Start your own church based Bible school

Gospel of Grace Testimony

by Ptr Anne Lao

Psalm 119:20 “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.”

IBI – Gospel of Grace obtained its charter last January 2013, but it was only this July 2014, a year and a half after, that God allowed us to finally start the engine running. Indeed if it is the Spirit of God that is behind a program – His way, His time – it’s something like a rocket that blasts, shooting right into the skies of God’s amazing purposes.

Our pioneer batch was only a total of 13 students when we started with the first course – the Pentateuch. We were nervous yet very excited because none of us had an idea how God was going to use the IBI program in bringing so much blessing to our lives individually and as a church of a deeper knowledge of the Lord! The most apparent blessing was the outpouring of so much LIGHT and JOY as we were going through the lessons of the Pentateuch one by one. Everyone in the class couldn’t stop sharing about the many deep and wonderful things God was revealing about Himself and His ways and how we were all getting transformed in our hearts by God’s Word. God’s Word had become consuming. We were all saying we wanted to savor every single one of the lessons each week. It’s like eating the finest chocolates and you wanted to savor slowly by slowly every bit of its richness. IBI is such a simple-structured program, and probably it’s precisely because of its simplicity that makes the whole thing so divinely anointed and effective in getting everyone in the church to read, meditate and study his/her Bible.

During our orientation, we explained the policies about the homework, the absences and other rules and regulations. Actually, by God’s grace, we didn’t encounter any problems with the commitment of the students. Except for 3 students who went through some major personal trials and had to absent a few times, the rest of the class had a perfect attendance. Some of our students had errands in Manila, but they would make it to Baguio just in time for the class— homework done! It was always a joy for me to read and check their homework because almost everyone was sharing their whole hearts and their personal convictions from the Lord on matters of worship, God’s holiness, obedience and sins. The two-hour class from 7-9pm every Thursday felt like attending 3 Sunday worship services. God was just revealing Himself to us through His Word, that we all felt the building up and the strengthening of our faith, the deep cleansing in our hearts and minds and the indescribable joy of seeing Jesus Christ through the Old Testament. As the pastor/facilitator, so many of my questions on pastorals were getting answered by God’s Word, blow by blow– questions on counseling, direction of the church, troubleshooting, decision making, discipleship, leadership, etc. In fact, I realized that all this time, the reason there are so many gaps in my grasp of the Gospel is because I lacked foundational teachings from the Old Testament. Ptr Mel was right – our great need is a diligent, systematic study of the Bible, because we only know the Bible in fragments – and how to get the members of our churches discipline themselves in the study of God’s Word, book by book, chapter by chapter, was answered miraculously by the IBI program. There is great benefit both from reading Christian books on various topics from beloved authors, as well as in attending theological schools and seminaries – but for some reason I can’t explain, the IBI-program went right into my great need for spiritual nourishment in knowing the Lord more.

After class, we have another 30 minutes to one hour for fellowship and eating. Other members of the church were wondering why we eat heavy snacks/rice after class. Actually, we are also amazed that after class, we are all very hungry but we are still energized to fellowship, and discuss the lessons. Indeed, we were being filled by the Spirit of God through His Word and “our cup overflows” with the goodness of God! How great our God is!

We are starting with a new batch of students this week and everyone is again nervous and excited… Nervous because they might not be able to comply with the reading requirements and homework and their work/family commitments might interfere with their class attendance. Many are excited because they have seen the “joy” from the first batch of students. But we all quietly say in our hearts (those in the first batch) “Wait until you start IBI and watch how God’s Word powerfully transforms your life.”

All glory to God and God alone.

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]