HISTORY OF THE BENIN BIBLE INSTITUTE
In 1959, a missionary couple, Edwin and Irene WEAVER, arrived in Nigeria in response to an invitation by a Nigerian initiated church that wanted to become Mennonite. On their arrival, the Weavers noticed that there were more than sixty different denominations in a radius of several kilometers around the church which had initially invited them. It did not take them long to discover that the majority of the leaders of those churches did not yet know elementary biblical principles. As a result of this surprising discovery and their awareness of the great need for training, they redefined the purpose for their presence in Nigeria. Instead of establishing Mennonite churches, they created a center for biblical training in order to train the leaders of all denominations. In 1967, they decided to organize a study tour of the region to determine whether the same situation existed in other countries in West Africa. In fact, their tour through other countries revealed that there were a multitude of African Initiated Churches whose leaders had never benefited from biblical training. In consequence, training spiritual leaders became the main goal of the “Mennonite Board of Missions” in West Africa. As part of the study tour, a group of Mennonite missionaries arrived in Benin in 1970 where they held a one week training seminar with several churches (Methodist, Cherubims, Bodawa, etc.) The experiment was repeated in 1971 through the initiative of the former Pastor Harry Henry. Several years went by without any contact probably due to the political changes in Benin at the time ; the contacts were renewed through the efforts of Mennonite missionary, David Shank, who was then serving in Ivory Coast. Each year, he came to Benin to lead a one week bible training seminar. The adoption in Benin of Marxist-Leninism in 1975 rendered life difficult for all the churches and the contact with the Mennonite Mission stopped until 1983. From 1983 to 1986, David Shank led annual one week bible seminars for the church leaders.
David and Wilma SHANK with the participants of the 1st seminar that they organized in Benin, December 1983
At the beginning of 1997, a reflection committee made up of seven members was formed as follows :
AHOGA Augustin : resource person
DANHOUNDO Marcellin : resource person
HOUNGBEDJI Théodore : representative of the Federation of Evangelical Churches and Missions in Benin (FEMEB)
NOUKPAKOU Germain : representative of the Council of Protestant and Evangelical Churches of Benin (CEPEB)
HOUNMONDJI Jean Baptiste : representative of the students
JANZEN Rodney : representative of the Service Mennonite au Bénin (SMB)
JOHNSON Stephen : representative of the Mennonite Board of Missions
Pastor AHOGA C. Augustin, 1st President of BBI’s Board of Governors, with his spouse who drew up the plans and supervised the construction of the headquarters of BBI.
The reflection committee chaired by Pastor AHOGA Augustin continued its work until the Board of Governors was formed at the end of 1998 in accordance with the By-laws adopted by the Consultation Meeting held August 27, 1998. The Service Mennonite au Benin became the Benin Bible Institute (BBI).
The family of Missionary Philip DETWEILER, Director of the Service Mennonite au Bénin, at the end of his mission, April 2004
Photo of the family, the personnel and the members of the Board, April 2004
The FREY-YODER family at the end of their mission in Benin, June 2009
BBI’s vision is to train spiritually and intellectually strong leaders who will put the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ according Eph.4 : 12.
Its mission is to :
We are very happy to your visit on our WebSite ! Welcome to Benin Bible institute ! BBI is a biblical and theological training School to the service of the church. Its vocation is to form spiritually and mentally leaders “for their perfection in view of the work of the ministry and the edification of Christ’s body.”
Pastor Bonaventure AKOWANOU
AKOWANOU M. Bonaventure
Since August 2002.
He organizes, coordinates and ensures the achievement of BBI’s mission.
He oversees the training programs and ensures that BBI’s vision is being carried out through its activities and its operation.
He supervises the personnel and provides BBI with human resources needed in connection with its activities for each training program.
BANGBADE I. François
ACADEMIC DEAN Since September 2003.
He oversees the academic programs at BBI and ensures that the course content as well as the spiritual or pedagogical activities attains the vision and objectives of each program.
GODONOU F. Alphonse
PROFESSOR Since September 2004.
He is the head of the Systematic Bible Training Program since 2012.
Organize, coordinate and supervise the Systematic Bible Training Program.
PROFESSOR, Since November 1997.
Il est le He is the head of the Baccalaureat in Theology program since 2012.
Organize, coordinate and supervise the Baccalaureat in Theology program.
PROFESSOR Since September 2002
He was the head of the Systematic Bible Training Program until 2012 when he left for further training at Vaux-sur-cène in France.
NOUKPLIGUIDI EricSECRETARY-ACCOUNTANT Since July 2007.
HOUNKPE Arlette Epse BOKO
LIBRARIAN Since February 2003.
OFFICER OF AGRICULTURAL WORK Since 2015.
CONCIERGE Since 2015.
OLOUNKA Daniel M.
CUSTODIAN Since April 2011.
SECURITY GUARD Since January 2001.
CONCIERGE Eligible for retirement since January, 2014
One of BBI’s goals is to provide occupational training for the students in different trades alongside their theological training.
This goal was slow in getting off the ground due to lack of funding. The idea is to provide students and other Christian ministers, whether or not they participate in BBI’s training programs, with the skills to develop revenue generating activities particularly in the agricultural sector. In keeping with this vision BBI hopes to develop a multi-purpose campus for agricultural training on its titled property of 4.5 ha in Oumako that will offer the students and their families a new form of pastoral training. In addition, this innovative experiment will equip Christian ministers who have to support themselves due to the impoverished socio-economic conditions. The project will enable them to earn additional income.
The supervisor of the agricultural project with Mennonite partners on the property at Oumako
The agricultural complex that will be built will serve as a model in Benin for the way it supports and accompanies the Benin Bible Institute.
After several years of incubation, the agricultural activities finally began in 2012 on our property in Oumako. The first major step was the drilling of a well made possible through the assistance of the NGO GAIN which for a modest sum provided this vital infrastructure for our activities.
Technicians from the NGO GAIN in the process of drilling a well January 2012