BIEM Nationals have started over 100 churches since 1992.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” I Timonthy 2:2
One of the most important aspects of BIEM’s ministry is training nationals as pastors, missionaries, as well as other areas of Christian service. BIEM schools have proven to be a great investment of missionary resources with long-term results. Following are some current BIEM efforts underway.
The Kiev Theological Seminary was established as a joint effort between the Brotherhood of Independent Baptist Churches of Ukraine and BIEM. The purpose of this seminary is to provide training for pastors, missionaries and Christian workers for churches in Ukraine. This partnership was based on the long time relationship BIEM developed among these national churches and leaders during the Soviet era when BIEM was broadcasting the Gospel in Russian and Ukrainian into the Soviet Union by international short wave radio as well as publishing information in support of Christians imprisoned for the faith. During those times, BIEM personnel were able to establish personal contacts with these underground Baptist leaders and churches by successfully providing Bibles for them.
The seminary operates a modular educational program that consists of 3 two week sessions each year over a 3 year period. Classes were all originally taught by American Pastors and Bible Colleges as well as Seminary professors recruited by BIEM. Currently some of the classes are being taught by Ukrainians as well. Students are able to complete 4 credit hours each session which result in a certificate in Biblical Studies upon completing 36 credit hours of study which normally takes 3 years. The Kiev Theological Seminary is officially registered in Ukraine as an educational arm of the Brotherhood of Independent Baptist churches which is officially recognized by the state.
The Brotherhood examines and approves the students that are recommended by their churches for the program. The seminary matriculates the students and operates the logistics involved which include record keeping, printing syllabi, organizing housing and meals during the school sessions, and communicating with the students, pastors and churches involved. BIEM provides the curriculum and professors for the program therefore the subjects are taught from a Dispensational point of view which takes a clear position on eternal security.
The seminary has 3 divisions, Theology, Christian Ed and Music.
Currently there are 254 graduates who are serving in 70 locations in Ukraine as well as other countries. The map of Ukraine shows all of the areas from which students have come. Students have also enrolled from Russia, Belarus, and Georgia. There is now also a handful of students from the large Iranian refugee population in Ukraine who attend our classes.
This Ukrainian seminary has served as a model for the country in Russia where BIEM has duplicated this modular educational program. In the Moscow area, the Russian partner is a group of independent Baptist churches called The Brotherly Association of Churches which is made up of about 20 churches in the Moscow area. Many of these churches were planted by BIEM. The president of this association is Pavel Rumachik, one of BIEM’s first church planters in Russia and the son of Peter Rumachik who served over 18 years in the Russian prisons and concentration camps for his role as vice president of the large group of unregistered Baptists who were so heavily persecuted for the faith.
Currently, BIEM missionary Charles Hoblitz in starting a new seminary also modeled after the Kiev school in the country of Georgia where BIEM has established a presence with a team of church planters who have been working with BIEM in recent years. These churches have been sending a handful of students to Kiev’s Theological Seminary the last 2 years and would like to duplicate such an educational program for their very new Independent Baptist movement in Georgia. In Georgia there is a small group of Independent Baptist churches and facilities which BIEM has invested in which would house this new school as well as enlist and matriculate students. The congregation pictured above is the largest independent Baptist church in Georgia with a membership of 200 which meets in the large facility pictured which now has been remodeled and has enough room to house the proposed school. An enrollment of 30 to 50 students is projected for this institution. Recently a one week seminar was conducted to test the waters to see what kind of response such a school would generate. There were 55 who attended this week of classes.
These schools operate on a modular system which means that classes are conducted in concentrated sessions which are usually one or two weeks modules usually at various times of the year. This enables students to receive training without leaving their homes or ministries. In addition to these “modular” schools BIEM does have a residential program for training nationals for pastoral ministry, in Belya Tserkov Ukraine.
The Pastors Training Institute of Ukraine
(formerly the International Baptist Bible College)
Our institute exists for the purpose of training men (and their wives and future wives) in order to start new, independent Baptist churches or to pastor existing churches for the honor and glory of God. It is our conviction that we must faithfully and actively seek to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20).
This ministry was begun in 1994 by Pastor Doug Emr, who is now with the Lord. At the outset it was a weekly, one-day school for men interested in ministry. In 1997 the school became a full, 4-year, residential Bible college. Graduates earn a bachelor’s degree in Bible with the single focus of the necessary training to be effective church planters and pastors. We look forward to a time when it would be possible to give training leading to a master’s degree so that we may train the men who will take this ministry into the future. Today the Pastors Training Institute of Ukraine ministers under the direction of BIEM Missionary Bruce Tuttle. Pastor Tuttle was a frequent teacher in 2-week seminars since 1997. In 2005, he and his wife, Natalie, moved to Bila Tserkva. They left behind a healthy and stable local church in Reading, Pennsylvania, which he had planted and pastored for almost 30 years.
We endeavor to attract and to seek students who have an earnest desire to please God and to serve Him, and who are willing to diligently study to show themselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). As God molds these students into humble servants of Christ and they acquire a thorough knowledge of His Word, it is our purpose and program to work alongside them to see new churches planted and effectively pastored. When possible, we also help to secure a building for the new church family. Though a few of our students are already pastoring new church works when they enroll, our primary purpose is church planting. The cycle then begins afresh as these churches disciple men and send them for further training.
Our student body has included students from Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Republic of Crimea and, of course, Ukraine. Classes are normally taught in the Russian language. Some classes are taught throughout the 15-19 week semester, others are taught in one-two week seminars. Some of our courses are taught by Ukrainian believers, some by visiting professors and pastors from America and elsewhere, and others by Pastor Tuttle. Most of our instructors are men who have earned Master’s degrees or higher, and who have experience as church planters and/or pastors.