A little over a year ago, the team was frustrated by the lack of interest in our Bible School program. Our average weekly attendance was approximately 3-4 students. We looked over what we were doing and confirmed that it was necessary to have a good program. The fact that this new congregation was made up of new, immature Christians told us that if we didn’t have a weekly Bible class, then it would soon catch up to us.
We sat down, and over a series of several meetings, decided that we would like to see a few things happen in our Bible School program. First and foremost, we decided to design it around the purpose it was originally intended to have: a Bible School. When we made this decision, the other pieces fell into place. This would mean that we would enroll the students into the program instead of just having them wander in 20 minutes late every week. Also, we would offer a challenging program composed of 4 years of study and 24 courses. Our goal is to cover most of the books and major themes of the Bible. A third change was to begin giving out student manuals that each member could complete and then take home with them after completing the course. Finally, we would celebrate their completing a whole year of study; in other words, we would have a graduation ceremony.
So, we began promoting the program and teaching the Peruvians the importance of continual Bible study. The teachers began writing their materials and getting the classrooms ready. We launched the new program in July 2012. The average weekly attendance jumped from three to 20 in one week! The Peruvians understood the vision and the importance behind the program, and at the end of this month we will graduate ten first-year students to the second year of the program. The first year courses are:
- Life of Christ
- New Testament Worship
- Biblical Doctrine 1
- History of Israel, Part 1
We hope that their achievement will encourage others to begin the first year of studies soon.