We believe that God has specifically called us to plant this mission in Zanesville.
First and foremost, we want to be obedient to the Lord. We believe that God knows more than we do.
We are not God’s total plan. We are a small piece of what He is doing. We’re excited to see how those pieces will come together and we trust Him to make them fit.
We will recruit our students nationally, and the majority of our students will have to move for this program. In many regards, one place is as good as another, but we think God knew what He was doing when He chose Zanesville, Ohio.
Coincidentally, Zanesville is the birth place of one of America’s most prolific and successful authors.
Pearl Zane Grey was born in Zanesville, Ohio in 1872. The city was named after his maternal grandfather, founder Ebenezer Zane, in 1801.
Zane Grey traveled throughout the American west in the early 20th century and developed many of the story prototypes we’re so familiar with today. He’s one of America’s most commercially successful authors, with his work still replicated and produced today in print and film.
We’re excited to see how this school will change Zanesville, Ohio. Through the 1950s, Zanesville was a booming city with industry. However, the ceramics industry and the coal mining industry have left or changed, and Appalachian poverty remains in their wake.
This poverty presents an opportunity for ministry. This is a city full of people in need of practical help and spiritual support.
It is a small city with real city problems. Homelessness, substance abuse, urban poverty, teenage pregnancy, and food deserts are just a few of the problems that our students will encounter and minister to.
We’re excited to see how our students change Zanesville. Our program is all learning by doing—our students will be out in the community as part of their spiritual development and ministry training. At full capacity, we’ll have 24 full-time students doing ministry. In a city this size, that’s an army!
Zanesville has a population of approximately 30,000, however, it supports a rural population of greater than 250,000. For farming communities in the surrounding counties, Zanesville is the place to go to shop, for a hospital or doctor, or to go out for an evening. For this reason, Zanesville is geographically small, but has many city amenities, like a shopping mall, movie theater, restaurants, banking, and more.
Zanesville is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. It is a truly beautiful area. Because Zanesville is a small city, nature and seclusion are only minutes from downtown. This provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to experience both an urban work environment and the inspiration of God’s creation.
While Zanesville is immediately surrounded by natural lands, it is within driving distance of many major cities. Columbus, Ohio is less than an hour away, as is Wheeling, West Virginia. Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh are within three hours, with Indianapolis, Louisville, and Detroit only slightly further.
Zanesville is roughly equidistant between New York City and Chicago, both within an easy day’s drive.
Students have access to all of these major metropolitan areas, without the expense of living in any of them.
Zanesville has a very low cost of living. For unmarried students open to sharing housing with other students, we estimate that they should be able to live on less than $1,000 per month.
This low cost of living also translates to a low development cost, which means a lower tuition for our students. As an organization, we can purchase property and hire employees at very competitive prices. This, in turn, lowers our fundraising burden and reduces the cost of our student tuition.
We live in a global media economy. You don’t need to live in New York, LA, or Chicago to sell your work any longer. Words and content coming out of Zanesville, Ohio are just as valuable as words and content coming from a major city, and thanks to the low cost of living, they can be produced at a fraction of the cost!
Our students are going to grow so much in Zanesville. And in return, Zanesville is going to be impacted with the gospel in a new and powerful way.
All of these reasons aside, we believe Zanesville is the right place because it’s where God has led us.
Maybe a better question is, why not Zanesville?
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