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How We Started Global U

I’m a starter. In the above pic (’97) Georgia governor Nathan Deal joined me and my daughters to break ground on our new AIM headquarters. I’ve been breaking ground all my life. For the last year I’ve been working on a new startup. My partner, Josh Owen, and I have been working to create the s…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I’m a starter. In the above pic (’97) Georgia governor Nathan Deal joined me and my daughters to break ground on our new AIM headquarters. I’ve been breaking ground all my life.

For the last year I’ve been working on a new startup. My partner, Josh Owen, and I have been working to create the school that we wish we’d been able to attend – the school of our dreams. We’re calling it Global U. We launch Sept. 8 with our inaugural class. 

Growing up, I had a love/hate relationship with school. I was a late bloomer. I felt insecure – at least in grade school you knew the kids in your class. Middle school felt scary. It was filled with hundreds of kids who seemed further ahead than me. They sat us in rows and lectured us.

And for the next decade, that’s what school looked like. Ugh. Maybe like me you still have anxiety dreams about school. Thank God we got out of there alive!

So Josh and I were talking about the schools we attended growing up. His experience was similar to mine: “Lectures were boring,” was his summary. “I just sat in the back and worked on other stuff.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “If the teacher caught you not paying attention, they shamed you.”

We realized we shared a dream: Create a school for 18-23 year-olds where learning would be driven by passion, where class was fun. 

We thought about the current crisis in higher education. Students average debt at graduation is $37,000. 70% of Christian young people lose their faith.

There has to be a better way.

What if we could create a school for dreamers and entrepreneurs? What if we located it in amazing countries like Spain and Thailand overseas? What if every day held new adventures in faith and in learning?

Learning should be fun. What if we had one teacher for every three students and were able to customize each student’s learning experience? And what if students graduated with marketable skills? 

We thought about focusing on three areas:

Teach students how to become entrepreneurs by helping them start their own enterprises.

Train students in computer programming so that, wherever they go, they have a skill that employers are looking for.

Give students the chance to learn servant leadership through local ministry.

It was a great dream.

A year ago we began. We wanted to recruit a combination of students and mentors. We spent the year looking for students that stood out from the crowd. Students driven by their curiosity, strong in faith and a passion to build the kingdom of God. Students with a track record of initiative and achievement.

*     *      *     *     *

After spending a year building the class and recruiting mentors, we’re launching the alpha class in northern Spain. All 26 (19 students* and their seven mentors) will be hiking the Camino de Santiago for two weeks. 

The mentors and coaches are amazing: Josh, Alaina, Jacob, Allina, Lewis, Andrew, Isaiah, Rob and Robin.

The students  look like Nathan, Kareena, TroyerMary and Hailey.

We believe the world will never be the same.

 

*Follow their journey here.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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