I am officially a college professor.
Over the last couple years, we reorganized our Bible Institute to empower our satellite branches, simplify our structure, and make it cheaper to run. It was a step in shifting toward a model that will be sustainable long term. It also opened the door to almost double the number of students we have across 7 branches.
On the downside, our original location lost a lot of students. Part of the process of cutting expenses was having all of our students move to the closest location. These are students who joined before they had a satellite college.
Mt. Kenya Baptist Church as the first church has spent the last 30+ years supporting all the efforts of our other churches. Now we have many churches with experienced, trained, and qualified leaders. Shifting authority and responsibility to these other churches was a necessary step, but a difficult one. It left a huge void, but also opened a great opportunity.
Mt. Kenya Baptist was free for the first time in a long time to focus on ministry and church planting, instead of using all of its resources supporting the efforts of others. I am happy that the church leadership seized the opportunity to do something new.
All the other Bible Colleges come together 3 times a year during the school holidays. The do a concentrated week of review, discussion, and testing. The leadership at Mt. Kenya decided to start a Tuesday night Bible college, because we have 3 churches close together with mature congregations.
I spent 10 weeks with 19 students going through a course on the general epistles—James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 2 & 3 John, and Jude. It has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Each week, my students went through the book, and then we came together for a 2 hour lesson to discuss and review the material. The book is really thorough, so I get to spend most of the time filling in gaps and discussing deeper applications.
I am so impressed with my students. Most of them are lay leaders and may never pastor their own church, but they are so hungry to grow in the Word. They ask incredibly deep questions, and then come together to find the answers.
One of my favorite lessons was towards the end of the course. We actually didn’t cover any of the lesson plan. The whole conversation was used talking about how we could make our churches stronger. They were hungry to get more involved and work serving Jesus.
It made me realize that many of the things they were asking for had been tried in the past. The problem was that before, when asking for people to serve in the ministry, it was hard to get a committed response. Now that people have learned the Bible deeper, they are the ones asking to have the opportunity to serve!
In fact, the other morning at church, we had two visiting families. One of my students took it upon himself to greet them after church and introduce them to me and our lead pastor. One of the men just moved to town and was with his 2 kids. He was so excited to be visiting, and that someone reached out to him.
I am fully convinced that if we teach the Bible in our churches with depth, we will see a drastic change in how our members live their lives. Sometimes we are frustrated with peoples lack of commitment, but they have never been taught better. And I would be lying to say that I also haven’t learned a ton and really grown in my faith through this experience.