The most effective educational model that we have seen within Seventh-day Adventism was perhaps Madison College. Why? Because this model of education was the first one that offered a holistic education that truly prepared students to be self-supporting missionaries. This school was so successful that students could graduate debt-free raising their own tuition through 27 different businesses run by them. This type of education enabled its students to be the most effective foreign as well as domestic missionaries.
Madison became so well known for its unique approach that national and international newspapers came to learn more about it. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about the only self-supporting college of the country.² Reader’s Digest and The New York Times published articles.³ The college received so much attention that over 5,000 applicants wanted to start in 1940 — and 450 students were accepted that year. Observers from around the globe came to learn more about the Madison concept. Even the U.S. commissioner of education came on his honeymoon to document what was happening at Madison.⁴ Never had anyone seen something like this before!
Ellen G. White declared that if other Adventist schools would follow this model, “we as a people would be a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men…” Madison became a testimony to the world on the effectiveness of truly applying a Seventh-day Adventist philosophy of education.
The challenge we face is how to implement this model in the 21st century. This is our goal at Hartland College, to become Madison 2.O. The self-supporting principles are the same, but today we would call it missional entrepreneurship.
How do we implement this model? Through our work-education program. Students who apply and qualify are given time within the weekly work education program to develop their ministry-related business ventures. These business ventures are based on their skill set, academic major, work education station, and the market opportunities available. We have added into our core curriculum classes on business and entrepreneurship. Through these courses, students are trained and those who qualify for a business venture will receive additional coaching. Ventures such as digital and media services, health coaching, farming, canvassing, and auto mechanics, are among the first options made available based on the infrastructure we have and market opportunities.
As you can see missional entrepreneurship includes practical training for our students. It is a model that allows our schools to become self-sustaining and not dependent on government funds. It allows our students to graduate debt-free. It empowers our students to be truly be self-supporting missionaries using different tools to share Christ in the marketplace.
Images were taken from: https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/