BVBIU Graduation Class 2012
Anytime a class graduates from a 2-year accelerated program of concentrated Bible study it gives all of us at the Bear Valley Bible Institute reason to praise God. During an exit interview with one of our graduates, I explained that the idea of a 2-year study program originates in the minds of many people with Acts 19:9, 10: “But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.”
Ever since those days when Paul taught in the lower maritime region around Ephesus, the need for concentrated Bible study continues to exist. Around
Graduates (front row) & instructors (back row) of BVBIU.
the world, the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver offers its academic and sound Bible program in partnership with other mission efforts. I have been involved with one such preacher-training effort in Gorlovka, Ukraine since 2008—having made my first visit to its original location in Kramatorsk in 2006. Since that time, I have participated in three graduation exercises—the most recent one on Saturday, May 26th, 2012. Four men and one lady graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies from BVBIU.
From the perspective of having taught a number of classes at BVBIU and having interacted with the students on a personal level, I can attest to the fact that these graduates have worked hard to reach this point in their lives. Unlike the situation in the U.S, there are no ready-made opportunities for the employment of preachers. There are no “preachers-wanted” lists or Bible college professor positions available. While it is
Graduates: Valarey, Denis, Roman, Denis, & Oksana.
not our objective to make “professional preachers”, we do try to instill in our students an approach to their work that is professional in effort rather than sloppy and carefree.
In some ways, the situation in Ukraine is similar to the days of the early restoration movement in the U.S. There were a number of new congregations of disciples with no long history. Most of the Christians were young in the faith having recently left the
2012 BVBIU graduation.
shackles of man-made religion and human tradition. The church was represented by small bodies of believers, not as opportunities for employment. If the church was ever to grow, it would not be an elite group of “clergy” to lead them, but a few hard-working, determined, and dedicated men of faith who believed the gospel of Christ could made a difference in people’s lives. Those are the models we aspire to reproduce in our students because that is very much the situation in Ukraine.
But like many other preacher-training schools, we believe in the importance of offering Bible training to ladies also. We do the Lord’s church in Ukraine (or
Ladies of the 1st-year class of BVBIU.
(anywhere else) a great disservice if we leave the ladies behind in their knowledge of the Bible. While they will not become the preachers and leaders of the church (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9-15), their influence for the effectiveness of the spread of the gospel is demonstrated through ladies and children’s classes as well as personal studies with others (cf. John 4:28, 29; Acts 16:14, 15; 18:24-26).
But to make all of this work, we have to have a lighter side—a sense of humor. While we do believe in taking our work seriously, sometimes we have to avoid taking ourselves too seriously. If you want to survive this life, you’ve got to “lighten-up” a little. A little laughter does the heart good. “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Prov. 17:22). With a heart of gratitude and joy, we pray our richest blessings upon the 2012 BVBIU graduates. Well done! Howell
Albert, Denis, and Vitaly letting their hair down a little!