METC: Year One in the Books!
With the completion of our fall module’s two classes, Middle East Theological College (Grace Bible College’s extension in N. Iraq) has finished Year One of our planned four-year B.Th. program. Eight classes were taught by four different professors over the four modules that began last September. Five were taught in English (by me) with Arabic-speaking interpreters, while three were taught by Arabic Bible scholars from the region. Currently four students are degree-qualifying and are on the path toward a B.Th. Other students who have been taking classes without high school completion are eligible for certificates, but are really doing these classes because, as one said to me in the last class, “I really need to know the Bible!”
This module was particularly encouraging to me and our entire team, because I didn’t have to teach a class! It’s not that I don’t love to teach, but it’s the fact that both classes were taught by gifted and qualified Arabic speakers whose ability to communicate in the student’s language meant much more interaction. Each professor quickly established a rapport with the students that caused them to open their minds and hearts, to ask probing questions, and even urge the professors to keep teaching when the day was done.
The brothers who taught are or have been pastors and teach in various biblical and secular institutions. Ministry leaders we work with in the region helped us connect with them and blessed us greatly with their cooperation. Our classes during this module were “Discipleship in the Local Church” and “Theology 2”—the doctrines of man (anthropology), sin (hamartiology), and salvation (soteriology).
Of special significance was having three of our own Indigenous Ministries team leaders from different locations in Iraq join us. We’ve made the decision to invest in these young men’s training to be future pastors and leaders for the church, and they are responding with enthusiasm.
The vision is to see METC eventually become an indigenous, full-time college with a residential faculty and dedicated facility. We have many challenges ahead, from government permissions to theological accreditation as an independent institution. In a region where churches and ministries are protective of their own and suspicious of outsiders, we continue to gain the trust and cooperation of the local pastors—assuring them our goal is to strengthen students as servants in the church. And our students, refugees or staff (or both), have few resources to pay for their education. Currently, our ability to advertise and attract paying students is limited.
As with all of our initiatives, we must raise the funds to meet METC’s budgeted expenses ($18,000 per year or $1,500 a month for current costs). Without this funding, we cannot continue down this promising path. While not all of you reading this are called to support theological education, there are some of you who are and see the vital role METC could play. If you are one of those, would you consider taking on METC’s support? You can do so by clicking HERE and donating to the fund, Middle East Theological College.