Sunset International Bible Institute
Sunset International Bible Institute is a Churches of Christ-affiliated institution of higher education in Lubbock, Texas. It was established in 1962 by Cline Rex Paden (1919–2007), a native of Hunt County, upon his return to Lubbock from an extended missionary trip to Italy. Originally called the Latin American Bible School, Sunset started with six students being trained as Spanish-speaking preachers.
In 1963, the elders of the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock accepted oversight of the school and briefly renamed it the West Texas Bible School. In 1964, the name was changed to the Sunset School of Preaching, with instruction in English and Spanish. The number of students reached 175 in 1969, and Sunset Church added the East Wing and basement to its facilities to accommodate the Bible institute.
1970s and 1980s
During the 1970s, Sunset launched correspondence courses through its extension department. In 1973, the Adventures In Missions program was instituted for college-aged students. Later in the decade, the school graduated its first women. A program for the deaf began in 1977 under the direction of Hollis Maynard. In addition to Spanish instruction, departments were established for teaching in Slavic languages and Chinese.
In 1978, the 1,000th student graduated from Sunset. New instructors joined the faculty, including Cline Paden's brother, Gerald Paden, and Norman Gipson (1918–2007).
By 1980, student enrollment had topped three hundred annually, but reductions in federal military benefits thereafter reduced enrollment. New faces on the faculty included the future director, Truitt Adair. In addition, a new library and office addition was built with funds raised by alumni.
In 1984, the school purchased the "Pink House" for the training of missionaries in the heart of Mexico City. The following year, Sunset students participated in the first annual student trips into Mexico City.
1990s and beyond
In 1990, Sunset launched an Extension School and began to translate courses into several languages. In 1992, Sunset launched its Small Church Growth Workshop and a video studio.
Paden retired in 1993, and Adair became the new executive director. Paden remained in the capacity of "chancellor". In 1995, the name was again changed—to Sunset International Bible Institute—to reflect its worldwide scope. A 1998 reorganization structured the school into three divisions: Residential Studies, External Studies, and International Studies.
Adventures In Missions had its largest class to date in 1993, with eighty-four students. By 1995 there were eighty-seven women enrolled in various programs. By 1996, the library had 14,000 volumes. The school's 2,000th graduate was recognized in 1997.
In 2000, Sunset started its Evening School program and saw total enrollment at international branch schools surpass that of the Lubbock campus.
In 2001, the school unveiled a new logo. In 2002, Sunset celebrated its 40th anniversary with the opening of its first remote classroom location in Fall River, Massachusetts. The Fall River branch campus is known as the Sunset International Bible Institute Northeast (SIBI N/E). There were fifty-five graduates at the residential school in Lubbock.
The institution launched a three-year, 12-million-dollar campaign in 2005 to help achieve the vision of preaching the Gospel to the world. The campaign concluded in 2008 raising over 13-million dollars.
In 2007, Sunset established the Sunset International Bible Institute Northwest (SIBI N/W); an interactive satellite-school in Puyallup, Washington, near Seattle. The new branch, which opened in August 2007 with five students, offers live instruction and communication with faculty and students at the residential branch in Lubbock. The Puyallup branch school is overseen by the elders of the Puyallup Church of Christ with Dr. Ken Wilson serving as the director of the Northwest branch.
In 2009, Sunset began to offer Texas-state approved Bachelor of Biblical Studies (BBS) degrees. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, according to the provisions of the Texas Education Code, sub-chapter G, chapter 61, title 3, section 7.5 (g). This authorizes the institute to legally grant religious degrees under the laws of the State of Texas. On May 23, 2009, the 78th class graduated with the newly instituted BBS degrees. Alumni of the Sunset International Bible Institute may receive a BBS degree by applying for the degree along with some leveling work.
In 2009, Sunset began to offer a Master of Biblical Studies (MBS) Degree Program. The program began with nine graduates in their first intensive week in April 2009. The MBS Degree Program is a 36-hour program, that includes a 6-hour thesis project. The program requires time on the residential campus, in Lubbock for two intensive weeks. The program also allows for twelve transferable credits to the program.
Sunset's President is Truitt Ellis Adair. Vice President for Advancement is Chris Swinford. Vice President of Ministry Training Vice President of Finance is Brad Pruitt SIBI N/W Director is Ken Wilson