Kelowna Unlocks John's Gospel

By Megan E. Richard

For six weeks this summer MB Biblical Seminary and Columbia Bible College joined together with two churches, Willow Park Church and Kelowna Gospel Fellowship, to offer Unlocking the Riches of John’s Gospel, a credit course taught by MB Biblical Seminary professor Raymond Bystrom. This was the first time the two institutions had partnered with churches to offer a course.

“We were excited to have Professor Bystrom teach our first seminary level course,” says Willow Park Church coordinator Nancy Tordiffe. “Registration was twice what was anticipated and the students were impressed with the caliber of teaching provided.”

Bystrom, a Professor of Pastoral Ministries at the Seminary’s Fresno campus, taught six Monday evening sessions from May 22 through June 26. Students, most of whom took the course for personal enrichment, studied selected texts and themes within the Gospel in addition to other assignments outside of class: required readings including Bystrom’s book God Among Us: Studies in the Gospel of John, preparing an adult education lesson or sermon on a section of John’s Gospel, and a final review in the form of a take-home assignment. For those taking the course for credit, there was an additional three-hour seminar on “Preaching and Teaching John’s Gospel.”

“Unlocking the Riches of John’s Gospel was a delightful teaching experience for me,” says Bystrom. “The students were engaged and the Willow Park staff did a terrific job of making all the necessary arrangements.”

Church Based Leadership Training Okanagan, a partnership of Willow Park Church and Kelowna Gospel Fellowship, coordinated the course, which averaged eighteen students per night. Sessions were held at Willow Park Church and credit for the course was offered both through MB Biblical Seminary and Columbia Bible College. Ron Penner, Academic Vice President at Columbia Bible College, was excited at the opportunity to draw the two schools and two churches together to provide Biblical and leadership education.

“It is a great way to make such education accessible for more people and we hope it will be just the first of many more such courses in Kelowna,” says Penner.

Bystrom would like to offer a second course in the Pastoral Letters (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus) and CBLT Okanagan has already received numerous requests for Bystrom to teach again next summer.

MB Biblical Seminary seeks to inspire and equip men and women to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and to serve and lead in the church and the world.

Posted: August 30, 2006