Sometimes life gets in the way of our goals and dreams. And when one of those dreams is getting a college degree, we are sometimes left feeling inadequate or incomplete. Bob (’12) and Tina McKinney (’14) were no strangers to these feelings before they found Maranatha Online.
You may recognize Tina as one of our staff members from the Online Office. Tina is our Customer Service Specialist, and her daily activities include interacting with many of our online students. But there was a time, not that long ago, when Tina was one of those students herself.
About ten years into their marriage, Tina decided to begin her journey towards a nursing degree. With two small children in tow and another on the way, Tina realized at the halfway point of her nursing degree that getting a degree as a wife and mother was just too much to manage. So she dropped out, leaving behind her dream of getting a college degree.
At the same time, Bob felt fulfilled working in the automobile industry without the desire or need for a college degree. However, in 1991, after 20 years of working in automobile sales, he felt God’s call to prepare for full-time ministry on the mission field. This meant that he would have to go to college as an adult—a difficult and intimidating decision for a 35-year-old, accomplished businessman. Going back to college meant that Bob and Tina would have to move their family closer to a college campus, leaving behind a good job, their home, as well as family and friends.
But they made the decision, and Bob graduated in 1996 with his Bachelor of Arts in Ministry. Following his graduation, they spent a year raising support, after which they moved to Eastern Europe to begin a church-planting ministry. Although the Lord blessed their ministry and the church members matured in their spiritual growth, Tina began to lose hope that she would ever finish her degree.
Along with spiritual growth in the ministry came deep theological questions, and Bob began to feel the need for further education. But he couldn’t imagine leaving the mission field to advance his knowledge of theology. In 2010, Bob discovered that Maranatha Baptist Seminary offered an online seminary degree—the Master of Arts in English Bible—and it was the perfect solution to his dilemma. Less than two months later, he began his first online class towards getting a seminary degree without having to move his family back to the states, which made further schooling much less intimidating—even if most of his classmates where much younger than himself.
Knowing that Tina had a desire to complete her bachelor’s degree, Bob encouraged her to take online classes from Maranatha after his graduation in 2012. Tina seized the opportunity to fulfill her dream of getting a bachelor’s degree and graduated from MBU in 2014 with her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (also known as degree completion).
Only time will tell if Bob and Tina are finished with their education. MBU now offers a Master of Education in Teaching & Learning and a Master of Organizational Leadership, while the Seminary now offers a Doctor of Ministry degree.
Since finishing their degrees, both Bob and Tina have felt the Lord’s calling to ministry here in the states. Their youngest child is currently a student on campus at MBU, and until the Lord leads them elsewhere, Tina and Bob will continue to enjoy being a part of the community that helped them achieve their educational dreams and follow God’s will in their lives.