UBTS opened in 2002 in the city of Boryslav in Western Ukraine. The Seminary offered a Bachelor of Pastoral Studies degree initially and added training in Christian Education, Music, and Choir. It also offered a Master of Divinity degree that was accredited in Ukraine only.
After Dr. Slavik Pyzh completed his studies and moved back to Ukraine in 2012, the Seminary moved to its current location in L’viv, the second largest city in Ukraine situated in the far Western part of the country. A new chapter of impact began. The number and types of undergraduate and graduate programs at UBTS have grown exponentially since then, as has the size and composition of the student body.
The diagram below illustrates this phenomenal, God-ordained growth. It shows the three main paths UBTS has opened to broaden educational opportunities for local church leaders over the next several years.
- Campus-based graduate and undergraduate degree programs offered in L’viv (Blue outline). These programs are expected to grow to approximately 800 graduates per year.
- Specialized certificate programs taught by UBTS adjunct staff at multiple locations throughout Ukraine. UBTS expects to award certificates to over 1000 participants per year.
- UBTS-sponsored conferences on leadership and church life topics that are held in various venues with more than 2500 anticipated attendees per year.
This growth is in direct response to the needs of the local church. In 2012-13, UBTS surveyed pastors throughout Ukraine to determine their greatest needs as they serve their churches and communities. The respondents overwhelmingly cited two challenges: the lack of trained leaders and people who are not committed.
In 2016, UBTS – in partnership with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) – initiated a Master’s degree program taught by US-based SEBTS professors. Soon, UBTS will offer two Master’s-level offerings taught by Ukrainian professors and there are plans for doctorate level education to begin at UBTS later this year.
With UBTS degree programs necessarily limited to the number of students able to attend classes full-time in L’viv, UBTS leaders wrestled with the question: How can we equip young adults to support their pastors and serve in local churches through part-time training available closer to their homes?
After much prayer and strategic planning, UBTS launched the Young Leaders Program (YLP) in 2016 to train and equip students to be effective, committed leaders in local churches. This certificate program started with 25 students who met on weekends in another city. It has grown to 250 students who meet in six other cities throughout Ukraine.
But the YLP was only the beginning. UBTS now offers multiple training programs available at convenient locations and times for attendees. Some are offered in collaboration with other like-minded Christian organizations.
With women comprising more than 60% of church congregations, UBTS recognized the importance of providing them with specialized Biblical studies and training. In addition to the Women’s Ministry BA degree program, the School of Mentoring and Coaching certificate program prepares students to help others reach their potential as they serve in churches and missional organizations throughout Eastern Europe.
UBTS also sponsors and leads specialty conferences to provide training at UBTS during the summer and in various cities and venues on weekends throughout Ukraine. These events extend Gospel teaching and principles in many creative ways – while also providing much-needed operating revenue and efficiently leveraging the use of academic facilities throughout the year.
This growth and diversity of the offerings and impact at UBTS are truly evidence of the blessing and Providence of God!