Bethlehem Bible College began with nine students and all but one of the teachers were international. Today, President Rev. Jack Sara, with the help of our Board of Directors, heads a team of highly qualified faculty and staff from the local community. Every year we serve roughly 125 students and over the years have graduated over 360 alumni who now serve the local Palestinian community. We are blessed to have many different church traditions—Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant—represented in the student body.
The political unrest of the area and the pressure of being a Christian minority make studying in a Christian college in Bethlehem quite challenging. That is why as a Christian institution committed to academic excellence and Christian formation, BBC seeks to offer support at every level of the student’s educational journey. We provide the students with activities that support every stage of their undergraduate journey.
These five stages are what the College calls ‘The BBC journey’. They form the foundation upon which the student activities are organized annually.
In the recruitment stage activities are held to ensure that prospective students in the West Bank know about BBC, are encouraged to apply and are confident that it is worth studying at the College.
As a Bible-centered institution, BBC is deeply invested in student spiritual formation. The spiritual life of our students is nurtured through chapel services twice per week. In Chapel, students are encouraged to share their talents and gifts through music, song, testimony, and Bible study. Chapel speakers are invited from a diverse assortment of traditions in an effort to broaden the students’ perspectives.
We also offer our students an annual student retreat. This is a time where the students are able to reflect on God’s Word and receive Biblical teaching in a peaceful environment. It is also an opportunity for the students to spend time in prayer. The topics chosen for the retreat are pertinent to their needs, for example, at the last retreat the students were given talks about having a closer relationship with God, and relationships and honesty at work.
Due to the ongoing political conflict of the area, BBC’s students do not have many opportunities to access religious, cultural and historical places of their homeland. Therefore, BBC organizes two field trips each year that are mainly educational, and effort is put to inform the students about the historical area they are visiting. There are also devotional times in the morning and times of fellowship.
Throughout the year the students participate in three charitable outreaches to the community. These activities are a priority since the students not only meet the needs of their community but also begin to think of the kind of ministries in which they can be involved in the future. Furthermore, twice per year the Shepherd Society, the humanitarian arm of BBC, oversees a food distribution to marginalized families in our neighborhood. Students are invited to take part in practical ministry outreaches through participation in these activities and through sports outreaches, youth retreats and summer camps.
More than 365 students have graduated from Bethlehem Bible College and they are now performing many different roles in their communities. They have not only kept serving in the name of God, but they have also became teachers, business people and graduate students. Bethlehem Bible College Alumni dinners were established to connect these graduate students together. This event has proved to be an excellent place for students to network, rekindle relationships and promote mutual encouragement.