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I’m just a few weeks into my second year as a full-time BSSM Online student. (Surprise! Probably not. 😊) So far Second Year has quite a few similarities to First Year, but there are some noticeable differences. Here’s what I’ve observed so far:
The focus is on leadership instead of identity. We are building on what we learned last year and identity is still discussed, but there is more of a leadership emphasis this year. There’s a greater focus on pouring out and not just absorbing information.
The books and book reports are more intense. I wasn’t expecting this. Our first book, John G. Lake, practically rivals the Bible in size! And for Second Year, we do write actual reports. For First Year, we just had to answer a few questions about each book. It’s still not like writing college papers and we don’t have to use APA or MLA format or anything, but if you plan to do Second Year, know you’ll be spending more time on your reading assignments than the previous year.
The schedule is different. I’m on central time here in the Midwest, so most of my live classes are in the late afternoon or early evening. Though I don’t love having back-to-back classes from 4:00 to 8:30 p.m. one day a week, for the most part, I like the schedule. We also have Monday classes this year, which I’m really excited about, because I prefer to get everything done earlier in the week and relax over the weekend! As with last year, everything except Revival Group can be watched on demand and doesn’t have to be attended live. (I do prefer to watch everything live when I can!)
The speakers go deeper. Some of the leaders had told us to expect the preaching to be different in Second Year, and they were right. Bill was already getting emotional in one of our early sessions with him. (He’s the best.) First Year’s content wasn’t shallow by any means, but there’s even more meat this year.
Most of our sessions are now called “Main Sessions,” rather than having specified agendas. This is designed to allow the Holy Spirit to move in any direction he wants rather than being limited to a preplanned format. We do still have designated worship sessions, Table Talks, and RGs, plus we have the option to watch First Year’s Encounter Rooms if we choose. Everything else is now classified as a Main Session.
There isn’t assigned Bible reading. Last year we were assigned specific chapters to read each week, and we went through several books of the Old and New Testament. This year we’re on our own, and we are trusted to read the Bible daily.
More students are jumping right into ministry without hesitation. In our very first RG, several Second Year students were already prophesying and proclaiming words for this year. It also feels like many of the conversations in our breakout rooms have been more real and vulnerable from the get-go. People seem to picking back up where they left off last year, rather than starting at square one, even though we aren’t running with all the same people as in First Year.
We have live sessions with on–campus Second Year students! This is a fun addition to the 2021-2022 school year. We often get to sit in on the same sessions the Redding students do, so that means if they have a guest speaker in town, we don’t miss out! There are big screens onstage with all our Zoom tiles displayed, so both the online and on-campus students can feel like we’re in the room together. This is especially fun for those of us who have First Year classmates who moved to Redding for Second Year. 😊
Our first book report is due the first day of school. As mentioned, the book is a big one, so keep this in mind if you’re applying later in the summer! (We are responsible for purchasing this book ourselves and I’m told it takes several weeks for international students to receive their copy of the book, since it’s not available in digital form, so be aware of that, too!) Most students were making their way through this 548-page book all summer long. It does take some time, so plan ahead if you are even considering Second Year!
So far I’m really enjoying Second Year. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to some of the people I went through First Year with as they’re in different revival groups or moved to Redding to study in person (I know several people who did this!), but I have a whole new group of great people in my RG this year, and I’m already learning a lot from our sessions. I think it’s going to be another good year. 😊
Hey! I'm Brianna and I'm a millennial. I'm also a reader, writer, God-lover, introvert, and recovering perfectionist. ☺️
I want to inspire millennials to retain their morality, hope, and faith as they transition into adulthood and full-fledged "adult."