Irpin Biblical Seminary (Ukraine)
One of the main tasks of Irpin Biblical Seminary is to train workers for the Lord’s harvest
The Ukrainian Evangelical Christian-Baptists brotherhood dates back over 150 years. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord were accompanied by constant persecution and trials. The leadership of our brotherhood used even short periods of freedom to provide training by biblical, musical courses and seminars.
At the roots of Irpin Biblical Seminary stood two wonderful servants— Jakov K. Duhonchenko and Alexey G. Brynza. Looking back to 1990, we see that Duhonchenko and Brynza laid the right foundation. They received the blessing of the entire Baptist Union of Ukraine, and with God’s help they identified the best strategic partners. Brothers Jakov and Alexey traveled to the USA and visited Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, and the Master’s Seminary. There they were observed closely different curricula and forms of training. Duhonchenko contacted Slavic Gospel Association, which later agreed to help establish and develop the seminary in Ukraine.
Before he was appointed rector of IBS, Alexey Brynza had been a believer for over 40 years, and a pastor in Zaporozhye for 21 years, including 15 years of service as the senior pastor in the Zaporozhye region. Brynza’s ministry as rector of IBS was not limited to his theology lectures. He knew every student and graduate by name, remembered important moments and experiences of their lives, and he prayed for them. He was involved in the lives of their students and graduates: he visited their churches, preached for them, ordained them, performed their weddings, and prayed for their children. For his faithfulness in pastoral ministry, preaching the Word of God, and the training of ministers of the gospel, Alexey received an honorary Doctorate of Ministry from The Master’s Seminary in 2004. Alexey’s life and ministry taught students to preach the pure Word of God in every sphere of life and display the Lord: by personal integrity, in the home, in church, in the community. He showed them to not use their God-given freedom lightly, not to make worship a theatrical presentation, not to entertain audiences, and to not lower the standard of holiness and spiritual training.
December, 1990––The Ukrainian Baptist Union decides to set up a workshop in the city of Irpin near Kiev. At the time Duhonchenko, as the chairperson of the Ukrainian Baptist Union, appoints Brynza rector of the seminary. The approved name originally is Kiev Theological Seminary.
February 1991––The seminary officially opened. The first students begin to apply to study in the pastoral department. The pastoral council of the Baptist Union approved these teachers at the seminary: Alexey Brinza (dogmatic theology), Jakov Duhonchenko (exegesis), V. F. Goncharov (ethical theology), V. Matfeyev (homiletics), D. Tkachuk (hermeneutics).
December 1992––In order to meet the urgent need in local churches for biblical education and Sunday school teachers, the seminary opened the department of Christian education. Because so many churches lacked worship leaders trained in music and the Bible, the seminary opened a music department to provided coursework in choral singing and spiritual music.
September 1993––The Pastoral Department opens a full-time “Bachelor of Pastoral Ministry” study program. The program is designed to give a thorough biblical-theological education for ministers committed to local churches, and to prepare teachers for Bible colleges and regional training centers.
December 1996––Under the decision of the ECB Board in Ukraine, the seminary appoints pastor Igor Yaremchuk as vice-rector of the seminary.
December 1997––The Ukrainian Baptist Union decided to rename the seminary Irpin Biblical Seminary (IBS). First, this will avoid confusion. Second, this name reflects that fact that the courses ware not purely academic but for the practical training of ministry in local churches and training centers. Irpin Biblical Seminary was then registered by the government of Ukraine, under committee for Religious Affairs under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
September 1999––With the support of the Master’s Seminary (Sun Valley, CA) IBS was able to begin a “Masters of Pastoral Ministry” (M.Div.). This degree provides an in-depth study of systematic theology, methods of biblical interpretation, methods of pastoral counseling and discipleship. It emphasizes intense study of the original languages of the Bible and theological English.
Winter 2001––IBS began Biblical education for the deaf. This new department developed common deaf signs for Christian Biblical vocabulary and also training videos for deaf signing.
June 2001––IBS celebrated its10 year anniversary. The celebration included a graduation and a conference for the students and their spouses.
September 2001––The music faculty separated from IBS and started its own institution, the Christian Academy of Music.
