Our institutional core values extend into TSBC student outcomes, creating a graduate profile that reflects the heart and mind of Christ by the Spirit through the believing, biblical scholarly community at Tri-State Bible College.
Our institutional core values extend into TSBC student outcomes, creating a graduate profile that reflects the heart and mind of Christ by the Spirit through the believing, biblical scholarly community at Tri-State Bible College. With a credentialed faculty that possesses over a millennium of ministry experience and current vocational ministry trends considered, TSBC offers an approach to assessment that blends traditional educational measures of academic engagement with the best practices of competency-based theological education. Four core assessments measure our students’ successful fulfillment of the TSBC graduate profile.
Gain a Breadth of Knowledge for a Biblical Worldview
Students who demonstrate a breadth of knowledge are able to
- express with confidence that the Bible is the standard of truth, faith, and conduct as stated in the TSBC Doctrinal Statement.
- have knowledge of apologetics and argumentation to address biblical issues in and of today’s society.
- understand the significance of major religious, intellectual, and societal landmarks as they relate to church history.
- develop an awareness of the cultural diversity of people and societies.
Apply Their Abilities to Study and to Service
Students who demonstrate the ability to study and to service are able to
- read and evaluate both scriptural and non-scriptural texts with discernment; and write with fluency, clarity, and coherence.
- listen with objectivity and empathy, and speak confidently and coherently in both formal and informal settings.
- use appropriate technologies to investigate a problem, analyze data, and communicate results.
- develop a sense of vocation while maintaining a Christian worldview connecting life’s work, whether ministerial or secular, with Christian service.
Cultivate Christian Values
Students who demonstrate growth in Christian values are able to
- use critical thinking while engaging in the ongoing dialogue between faith and learning.
- identify, gather, and use relevant information in an ethical, legal, and godly manner.
- understand the tenets of Christianity as they relate to other religious traditions.
- pursue spiritual maturity, maintain intellectual curiosity, and cultivate a healthy lifestyle in order to present a model of Christ-like behavior.
Assessing the Outcomes
Theological Discernment Taxonomies and Methods
Students’ theological discernment will be measured by the completion of individual theological taxonomies in every Systematic Theology course, Theological Methods courses, Theology electives, and in Dispensationalism. The taxonomies develop theological discernment by requiring students to identify (1) Christian theological essentials, (2) local or denominational community convictions, (3) personal/individual convictions, and (4) matters of opinion or desiderata (remaining questions). The completion of these formative taxonomies will contribute to the final summative taxonomy required in TH402 Doctrinal Summarization.
Students’ theological discernment will be measured by the completion of a summative theological taxonomy and accompanying personal doctrinal statement in TH402 Doctrinal Summarization. This cumulative and culminating work by students will serve them in the future as they seek ministry placement, ministry ordination, and/or participate in the discipleship of their churches and families. This senior level assignment will also equip students to make the teachings of Christianity clear to those outside the church.
Students’ theological discernment will be measured by their demonstrable ability to navigate certain differing approaches to theological methodology that have surfaced throughout church history (e.g., Biblical Theology, Canonical Theology, Creedal Theology, Sacramental Theology, and Systematic Theology). TH201 introduces the topic of theological method. TH202, TH301, TH302, TH401, and TH204 cultivate the practice of theological methods in community through groupings. Each semester student grouping is required to decide on a methodological approach and to write a one paragraph statement regarding the topic (e.g., Christology) at hand. The goal is for students to discern the continuity and/or discontinuity of (1) doing theology in community and (2) approaching theology with different methodologies.
One more layer theological discernment will be added to the TH402 course. Students are required to make one visit to the worship service of a denomination that is not their own, and they are required to interview the worship leader(s) of that gathering (i.e., the pastor, the priest, the bishop, etc.). The interview should focus on the leader and denomination’s approach to theological method. Communication with the church and the leader will need to precede the student’s visit so that the hosts may prepare for their visit and post-visit conversation. Students may organize groups in order to share the experience together. Each student is responsible for a response paper that summarizes the student’s observations about the worship event and evaluates the interview experience. Taking notes is encouraged. Showing respect in these settings is expected as the students represent the name of TSBC during these visits.
Biblical and Contextual Intelligence Measurement
The biblical intelligence of entering students will be measured by a diagnostic assessment provided through the ABHE Bible Knowledge Exam upon entering studies at TSBC. This pre-program assessment must be taken prior to the completion of the students first semester of classes.
The biblical intelligence of graduating students will be measured by the ABHE Bible Knowledge Exam as they complete their studies at TSBC. This post-program benchmark assessment must be taken by either the final week in November (in light of a fall semester completion date) or the final week of April (in light of a spring or summer semester completion date).
The biblical and contextual intelligence of students will be measured in each BI course by formative assessments. Two options are given here and can be utilized at the faculty member’s discretion. The first is a paragraphic evaluation of a/the book of the Bible exposited in the course. The goal of the paragraphic evaluation is devotional mastery of the content of a book of the Bible, so as to be able to think one’s way through the book from memory. By way of integrating devotional mastery into devotional practice, faculty must require students to use the material they’ve created in a devotional activity (e.g., prayer calendar, solitude and silence retreat, approach to a fasting schedule, etc.).
The second option is an argument paper on a/the book of the Bible exposited in the course. An argument paper must include key introductory features relating to the particular book of the Bible and a running commentary. Credible sources must be used throughout the argument paper. The goal of the argument paper is to understand the content in light of the reception context of the particular revelatory activity of God. Faculty members may submit an alternative formative assessment to the Academic Affairs Office, which must be reviewed and approved prior to the start of the semester.
