Partner:Bethlehem Bible College
Describe the need affecting the community.
Bethlehem Bible College serves to encourage the church's continuing presence in both Palestine and Israel by empowering the Christians that have been the forerunners and bastion of the Christian faith for centuries. This is an urgent need due to the rapid decline of the Christian community over several decades from 9% to less than 2%. (In the broader Bethlehem area where the main campus of the College is located, Christians previously were a large majority, but currently they make up less than 50% of the population.) Palestinian Christians continue to leave the Holy Land as a result of the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the physical and economic hardships that it creates.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
Bethlehem Bible College is a flourishing college with over 150 students and a team of highly qualified local faculty and staff, and has come a long way in providing educated Christian leaders able to serve the Palestinian community, as well as Arabic speaking Christians in Israel. As a nondenominational institution, the College can cross the boundaries of denomination, giving us a voice with the whole church. Our graduates, who now serve churches of many denominations throughout the Holy Land, are impacting the church in a tremendous way. The College is the only institution of its kind in the West Bank and Israel that trains Palestinians in the Arabic language for a BA Program in Biblical Studies and Christian Education, an MA Program in Christian Leadership and Ministry, an MA Program in Peace Studies, as well as Diploma Programs in Tour Guiding and Media Studies.
Describe the primary goal of the project.
The vision of Bethlehem Bible College is to train, and prepare Christian servant-leaders for the churches and society. Within an Arab context who model Christ centeredness, Godly humility, Biblical wholeness, creative mercy, and justice in their jobs and ministries as life-long learners. We desire to graduate students who are thoroughly equipped to lead the local church with wisdom, compassion and integrity, and who will serve their communities with care and love, which has led to the development of both academic and service programs based in the College, targeting the needs of the local Bethlehem community. Offering quality theological training in Palestine diminishes the need for the declining population of Christians to travel abroad to pursue higher education, helping to maintain local Christian leadership in church and society. Yearly, between 130 and 200 students study in the programs of Bethlehem Bible College, either at the Bethlehem campus or the extension campuses: Nazareth Evangelical College, in Nazareth, Israel, and the Gaza Study Center. BBC is starting an Online Education program to reach out to the broader Middle East and around the world.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project.
The college measures its effectiveness by: 1) the success of its academic programs. 2) The impact of community outreaches that share the love of Christ. 3) The impact of its graduates in serving God and community. External accrediting agencies examine the college's curriculum, and programs and issue academic accreditation. BBC's BA and MA programs (except Peace Studies, which is a new program) have been accredited by MEATE (Middle East Association of Theological Education), the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education, Asia Theological Association, and is provisionally accredited with the European Evangelical Accrediting Association. The Mass Media and Tour Guide programs are accredited with the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education. Additionally, the college measures its effectiveness by enrollment figures and the quality of its student body. BBC has had an average enrollment of 150 students for the past seven years. Furthermore, the college measures effectiveness through the impact of its graduates. Our alumni department tracks graduates and where they are now serving. In the past 35 years BBC has graduated some 350 students, many of whom have remained in the country to build the church here. Community impact is harder to define or measure, but the reputation of BBC is known throughout the region and all community outreaches are well attended and anticipated. Financially, the college President and Board of Directors hold ultimate responsibility. A financial audit is performed annually by a Certified Public Accountant.
Budget and Financial Information
Annual Advance Financial Goal
Local Financial Support
Books, faculty, staff, outreach
Building and Land Improvements