The Shepherd’s Bible College was started in 2000 by church@riverbend and Hastings Bible Church with a view to equip local church members for local ministry.
In 2003, The Shepherd’s Bible College formed a working relationship with Strategic Training Resources which subsequently became The Master’s Academy International based in California, USA. Three years later in 2006, New Zealand Qualifications Authority extended registration and accreditation to The Shepherd’s Bible College. Over sixty courses were approved for delivery and these make up the content of two accredited programmes – the Diploma of Biblical Studies and the Certificate of Christian Studies.
Riverbend Bible Church came into existence in 2007 when church@riverbend and Hastings Bible Church (the two founding churches of The Shepherd’s Bible College) amalgamated into one congregation of approximately 500 people. The heritage, membership, and property of Riverbend Bible Church provide a stable foundation for the goals and objectives of The Shepherd’s Bible College to be successfully accomplished. Governance of The Shepherd’s Bible College is solely provided by the elders of Riverbend Bible Church who appoint the members of The Shepherd’s Bible College Board.
With the advent of accreditation and the credibility of working under the umbrella of a worldwide training organisation such as The Master’s Academy International, The Shepherd’s Bible College moved from being just a local equipping ministry to an internationally recognised pastoral and Bible training institution. The student body is now made up of individuals from churches from around New Zealand, Australia, and the world.
Future of The Shepherd’s Bible College
The two current programmes being offered are considered to be just the first steps toward The Shepherd’s Bible College goal of training pastors, preachers, teachers, biblical counsellors, church planters, missionaries, elders, ministry leaders, and significant lay individuals for churches throughout the South Pacific region. In order to realise these long term goals, The Shepherd’s Bible College will seek to add a second and third year of fulltime training. Together these programmes will add up to a three-year fulltime programme that allows students to focus on their particular area of interest and future ministry involvement. Beginning in 2011, The Shepherd’s Bible College is offering level 6 courses and pursuing accreditation of a full level 6 diploma.