When can I apply?
Today! Go to the Application web page and work through each piece of the application process. Email us at pliadmin@mcusa.org if you have any questions.

When can I start my first class?
Generally, we start a group of new students the first week of every quarter – spring (March to May), summer (June to August), fall (September to November) and winter (December to February) — as long as there are at least 8 to 10 students ready to begin at the same time.

Is there a time allotted for each unit, or is it a self-paced program?
You must complete the course unit within the quarter you start it. It is not self-paced. You must keep pace each week because your weekly classroom session will pertain to that week’s study. However, you can pace the program by the number of courses you take each quarter. For instance, to complete everything in 27 months, you would need to successfully complete two courses every quarter; but you could slow your pace down by taking only one course per quarter or skipping a quarter now and then.

What is the weekly time commitment needed to complete this program in two years?
We suggest students allow 5 to 8 hours per week per course for studying and an additional 2 hours per week per course for classroom discussion and instruction. To complete the program in 27 months, you must pass two courses every quarter.

And don’t forget the internship – the hands-on ministry training. If you’re hoping to complete the whole program in two years, allow an additional 5 to 10 hours per week for your internship in the first year and 10 to 15 hours per week for your second year. The internship should keep pace with your academic schedule, so moving at a slower pace with your course work (e.g., one course per quarter) would obviously require less time per week for the internship as well.

PLI is no cakewalk and requires you to significantly and wisely restructure your lifestyle – as would any seminary student.

Must I take two courses per quarter? Can I skip a quarter?
No and yes! Two courses per quarter moves you through the entire program in a little over two years; and to maintain continuity it’s best to take at least one class every quarter. However, demands of job, ministry, family, or finances may require you to sit out a quarter or longer. While this will push back your graduation date and may make finding the course you want when you want it more difficult, taking PLI at your own pace is quite doable.

There seems to be a lot of reading, is it really necessary?
READERS ARE LEADERS! You must become a reader to be a good pastor and leader. This is where you’ll start. A speed reading course is a terrific investment.

How can I prepare for PLI?
Check out “Preparing for Your First PLI Class” for more information.

What will it cost?
Tuition is $200 per course (16 x $200) = $3200 plus $400 for the internship. Other expenses along the way include the following:
· $ 25 Initial Assessment Fee (part of application process)
· $ 50 Textbooks and other required reading (average per course)
· $ 35 History & Polity Course grading fee (when applying for MC license)

When and how do I pay for my courses?
Tuition payments are due 30 days before the commencement of each class. Half the internship fee ($200) is collected when you begin the internship, and the other $200 is paid when you’re halfway finished. Besides accepting personal checks, we now offer the convenience of credit card payments online through PayPal as well.

Financing your PLI education should always be a matter of faith and not fiscal dexterity. Ask God to show you how He is going to sell some of the “cattle on His thousand hills” to pay for the education He is calling you to. Ask your church or small group to support you. Sit down with your spouse, sharpen your budget knife, sort through legitimate needs versus perceived wants, and pare away superfluous living expenses.

Are any scholarships available?
Sometimes, check for availability. When we do have scholarship funds, they are distributed on basis of need and only as a matching grant (which means the student pays a portion, and the scholarship picks up the rest).

How do PLI courses compare to college courses or other Internet courses?
While our courses will not be dumbed-down, they are streamlined and condensed. Striving for both the academic rigor of a college course and the practicality of a cutting-edge seminar, PLI courses fall between the bachelors and masters level in terms of degree of difficulty. The big difference between PLI and other courses – traditional college or Internet – is that we focus on making you competent in ministry, not just earning you a degree. This integrated approach to the head (knowledge), the heart (spiritual vitality), and the hands (ministry skills) is what sets us apart. There are a lot of online courses available, but nothing quite like this.

I’ve already taken some of these courses, need I take them again?
Maybe not! Talk with your Regional or District personnel to review your academic record and ministry experience. He can determine what additional courses you need in order to qualify for credentialing in the Missionary Church.

What if I don’t want to enroll in the whole PLI program, but I’m interested in a few of the courses? Is it possible to enroll in a single course?
We fondly refer to people who pick and choose which courses they’d like to take as cherry pickers, and we love cherry pickers. Some courses have prerequisites (for instance, Systematic Theology 1 must be taken before Systematic Theology 2), but many are totally stand-alone. If you’re interested in one or two PLI courses but have no desire at this time to enroll in the whole program, email the PLI administrator to check on the possibilities. More likely than not, you’ll be able to take just the course(s) you want.

Do I have to jump through all the student application hoops (e.g., assessments, references, etc.) if I only want to take one or two courses?
Definitely not! Cherry pickers are only required to complete the basic personal information (first section) of the student application form before enrolling in the course(s) of their choice. No other “hoops” are necessary.

Can I experience a classroom session  to see what it is like before enrolling?
Most likely. Contact us at PLIadmin@mcusa.org and we’ll see what we can do for you.

Where do I purchase textbooks?
Most online bookstores have the textbooks your classes require, but Amazon.com and Christian Book Distributors have been particularly reliable. Links (usually through Amazon) are available at each course site to help you find the exact books required.

Do I have to have my own personal computer?
Yes! You’ll appreciate the convenience of having your own machine for two-hour weekly classroom participation session and study flexibility.

Are there any specific hardware/software requirements for the classes?
Bells and whistles for computers and related technology evolve much more quickly than this FAQ page can keep up with. If you have specific questions, talk to a geeky friend you can trust or email PLI’s administrator. You will need a web cam as well as a microphone and speakers (or a headset) … built in or externally added via USB ports.

