Last week’s NewSpring made the big announcement that it was starting its own college, though it involved so much hands-on physical labor that I suggested that it is more like an apprenticeship program than a college program. What do you know, NewSpring College is just NewSpring’s Apprenticeship Program with new branding and new fees. Youth Pastor Brad Cooper acknowledged on Facebook that the college was its new apprenticeship program.
A few things have changed, but when you put the two programs side by side, you can see just how similar they really are.
NewSpring Apprenticeship and NewSpring College
|Application||Three-minute video uploaded to YouTube.||Three-minute video uploaded to YouTube.|
|References||"As part of the application process, you will be required to submit two recommendations: one personal and the other pastoral."||"One from a family member (or close friend) giving their support for your pursuit of ministry training at NewSpring College. One from a pastoral figure speaking to your calling to ministry and your faithfulness in your current ministry responsibilities."|
|Schedule||"Outside jobs and school is allowed, but the program schedule takes precedence over any outside event. Adjustments to schedules will not be made per individual."||"Your school schedule will take precedence over any outside event. Exceptions for individual schedules cannot be made."|
|Outcome||"In some cases, graduates may be retained on NewSpring’s staff, but if anyone successfully completes the program, NewSpring will provide a letter of recommendation for the graduate."||"While graduation does not guarantee employment at NewSpring, we will offer our recommendation to NewSpring Church or any other church/organization for those completing our two-year program."|
Knowing that the application process is the same, we can get some idea of what NewSpring is looking for in its college students by looking at the successful applications to the apprenticeship. In his own application video, Ryan Yow, who appears to have leveraged his apprenticeship into a NewSpring job, models what new applicants should say:
- “I absolutely love, love, love, love my church. I’ve been an owner, volunteer, bought in the whole thing – all in.”
- For two and a half years he had been planning to go to medical school, though he was listening to his NewSpring advisors and walking away from that dream to work at NewSpring instead.
- “I’ve enjoyed getting poured into and just gleaning leadership and discipline that just oozes off these leaders that we have here and how awesome they are.”
- “I’m in love with NewSpring. I love my church. It is the best one on the planet. We have the best leaders on the planet. The Holy Spirit moves here, and God’s hand is on this place. And [sigh] I absolutely love it.”
- “What I want to do is be a part of NewSpring for the rest of my life. That’s my heart’s desire; that’s my passion. I would cry if God led me somewhere else.”
The apprentices seem to have been taught primarily by Trevor Cox, who is described as a pastor and curriculum coordinator. Cox described NS College as a “real college,” even though because of its lack of accreditation, none of its students will be able to transfer credit to accredited schools.
The one thing that NS has in common with real colleges is its fee, which is $2,000 a year for two years. It’s one of three important differences between the programs. Whereas apprentices were given computers and books, the college students will have to pay for these themselves. And where the apprentices actually got paid for their work, the college students will pay handsomely for the right to set up chairs.
With a nod to a popular Christmas video, we can imagine the conversation in the NewSpring boardroom as they were planning next year’s college program.
Business Manager: Last year, we paid the apprentices $350 a week. How much should we pay the students next year, Pastor?
Perry Noble: At $350 a week over nine months, that’s… How much is that?
BM: $12,600 per student, boss.
PN: Are the students really really in love love love with us?
PN: Let’s see if they’ll pay us.
BM: Brilliant! They won’t be expecting that.