Starting a Local Bible Institute?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by John Ellwood Taylor, May 22, 2006.

  1. John Ellwood Taylor

    John Ellwood Taylor
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    Has anybody started/participated in a local Bible institute? If so, I am interested in hearing your experiences. Anything you can think of: form formation, class structure, challenges, success.

    I have been asked to help get a local inistute off the ground, any input would be helpful from anybody that has experience.

    To start: The school already has a charter and facilities (existed when the Christian school was started), we have agreed upon a doctrinal statement, we will offer a 'rolling start' (i.e. don't have a complete certificate/diploma program defined) but have agreed on core courses to offer ( Hermeneutics/Bible Study; OT Survey, NT Suvey, Church history survey; Systematic Theology survey).

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    John,

    One thing that has to be considered seriously on the "git go" is this: Is there a real need? Or, is it opened just as a reaction to some other thing? Or, is it just a perceptual need?

    I would love to hear your response)s? I in no way am being critical.

    Waiting for your response.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  3. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    John,

    One other after thought.

    Many is the time when these "individual based" programs or "church based" programs look like their Founder or Principle leader.

    There is a strong desire to produce mini-popes or IBF leaders in the mold of whom they are.

    These things can swing out of control very quickly. So, IMHO, motivation is one of the major issues that must be handled in the very beginning.

    Let us not forget: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Even the best men with the best intentions sometimes do no really know why they are doing what they do.

    This in no way is a reflection on you or yours.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  4. Martin

    Martin
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    I have never started a Bible Institute or anything like that. However I do have several concerns in this area. I see many of these programs and they are, to be nice, substandard. Their theology is sloppy, the academics are weak, and the faculty grossly under-qualified. So my suggestion to you, and anyone considering such a program, is very simple: Make sure you have several things in place:

    1. Solid faculty. Sure you probably will be 100% dependent upon volunteers (pastors,?) for a while. However make sure that these people are Bible "scholars". Whether they have a BA, MA, or PhD, make sure that they know the subject(s) they are teaching.

    2. Use solid textbooks. Cheap is not always better. While we should be sensitive to people not wanting, or being able, to spend $65.00 on a book for a course (and there is no need to really) price should not be the number one concern. However today there are plenty of good textbooks that are low cost.

    3. Make sure the classes are challenging. You don't want a degree-mill or a substandard institution.

    4. Make sure it is God's will. Don't just open a school, make sure it is God's will for you to open the school. Is there a need in your area? If so, how can you best fulfill that need? Maybe a Bible Institute is the way to go, maybe a simple Bible study is the way to go, I don't know. Make sure you, and your partners in this, have prayed this through.

    5. If possible, and I know this may go against some "Baptist" leanings, make sure the Institute is under the supervision of a church (or several churches). That way there is some level of accountability and supervision.

    Just my two cents...

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hi, John.

    I taught a good chunk of the curriculum in a Bible institute in Tokyo for 8 years, and after coming up to Hokkaido I set up the curriculum for ours. So maybe I can help you.

    First of all, as Rhetorician has pointed out, I hope you are not reinventing the wheel. If there is a good school nearby, perhaps you can cooperate in it. But of course that is entirely the decision of you and your church.

    Secondly, what is your constituency? Are you hoping to give advanced Bible study to the folk in the pews of your church? Or do you want to train preachers? The answer to this question will make a big difference in your curriculum.

    Thirdly, what are your goals for the future? Do you intend for the Bible institute to always be a Bible institute, or is there a dream of turning it into a Bible college or a seminary? This also will make a difference in your curriculm. For example, if you plan to stay a Bible institute, I would tool back the systematic theology survey class and make it a basic doctrines class. To me, the sys. theo. class only makes sense if you are aiming at a seminary someday.

    Gotta go to the church--it is morning here in Japan. God bless! [​IMG]
     

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