You’ll also need a few basic software programs (many available to download free of charge from the Internet) — Acrobat Reader for reading PDF documents and some kind of word processor that will open and save documents in Microsoft Word format for submitting written assignments to your eProf by email.

Speaking of email, you may want to consider opening a free email account just for PLI (something like Gmail). A free Dropbox account is also sometimes helpful.

Can I get by with outdated technology?
Maybe, but probably not! If you are very far behind technological advances, at BEST you will be frustrated, at WORST you will not be able to access or maintain media connections necessary for classroom participation, download attachments, open pictures, and more. Studying will be challenging enough without doubling your stress because of inadequate technology.

Do I have to do the internship?
Probably! The internship is where you’ll learn skills (serving communion, leading a small group, preaching funerals, making hospital calls, leading a board meeting, etc.); spend time with your PLI Coach (mentoring, modeling, etc.); expand your heart (developing a personal devotion and worship time, reading Christian classics, clarifying God’s purpose for you in ministry, etc.); and learn the intricacies of the Missionary Church (World Partners, history and polity of the MC, etc.).

PLI students who are already pastoring churches are not required to complete the ministry praxis assignments, but they are still encouraged to find a coach/mentor to review course questions, hold them accountable to personal disciplines, encourage spiritual growth and maturity, and support them in prayer.

What about para-church ministries? Can an internship work in a non-church setting?
Absolutely! We can work with students to customize the internship syllabus to fit a para-church environment. If our standard internship syllabus doesn’t work for you, we will help you create one suited to your situation.

It looks like there are two years of study with a third year as a kind of internship/apprenticeship. Or are there three years of study before licensing to preach?
PLI is designed as a two-year program of 16 courses with a 24-month internship that runs concurrently. You can choose a slower pace, but it will take longer to finish the program. Completing all 8 Level One courses and the first half of the internship meets the educational requirements for licensing in the Missionary Church. Additionally completing your choice of 8 Level Two courses and the second half of the internship meets the educational requirements for ordination in the Missionary Church. However, PLI does not license or ordain, that is still the responsibility of denominational region and district personnel or equivalent. We only certify your training achievements and pass on your assessment results and course grades to the district superintendent. (If you have specific questions about credentialing, talk with your district superintendent.)

What is a coach and where do I find one?
A coach facilitates the hands-on activities of your internship and provides encouragement, shepherding, and accountability. The vast majority of students are coached by the senior pastor of their home church. Some have partnered with youth pastors or para-church leaders. The coaching possibilities are directly related to the type of internship and calling you have.

Does the internship fee ($400 total) go to the coach?
Yes! While it’s not a lot of money, we don’t believe in “muzzling the ox” (1 Timothy 5:17-18), and thus your coach receives the entire internship fee — $200 when you complete the first half of the internship and the balance when you complete the entire program.

Can I earn a degree from these courses?
The PLI training process is designed to move you into vocational ministry as quickly as possible, with the highest level of competency possible. We do not award college credit or degrees, nor do we arrange church appointments. We train you, period.

If these classes are not for college credit or church appointment, what good are they other than high-priced cell groups?
These classes, upon completion, fulfill the educational requirement for licensing and ordination in the Missionary Church. (If you are seeking to serve in another denomination, you are very welcome to enroll in our program, but you should first get assurance from your denomination that they will accept PLI as accredited training.) Completing the first eight courses and first half of internship, fulfills the educational requirements for licensing and full-time employment as a church leader in the MC denomination.

PLI is not authorized to license or ordain graduates for ministry, but only facilitates completing the educational requirements for credentials. Licensing and ordination is the responsibility of the local district office. In addition, PLI grads who receive licensing approval from the district do not actually receive the license until they are employed by a church and/or are serving in an approved ministerial position.

What are these assessments?
One very unique thing you will encounter in your PLI training process is the required completion of a battery of assessment surveys included in the enrollment process. These assessments will profile your spiritual giftedness, temperament, strengths, and ministerial role (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, Teacher). Our intent is for you, your PLI Coach, and us to learn as much as possible about you, how you relate to people, and what ministry context you will most likely succeed in. This will help your Coach mentor you more effectively, track your developing gift and skill emergence, and help your future district superintendent better recommend you to churches looking for pastors. The assessments (cost $25) are utilized later in some courses. You can read more on these by clicking on the assessment web page.

Do the assessments need to be completed before enrolling in any classes?
Yes.

I have already taken an assessment from _________ (fill in the blank), can you use this or do I need to be tested using your own assessment?
Maybe. Send a copy of what you have to PLI’s administrator for review.

Are there costs for textbooks or other materials needed for the courses in addition to tuition?
Yes. There is usually at least one curriculum text and possibly some required supplemental reading books.

What are the additional costs for required books?
The cost of required texts averages approximately $50 per course, usually including shipping. Often used copies or Kindle versions are available for less and will serve the purpose as long as the ISBN matches the required text. Now is a good time to begin budgeting to purchasing your library. Some books may be purchased in electronic format and added to your Logos software. Like a budding mechanic at automotive school, you’ll need to start investing in your tools!

Are there payment arrangements/scholarships/loans available for the program? Is it pay as you go?
You pay for each course ($200 per course) as you go. Scholarship funds are sometimes available. If money is a problem, you can take one course per quarter instead of two. But don’t let financial concerns keep you from answering God’s call to ministry. Talk to God about it and then talk to us, and we’ll see what can be worked out.

How have other churches set up a scholarship or tuition program? Do most churches pick up the tab? Split the costs?
Some students pay their own way, some receive partial funding from their churches or districts or other individuals, and some are completely funded by their churches – so the answer to the question is, “Yes!”