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History of BILD International

The origins of BILD International go back to the early 1970s when Jeff Reed desired to develop his equipping gifts in the context of local church ministry. The elders at Ontario Bible Church (OBC—now known as Oakwood Road Church) in Ames, Iowa, agreed to let Jeff train in this way. At the end of Jeff’s training, the elders asked him to formalize the training so that others at the church could go through a similar equipping process. Having been influenced strongly by Ray Stedman’s Body Life and Ephesians 4, he established a training influenced by Ray Stedman’s Scribe School and John MacArthur’s Logos School. This was the beginning of the Ministry Apprenticeship Program and eventually the Leadership Series. Over the next 25 years, Ted Ward and Walter Kaiser made themselves available to Jeff for ongoing development.

An elder at OBC, Keith Cook, and his wife Carol were aware of the needs of pastors in India, since Carol grew up there with her missionary family. They approached Jeff to take a trip to India to see if this ministry apprenticeship idea could work for the multitude of untrained pastors there who could not go to seminary. The idea was welcomed by India pastors, and Jeff began seeking funds to finance the translation of the new church-based materials, key books, and other costs. Churches he approached for funding became interested in the training for themselves also. As more and more requests for training came, BILD was formalized in 1986 under Jeff’s direction, as a ministry of the church, to handle these requests.

Today, BILD is known as a leader in church-based theological education. The church-based resources have grown to include equipping for new believers through doctoral-level training, which is recognized by a growing number of seminaries. BILD works formally with groups of churches or associations of churches in fourteen countries, helping them develop church-based theological education paths and resources to meet their needs for church leadership and is cultivating many other groups worldwide. There are new requests every week, from additional people groups and countries. BILD also works with churches throughout the United States and is developing Resource Centers, which have clusters of gifted leaders and Antioch-type churches that share the same church-based philosophy and vision and are ready to help meet the crying need of churches worldwide of having equipped leaders.

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