OKLAHOMA NEWSPAPER “BROKEN ARROW LEDGER” WRITES: RHEMA BIBLE TRAINING CENTER expands to 165 campuses in 45 nations. (link click here)
Lesa Jones Staff Writer
As Rhema Bible Training College celebrates its 40th year, it is growing at such an exponential rate around the world, that it even surprises the dean, Tad Gregurich.
“We are expanding all the time. Probably, by this time next year, we’ll have 10-15 more campuses,” Gregurich said.
Though Rhema only has one campus in the United States, there are165 campuses around the world, in 45 different nations.
Gregurich says the majority of the growth has come world-wide since the year 2000.
“In 2000, we added 13 campuses, and the rest have grown from them,” he said. “We used to say the sun never sets on a Rhema graduate, now we say the sun never sets on a Rhema student being taught.”
Presently, there 12,000 students currently enrolled in classes world-wide. And, at the Broken Arrow campus, more than 700 students are currently receiving ministerial training.
“Our oldest student this year is 85 years old,” Gregurich said. “But, the majority of our students come straight out of high school.”
In 2012, the name Rhema Bible Training Center was changed to Rhema Bible Training College.
“It’s just a name change to us, but it makes us more relevant and describes what we do,” Gregurich said. “In the courses we teach, yes, we are a collegiate setting.”
Over the summer, Transworld Accredating Commission International certified Rhema Bible College as an accredited institution of higher learning.
The dean says accreditation is recognition of Rhema and what is being accomplished there.
“The accreditation was retroactive,” Gregurich said. “Everybody who ever attended here, comes under this accreditation.”
Eventually, Gregurich hopes Rhema’s two-year program will become an associate’s degree.
“We have the three and four year programs and we would be able to offer a bachelor’s degree in ministry, Bible or theology. Now, that’s down the road. We are not there yet, but we have the programs in place,” he said. Currently, Rhema students are able to use the GI bill and Veteran’s Administration benefits to pay for college. Rhema is also able to offer international students M-1 student VISA’s while they attend school. The government views Rhema as a technical training school training men and women in a certain field, which is Christian ministry.
Accreditation also allows Rhema graduates to transfer credit for their classes to Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Southwestern Christian University and others. Southwestern Christian University instructors also teach night classes on the Broken Arrow campus.
Another big change for the school is that the students may begin their school year in either the fall or spring. For 39 years, Rhema students began in September and continued until May before the change.
Nevertheless, with the changes and accreditation, Gregurich says the school, whether at home or abroad has not changed from the original mandate of its founder Kenneth E. Hagin, who created the school to teach God’s people faith.
“We haven’t changed. They haven’t asked us to change our curriculum or our focus,” Gregurich said. “A lot of the things are emerging. When Rhema started 40 years ago, we were kind of a pioneer. Now, in our 40th year, we are adapting as we go.”