Arek O'Connell

High School Youth Pastor
Christian Ministries, B.A. '11
To have the expectation that everything you do will one way or another be rooted in Christ deeply impacts you as a Christian.

How did your program at Biola prepare you for your career?

The internship experience in particular gave me the experience needed to thrive in my job when I entered ministry. Classes can only teach you so much, whereas the internship truly prepared me for the reality of the things I learned about in class.

What did you appreciate most about your time at Biola?

I appreciated being in a diverse Christian community. The university not being run by a particular denomination gave the freedom to truly explore belief that led to a vibrant relationship with Christ. Also, having Christian professors who deeply care for you was life-giving.

How did Biola equip you to be a more faithful follower of Jesus Christ?

Through accountability on a daily basis. You can't escape faith formation activities even if you try. While some may find this intrusive or controlling, I think it's necessary and formative. To have the expectation that everything you do (whether it is classwork, intramurals, meals with one another, living in the dorms, etc.) will one way or another be rooted in Christ deeply impacts you as a Christian.

What advice would you give to students considering your degree program?

This program was unique in that it offers the necessary hands on-immersive experience to prepare you for real life ministry while also offering world-class instruction. As I was searching for a college, I found that most programs offered only one of the two options I listed. Biola was one of the only, if not the only college that offered both.