"I know that I stand on the should on the shoulders of great men."
It is only natural for people to wonder how I see Sunset going forward into the future, and so I want to begin by sharing that very thing.
When I think of Sunset International Bible Institute, I think of more than a simple school on the South Plains; I think of a work of Almighty God for the aid of His church in its great purpose of seeking and saving the lost. To me, she is a thing of beauty, made so by her Lord and through the work of His great servants. I know that I stand on the shoulders of great men: people like Cline, Truitt, Ted, Truman, Charles and others who have held positions of administration in this institute and have allowed themselves to be the instruments of God for the sake of institutional greatness only for the purpose of His glory.
My vision for Sunset is one that sees it as a premier training institute that supplies our brotherhood with quality evangelists, ministry organizers and kingdom leaders. In other words, it exists “to train whole persons to proclaim the whole gospel to the whole world, wholly to please God.”
I see us maintaining our commitment to the all-sufficient and inerrant word of God in today’s world of ever-changing hermeneutics, role confusions and worship “styles.” Our brotherhood is crying out for the clear ring of Scripture’s eternal call for purity in doctrine and behavior. SIBI has ever been a voice in the middle of extremes taking a balanced, interpretive view with sound, biblical reasoning governed by faith and grace. We are first and foremost a biblical institute committed to the faithful study and proclamation of God’s good and perfect will. We have the finest faculty anywhere in the brotherhood for the continuance of our exceptional curriculum. We must stay committed to our faculty, and they to us, so that quality not only continues but improves. Additionally, the recruitment of more and more quality students with appropriate scholarship assistance needs to be pursued and realized. Quality people are at the center of our future.
I envision Sunset continuing as a servant of the body of Christ. Our graduates must have a thorough understanding of the distinctive nature of the New Testament church and a commitment to its biblical moorings. They must be infused with a love for her that mirrors that of her Savior. While dissenting voices are disparaging the church and calling for dismantling what they see as the “institutional church,” Sunset needs to lead the way in honoring and cherishing her glorious scriptural position as the true bride of Christ, which makes known “the manifold wisdom of God.”
As we serve the church, I see us making even more of our resources available to the brotherhood globally. We have a vast reservoir of tapes, books, papers and videos that can help the church with the training of its own members and a collection of materials that Christians can access via the internet. I want this to be made available free of charge. To these older materials, we can add some new videos on a wide range of topics to which people can refer for nearly immediate learning and playback. With these, I look forward to Sunset aiding the church in leadership development residentially and externally. Through these and other means, we will lift up the bride of Christ and assist in making her ready for her Lord and husband.
Since the days of the earliest World Evangelism Forum, Sunset has understood her role as an equipper and motivator for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This must continue into the future, and we must continue to explore ways to have an impact for the expansion of the Kingdom of Christ on the earth. Our students must capture this mission and make it their own. We will accomplish this through campaigns, teaching and evangelism practicum. Our teachings must be practical so as to bring transformation to the students’ own lives so that they in turn can impact the lives of others. Whatever the coming years may bring, we must be at the tip of the spear in bringing redemption’s message to a lost and dying world.
I long for and will work for a future in which the brotherhood continues to fund the various programs and ministries of Sunset. By faithful reporting and up-to-date advancement methods, we should pursue the full funding of the Sunset Endowment Fund. In addition to this, through various forms of internet media, we can make known the wonderful ways God is using the institute so as to tap into new sources of brotherhood revenue. We have an excellent accounting system and potential donors can feel secure in the knowledge that their gifts will be properly handled. These systems must keep pace with continued and upward trends in giving and current best practices.
I think that aiming for God’s preferred future for Sunset certainly must include the enhancement of every element of the school. This will most certainly include an improved and nimbler External Studies department. The world of books is changing, and with it we need to seek a balance of in-store profitable literature while continuing to move more aggressively into the area of e-books and downloadable app-based resources. Our burgeoning online classes must continue to be updated and new formats explored to keep pace with current and future learning trends. As these trends shift, so must our platforms of availability. In line with that, I see our satellite schools in the U.S. growing as we interact with potential partner churches, thus extending our footprint more widely throughout the brotherhood. Their support of us must not go unrewarded, and our External Studies department is in the best position, apart from our alumni, to make an impact for their benefit.
Sunset’s International Studies department is touching upon a global need and is poised to make an even greater impact in the future. Our 70+ ministry training sites should not become complacent in their existing systems and teaching methods but improve upon the qualitative training they are already offering. While our curriculum has been tested and proven around the world for preparing men biblically to preach the word, we need to make vocational training opportunities available to an increasing number of our students and graduates, which will enhance their own knowledge and assist them in being fully self-supporting. This must be done with our initial impetus and funding, but it must be done in a way that can soon be locally sustained.
I believe that Sunset’s best days are yet ahead of us and that by God’s power and grace, we shall see not only the sustaining of these and other areas of the institute’s effective service, but also the opening of new doors of ministry that the Lord will make available to us. We must meet these new opportunities with the same faith, wisdom and innovation that have so characterized our God-directed history. These are the things that I desire for SIBI, and I hope that they will be your desire as well. I earnestly covet your prayers for me and for our institute. May we first and foremost pursue His will in all these plans and hopes. To Him be the glory now and forever. Amen.
- Tim Burow