The visit of Thomas Oduro, principal of Good News Theological College and Seminary, to the Benin Bible Institute these past few days was a positive experience for both parties. Both BBI and Good News see themselves as the continuation of the work of Mennonite Missionaries Edwin and Irene Weaver who started working with African Initiated Churches (AICs) in West Africa almost 50 years ago. Today they are looking for creative ways to continue that ministry of leadership training with AICs.
Dr. Oduro addressing the BBI students.
The conversation these past few days highlighted a number of challenges that both institutions have in common:
- Few students are able to take the time to study full-time and many don’t have the resources to do so.
- The AICs that the schools serve have limited financial resources and often can’t fully support the students they send, let alone give significant support to the schools themselves.
- The senior leadership of some AICs don’t value theological training and hence don’t encourage their developing leaders to seek training.
- The possibility that BBI teachers could contribute articles in the journal that Good News publishes.
- Good News teachers could spend time at BBI to increase their French language capacity and vice versa BBI teachers could work on their English at Good News.
- There can be ongoing conversation about how to reduce financial dependence on overseas supporters.
Thomas returned a day early to Ghana because of an unexpected announcement that the accreditation committee of the Ghanaian Ministry of Education would be visiting Good News today, 16 January 2008. Good News is in the process of becoming accredited to offer a Bachelor of Theology degree. It’s a long and complicated process. Pray that all the hurdles will be overcome and that by next fall they will be able to offer the BTh degree.