The Biblical Seminary of Colombia (BSC – full name is Fundacion Universitaria Seminario Biblico de Colombia) was founded in 1944 under the guidance of the Oriental Missions Society (now the One Mission Society) and the United Methodists, with Dr. Benjamin Pearson as its first President. The property where the seminary still operates was purchased by a donation of Lettie Cowman, from her royalties of the popular devotional guide, Streams in the Desert.
God`s provision has been constant through the 73 year history under the leadership of God fearing, Bible believing men and women. Dr. Amira Valdez was the first woman to be called to the presidency, after the illness of Dr. Theo Donner. Elizabeth Sendek has been President for the past eight years and in a recent Board meeting was elected to continue for another four year term.
While the financial situation has always been a challenge, God has shown His love and care for BSC. In 2000 the Seminary was approved by the Colombian Department of Education as a registered university for giving theology degrees. Our graduates can now continue in other institutions for their Masters or Doctoral degrees. They can also serve in the Colombian education system as teachers of Ethics or Bible, or be chaplains in the armed forces or prisons.
The BSC, guided by God and His Word, is upholding the vision of preparing Christian pastors and leaders for Colombia, Latin America and the world. Our mission is to prepare professonal men and women who are highly trained to exercise leadershp for service to the evangelical church and the community. Being a University Foundation within the Colombian educational system, we know we must strive to maintain our faithfulness to the Word of God and the call that He has made to each one of us to base our education on Biblical teaching and practice. We insist on Christian formation that focuses on the devotional life of each student. Our desire is that each student live a Christian cosmovision or worldview in all of their daily activities.
Our fully acredited academic programs are not only accessible to the 72 full-time and 21 part-time students at the Medellin site, but also to students online (22 full-time and 28 part-time). Our one year post graduate program for Christian professions, called Ethics and a Christian World View, has 17 enrolled.
Our non-degree extension program is growing, with 248 in our Saturday Bible Institute and 39 more in two mid-week evenings. There are 1,975 people taking a variety of extention courses, which run four to six weekends – courses like: Attention to Children and at Risk Youth, Youth Pastorate, Bible Exposition, Pastoral Pychology and Ministry to Women (to name a few).
We are grateful that 90% of our graduates are serving the Lord, either directly as pastors or church leaders (counselors and evangelists), denominational leaders, teachers in the Colombian school system, in prison ministries or in other NGOs with services to street people or neglected children, hospital ministry, missionaries or church planters.
Because Colombia is in a peace process, after more than 50 years of civil war, we are looking for ways to serve the church as it faces these new challenges. We are seeking ways to teach in areas where guerilla forces, who have laid down their arms, are now tryng to readjust to civilian life. We are now involved in a three-year research project funded by the Templeton Foundation, to study displaced people and how the church can serve them. The project is titled “Integral Missiology and the Human Flourishing of Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia,” and various teams are focused on integral missiology, pedagogy, economics, sociology, psycholgoy and the interaction with the public sector. After a year of reseach to discover who these people are, the emphasis now is on writing material for courses that will be used by the churches in ministering to the displaced people in Colombia.
Donald E. Sendek
Biblical Seminary of Colombia