April 2002––IBS was able to purchase a new building for the seminary. It is located on Lomonosova street. 17-A
September 2006––Grand opening of the newly reconstructed building of IBS. Celebrated 15th anniversary of the seminary. Restarted the music department. Resumed the training programs for Christian interpreters.
September 2007––IBS began the undergraduate program for the Department of Christian Education. It was designed to provide methodical Bible study programs for churches, and to train teachers of Christian ethics for national public schools.
June 2008––The board of trustees appointed Igor Yaremchuk as the new rector because of the Alexey Brinza’s poor health. Alexey stayed as a pastor at the seminary.
October 2008––Alexey Gavrilovich Brinza, beloved pastor, teacher and a faithful servant of the Lord, passed from this world to eternity.
October 2008 ––“Master of Theology” (Th.M) program began in connection with the European Bible Training Center in Berlin (EBTC).
October 2011––Celebrated the 20th anniversary of the seminary with a conference with Pastor John MacArthur.
Educational Philosophy and Fruitfulness
Irpin Bible Seminary develops its educational process to meet the current needs of the local church, to provide a theological education, to seek Christian maturity, and to develop and improve skills needed for Christian service.
The seminary provides conditions that allow students to receive a quality, fundamentally spiritual education based on biblical doctrine, in the spirit and traditions of the Evangelical Baptist brotherhood that have accumulated over the years which has developed into a wonderful ministry.
Over the years there has been much fruit at IBS. One of the reasons for God’s blessings is the prayerfully selection of the seminary staff. All of the staff of IBS are selected on the basis of their spiritual maturity in Christ. Staff must be dedicated to the Lord and have high personal moral qualities.
The staff strives to maintain good and friendly relationship with the students. Over the years there has not been sins or divisions committed by employees or students that would cause the loss of God’s blessing.
Throughout the years the seminary tries to keep in touch with the local churches where the students serve. The testimonies of the students have given a good reputation to the seminary all over Ukraine, and this in turn encourages a consistent amount of applicants. Our constant desire is and will always be to please God in all things and to serve one another.
Irpen Biblical Seminary is located in Irpin, a resort area in the suburbs of Kiev. The building has a total area of about 2000 square meters. The address is Geroyev 22/3. The building has 2 parts; an academic part and a residential dormitory for visiting students. The building also has an auditorium, administration offices, computer room, a medical office, audio studio and for video recording, a library with a reading room and a storage for books, conference room and a dining hall that seats 100 people.
The dormitory is on 2 floors and can house a total of 100 people. The first floor has eight rooms for sisters. The second floor has 12 rooms for the brothers. All students housed in the dormitory must follow the rules of IBS that are discussed during the first session of classes.
The staff of IBS tries to provide the best conditions for the students while they are studying, living, eating and rests between their classes. On the campus there are sports fields for physical activity during their sessions.
A word from our President
Dear friends, brothers and sisters,
Our Lord Jesus Christ once said to His disciples, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35), and “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field” (Matt. 9:37-38). In other words, if we open our eyes and look around, we will definitely see what is plentiful and what is scarce. The fields are ripe for harvest. And if they were ripe 2000 years ago, today they are 2000 times as ripe.
As for the workers – practical, spiritual, dedicated, and trained – they are still scarce. And, unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer of them. One of the main tasks of Irpin Biblical Seminary is to train “workers” for the Lord’s harvest, and not just “activists,” whom, unfortunately, we have in abundance. Christ said, “Go and make disciples of all the nations…”. To teach them, we need to be taught ourselves. Just as “one blind man cannot lead another one,” one untaught man cannot teach another one. In order to fulfill the great commission we need to make quality bible training a high priority.
The state flag of Ukraine consists of two stripes: blue, symbolizing the sky, and yellow, symbolizing fields. Likewise, our task is to help transfer people, with God’s power, from the yellow stripe to the blue one – for them to become citizens of heaven, to taste how good the Lord is, and become children of God.
Our fathers and grandfathers could only pray and dream of the opportunities that we have today. But we don’t know how long it will last. This is why, while the door of freedom is still open for Christians in our country, while it is “the acceptable time,” I invite you to support Irpin Biblical Seminary.
May God empower us whether we go, send, or support.
Dr. Igor Yaremchuk, President, Irpin Biblical Seminary.