Greek Bible Institute Trains Evangelists

by Maria Moliotis

Working to train and vitalize Christ's body in Greece and surrounding nations is the Greek Bible Institute-the only full-time Protestant Bible School functioning in Greece today. While the institute itself will occupy a host and support role in the major evangelism effort during this summer's Olympic Games, to be held in Athens, many of its students and alumni will be deeply involved .

Robert Hill, one of the founders of the institute and currently director of extension ministries, reports that "many of the outreach ministries this summer are being organized or led by alumni of the Greek Bible Institute." For example, the Crown of Life activities of the Greek Evangelical Churches in the Athens area, are being spearheaded by alumni Giotis Kantartzis, George Adam, and Argyris Petrou.  All three now pastor Evangelical churches. "Their outreach ministries have not been limited to the Olympics; their projects with mass distribution of gospel literature to people leaving for vacation on the ferries has been a real dynamic model of a small group doing a great work," Hill said.

Speaking of the CosmoVision Center-a major AMG project in Athens being shepherded by brothers Fotis and George Romeos-Hill noted that both the brothers are graduates of the institute. "They are building a center for evangelism and outreach, particularly with extreme sports, and continue to work with the Greek Bible Institute," he said. Fotis, in fact, is on the institute's board of directors.

"Child Evangelism Fellowship's leaders in Greece are also alumni of the institute, as are the leaders of Campus Crusade's Athletes In Action program.  Both of these agencies are planning very aggressive ministries surrounding the Olympics, though they have already been operating the KidsGames and sports clinics within the past year, drawing on help from Greek Bible Institute teachers.

Hill concluded: "The Institute has played a very instrumental role in preparing recruiting materials for volunteer teams, and has mobilized teams that will be active this summer. They have also provided materials for orientation of teams, and are helping various groups in their planning for outreach.  For over a year they have mobilized prayer in an increasing circle of spiritual support for the summer's outreach ministries." 

Founded in 1972

A ministry of Greater Europe Mission, the interdenominational institute was founded in Athens in 1972 to help to fulfill Christ's order to His eleven disciples, "Go and make disciples of all nationsteaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:18-20). The term "evangelical," Hill explained, refers to conservative Protestants who basically rely on the Bible for all their authoritative teaching.  "The Bible itself takes priority over any human tradition or teaching," he emphasized.

The school has a reputation for attracting excellent faculty committed to the mission of educating students with biblical instruction and discipleship, so that they can effectively serve within the church and spread the gospel to the world. It participates in the worldwide effort for evangelism and spiritual awareness and encourages its students to pray, give, and participate in good works.

Since 1995 the institute has its permanent facilities in a beautiful site in Pikermi, a small town about 21 kilometers northeast of Athens. The academic building consists of offices, classrooms, computer lab, library, and a restaurant facility. The dormitory can accommodate 40 students.

Robert Hill, who was born in China to missionary parents and raised in Japan and Brazil, has served in Greece since 1970.

The Bible school recruits Christian students through youth conferences of various evangelical churches and by visiting other churches.  The majority of the students are between 18 and 25. Though they come from as far away as  Russia, Albania, the Middle East, Cyprus, Zaire, and even beyond, they must be well-versed in Greek, since the classes are taught in the modern Greek language.

Hill said the institute hopes to double the current enrollment of approximately twenty full-time students. The school is also in the process of formulating different minors and adding a variety of other training courses including counseling, biblical studies, missions, and youth work. But the overall goal remains not only to provide students with theoretical biblical knowledge but also with the know-how to apply this knowledge daily and spread the gospel to the world

The Evangelical Church subsidizes the basic costs, but resident students are expected to contribute about 50 percent of the fees.

There are seven full time theologically trained teachers and counselors; another 15 to 20 visiting pastors, mostly from local evangelical churches, serve as supplementary teachers.  Some of the teachers' wives offer volunteer services in teaching, library work, and many other functions.        

 The Greek Bible Institute can be contacted at Vlepyrou 10-12  P.O.Box 78 19009 Pikermi Attikis, Tel. (010) 6038-944 or 6038-802

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