On Simongan hill, Semarang laid the foundation for the Indonesian Baptist Theological Seminary which is now known as the Indonesian Baptist Theological College (STBI). The STBI was initiated by the Overseas Missionaries of the Southern Baptist Convention. STBI services began on October 11, 1954, using three simple bamboo buildings on a land area of 12,000 m2.
Land for STBI was expanded to 20,929 m2. STBI is built on a hill with a very beautiful panorama: hills, an ocean, and a long river. Three teachers started their service at STBI, namely Dr. Buford L. Nichols and his wife Marry Francise, and Dr. Catherine Walker. The first class started with 12 students.
On November 30, 1956, the STBI main building was inaugurated. The main building is equipped with classrooms, office space, lecturer’s house, library, social room, and chapel. Forrest Freezor, Texas Baptist Executive Secretary stated that STBI is one of the most beautiful places of all Baptist seminaries in the world.
Furthermore, on June 6, 1958, STBI held its first graduation for 7 students. This is the first fruit of the STBI service. From year to year, STBI is getting better, the seeds that were originally planted have grown into shady trees. This is the picture of STBI from time to time, even though the journey of growth is not always beautiful and bright, struggles, prayers, and tears color the journey of STBI step by step.
STBI is one of the most beautiful places of all Baptist seminaries in the world. Its development and growth can be described into 6 major periods as follows:
Period I was the pioneering period (1954-1957). Laying a strong foundation is the first key to building a building that can withstand all ages. This pioneering period illustrates the foundations that have been laid by the pioneers of STBI, namely: (1) students will study in college; (2) apply it in daily life; and (3) preach the gospel. Evangelism is carried out in 4 ways, namely: Evangelism, Youth Evangelism, Sunday School Evangelism, and Personal Evangelism.
Period II is the period of development (1957-1970). On the foundations that have been laid, permanent buildings began to be built along with the construction of the Body of Christ which has become more evident in these years. The fellowship started at Mrs. Chaterine’s house on Jalan Wijayakusuma with the presence of 1 Indonesian, namely Bp. Samuel Sarendatu has grown into a Zion church (now GBI Seteran). STBI which started with simplicity has begun to be equipped with permanent buildings, electricity, and sufficient water. STBI – has also begun to bring students to complete their studies year after year, starting with the 7 eldest children of STBI.
Period III is the period of expansion of the STBI (1979-1987). The expansion period often gets a sharper spotlight than others due to the abolition of the on-campus education system to education. Article written by Dr. Avery Willis will help provide an overview of the reality of that time from the perspective of the Missions. In principle, education services in Indonesia were not carried out with the aim of disrupting but rather with the aim of realizing education that was in accordance with the Indonesian context at that time.
Period IV is the period of consolidation of the STBI (1979-1987). A time when God used His children to combine two educational patterns, namely education, namely theological education in the seminary campus and extension theological education. Oneness and cooperation are needed to combine the two patterns that are equally beneficial for the ministry of Indonesian Baptists. Dr. Frank L. Lewis and Rev. Eddy Wiriadinata were used by God in the process.
Period V was the period for strengthening the STBI (1988-1997). Various progress and improvements in each field are becoming more evident as a follow-up to the ongoing consolidation process. The statutes, organizational structure, as well as campus management and teaching are increasingly being refined and adapted to the demands of changes that occur in the world of education in Indonesia in particular.
The six periods that have been recorded in the course of the seminary’s growth on this hill have clearly shown God’s extraordinary hand
Period VI is a period of increasing STBI (1998-2004). God pours out His grace through various kinds of experiences that have matured STBI as a theological educational institution with a seminary spirit. STBI again improves the implementation of the vision and mission that has been laid as the foundation for a seminary with a missionary spirit. The main vision to carry out the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ is again placed on the portion for the inheritance of faith and the advancement of the gospel ministry in the future. In 2003-2004, God began to prepare STBI to be a part of the worldwide gospel ministry. The field of service is no longer confined to the local church environment and neglected tribes in Indonesia, but God has opened a vision for STBI to be involved where God is working, namely throughout the world.
Period VII is the period of the STBI service network (2005-2012). In this period, STBI developed its status as a theological higher education institution based on the parameters of the Higher Education Law applicable in Indonesia and was in line with other disciplines. Along with this, the STBI has also developed a wider service network, not only within the Baptist Churches, but also includes churches of non-Baptist denominations and synods.
Period VIII is the STBI Consolidation Phase II period (2012-2016). During this period, the implementation of the STBI entered a period of restructuring of the higher education system which was regulated by law. Therefore, STBI is accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Higher Education, both as a higher education institution and as an organizer of study programs. The lecturers who support lectures also have quality standards of lecturers and are certified as lecturers of higher education.
Period IX is the period of Synergy and Collaboration between STBI and Churches (2016-present). During this period, STBI increased synergistic collaboration with churches, especially under the auspices of the Indonesian Baptist Church Association (GGBI) and the Indonesian Baptist Foundation, particularly in order to support the GGBI program: The Church Sends, Announces and Grows (GM3). Especially in growing the church through preaching the gospel and planting new congregations.