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By President Randall A. Bach
Editor in Chief

He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them. Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water.
(Genesis 26:18-19, NLT)

In the January/February 2018 issue of the Message I referred to this passage of Scripture as an inspiration behind the establishment of Open Bible schools of ministry. One person described schools of ministry as ministerial trade schools, focusing on specific training and skills development for pastoral leadership. Even after decades of focusing on accredited Christian higher education, the number of Open Bible’s campus-based Bible colleges gradually shrank from five to one, and our remaining campus program, New Hope Christian College, morphed into a Christian liberal arts identity, while not abandoning its pastoral training option.

Small private colleges, primarily funded by tuition and contributions, have suffered and closed across the nation as costs of operation created too great a gap between what students and families could pay and what colleges needed to charge. Many excellent colleges have been forced to shutter their doors. In encouraging and endorsing schools of ministry, Open Bible Churches is doing as Isaac did, returning to wells (models of training) that have been filled in over time but never ceased to be sources of water. With their strong ties to the local church, both Inste Global Bible College and contemporary schools of ministry are very similar in concept to church-sponsored Bible institutes and training schools that flourished nearly one hundred years ago. Those wells are being reopened, and we pray for them to provide “fresh water” in ministry leaders.

Notice what Isaac’s servants did in the Gerar Valley after reopening older wells. They also discovered “a well of fresh water.”

In other words, they did not content themselves with reopening old wells; they also looked for new wells of fresh water.

Neither can we afford to focus only on renewing former models of ministerial training. We must also continually look for new opportunities, additional portals of preparation.

A new and exciting well of fresh training water for Open Bible Churches is the predominantly online Master’s cohort partnership we have established with Wheaton College, sometimes referred to as the “evangelical Harvard” because of its distinguished history and stellar education reputation. While we encourage the development of pastoral trade schools, we are also encouraging pastors and church leaders to pursue a master’s degree in ministry and leadership.

We are not confused in focus. Rather we are both reopening wells and discovering new wells to supply advanced fresh water of education and training. Today we need the breadth of both models of preparation. If you have not read about our new cohort partnership with Wheaton College, please turn to page 12 to learn more about it. The Wheaton College M.A. cohort presents a tremendous door of opportunity for Open Bible people who are at a season of readiness and are qualified to take this exciting step. Could that include you? I invite you to check it out.

About The Author

Randall Bach
President of Open Bible Churches

Randall Bach delights in opportunities to serve the Lord, including his current assignment as president of Open Bible Churches. He and Barbara, his wife, have been in ministry for over 46 years and call it “Our adventure together.” Randall loves the church, pastors, and church leaders and is convinced that God loves to work through them to make disciples, develop leaders, and plant churches.