Prior to and since 1948, the church in the Holy Land has experienced a tremendous decline as many Christian families, squeezed by the political, religious, social, and economic realities, have decided to emigrate. The emigration, documented by many religious leaders and statisticians, combined with other factors has adversely affected the viability of the Christian community here. The Bible College is working with other Christian organizations to strengthen and encourage the church's presence in this land. Since its beginning in 1979, the College has grown from a group of 12 students to approximately 130 students who are spread throughout study centers in Bethlehem, Galilee, Ramle, and Jerusalem. The College is accredited by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Higher Education and Middle East Association of Theological Education for a BA program in Biblical Studies and Christian Education. For the past thirty-two years, the college has carried out a mission of training and equipping Christian leaders by providing BA/MA study programs, by engaging its students in weekly chapels, and by facilitating spiritual formation retreats and student practicums. Students are also encouraged to be active in their local churches and reconciliation programs. All of these activities help them develop into mature, responsible leaders. Program offerings have also increased and currently include Biblical and Christian Education, Tour Guidance, Mass Media, and Language Study (English as a Second Language, Hebrew, Arabic, and German). Graduates of Bethlehem Bible College have pursued various careers and have committed themselves to service as pastors, teachers, and laypersons within their communities. Some have continued their education and have received advanced degrees. In addition to our educational streams, our humanitarian arm, the Shepherd Society, provides aid to over 3,000 individuals a year. All of the above programs have been significantly enhanced by the partnership with the General Board of Global Ministries. Graduates of BBC are serving churches, schools, Para church organizations, and government and nongovernmental institutions. Places served include Paidea (youth ministry), Life Agape (CCC evangelical outreach), and Beit Al Liqa (community center). Other places served include Jerusalem School (for Grades 1-12 in Bethlehem), Hebron School for Boys, House of Hope (for blind and physically handicapped), Dar Annadwa School, House of Joy (ministers to mentally and physically challenged), Arbsama (Smile also for mentally and physically challenged), Hope Secondary School, Sira (Swedish International Relief Association), and Beit Yamima (for severely handicapped).
Goals & Objectives
1) The Bible College will train 120-150 students through its various academic programs and extension centers annually. It will provide academic and need-based scholarships for students. 2) Annually, the college will produce 15-20 graduates thoroughly equipped to lead the Church with wisdom, compassion, and integrity and to serve their communities with care and love. 3) The Bible College will employ an average of 40 full and part-time local administrators, faculty, and staff committed to its vision and mission statement. 4) The Bible College will develop its campus to accommodate growth in its programming and enrollment. Needed renovations in one or two buildings are necessary to improve services to students, faculty, and staff. 5) The College will use its facilities to serve the needs of the community. Ongoing services offered include a public library, an Internet Lab, community education classes, children's summer programs, charitable aid, counseling, and special seminars and meetings.
Despite the difficulties we face in the Holy Land, Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) has developed a stable, exemplary institutional structure throughout its history as evidenced in the following examples. 1) A qualified and active board participates in decision-making. 2) A healthy structure for administration of the college. 3) The founder and president of the college is well respected both in the college and in the community; also, the vice president has been named to take charge when the president retires. 4) The college has stability in faculty, with the vast majority local, well-trained men and women committed to the vision and ministry of the college. 5) The college has maintained consistent financial stability throughout the years; it has developed a stable support base through overseas donors who support the vision and mission of the college. Thus, the college has always been able to pay the salaries of its faculty and staff and to expand and develop its campus as needed. 6) The college is accredited for a B.A degree in Biblical Studies, a Diploma in Media, and a Diploma in Tour Guiding by the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education. This gives us a very good reputation in the community. 7) The college has consistent student enrollment. Despite difficulties affecting accessibility to the College from various parts of the Holy Land, the college continues to attract the qualified students. 8) The college is adapting and diversifying to meet the needs of its students and of the greater society.