Bible Training Institute, a teaching and training school for The Church of God, opened Sunday with seventy-four students attending from nineteen states.
The school opened with a service on Sunday evening featuring Dustins Hays as speaker. Music director Deborah Perkins of North Carolina coordinated the music portion of the evening program. Flag and Bible pledges were led by Kryss Barick, and Bishop Oscar Pimentel, General Overseer, welcomed students.
Director Ray Dupre moderated the program and introduced staff members and teachers for the 2017 term. Harvey Anders, State Overseer of The Church of God in Tennessee, is serving as principal of the school, and James Cox, State Overseer of the South Carolina churches, and his wife, Allene, are deans.
Other staff members include teachers Betty Bishop, Connie Wilson, Paul Horton, Michael Jernigan, Bettie Marlowe, Robert F. Strong, Sr., E. Roger Ammons, Robert J. Hawkins, Jr., and Brian O'Dell. Guest speakers for the evening services on Friday (third term in charge), and Saturday (second term in charge) are Ammons, who will speak on "Expedient," and Perkins. Sunday service with first-termers in charge will begin at 6:00 PM. Speaker will be O'Dell. Communion and feet-washing service will be on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. On June 9th, Allene Cox will speak on "A Presumed Presence." The public is welcome to attend all evening services.
The theme for BTI 2017, "Into His Presence," comes from the Scripture, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." (Psalms 24:3, 4 KJV).
The goal for the theme, Dupre said, is to get all Into His Presence! "Needless to say, any real Christian would desire to reach that goal. However, desiring to and attaining and maintaining this goal are very different things." He explained that answering the questions posed in this verse will require a conscientious study of the four obstacles presented against being in the Lord's presence: 1) clean hands; 2) pure heart; 3) lifted up his soul in vanity; and 4) sworn deceitfully.
The Leadership & Pastoral Development class is an optional class, which can be attended after graduation or before attending the three terms. This class is specifically designed for those who are called into a specific ministry – primarily pastoring – but anyone can benefit.
BTI will close with commencement and the Heritage Day program on June 10th with fourteen students graduating from third term. Dustin Hays will deliver the Heritage Day message, "The Old Paths Still Lead Into His Presence."