Pastor B. H. Clendennen
holding the very first
School of Christ manual.
The First School of Christ
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;..." Mark 16:15-16
In October 1991, my wife, my granddaughter, and I went to Russia on what I called a fact-finding trip. I went to see what we could do to help the church fill the awful spiritual vacuum created by seventy-five years of atheism. What we experienced changed our lives forever. I had been in many countries of the world, but never had I witnessed the hunger I found in Russia. As I ministered to people, God put such a love in my heart for them, that I knew I had not merely come to Russia, I had been sent. I did not know at that point, what my entire ministry would be, but I knew I would move to Russia.
The last day of our visit, God confirmed the call. I was ministering to a small congregation on the outskirts of Moscow. As I spoke on the subject of prayer the Spirit of God broke us. The entire group fell on their face and began to pray. As I was praying I felt a hand upon my arm, and when I looked up there was an elderly woman prophesying to me. I later learned that her husband had been a Pentecostal preacher, and had been murdered by the KGB. She now spent much of her time in the church praying. My interpreter, Igor, told me they had not known her to prophesy before. God's message to me through this saintly woman was: "All that you have ever suffered, all that you have learned, all that you ever did was to prepare you for what I will do with you in this country."
At the end of October I returned to America, and in November 1991 I resigned the church I founded and pastored for 35 years. In December I returned to Russia for three weeks. During this stay I preached in cities of hundreds of thousands that had no church. In the Caucus I preached to over seventeen hundred people, sixteen hundred of them came forward to be saved. When I left them there was no shepherd to look after the new born. I knew then what God would have me to do. The vision of a three month Bible school was born. I came home to gather the materials for the school and move to Russia.
As I was preparing the lessons, working out the schedule of the school and thinking on how the discipline of the school should be, the scripture in Luke 16:8 came to me, "...for the children of this world are in their generation wiser that the children of light." With that scripture my mind was carried back to the outbreak of World War II. I had just graduated from high school when the news broke. In a short time, I joined the U. S. Marines, and in one week I was in what they called boot camp. For twelve weeks, I went through the most intense discipline, and training I ever dreamed possible. What were they doing? Transforming young men fresh out of school, fresh from the farm and the city, into men of war. And they meant to do it in twelve weeks. This became the pattern for the School of Christ.
The students are brought to the school, and for three months they do not leave unless there is an emergency. For three months they are totally immersed in prayer and the Word of God. The prayer meeting begins before day light every morning, and is the last act in the evening. The prayer meetings are not optional, they are regular classes. You only learn prayer by praying. Without prayer Bible schools are merely doctrine. The discipline and the curriculum of the school weeds out those who are not called.