3% of all students in the state. Recipients must enroll full time at a college or university. View Scholarship

Advanced Placement Incentive Grant $500

Who Can Apply: Applicants to this grant must receive two grades of "3" or higher on Advanced Placement exams. Candidates must also meet the financial need requirements of the Access Missouri program. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

Some smaller Christian colleges in Missouri may not offer church services on campus or at times that are convenient for you. Thankfully, two websites -- Church Finder and USA Churches -- allow you to search for worship services in your area. You can search by denomination, church size, or worship style.

Get Connected

Especially for students attending Christian online colleges, professional networking is key to finding job opportunities and advancing your career. The three sites below can help connect you to fellow Christians in business, education, and law.

  • Christian Business Network CBN is an international network of Christian business professionals. Members create professional profiles and seek out individuals who can offer advice or help with job opportunities.
  • Christian Educators Association International CEAI promotes the teaching profession as a God-given calling and ministry. The association hosts over a dozen local chapters and offers a variety of resources for Christian educators.
  • Christian Legal Society CLS defends the religious liberties of all Americans. The society also encourages legal professionals to view law as a ministry and promotes justice for the poor in accordance with biblical principles.

Find Christian Ministries

Due to cost, location, or other circumstances, not all students can attend a Christian college in Missouri. However, many public and non-Christian private universities host campus ministries and religious student organizations. These groups provide students with the opportunity to engage with a Christian community even without attending a Bible college in Missouri.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Cru spreads the gospel of Jesus Christ and creates supportive communities for Christians at colleges and universities.
  • Chi Alpha Students in Chi Alpha gather together to pray, worship, and serve as disciples to their peers.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES is a worldwide association of Christian student groups. The fellowship promotes evangelism, discipleship, and missionary activities on college campuses.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA uses sports as a vehicle to help student athletes and coaches develop Christian values, spread the gospel, and find fellowship and purpose.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association An official arm of the Catholic Church, CCMA links ministers across the country. The association also provides resources such as guides to building ministry, webinars, job boards, and ministry grants.
Lutheran
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship RUF trains campus ministers, facilitates foreign exchange programs, and establishes churches and ministries in university towns without a nearby Presbyterian presence.
  • UKirk UKirk offers networking and professional development opportunities for Presbyterian ministers working on college campuses across the country.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCM Life is a network of Baptist college ministries in the United States and Canada. The group hosts a directory of all affiliated campus ministries to help students find worship and service opportunities.

Public Universities in Missouri with Christian Ministries

  • Missouri State: Missouri State is home to many Christian ministries, including Catholic Campus Ministry and Campus Crusade for Christ. It is also where Chi Alpha was originally founded.
  • University of Missouri: The flagship campus of the University of Missouri system hosts more than 60 religious organizations. These groups represent denominations such as Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Orthodox Christianity.
  • Southeast Missouri State University: Located in Cape Girardeau, SEMO supports more than a dozen Christian ministries, including the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and Ignite Campus Ministry.
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