Beyond Suffering

Have you ever suffered physically, emotionally or spiritually and wondered why? Do you have family members or friends with disabilities and struggle to know what to say or how to act around them? People with disabilities are considered one of the world's largest under-represented groups. The church is largely unprepared for the burgeoning disabled population. One of the primary goals of the Beyond Suffering Course is to address this issue by preparing leaders in ministry, education, medicine and science to become involved in this life-changing ministry.

For more information about Academic Studies or the Beyond Suffering text/course, please email bys@joniandfriends.org.

Bys Disability Ministry

Certificate Program

Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry is the flagship curriculum of the Christian Institute on Disability at Joni and Friends. The Certificate Program is a groundbreaking course of study created to transform the way Christians view God’s plan for disability and suffering. Available as a certificate program or for transferrable college credit!

Bys Intro Christian Leaders

Introduction for Leaders

Beyond Suffering: An Introduction for Christian Leaders is designed especially for busy pastors and others who seek to lead their congregations into deeper ministry to families affected by disability in their community. Hosted by the Global Access Association, this FREE four lesson introduction to Beyond Suffering will help you get started!

Bys Next Generation

Next Generation

Beyond Suffering for the Next Generation is a new version of the original Beyond Suffering course, adapted for high school students. It is also created to transform the way students view God’s plan for disability and suffering. In this holistic approach to active learning, students will gain new information and reflect on ideas and experiences from real-life situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beyond Suffering Online Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between taking the Beyond Suffering course online and in a traditional classroom setting?

While there are many benefits to taking Beyond Suffering in a traditional classroom setting, including ongoing interaction with the instructor and other students in person, online courses can be just as significant. Online courses are much more widely available, accessible, and flexible. Here are a few further points of comparison:

  • The online and traditional courses both use the same Study Guide.
  • The online course provides video footage of instructors recorded in a classroom setting.
  • Both online and traditional courses require the same assignments.
  • The online course is not offered at the Enrichment level, but only as a Certificate. Transferrable college credit may be available (depending on your location) for an additional fee and extra assignments through the Christian Institute on Disability’s senior partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University.
Who can take the online class?

Anyone who wants a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of disability, the theology of suffering, disability ministry and the church, and the basics of bioethics. The course content assumes that the student is well versed in English and is able to both read and write at a competent level.

  • The online and traditional courses both use the same Study Guide.
  • The online course provides video footage of instructors recorded in a classroom setting.
  • Both online and traditional courses require the same assignments.
  • The online course is not offered at the Enrichment level, but only as a Certificate. Transferrable college credit may be available (depending on your location) for an additional fee and extra assignments through the Christian Institute on Disability’s senior partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University.
What is the difference between the online Beyond Suffering Certificate Program and the online Independent Study Certificate Program?

The lessons and requirements are the same for both the traditional and independent study Certificate Programs. The online Independent Study Certificate Program differs in the following ways:

  1. There is no discussion board for interaction with instructors and other students.
  2. The student can take up to 6 months (maximum) to complete the course, rather than completing the coursework on a weekly basis by the end of a 16-week semester.
  3. The student can essentially work at their own pace, with complete schedule flexibility within that 6 month period.
  4. If the student is unable to take the Beyond Suffering course in a traditional classroom setting, we strongly recommend that the online Certificate Program be taken, as the online Independent Study Certificate Program does not include interaction with other students, thus diminishing the potential scope of learning and encouragement.
Who are the instructors?

All Beyond Suffering courses are taught by qualified and certified Beyond Suffering Leaders, many of whom hold doctorates and teach in Christian universities, colleges, and seminaries.

How much do the Beyond Suffering courses cost?

Online Beyond Suffering Certificate Program (Traditional or Independent): $175.00 + Materials. Online Beyond Suffering Leadership Seminar: $75.00 + Materials.

Course materials can be bought at the online Joni and Friends store or through Amazon: search for the titles “Beyond Suffering Study Guide” or “Beyond Suffering Leader’s Guide.” The iBook edition of the Study Guide incorporates all of the material in the Leader’s Guide, and is available from Apple.

After registering for the course on the Joni and Friend website, you will receive a separate email with instructions on how to enroll in the online Beyond Suffering course, hosted on the Canvas Learning Management System.

Are there scholarships available for the online courses?

There are no scholarships available at this time.

Can I get a refund if I cannot finish the course in which I enrolled?

No. Our non-profit status legally prevents us from making refunds.

Can I get an extension if I cannot finish the course in the time allotted?

Yes. If a student cannot finish the semester-long online course, they can be rolled over into the Independent Study course at no additional charge.

Is there a time every week when everyone needs to be online at the same time?

No. We have students from all over the world, so we only require weekly participation (submitting answers to reflection questions for each lesson and contributing to the discussion board), which students can do according to their own convenience.

Who can take the Beyond Suffering Leadership Seminar?

Anyone interested in teaching Beyond Suffering for certification on behalf of the Christian Institute on Disability is required to become a Beyond Suffering Leader. In order to become a Leader, a student must complete the Beyond Suffering Certificate Program, including all assignments, submit an application to the Academic Studies Department, and then be approved to participate in the Beyond Suffering Leadership Seminar. Upon successful completion of the Seminar, the Leader is eligible to teach a Beyond Suffering course on behalf of the Christian Institute on Disability. More of the many benefits associated with becoming a Beyond Suffering Certified Leader, including opportunities to teach Beyond Suffering domestically and/or internationally with some compensation, are described after completion of the Leadership Seminar.