Bible College of Western Australia

About the Bible College of Western Australia

"From the word to the world..."

The Bible College of Western Australia Incorporated (BCWA) started in 1978 as a nondenominational Bible College with the vision of “equipping the saints”. This vision was borne in the heart of Rev. Dr. Max Wells who never gave up on this ‘equipping’ vision. With Rev. Dr. David Shalley as the founding Principal the college began its journey of teaching God’s Word in a practical way. To date the college has had 1198 students. The life of the college has indeed been a fruitful one - highly credible and recognized for its practical ministry and discipleship training –“Equipping the Saints” and for its cross-cultural DNA –“From the Word to the World”.

BCWA’s ethos is encapsulated in the four C’s – Christ [Jesus -the Way, the Truth, the Life], Content [Deeply Biblical], Character [spiritual formation] and Competence [highly practical]. The Staff and Trainers at BCWA are committed to ‘living’ God’s Word in Christ before teaching His Word. They are deeply Biblical and highly practical and such characteristics are filtered into the character of its students. BCWA wants its students to strive beyond just the acquisition of knowledge and competence – it wants to see their character develop for the glory of CHRIST. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” 2 Cor.2:14. And now these four abide: Christ, Content, Character and Competence, - but the greatest is CHRIST!

The vision for a college to bridge the gap between church based education programs and those of The traditional theological college was formed in the mind of Rev. Dr M. A. Wells, a man who during 40 years as a minister, exercised a unique church planting role in the foothills of Perth’s southern suburbs. In 1978 the vision was realised with the establishment of the West Australian Bible College (WABC), initially operating from the Gosnells Baptist Church. At first the response was small – three full-time and seven part-time students. As the college gained wider acceptance these numbers grew. Enquiries from country students for residential courses and the need to establish the independence of the college led to the purchase of and relocation to the 1.1 hectare site in Wattle Grove in mid-1981.

 A significant milestone along the way was the appointment of the foundation Principal, Rev. Dr David Shalley. Formerly a professional engineer, Dr Shalley spent ten years as a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Curtin University of Technology. He had been involved for many years in church-centred-ministries including preaching, teaching and youth work.

 In 1983 the growth of both the programme and enrolments necessitated the expansion of the educational facilities on campus. By the end of that year two large transportable units had been positioned on site. Volunteer help and student work parties had the project completed and open by March 1984. The college then had lecture, library and office space to meet its needs for some years to come.

Continuing growth and the development of a wider range of courses, plus increasing administration pressures, made it clear that an additional academic lecturer was required. Accordingly Mr Geoff Wager, already a visiting tutor, was appointed as Deputy Principal, on half time from 1990 then full time from 1992.

An important stage in the development of the college occurred in 1993 when the Graduate Diploma, Diploma, Certificate and Advanced Certificate courses were accredited, allowing students access to Austudy, Abstudy and Centrelink.

In 1994 Rev. Geoff Fewster was appointed as Principal of the college. The college branched out in 1997 to develop new courses in the areas of Children’s Ministry and Teaching of English to Non-English speakers. In 2005, Haydn Nelson was appointed as Principal. Haydn had been appointed as a part-time lecturer in 2002 whist studying for his PhD and took over the leadership of the college when Geoff Fewster retired in February 2005. Dawson Elliott who was the Director of Administrative Services and Business Manager since 2003 was appointed as the Deputy Principal in February 2005. Haydn Nelson resigned at the end of December 2006 to take up a position at Riverview church in Perth where he presently serves as the Senior Pastor. David Shalley was then appointed as Interim Principal for the first semester of 2007 after which Dawson Elliott was appointed as Principal from 1 July 2007. Prior commitments had prevented Dawson from taking on the position from the beginning of 2007.

Over the years of the life of Bible College of Western Australia, a steady stream of graduates have found employment as Pastors, Missionaries and para-church workers along with many others who have taken an enriched Christian faith back into their own communities. As at December 2014, the collegehas had 1198 students. Voluntary visiting trainers have come from a wide spectrum of evangelical denominations and have enriched the students’ appreciation of their faith. Whilst some changes in the voluntary faculty have occurred with the passing of the years, the college currently enjoys the services of a team of well-qualified and experienced visiting trainers. Academically BCWA has sought to stretch students beyond their starting point with the college. Flexibility of courses and availability of a personalized approach to the provision of Bible – based education for Christian life and service remain distinctive traits of the college.

The BIBLE COLLEGE OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA Inc. uses the Statement of Faith of The

Australian Evangelical Alliance:

We worship the only God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whose creative, outgoing love overflowed from the divine community to create the universe and who calls us to share in eternal life and love and to participate in the fulfillment of divine purposes. In grace and humility, Jesus, the only Son of the Father, shared our humanity and became our example of service and sacrifice. Out of love for the world he suffered the consequences of our sin and died in order to overcome the power of the evil one; to release humanity from alienation from God and from being captive to self-centered sinfulness; and to restore a disordered creation. The power of the Father defeated death and brought new life to Jesus who now reigns as Lord of all and who, through the active presence of the Spirit, calls for repentance, brings the possibility of forgiveness and gives new life to all those who live in union with him. Christians live in love by the power of the Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus, as a single community of God’s people. We are filled with the Spirit who transforms lives and characters according to the example of the Lord Jesus, and the church is built up by the gifts of ministry and service which the Spirit brings. The life of the church is guided by God through the Scriptures which are uniquely inspired and the final authority for Christian faith and practice. As a community of those who worship God and live in fellowship we are called to bring everyone the good news of the salvation which can only be found in life with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are committed to work for justice in every society and to protect and enhance God’s creation. While working for the kingdom in the present we also look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus, bringing justice to all and the glorious, perfect kingdom of God.

Note: This statement of faith should not be regarded as implying that the truths expressed in it constitute the only important truths of the faith. It is understood by the Alliance as being consistent with the historic statements of faith such as the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and also with the Statement of Faith of the World Evangelical Alliance.


Global Reach Bible College (GRBC), Phoenix & Umhlanga, Durban, South Africa




GRBC is all set to go.  BCWA facilitators, Mrs Monique Govender (Principal) and her husband, Pastor George Govender will be heading the Bible College there. Classes for Semester 1/2015 commence on 10 March. Barry Waldeck and Dawson Elliott will be going to South Africa to launch this new affiliate college of BCWA. This would include the induction of the facilitators and trainers, training strategies, etc. Both the Chairman (Barry) and Principal (Dawson) will also deliver some relevant papers on Missiology and Ecclesiology/Church. 


Harapan Bangsa School, Balikpapan, Indonesia




BCWA has since 2010 offered English (ESL/TESOL), Ministry & Leadership Training as well as Professional Teacher Training at our partner school in Balikpapan. Pastor Ronny Runtukahu, Bro. Daniel Henson and the team have been very welcoming of BCWA in the past years and a bond of trust has been developed. This is one of the top private Christian schools in Balikpapan. It has over 500 children ranging from Kindy to Junior High. The Principal and those interested (volunteers) will make one visit per semester in 2015 to offer the necessary training required. Students can also accompany the Principal and team for a short term mission project and gain credit for this unit of study.




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