Trinity Video Seminary (TVSEMINARY) is an accredited online seminary based in Russia with students worldwide. TVSEMINARY was originally founded as a two-year residential college by an American pastor and his wife in the 1990’s with the support of several churches soon after the fall of the former Soviet Union. The purpose of the college was to provide Biblical training and education to Russian church leaders and the college graduated its first class of 13 students in May 2000. Today TVSEMINARY is a totally online accredited institution offering certificates, a bachelor’s degree, and graduate courses available to students everywhere in several languages. Some key facts:
- Over 1.5 million views of video-lectures in 182 countries on TVSEMINARY’s YouTube channels
- Free access for anyone to all recorded courses and other training videos
- More than 3,200 students have enrolled online from over 50 countries
- Over 250,000 hours of online study logged by students
- Over 3,400 certificates of course completion and 107 degrees conferred
- Fully accredited by the Euro-Asian Accrediting Association (EAAA)
- All courses available in Russian as well as some available in English, Portuguese, Uzbek, Chinese and Tajik with plans to translate courses into additional languages.
TVSEMINARY’s Unique Approach to Online Learning:
- Record Live Classes: TVSEMINARY invites world-renowned Biblical scholars to record a full-length college course in studio or on location in front of a live student audience so that online learners can feel they are participating in the class with the professor and other students.
- Create Online Courses: Recorded courses are edited, dubbed, and translated into one or more languages. These full-length courses are then modified to create other shorter, educational and training videos and also translated into other languages based on demand.
- Facilitate Student Learning: Enrolled students have access to online course materials such as curriculum, tests and other student information through Moodle’s online learning management system. Enrolled students can also interact with a personal tutor who can answer questions and help guide student learning toward successful course completion.
TVSEMINARY has formed strategic partnerships with organizations such as: Trans World Radio, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Deerfield, IL, Euro-Asian Accrediting Association (EAAA) and their member colleges, European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA), St. Petersburg Christian University, Master’s Seminary in Santa Clarita, CA, and Our Daily Bread Ministries in Grand Rapids, MI.
Fiscal Responsibility and Funding:
TVSEMINARY operates as an NGO on a modest annual budget ($716,000 fiscal year 2018) that supports a full-time staff of 22 Russian nationals and more than 20 part-time staff and tutors who profess the Christian faith and are highly dedicated to the mission even with the increased restrictions on religion and personal freedom in Russia. Despite these political realities, the board and staff recognize that by continuing to operate this international seminary from Russia, TVSEMINARY is able to leverage the acquired staff expertise and operate at a much lower cost than if the same ministry were located in the U.S. or Europe.
The seminary continues to receive most of its financial support (approximately 90%) from church organizations and private donations. The remainder of the funding comes from small grants and student tuitions which are purposely discounted in order to reduce entry barriers and allow more students to be able to enroll and receive college credit and complete a degree.
TVSEMINARY partners with EFCA ReachGlobal, the international ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America based in Minneapolis, MN, which oversees its finances and also provides a way for donors to contribute to a reputable 501(c)3 organization that is a member in good standing of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
Board Governance and Staff Leadership:
The board of directors consists of 11 international board members who are elected to serve a three-year term in accordance with its bylaws. The board meets annually to conduct normal business including: review overall progress and growth, provide direction and review the strategy and strategic partnerships, approve the annual budget, and oversee personnel practices and the President’s performance.
TVSEMINARY’s full-time staff are all Russian nationals and members of the leadership team are fully qualified with several relevant advanced degrees. Members of the leadership team include: Vitaly Petrov, President; Igor Petrov, Director of Master’s Programs; Alexandr Spichak, Academic Dean; Larisa Kuzmenko, Director of Translation; and Misha Sushkov, Technical Director.
TVSEMINARY’s ministry model (Attachment A) is highly scalable and TVSEMINARY continually receives requests to create more courses and to translate courses into more languages than is currently feasible due to limited financial resources. The board and leadership team share the following long-term vision:
- Completion of the Master’s in Divinity Program and the conferring of graduate degrees
- Translation of TVSEMINARY courses into other languages including Chinese and Spanish
- Additional board members representing other strategic countries to reach more students
- Partnering with more seminaries and ministry organizations to provide quality course content using the best online teaching methods and technologies available
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