God intends for His saints to be equipped for ministry by receiving biblical training in the local church. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
In 1977, I started teaching Bibliology and How to Study the Bible, along with Christian Doctrine, at the Village Missions church on Camano Island, Washington.
Eventually, these became the first two courses in a two-year, ministry-equipping program at Machias Community Church where I was the pastor. Contenders Bible School has trained and sent out many Village Missionaries over the years.
Another Village Missions church at McKenna, Washington, wanted to start the same equipping ministry. Marilyn and I traveled 90 miles twice a week to start a Contenders there.
We had a group of 22 individuals turn out for Bibliology and How to Study the Bible.
Bill Hopkins was so excited to attend. He had always wanted to go to Bible college but never had the opportunity. Now, after all these years, a Bible college had come to him!
Bill attended the first class session and graduated the next day. The picture on the left is of Bill working on the Bible timeline. He is writing “Bill was here” at his birth year. The next day Bill was in Heaven. This is the last picture ever taken of Bill and isn’t it fitting that he was busy studying God’s Word!
Through donations and estate gifts, Village Missions funded the transformation of Contenders Bible School into the Contenders Discipleship Initiative. Now more churches and people, like Bill, have the opportunity to ‘go to Bible School’ without having to go anywhere. We bring the Bible school to them through online video courses, and they receive Biblical training in the local church.