The very Bible study that initiated the Independent Baptist Church here in Ouro Preto do Oeste has now been upgraded to the Independent Baptist Bible Institute. It is a ministry of the church. The Lord has truly blessed the attendance, and the first course, Personal Evangelism has already been taught and completed.
Originally the Bible studies were designed as a means to bring Christ to sinners with hopes of eventually giving birth to a church. After the church had been born and continued to grow, we never disbanded the Bible study.
Throughout 2017, I took upon myself the difficult task of teaching through the entire book of Revelation. Interest only increased due to this choice, and we maintained an excellent group of attendees during the entire study. The workload, however, was intense. On numerous occasions I would spend hours and hours in researching, before knowing the exact direction in which I should take the next lecture. Often I would get started in a chapter with a general idea of where I was headed only to see a word in the text that completely through me off course, and needing to study into it, I found myself hours behind.
This grueling exercise brought me to a point of realization. I thought, “If I can successfully get through this prophetic book (which a long trip through Daniel, by the way), having produced adequate and even thorough outlines, then I can probably initiate the Bible institute that I have been long convinced is the natural outgrowth of a thriving church.”
Things fell into place. The people had interest. We already had a time slot set. A Bible institute in São Paulo willingly chose to come alongside us to help. Interestingly enough, as time has gone on, we have been able to secure audio and video recording equipment so that not only are the classes being taught here locally, but they are also online the next day!
We have our first semester mapped out, and intend on initially offering a two-year diploma. As classes are worked through and God permits, we intend on improving the institute and offering more degree levels.
I did not want to damage the structure of the Bible study, since the only requirement for attendance is to show up. (Remember, it was established specifically to reach the lost.) We, therefore, organized a system for non-institute students to audit the lectures. For them, essentially nothing has changed, except for the speed of the material being taught (because each class is limited to one or two month blocks).
Our goal is to equip our church principally with ministry skills sufficient for the work here, and beyond that to be a blessing to Portuguese-speakers around the world. This is a very young work, and depends on the Lord’s blessings: such as good health, interested students, quality teaching and study time to name just a few.
I know that there is a part of me that is a perfectionist—to a fault—because I can work so hard on a sermon or some other part of the ministry that I end up neglecting other equally important things. I have had to let this go in order to get things off the ground. The Lord has been gracious and we are much encouraged by the progress and interest!
Your prayers for this work remain vital. Thank you for all your prayers, and also for your love and support!
I’d love to know what subjects you believe are vital in a church Bible institute. If you are willing to share your recommendations, fill out the form below!