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EBTC reflects on nine years of graduates

Nine years ago, The European Bible Training Center (EBTC) held its first graduation. Those first graduates represented the fruit of much planning, prayer and preparation as they accepted their diplomas and stepped into the battle for truth on a continent where hearts have grown increasingly cold toward the Lord and His Word.

EBTC staff poses with an early group of graduates in Berlin.

EBTC staff poses with an early group of graduates in Berlin.

Since then, God has demonstrated His mercy and grace by allowing the EBTC to flourish, not only in Germany and not just in its outreach to German speakers, either.

Today, believers in Western Europe can take classes from the training center in Berlin, Rheinland and Zurich. And through EBTC’s partnership with Irpin Biblical Seminary in Ukraine, EBTC is able to offer the same level of teaching to Germany’s growing population of Russian-speaking immigrants. By extension, it is helping equip Bible expositors who in turn serve as pastors and lay leaders in both German and Russian-speaking churches in Germany and Switzerland.

During the 2012-13 academic year, eight men completed their studies at The Preachers’ Institute, 19 students completed studies from the Biblical Counseling program and 85 students completed the Bible Survey year.

“We are constantly aware of God planting the seed and desire for His Word. God is building His Kingdom through individuals all over the world, just as we are witnessing here at the EBTC,” wrote EBTC director, Christian Andresen. “The classes for the coming 2013-14 school year are nearly filled, Praise the Lord!”

This summer, EBTC welcomed Jim Cecy as a guest speaker. Upon finishing his ministry to the men and women there, Cecy wrote the following observation of his experience in Berlin:

Niemals aufgeben – Never give up!
As I ministered this week at the European Bible Training Center in Berlin, I was blessed to see how God has built a tenacity – a true biblical endurance – into the hearts of these teachers and Bible students who live in a continent where atheism and spiritual indifference is the fastest growing religion.

Today I also preached on “The Steadfast Life” to a German-Russian congregation. Although there were young people in the crowd who have certainly tasted of persecution and ridicule for their faith, there were also those precious elderly saints who had lived here in Germany during World War II and felt powerless to stop the widespread atrocities. Others had later fled to a post-war Germany to avoid the persecution in the former Soviet Union. Still others had lived under the oppressive government of East Germany before East and West were reunified.

And now, as followers of Jesus, they all face the scorn and ridicule of a society that believes that evangelicals have “gone off the deep end” in their commitment to the lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture.

I have no doubt that these precious followers of Christ fully understood what I was teaching, not just on “the theology of endurance” but on “the so-what-ology of steadfastness.” The old saying is certainly true here: “Christians are like tea-bags; they do better in hot water!”

No matter what form of trial we face this side of heaven – physical, emotional, spiritual, social, or financial – their timely challenge to us is simple: Niemals aufgeben – Never give up!

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Cecy’s observations reflect the mission of EBTC and TMAI — to transform churches and communities by equipping churches to be beacons of light.

This is accomplished by training pastors to exposit the Word, because that is the biblical model established in the Book of Acts. It is the model that turned the world upside down in the first century.

It is still changing the world today. ◄

Originally published in the October 2013 TMAI Worldview.