Strang Report, by Steve Strang, Founder of Charisma magazine

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Steve Strang and Dr. Spence
Charisma Founder and Publisher Steve Strang (l) recently visited with Evangel University President Dr. Robert H. Spence. Evangel is one of the universities featured in Charisma's Best Universities, Colleges and Schools.

I’m glad to introduce one of the most exciting new products: Charisma’s Best Christian Universities, Colleges and Schools. I believe it’s important to support Christian higher education for reasons I’ll explain. I’m interested in your feedback.

Let me explain our vision, why this is important and what it means to you.

Charisma has long covered the Christian educational scene. We’ve had cover stories over the years on many of the colleges and universities listed as “Charisma’s Best” that were doing innovative things of interest to the Pentecostal/charismatic community. We wrote about these schools as journalists, but at least one college president told me years later our article was a marketing tool that helped put his school on the map—especially to people outside their denomination. Within their denomination, people sat up and took notice because Charisma had reported on the exciting things happening.

At the same time Christian colleges have found that advertising in Charisma helps them connect with students they might not have found any other way. Because of this, we’ve had one or two issues every year that included an emphasis on Christian higher education. We’ve also published supplement pieces such as Excel or Christian Higher Education that served as marketing tools for colleges. But when it comes to Christian higher education, we’ve never done anything as bold as this guide, nor have we received so much excitement from the Spirit-filled academic community about a new project.

Obviously, there are secular resources that list the nation’s best universities. But these lists include only regionally accredited schools, the vast majority of which are secular. Plus, when Christian colleges are clumped in with secular institutions, the criteria (e.g., number of fraternities or average SAT scores) generally don’t reflect well on more ministry-minded schools. When we formed a “blue ribbon” committee for this project, we discovered many of these Christian colleges simply wanted a better way to get out their message, and so we asked them to help us highlight the elements they felt mattered most.

The result is an exhaustive list of Christian colleges organized regionally and with key information to help potential students. Charisma’s Best not only features interesting articles to help potential students better prepare for college, it was designed to be a key resource for those wanting to be led by the Holy Spirit through their entire journey of finding the right school. It’s something parents or grandparents can give to a potential student to both pique their interest and inform them. They can also go deeper by visiting charismasbestcolleges.com, which has more on each school—including rich media—plus opportunities to access thousands of dollars in scholarships. In fact, one of those is an online essay contest that will award scholarship money for any of the colleges listed here to the student who best answers this two-part question: Why do you want a Christian education, and what makes you the most qualified to win this scholarship? (Essays should be 1,000 words or less and can be submitted on the website.)

I was raised around Christian higher education. My parents met at a Bible college, and my dad was a professor at one of the colleges in this issue when I was growing up. My son graduated from another Christian university listed here, I serve on the board of another, and years ago I met my wife when she attended one of the colleges in Charisma’s Best. So my family has been impacted! In addition, many of the staff at Charisma Media are alumni of the Christian colleges listed here.

I am concerned about the state of higher education in our country, especially at secular universities, which are anything but godly and increasingly hostile to Christianity. We need strong Christian students who are lights in such dark institutions. But I know from experience that secular universities usually savage the faith of young Christians, many of whom aren’t strong enough spiritually to withstand and, as a result, fall away from the faith.

Christian colleges exist to prepare the next generation of Christian leaders. And with the American culture becoming increasingly godless, we need these leaders now more than ever. That’s why I believe it’s important that you connect college-bound Christian students with Charisma’s Best Christian Universities, Colleges and Schools. I pray God uses it to help guide students on the path He has for them.

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