By Don Meyer
COMPTON, CA (August 13, 2012) – Classes may adjourn for the summer months on many campuses around the country, but not so on the campus of CHET (Centro Hispano de Estudios Teologicos), where for the first time in its history, summer classes are being offered.
“CHET has never offered classes during the months of July and August, but this summer we thought that we would try it,” says CHET President Ed Delgado. “We wanted to offer new students an opportunity to experience CHET, and for CHET regular students an opportunity to make progress toward their particular certificate or ministerial degree program.”
The school offers two 12-week courses that Delgado says are designed to stretch and challenge students, while providing material that is immediately applicable to their respective ministry contexts. “Our intent is that students will continue to grow in relationship with God, will continue to be equipped for ministry, and will continue to be prepared to effectively interact with others and discuss their beliefs,” Delgado says.
Well-respected Bible teachers who also are experienced professors were recruited to lead the two innovative summer courses – Biblical Greek and training in the familiar PowerPoint presentation software.
A practical approach is taken in the Biblical Greek course, which emphasizes grammatical and theological foundations. Students read and meditate on scripture, using the Greek language as source material, with a goal of adding richness and inspiration to both personal spiritual development and preaching.
Steve Bunyard, the professor who is teaching the Biblical Greek course, describes studying scripture in the original Greek language as similar to going from black-and-white television to watching programs in high definition color.
“Nothing is greater than seeing people fall in love with the Bible and seeing their eyes get opened up as they study the Bible in its original language – the New Testament in Greek, the language that Paul and Peter used in writing the New Testament.”
Bunyard, who in his regular vocational calling serves as local and global outreach pastor at Rolling Hills Covenant Church, describes his teaching role as an exciting opportunity, not an added burden.
“Yes, I do have a ton of stuff that I am responsible for at Rolling Hills Covenant Church,” he notes. “But, there is nothing greater than seeing God’s word change a life. That is exciting to me – to be part of that – and to have the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of the students here.”
To read more of individual student experiences at CHET, click on the following links:
Lacking the ability to speak Spanish is a challenge, Bunyard admits, but “fortunately the majority of students are bilingual.” He also points out another intriguing comparison with the languages – the similarities between Spanish and Greek, contrasted to the differences between English and Greek. “I try to adapt that into the teaching,” he says.
Some suggest that understanding the original Greek texts is something that over time will fade and become less useful. Bunyard disagrees.
“This will bless those that they (the current students) will eventually teach,” Bunyard tells his class, “as they are able to take that understanding and dive into the nuances in the New Testament and have a deeper understanding . . . and pass that on to others like Paul did with Timothy – and told Timothy to pass that on to others. I want to see all of them doing that, every single one of them.”
And he continually encourages the students: “Don’t give up. Keep at this. This will be worth it. Studying the Bible in greater depth will cause them to love God in greater ways. To love God more, to love his word more, hopefully this all ends up in their enhanced ability to live out the two great commandments: to love God with all their mind, heart and soul, and to love others the same way and so to love their neighbor as themself.”
The second summer course, teaching students how to use the popular PowerPoint software in their sermons and presentations, is taught by CHET Chaplain Flor Graterol, a member of El Encino Covenant Church.
Graterol studied graphic arts in England and completed her Bachelor of Christian Ministry Degree at CHET. She currently is a second-year student at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
In addition to the main Compton campus, CHET satellite campuses are located in Oaxaca, Guadalajara and Tijuana in Mexico; La Coruña, Spain; San Diego, Wilmington, Westminster, Delano, Porterville, Rialto, Claremont and Walnut Creek in California; Carthage, Missouri; Hanover Park Illinois, with training also available on the campus of North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.
CHET student registration has increased annually in recent years, with 650 students registered for the just-completed spring semester. It is estimated that 850 students will be enrolled for the Winter 2013 semester.