Prior to 2000, most discipleship was done on a one-to-one basis. Kelly and his leadership team would spend time teaching and mentoring each of the new believers. Even though the mission experienced revival and rapid expansion, only Kelly a few qualified leaders were discipling new Christians.
Then in 1998, while building a permanent mission station, Sebadine, one of Kelly’s leaders, suggested that he believed the Lord wanted the mission to start a Bible college. Kelly was reluctant to do this. Because he had never been to a Bible college himself, Kelly felt unqualified. But Kelly and the mission were open to doing whatever the Lord was calling them to do. After several years of prayer, the Lord established Gatyana Bible College (GBC) in the Transkei.
GBC is unique in many ways:
- GBC is the only Bible college in the world that teaches the Word of God in the Xhosa language. Other Bible colleges require students to learn one of the “white man’s languages” (English or Afrikaans).
- GBC allows local leaders to study the Bible in their own culture, their Xhosa homeland.
- Other Bible colleges require the students to relocate to the more westernized cities of South Africa.
- GBC does not require a high school diploma for admission. The only requirement is that students be able to read and write in Xhosa.
- GBC is the only Bible college that does not require students to pay tuition. The Xhosa are a very impoverished people, with little or no money. In addition, GBC believes that nowhere in the scriptures does Jesus, Paul, or any teacher/rabbi ever require payment from anyone to study the Word of God.
- GBC is the only Bible college that is governed by indigenous Africans (with the exception of Kelly). Almost all other African Bible colleges are governed by prominent white theologians. This governance has been an example that the national Africans are very capable of leading their own ministry.
GBC is registered and recognized by the national government as a nonprofit organization, and it complies with all the regulations of a registered trust.