Pic: A Relaxed Moment Inside The Campus In January 2011
Once it was clear that there is a need and scope for a Bible School, the Consultation Meeting moved into more concrete decisions. The first one was to form a Steering Committee which would take care of the administrative decisions and responsibilities of RTI. Since there was a good co-ordination among the members of the group, forming a Steering Committee was an easy task, and the following people were elected:
President: VM John
Vice President: Miss PN Treasure
Secretary: James Williams
Joint Secretary: CJ Mathai
Treasurer: VM Godly
The Steering Committee deliberated upon the courses to be offered, the number of students to be admitted, and several other matters. The next meeting was convened very soon, and it turned out to be a turning-point for my life and ministry.
In this meeting the Steering Committee asked me if I would consent to become the Founder Principal of RTI. This came as a shock to me because at that time I could not think of leaving BBI. I was the Acting Principal of the Brethren Bible Institute when the consultations began, but I had relinquished this position on the return of Dr. OM Samuel after his Sabbatical of two years. Thus the Committee had timed their question at the most appropriate moment.
They said over the last few months they had considered dozens of candidates, but that after a detailed assessment they felt that I was the right person to help them with this venture. When I saw the members were unanimous in their decision and invitation, I asked them 3 months for making a decision.
I had an immediate and an extended family which always stood by me and I needed to seek their counsel. I had a very strong assembly and an equally strong group of elders whose opinion I needed to seek. What is more, I was so closely involved with the Brethren Bible Institute, Pathanamthitta (as Academic Dean and then for two years as Acting Principal cum Academic Dean) that I needed to seek the counsel of the senior brethren there. The Steering Committee did understand my concern about this matter and gladly allowed me 3 months to seek the counsel of these people and also to trust in the Lord for His guidance.
I then told my wife and children about this development and all three of them agreed that we need to seek the Lord’s mind and also the counsel of family and the assembly. I then mentioned this to my parents. My dad who wants a thousand young men and women to go to North India immediately said that here was an opportunity to establish another institution dedicated to evangelization and Bible teaching, and he encouraged me to join it.
I then sought the counsel of my wife’s family, and all of them were very positive that this is of the Lord. Next came the elders of the Kalamsseri assembly and all of them unanimously endorsed that this is of the Lord.
Pic: KA Philip encouraged me to go ahead and establish RTI, with the request never to abandon BBI.
The next week I mentioned it to KA Philip. He has always been a father and I a son to him, and it was he who (along with the late TM George) had appointed me at BBI. He was sad, very sad, that this might reduced my involvement with BBI, but felt that another institute would surely fill the void by creating more seats for the applicants who exceeded the number of seats available in the then Brethren institutions put together.
Next I discussed the subject with Dr. OM Samuel. He said he wanted me to be his successor at BBI and therefore he would be sorry to see me becoming the Principal of another Bible College. At the same time he said that the assemblies have very little institutional ministry north of Ernakulam, and therefore he was convinced that a Bible College in Trichur is the need of the hour. He also said that with my secular and theological background he could see no better person than me to take up this venture. He then did something extraordinary. In tears he placed his hands on my head and said “My blessings are with you for this new venture. Go forth and establish the greatest Bible college in India”.
Pic: With Dr. OM Samuel in October 2010 during an informal moment
Both KA Philip as well as Dr. OMS made me to promise that I would not desert BBI and that I would continue to teach there. I promised them that I would never leave BBI entirely.
By this time it was clear that everyone was in favour of me taking up this new assignment, so in less than a month I informed the Steering Committee that I would be happy to become the Founder Principal of RTI. They were very happy, but now the question was: would I be able to arrange a highly qualified faculty, a good library, and would we get quality student. The days to come were days of great emotion and excitement.
The encouragement of Dr. OM Samuel and KA Philip to go forth and establish RTI was endorsed by everyone in the faculty. Eventually in early June 2002 the faculty members of BBI met formally for the usual meetings, and there was great enthusiasm and and encouragement for my move to RTI. All of them felt that this would be a great blessing for the Lord’s work in India, and they decided to send me away prayerfully to RTI. They assured all type of academic and administrative help to plant and nurture the new institution.
Picture: The Principal and some of the faculty members and trustees of BBI who prayed and sent me to Rehoboth Theological Institute (Thrissur) to take up the new assignment as its Founder Principal
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