Would it surprise you to know that World Bible School
has 1.5 million students studying the Bible around the world right now? And that they are exchanging Bible lessons with a volunteer network of 8,000 study helpers from more than 1,000 Churches of Christ?
Every week at my home congregation, I see Christians carrying stacks of lessons that they are returning or taking home to grade. Lloyd Deal, a long-term missionary in Iowa and leader of many short-term efforts in Kenya and Uganda, coordinates our church’s WBS ministry.
The ministry’s familiar postal method, using printed lessons, is still quite relevant and highly effective for the almost two-thirds of the world that cannot access the Internet. Prison ministries here in the U.S. also see great success with it.
World Bible School’s web teaching method is growing steadily as Bible seekers find its free online lessons. The web-based studies are now available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Insight | Bailey McBride
The WBS Internet method allows congregations to have a strong, Bible-based resource readily available for both local and world evangelism. Online lessons can be a helpful resource for mission teams and current missionaries in parts of the world where Internet is available.
Church leaders can equip Christians to be evangelistic using their own laptop, smartphone or iPad — at home or on the go. Through the WBS Connect program, congregations can have their own customized WBS website to enroll and study with students locally and in targeted mission points.
The founder of World Bible School was Jimmie Lovell (1896-1984), a businessman who lived in California. He worked for a chemical company and sold its line of products. Lovell’s highest pursuit, however, had to do with the Gospel. In 1944, during World War II, Lovell provided funds to Gordon Turner at Lawrence Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn., to print Bible correspondence for members in the military.
In time these courses reached C.A.O. Essien, a retired policeman in Nigeria. Essien found teaching that matched what he read in the Bible, and he immediately taught many others. Later, Eldred Echols and Boyd Reese visited and confirmed that Essien and his trainees had brought some 10,000 others to Christ. The reports from Nigeria showed the great potential of correspondence teaching.
From 1973 to the present, some of the strongest men of faith with hearts for missions have followed Lovell into the great work of evangelism through correspondence teaching: Reuel Lemmons (1978-1987), R.H. “Tex” Williams (1987-2006) and John and Beth Reese, the first American missionaries to devote full-time mission work to WBS follow up. John Reese now serves as president of WBS.
Beginning in 1993, John Reese wrote and published World Bible School’s new curriculum, the Master Series. Two years later, WBS became one of the first ministries to use the Internet for recruiting and teaching students. Kit Mullins helped to start the Internet program, and it continues advancing under the technical leadership of Jonathan Towell.
Under John Reese’s leadership, WBS continues its expansion and outreach. Using the website, any person can become a teacher or student.