Below, Josh shares his story of how he succeeded as a online student, all while being a father and working full-time as a pastor in a local church.
The first time that I had taken a class at PBC was 2011. However, when I started then, getting a degree was not on my mind. I only took a class because of a personal core value I have – “I desire to be a life-long learner.” So because of that mindset I only took a class here or there.
I am not sure exactly how many years I have been attending because I didn’t always take a class since 2011. I took a few years off between 2011 and probably around 2015. However, it wasn’t until I was looking at the classes that were required for the Church Leadership degree program, and I realized that I would love to take all of those classes that I decided to go ahead and get that degree. I finished that up in 2017 or 2018; but that was only after I really decided to get serious and start taking almost a full credit load each semester; even taking some summer classes to knock out requirements. Once I finished that degree, I decided to finish up my BA in Theology.
I am a part of Columbia Heights Assembly of God and when I first started taking classes to just grow I was the youth pastor at the church. I was on staff full-time, while being a husband and a father as well. Once I started getting serious about finishing up the Church Leadership Degree I was the associate pastor at the church, and now, I am the lead pastor.
I will be married for 18 years in just a few weeks and we have 4 incredible kids, 15, 13, 10, 8. The elder’s at our church have been a huge support for me, allowing me the grace and latitude to study and take classes to further my education all while being on staff full-time.
When I decided to get serious about finishing out a few degrees, I had to really be intentional with my time. The beauty about PBC’s Online Program is the flexibility with doing the classes. There were times where I had to take one of my sons to his football practices and I would sit in the back of our Suburban with the back hatch up watching his practice for a few minutes and then doing homework for a few minutes. I did that several times so that I didn’t miss out on my son’s practice, nor get behind on homework.
I remember when my younger son played football for the first year, I would get done with the office take my oldest son to his practice; take him home eat dinner real fast and then take my youngest son to his practice until about 7:30-8:00pm at night. I would sit in the car and do homework at both places making sure I had a view to see them practice. If it was nice I would sit on the sidelines as well. My younger son had all of his games on Saturday’s and had to be there about 2 hours early. Other games would be going on before his game but parents couldn’t leave, so I would bring my laptop and whatever homework I had and do it in the stands up and till his game started. I remember some of the other parents just giving me looks because I wouldn’t pay attention to the other games, I am sure they thought I was a dad that just couldn’t put work down for even a short time to watch their kid play. They just didn’t know that my kid wasn’t even on the field yet to play his game.
There were several times I had to say no to some things in order to make sure that I didn’t get behind or even get what I would say is a bad grade. My wife over the last several years would say, “Oh, look kids daddy got another bad grade an ‘A-‘.” My kids loved teasing me that I was still in school at my age.