The biblical and contextual knowledge of students will be measured by the integration of bible and culture through AB Courses and culminating in GS402 Senior Seminar. In GS402, students integrate biblical and general studies and examine the philosophical foundations of various worldviews. Each student is assisted with the development and articulation of a comprehensive biblical worldview that causes their cumulative knowledge of the Bible gained at TSBC to engage with the culture and world around them.
Spiritual Devotion Academic Integration Assessment
Every class at TSBC presents an opportunity for the professor to develop and integrate biblical spiritual disciplines into the lives of his or her students. Dr. Don Whitney teaches biblical spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Prof. Whitney is the author of the 1997 work entitled Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Praying the Bible, and Family Worship. In an article available at DesiringGod.com, Dr. Whitney identifies sixth truths about the nature of biblical spiritual disciplines:
- First, the Bible prescribes both personal and interpersonal spiritual disciplines.
- A second characteristic of spiritual disciplines is that they are activities (1 Tim. 4:7). They are not attitudes. Disciplines are practices.
- A third descriptor of the spiritual disciplines is that we are talking about things that are practices taught or modeled in the Bible.
- A fourth characteristic of spiritual disciplines is that those found in Scripture are sufficient for knowing and experiencing God and for growing in Christlikeness (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
- A fifth description of spiritual disciplines is that they are derived from the gospel, not divorced from the gospel.
- And the last characteristic of the spiritual disciplines is that they are means and not ends. The end, that is, the purpose of practicing the disciplines is godliness.
Personal integration element: Faculty must offer students the opportunity to integrate a personal, biblical, spiritual discipline into one of their assignments. Faculty must inform students about what qualifies as personal, biblical, spiritual disciplines and be clear about which assignments qualify for the integration.
Community integration element: Faculty must offer students the opportunity to integrate a communal, biblical, spiritual discipline into one of their assignments. Faculty must inform students about what qualifies as communal, biblical, spiritual disciplines and be clear about which assignments qualify for the integration.
Faculty must require students to report on their experience of the personal or communal discipline within the context of the selected assignment.
TSBC Ministry Formation serves as institutional opportunities instrumental in uniting academics with spirituality and devotion.
 Don Whitney, “What Are Spiritual Disciplines?,” Desiring God, last modified December 31, 2015, accessed May 14, 2021, https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-are-spiritual-disciplines.
Ministry Competency Map
The Student Self-Assessment
Instructions: Once completed, students must ask a faculty member of his or her choice to complete The Faculty Assessment portion. The faculty member will submit the completed form to the Student’s Activity Feed in Populi with visibility set to “Staff,” so that the assessment may be used in institutional research and improvement in fulfilling the TSBC mission.
- As a result of your learning in the TSBC community this semester, describe the calling of God in your life? Would you describe his calling as a ministry of stewardship, a ministry of shepherding, or a ministry of service (please do your best to select only one)?
- If you are a Steward:
- Describe what or who you feel God has entrusted into your care and management as a steward?
- Describe what it looks like to faithfully manage that which God has entrusted to your stewardship.
- Explain the various responsibilities of your stewardship.
- Articulate the visionary aspects of your stewardship that will be important to the sustainability and longevity of that which you have been entrusted (e.g., a multi-year plan or strategy).
- In what ways do you feel (1) most competent as a steward and (2) least competent as a steward?
- Offer one way this semester at TSBC has helped you mature in ministry competency as a steward.
- If you are a Shepherd:
- Describe the people to whom God has called you to shepherd.
- Describe what it means to love and nurture this flock to whom God has called you.
- Assess and articulate the vehicles that you may create, sustain, develop, or change to feed truth to the flock God has called you to shepherd. Also, clearly articulate how you have witnessed the Scripture’s effectiveness as the source of truth for your shepherding ministry.
- Shepherding requires leaders to practice discernment in the flock, being examples of grace and mercy and of discipline and seriousness. Benevolence and discipline are instruments in the shepherd’s hand—much like the “rod and the staff” (Ps. 23). Describe how you utilize both goodness and discipline as a shepherd to create and sustain a healthy and sound environment for the sheep entrusted to your care.
- In what ways do you feel (1) most competent as a shepherd and (2) least competent as a shepherd?
- Offer one way this semester at TSBC has helped you mature in ministry competency as a shepherd.
- If you are a Servant:
- Describe the people to whom God has called you to serve.
- What kinds of needs do you typically see as you fulfill your ministry calling?
- What kinds of needs do you typically sense or feel as you fulfill your ministry calling?
- What kinds of needs do you find yourself able, willing, and eager to meet as you fulfill your ministry calling?
- In what ways do you feel (1) most competent as a servant and (2) least competent as a servant?
- Offer one way this semester at TSBC has helped you mature in ministry competency as a servant.
The Faculty Assessment
- Please assess the student’s assessment of his or her calling as a steward, shepherd, or servant.
- Having considered the student’s self-assessment, constructively identify key areas that exemplify ministry competence.
- Having considered the student’s self-assessment, constructively identify key areas that exemplify ministry incompetence.
- Please offer counsel to the student how TSBC can best continue to serve as a community where he or she can fulfill the ministry to which God has called him or her.
Traditional vs. Competency-Based
TSBC acknowledges that there is much to learn from both approaches to theological education. Our approach attempts to frame and fill a graduate profile with the best that both approaches have to offer. Learn more about the difference between these two approaches by visiting the resources provided below: