Distance Learning Programme (DLP) of Southern Asia Bible College was formally declared open after the inaugural function by Rev. Moses Murry, general superintendent, Assemblies of God of East India (AGEI) at AGEI office here Friday.
Earlier, exhorting the gathering at the inaugural function, Editor Nagaland Post, Geoffrey Yaden said distance learning programme was a laudable project which could help generate widespread awareness among the lay workers and believers in having an intimacy with God.
“Today quite disappointingly the faith we ought to have is not reflected in our social life. We need more people, not necessarily from Bible colleges, but any believer ready to impact society as the salt and the light of the world through learning of the Bible.” He said the process of learning the bible, teaching or preaching can have greater impact through living by example so that believers can be role models. He also lauded the distance learning project and hoped it would go a long way towards preparing the ground for enlightenment among a wide section of people. Geoffrey Yaden said one of the greatest need in Nagaland was reformation of society which should begin with the individual transformation through the word of God. He said every effort was needed to encourage believers become strong in their faith and expressed the hope that such persons would occupy all top positions in society at all levels and be witnesses for their faith.
Southern Asia Bible College DLP coordinator Shaiju Thomas, while introducing the distance learning programme said the programme was based on charismatic and evangelical minister oriented programme. It not only focused on academic learning but spiritual learning under the supervision of a mentor who in turn, would be responsible to the students. He gave a broad explanation about the objective of the programme, which was mainly to provide opportunities to many who were not able to take up full courses under the SABC in Bangalore.
He said for those unable to pursue residential studies in the field of theology, the institute offered programme to prepare them to serve the Lord along with their present professions and with it, Dimapur became the first district in North East region to open a Distance Learning Programme (DLP) in association with the Southern Asia Bible College, Bangalore.
Alumnus of SABC Pastor Vilodi Sakhrie of Town Baptist Church Dimapur shared about his experiences in the college at Bangalore and how it proved tremendously beneficial in terms of academics and spirituality. He said at SABC all students and faculties lived like one big family where the needs and even problems were looked after.
The programme was chaired by Rev. M. Dhar, Mentor DLP Dimapur with the invocation pronounced by Rev N. Tzudir, pastor DABA. Special song was presented by male voice, Lotha A.G Church and benediction was pronounced by Rev. Andrew Semp, Pastor Rengma Baptist Church, Dimapur.
Established in the year 1951, Southern Asia Bible College is a theological training institution of the Assemblies of God in Southern Asia. The distance learning department of SABC offers bachelor of theology and master of divinity programs through distance learning. Launching of internet based learning programmes are in the offing. So far, nine youth serving in various churches have enrolled to study through DLP.
Later after the function, Rev. Moses talking to this Reporter said there were many people serving in Churches, working in government services, business and other profession who want to do part time ministry in their own profession. However he said “unless they have knowledge on the word of God they cannot minister”. Though some have the desire to minister the word of God they cannot go to a theological college, therefore “this programme is the opening door” for anyone including businessmen, government servants and people pursuing other professions, to learn word of God from their home itself, Rev. Moses said.
Besides the students, the inaugural programme was attended by alumni of Southern Asia Bible College of Dimapur, Manipur, Shillong, Mizoram and Assam.