Friday, January 25, 2013
On its opening night of class, Monday, Jan. 21, the brand new Harrison Faith Bible Institute housed its first 23 students, all eager to study the Bible. The school, located at Lakewood Baptist Church in Harrison, includes three years of training that result in a diploma in Bible at an incredibly low cost to the community.
“It’s very affordable and very practical for anyone who’s considering church ministry [as a career] or just wants to study the Bible,” said Lakewood Baptist pastor Ronnie Gilbert. “Cost can be somewhat prohibitive of many to be able to do that.”
Tuition cost is $126 for the first semester and $86 for all other semesters.
Lakewood Baptist as a whole has been planning and supporting the implementation of this school, a satellite of Faith Bible Institute based out of Monroe, La., since Gilbert was introduced to the idea by a missionary friend stationed in Japan.
“It was something that I wanted to do. In these times in which we live, people are looking for hope and something that is concrete,” said Gilbert. “It will be a service to our local churches, but also a service to families. It will strengthen our families — you can never go wrong by studying the Bible.”
Lakewood member Ferrell Kearney, a missionary with Baptist International Missions Inc. who has a doctorate in religious education, is administrator of the new school. He has a background deeply rooted in mission work, having spent years in Iceland and England. He also founded Baptist Bible College in Great Britain, which is still active today.
“Intellectually, it is a very challenging course,” Kearney said of Harrison Faith Bible Institute. “It will require some study and work for students. I’m going to take the course again and I know I’m going to learn something.”
As a satellite school, the curriculum will be taught through video lectures by FBI founder John Yates of Rowland Road Baptist Church in Monroe, La. The three-year course will take students through the entire Bible as well as every major doctrine.
Gilbert said it’s perfect for anyone, whether they are in high school, part of a home-school group that wants to study the Bible or looking to go into ministry as a career.
“Spiritually, someone taking the course would profit greatly,” said Kearney. “While we have a workbook and a textbook, our main text is the Bible.”
Lakewood Baptist has money set aside to build a separate building on the church’s campus for the school, as it is currently being housed in the fellowship hall.
Plans for the building are ongoing.